Time to put the machine back in motion as the Cowboys return to practice for their upcoming playoff game with the Rams. But first, let’s hear from head coach Jason Garrett. (All Garrett answers are paraphrased and not actual quotes).
What is the challenge Todd Gurley presents?
He’s a great player - quick, fast, explosive, he has instincts, vision, speed, power, can cut back, can catch the ball. In some ways, I just described Zeke.
Antwaun Woods really impressed the Cowboys early on
One of the more underrated players on the Cowboys this season has unquestionably been defensive tackle Antwaun Woods. Jason Garrett discussed how they found Woods and saw him work all throughout training camp and that he’s someone who really impressed them. He noted Woods works hard everyday and showed up, play after play in training camp, then preseason. Garrett went back to the word meritocracy and noted his skill-set fits the scheme.
Sean McVay has Jason Garrett’s respect
Obviously Sean McVay is regarded quite highly in NFL circles (did you know he can recite every player on every team?!) and Jason Garrett didn’t fall out of line there. He praised McVay and discussed how the Cowboys coached against him when he was in Washington. He said McVay uses all his weapons and has a balanced attack.
Jason Garrett also respects Wade Phillips
Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was the last person to hold the Cowboys head coaching gig until it became Jason Garrett’s. There’s obviously a unique relationship there and Garrett noted that his time with Wade was very valuable and that he has the utmost respect for him. He said he would stay quiet and observe Phillips in specific football situations but also how he interacted with players and other people in the organization. Noted he learned a lot.
Last year’s game against the Rams was a hard fought battle
Early in the 2017 season the Cowboys hosted Los Angeles and it was a game that went down to the wire to a degree. Asked what they learned from it Jason Garrett simply said that it was a great game but that things are very different. He doesn’t get into comparing teams.
Jared Goff is a really good football player
The Rams have a lot of weapons on offense and one of them is their signal-caller, Jared Goff. There were many Cowboys supporters who wanted the team to find a way to land Goff back leading up to the 2016 Draft. Jason Garrett discussed how they really liked him when he was coming out of school but that things obviously shook out the way that they did. He noted that Goff in college was particularly adept at passing under duress and that is a very important trait for an NFL quarterback. They really loved his workout and thought he would be a great player.
Los Angeles is “a really good team”
Asked what the challenges in their passing game beyond Goff are, Garrett basically described every thing they’re able to do on offense. He noted they are a very balanced team and run the ball extremely well which helps set up their passing game including play-action.
The Cowboys are expecting Todd Gurley to play well
One of the biggest challenges on Saturday night will be stopping Rams running back Todd Gurley. Jason Garrett noted that he expects to see the best version of Todd Gurley that there is and wasn’t concerned about possible rust.
Cowboys are feeling good about special teams
Jason Garrett specifically said that confidence was high regarding special teams. He really only just paid compliments to Chris Jones, Brett Maher, and L.P. Ladouceur but they’re obviously feeling fine.
Dak Prescott is a natural leader
The first action in a Cowboys uniform for Dak came in the NFL’s return to Los Angeles during the preseason two years ago. Asked if that day gave him any indication as to who Dak is Garrett simply discussed that he (Dak) is someone who handles all situations very well.
Xavier Su’a-Filo won’t practice on Tuesday, Cole Beasley probably won’t, Blake Jarwin probably won’t, Tavon Austin will in a limited fashion, Zack Martin and Tyron Smith are doing well and expected to practice