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Jason Garret Provides Early Player Assessment After Cowboys Rookie Minicamp

Tyrone Crawford has "got a great motor," Jason Garrett said.
Tyrone Crawford has "got a great motor," Jason Garrett said.

The rookie minicamp is over, and it'll be a while before we see more football activity. This year's first OTA is scheduled for May 21-23, and the next minicamp is scheduled for June 12-14, this time with rookies and veterans.

In yesterday's press conference, Coach Jason Garrett provided an early assessment of some of the players he saw at the three rookie minicamp practices, but also provided some perspective on the veteran players on the roster.

After the break, we have a transcript of the parts of yesterday's press conference in which Garrett talked about specific players. Don't put too much weight on who he talked about, Garrett was simply responding to specific questions about specific players. If a player wasn't talked about it means nothing more than that there wasn't a question asked about that one player.

If you absolutely must read something into the names mentioned, think of them either as the pet cats, or in some cases the pet hates, of the Dallas media.

This is a partial transcript of Garrett's press conference from 5/5/12. All errors and omissions are mine.

Jason Garrett on Tyrone Crawford:

"We've seen him in three practices now and he's got a great motor. He's got a great motor in drills, in 11-on-11 situations. He's chasing the ball and I think he's a pretty good technical player right now. He obviously has a long way to go in that area, but he's going about it the right way: He's chasing the ball and trying to make plays."

Garrett on Kyle Wilber:

"It's still early. We're three practices and he's still trying to figure out what the heck we're doing on defense."

"One of the things we talked about with Tyrone Crawford is his motor; it's the same thing with him. It showed up. He plays from the snap through the whistle, he plays physically, he's a non-stop type guy. He showed up a lot both as a run defender and as a pass defender: on special teams. It's really one of the things we liked about him as much as anything."

Garrett on Adrian Hamilton:

"We understood what kind of player he was down there at Prairie View and he showed up - I think [Hamilton's 20.5 sacks are] an NCAA record - then he came up to Dallas Day and continued to impress us, and we really jumped at the opportunity to sign him as a college free agent after the draft."

"He's had a good start to this minicamp. He rushed enough [at Prarie View] to get 20.5 sacks. So I think that's what he does best. But you can see in the workouts that we've had that he does have some athletic ability. He chases the ball well, he has some natural pass rush moves and he seems to have some capability to drop into coverage as well."

Garrett on Saalim Hakim:

"Saalim is a guy who's got a lot of talent. He's got a lot of ability. He's quick, he's fast, he's explosive. He has an interesting background: He played at Tarleton, but he also played in the UFL, which is interesting in that he was still draft-eligible after playing in the UFL."

"He's someone that our scouts saw in workouts, they saw how fast he was; how physically talented he was. He doesn't have that much experience playing football, and he's learning. But you see some raw talent there."

"I did talk to Coach Fassel about him and he said he's an ideal guy to bring in and try to develop. Certainly get him in at a rookie minicamp. Try to sign him as a free agent if you don't draft him. Get him into training camp and try to teach him as much football as you can, because some of the things he has, you can't teach: The quickness, explosiveness and the flat-out raw speed that he has. Not many guys have that."

Garrett on Lance Dunbar:

"He's quick!"

"He's quick. He has good quickness. His acceleration as a runner is really good. He's made a lot of space runs here over the last couple of days."

Garrett on Troy Woolfolk:

"He can play a couple of different spots there in the defensive backfield. Probably because of his background - his family background but also his college background playing at Michigan - he seems to understand football, seems to have a good football IQ."

"Again, all these evaluations are based on three days of practice, but that starts to show up as a positive trait for him."

Garrett on Sean Lee:

"He emerged as a leader last year. I think that's natural for the guys who play his position. Those ILBs are the quarterbacks of the defense. A lot of guys look to them for communication, for adjustments that you would make in the huddle, at the line of scrimmage."

"And Sean really took the bull by the horns and took over that role last year. He's really a smart guy, he's very conscientious. He knows the defense inside and out. So I think he started doing that last year and he'll continue to emerge as a leader on our football team."

Garrett on Teddy Williams:

"Teddy has been a real interesting project for us the last coupe of years. We signed him as a free agent, and initially he was on defense. And then we moved him over to the offense to give him some chances to do that. He did a little bit of both in practice. All the while he's been working as a special teams guy as well."

"He's got a track background; not much of a football background. But different than some track guys, he has a physical mentality playing football. He just needs to understand how to play football. We're going to give him another shot playing DB, specifically corner, and let him use some of that physical ability that he has. And use the speed, the length, the physicalness and see if he can learn and understand that position."

"But he shows up on special teams a lot. He's demonstrated that he can be a good special teams player and compete that way as well as as a position player. He has physical tools, he has some toughness to him, he just needs to learn how to play."

Garrett on Kevin Ogletree:

"Kevin Ogletree has had that [3rd receiver] role for us at different times in his career. If you remember, before we drafted Dez Bryant, Kevin was starting to emerge at the end of his rookie year as a guy that we threw the ball to a lot. At the time, some quick-screen type things where he made some plays, run after catch, and really did some positive things for us."

"Then we drafted Dez and his opportunities became much more limited. But I think he did a good job over the last couple of years trying to stay with it and fight through it and take advantage of the limited opportunities that he did get. He made some big catches on third down for us over the last couple of years."

"He has the ability to play both inside and outside, which is pretty unique for a third receiver. He has the physical traits to be able to do both."

"We're going to make that [3rd receiver] role, and really every role on our team, as competitive as possible. So he is not entrenched as our third receiver by any means. He's been the guy who's been around our program the longest, he's the guy who has the most production and experience in NFL games. So you would say that he has an advantage going in, but it will be competitive. We feel like he has the capability of doing it, but we feel like the other guys might have the capability as well."

Garrett on Andre Holmes:

"Andre Holmes is a guy we picked up last year. He was on our practice roster and we put him on our active roster towards the end of the year before he got hurt."

"He's a big, raw guy who the quarterbacks really like throwing the football to. He's a big target, he's quarterback friendly and he's got some speed and explosiveness as well. He just needs to play more and learn how to play."

Garrett on Raymond Radway:

"I wouldn't say that he's 100%. He's been involved in the teaching sessions the last couple of days, on Tuesday and Thursday of this week. And he really seems to have responded well to the treatment. He's running better and he did a nice job. He was really full go in those workouts."

"We anticipate him to be ready to play football. Whether it's a 100%, I don't know that, you'll have to ask him. But like I said, he worked out on Tuesday and Thursday of this week and he looked fine. He was completely involved in all the drills. He ran a full complement of routes this past week."

Garrett on the running backs:

"We feel good about our running backs, there's no question about that. If you look at what Felix Jones has done in his career and what DeMarco Murray did emerging last year. Phillip Tanner wasn't even on the radar this time last year, just earned his opportunity to play a lot in the preseason and then earned a spot on our roster."

"You're never completely comfortable. You can't absorb all the injuries all throughout your football team. Those guys did get banged up last year. But you can't carry many more than three halfbacks. You can keep a guy on the practice roster, maybe you keep an extra guy on your 53, but three is about as many as you can keep. Those guys have had some injuries here recently, but they've also shown they can be durable and carry the ball and catch the ball, a lot."

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