Jason Garrett took to the podium for his final press conference of the season on Monday afternoon. Here’s what he had to say (all answers are paraphrases and not exact quotes).
Evaluation of staff
Jason Garrett declined to really get into what is going on with the coaching staff, but he did say that things are still “pretty immediate” with them. He noted that he’s been in player interviews since the season ended in Los Angeles and that they are going to make evaluations before decisions are made.
Jason Garrett “doesn’t know” how he answered the question Monday morning
Pressed about his answer on Monday morning regarding Scott Linehan returning in 2019, Jason Garrett sort of pleaded the fifth. He said that he “didn’t know” how he answered the question earlier in the day. For a coach with a strong memory that’s awfully odd.
There are collaborative decisions when it comes to everything
Garrett reminded us that Jerry Jones owns the Dallas Cowboys when asked who makes the final decisions on things, but he was specific to say that it was a collaborative effort. The brain-trust is an important group.
There have been no discussions as far as an extension is concerned
Despite multiple previous reports, Jason Garrett said that neither he nor his representation have had any discussions with the Jones family regarding an extension for him. His current contract runs through the 2019 season.
The Cowboys grew in 2018
Speaking about various members of the Cowboys, Dak Prescott among them, Jason Garrett discussed the growth within the team over the course of the season. We certainly saw them go from one place to another and there’s definitely reason to be optimistic.
Dak can grow in “every aspect” of his game
Obviously the Cowboys are going to want Dak Prescott to continue to grow as he heads into his fourth season, and Jason Garrett kept things general when asked about where they want that specifically.
Garrett also praised the environment that Dak Prescott has been in which includes Scott Linehan and Kellen Moore. He explained that the coaches around Dak have a good sense of who he is and what his strengths are.
There’s a misconception about the Los Angeles Rams
Jason Garrett said that many people believe the Rams are a passing team but noted that they’re actually a running team (the results clearly show that). He was a little miffed when asked about offensive schemes and even chirped back at a question asking for a scheme to be explained to him.
It’s worth saying that the Cowboys responded well to change
Obviously the Cowboys made some serious changes in the middle of the season with firing Paul Alexander and trading for Amari Cooper. From that moment on they only lost three games, including the playoffs, which is quite the testament considering it was late October.
Garrett discussed how the Cowboys felt Amari Cooper was worth the price they paid and that he made an instant impact. Change is difficult to overcome but the Cowboys found a way and that’s definitely impressive.
Travis Frederick was outstanding this season
When the Cowboys got the abrupt news of Travis Frederick’s diagnosis of Guillain-Barre syndrome it was devastating. To have such a great player and person taken away is never a good thing and it was so near the start of the season.
Garrett praised Travis for how he handled the adversity across the season. He noted that Frederick was at every meeting and every practice and that his attitude throughout it all had a tremendous impact on the team as a whole.
He also said that he expects Travis to be a full go at the start of offseason programs!
Rod Marinelli is “off the charts” as a person and a coach
After the Cowboys lost in Los Angeles we saw Rod Marinelli announce that he plans to return to the team as defensive coordinator in 2019. Garrett praised Marinelli as a person and a coach, but he made sure not to discuss the part about him returning next season.
DeMarcus Lawrence is fantastic and handled the franchise tag well
Lawrence really elevated the Cowboys defense (including the Hot Boyz) this season and earned praise from his head coach for that. Jason Garrett noted how Tank has embraced the role of being a leader on the team.
Garrett wouldn’t fully answer the contractual status of Lawrence but did note that he’s as big of a priority as there is.
The biggest thing with Sean Lee is his health, Garrett wants him back
Many have assumed that linebacker Sean Lee won’t be part of the Cowboys next season, but while praising who Lee is Jason Garrett noted that the Cowboys want him back.
The best teams have tendencies
It was reported on Sunday afternoon that the Los Angeles Rams diagnosed some of the tells and tips from the Cowboys defensive linemen. Jason Garrett simply said that the best teams have tendencies and that the Rams deserved to win the game.
Jason Garrett thinks Jason Garrett needs to do “a million things” better
Asked about a self-diagnosis Jason Garrett joked that there were “a million things” there and that perhaps one day we’d all have a lemonade to discuss it. He was honest in saying that the Cowboys didn’t start well and that he will continue to take a look in the mirror to always better himself and the Dallas Cowboys.
Pro Bowl wouldn’t impact any coaching decisions
Jason Garrett specified that the Pro Bowl won’t impact anything.
David Irving wasn’t a big part of the Cowboys in 2018
Asked about David Irving, Jason Garrett simply noted that the Cowboys didn’t get much from him in 2018. He added that he has yet to meet with him.
Building and starting over is work
Every team has to start over when it’s all said and done. Jason Garrett simply noted that you have to do it. It must be done. He added that when you reflect back and learn that if you do things a certain way that you get one result or another.
It’s important to know the NFL Draft in its entirety
Asked if not having a first-round selection at all impacts the Cowboys preparation for the NFL Draft, Jason Garrett didn’t bite. It seems like the Cowboys will prepare as they always have.
A big difference between Cowboys and remaining playoff teams is home field advantage
All four teams playing in the conference championships had home field advantage in the Divisional Round. Garrett stressed this as one of the differences between his team and theirs as playing at home can be so pivotal.
Jason Garrett is excited for the future
There is a lot to build on with the Cowboys and this is a message that Jason Garrett echoed. He noted that they believe they can do a lot of things even with how young they are, he’s proud of the “right kind of guys” that they are, and that that’s exciting entering a new season.
The feeling from losing sticks with you and fuels you
The Cowboys lost in the Divisional Round for the third time in five seasons and Jason Garrett was quick to note how bad of a feeling that is. He discussed how you have to use that feeling to motivate you forward.
Jason Garrett loves Ezekiel Elliott
He wouldn’t get into any contractual discussions, Zeke reportedly wants a new deal, but Jason Garrett did discuss how fond he is of Ezekiel Elliott. He noted that Zeke has made them a better football team and that everyone in the building feels that same way.