It has been almost a decade since the Dallas Cowboys had the luxury of resting up while waiting to find out who they will face in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. That makes this an unusual situation for us writers as well. While I am waiting with the rest of you, here are some rather random things that I have been musing on.
- It is no secret that I am something of a Jason Garrett fan (as you may have noticed in my recent post on the coaching staff). My tenure here at Blogging The Boys happens to coincide with his seasons as the official head coach of the Cowboys, but my admiration for him is much more about the fact that I just plain like the way he does things. That includes his approach to the media, where he makes it clear he is only going to impart as much information as he absolutely has to, while constantly using his press appearances to further disseminate what my fellow writer Dawn Macelli has dubbed “The Way of the Rooster”. He put on a magnificent display of that during a recent discussion of the lack of experience that Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have as they go into their first NFL playoffs.
“I just think experience is experience. Some guys have some experience; some guys don't,” coach Jason Garrett said. “My experience in life is you use your experiences to help you with new experiences. For rookies in particular, every experience they have up until this point is the first time they have done it. It was their first rookie minicamp. It was their first OTA. It was their first minicamp. It was their first training camp. On and on and on.
“What you try to do is encourage them to use their experiences up to this point in life. In Zeke's case, playing at Ohio State. In Dak's case, playing at Mississippi State. And use them in your experiences you are about to embark on. I encourage everybody to do that. We all have to do that in life. Some guys are experienced [in] the playoffs. They will use those experiences. Those who aren't will use different experiences.”
I love how you always wonder how much he is really trolling the reporters with these answers.
- On the subject of Garrett’s tenure, this was an interesting tidbit from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The tumultuous nature of being an NFL coach is best captured by the head coaches hired from 2009 through 2013, a five-year stretch not that long ago.
During that time, the league hired 31 head coaches, and of them, only six remain: Seattle's Pete Carroll, Dallas' Jason Garrett, Carolina's Ron Rivera, Indianapolis' Chuck Pagano, Kansas City's Andy Reid and Arizona's Bruce Arians.
Twenty-five others already have been fired, which just goes to show most coaches are just being hired to one day be fired.
This is interesting, especially considering how recently Garrett was seen as being on a “hot seat”. Despite the persistent meme of Jerry Jones as a mercurial, impulsive, and meddling owner, he actually values continuity. And, apparently, his head coach, as he expressed in his unique way.
Jerry Jones comparing the job Jason Garrett has done this year to keeping peas on a dinner plate: pic.twitter.com/92tvTfnqgc— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) January 6, 2017
- Of course, this is the time of year when a lot of NFL teams are trying to find a new head coach and/or general manager, having just given their old ones pink slips. And one place that teams like to look is the staff of another team that has been more successful, especially lately. That would seem to make the Cowboys prime hunting ground, with Scott Linehan, Rod Marinelli, and Will McClay all possible targets for needy teams. But while many coordinators and front office people from other teams have already begun the interview process, things remain rather quiet at the Star in Frisco. Mike Fisher says he has heard nothing about requests to speak to either coordinator.
Not that I know of. Both have 1 yr left on deals, each making abt 2M. https://t.co/3GN0dgDS9l— mike fisher ✭ (@fishsports) January 6, 2017
That may reveal why teams could have a hard time prying any of the current staff out of Dallas. They are very well paid, are in a stable environment, and from all indications have the full support of their owner and head coach. (You can figure that McClay is making similar money). Additionally, both Linehan and Marinelli have pretty rough tenures as a head coach on their resumes, so teams may be a bit leery of them.
This is kinda great for the Cowboys. It would probably be best to keep the band together as long as they can. Or at least as long as the team keeps winning, which will hopefully be for several years to come.
- I seem to be on a bit of a coaching theme, so why not continue? A big question that will loom once the Cowboys are done with the playoffs (hopefully not for another month or so) is the future of Tony Romo. He is almost certain to go to another team to have another shot at taking a team to a championship, but the day of his retirement is drawing inevitably closer, and many people have speculated that coaching may be in his future. But that may not be the best route for him. He just seems too articulate, personable, and knowledgeable to not have the broadcasters throwing huge dollars at him to get him into the booth. And that would seem like something that his wife Candice might strongly encourage, since coaches have notoriously long hours, and she may want him home a little more once his playing days are done.
But there is another player currently wearing the Star that may have an extremely bright future in the coaching ranks, and that is linebacker and first-time All Pro Sean Lee. He is to the Dallas defense what Romo was to the offense: A second coordinator on the field, making sure everyone is in place and diagnosing what the other team is throwing at them. Every report is that he is phenomenally smart, knowing everyone’s assignment on his own team, and the way he gets to the ball shows just how well he grasps the opponent’s scheme. He is not nearly as well known a figure as Romo, and just seems to be more of a natural for a coaching job. If he does go that route, expect great success down the road.
- If you haven’t checked it out yet, you have to see the #FinishThisFight series of hype videos at DallasCowboys.com. If you watch these and don’t want to go pad up and hit something hard, you need to turn in your Cowboys fan card. Here is the one for Dak, but they are all great so far, and more are to come.
- And just for fun, another thing you really need to check out is the series of tweets by @CowboysNation about the recent “party boat” incident involving some of the New York Giants. This is the first one, but you have to click it and read the whole thread. It is one of the funniest things you will see. Anything that so wonderfully skewers both John Mara and Eli Manning is worth your while.
Not possible. The Giants Organization would never allow any shenanigans. https://t.co/1lk9YYtUDk— Cowboys Nation (@CowboysNation) January 4, 2017