Coach Jason Garrett gave another press conference before the Cowboys take the field for practice. The team is almost ready to break camp in Oxnard and head to Hawaii for a preseason game before settling in back at The Star.
A recap of Jason Garrett’s answers (all answers are paraphrased and not actual quotes).
Thoughts on camp through Oxnard so far
Jason Garrett stated that he believes the Cowboys have had a great training camp while in Oxnard. He noted that players have been extremely committed and that while they’ve said that, what’s most important is that they’ve shown it. He was honest in that the team hasn’t had perfect days but was proud of the effort that’s been shown by all from veterans to rookies.
Injuries as of now aren’t compromising the team’s ability for Week 1
There are a handful of Cowboys who are dealing with injuries these days, but Jason Garrett remains confident. He said he truly believes that the Cowboys aren’t in a place as of now where the injuries they’re dealing with will be major factors in Week 1. He noted that their absence is an opportunity for young guys to take reps and see how they grow and develop.
How do you evaluate players with other teams not playing their best players?
The preseason can be interesting because not every team is putting forth the same effort, so to speak. Asked how to evaluate your own team in situations like that Jason Garrett acknowledged that this is an age old question. He mentioned that people tend to note how players are going up against backups in their moments that they shine, but stressed that it all counts. He also stressed that what’s important to see is that everyone is getting better. He was honest though in saying that you can never be sure until the games truly matter, it’s a tricky balance.
Feeling of desperation when playing?
Garrett was asked if he ever felt a sense of desperation while a player in the NFL and he noted that his career wasn’t one that ever saw him be well-established. He did say that he didn’t like the word desperation used but knew that it was an extremely important opportunity.
Alfred Morris, look different?
Asked if Alfred Morris looks different than the last time he was with the Cowboys, Jason Garrett simply responded that the running back looks great. He, like other Cowboys front office figures, noted that Morris played well for the Cowboys a few years ago. He praised Morris, he even said he has some quickness and some juice, and expressed gratitude to have him back.
Tony Romo worked, like a lot of quarterbacks, on his mechanics while with the Cowboys. Asked if this is something that Dak Prescott has been working on Jason Garrett was specific to note that this is in fact something that so many who play the position work on, and Dak does too. He noted that Dak is a very young player and that he will continue to get better as well.
Areas of improvement for Dak
Pressed for specific improvement on Dak, Jason Garrett noted that his footwork has improved, his motion is cleaner, his accuracy has grown, and generally praised Dak’s understanding of the game at this point. He was quick to point out that a lot of this comes with the experience that Dak now has with three years in the NFL under his belt, and once again he praised Dak’s leadership and competitive qualities.
Tony Pollard absorbing information quickly
Jerry Jones praised Tony Pollard’s ability to digest information as a rookie and Jason Garrett noted that the Cowboys have been big fans of him for a long time from every perspective. He did say that “you never know” about players until you have them in the building and that they are very pleased so far. He noted that in college Pollard did many things, run the ball, catch the ball, provide pass protection, so they thought he could handle it.
Best roster makeup is one where special teams players are also position players
There have been a lot of rules changes for special teams in the NFL over the last few years. Jason Garrett was asked if any of these changes have affected the way the Cowboys shape their roster and he did say that they like having special teams players who are also position players. Things like this make you consider how Jameill Showers has stuck on for so long and how Taryn Christion is being used these days.
What has Jaylon Smith has provided to the defense
Jaylon Smith is a really good football player. Jason Garrett literally said that. He praised what Smith is able to do on the field and acknowledged that he does everything that you want a linebacker to do. He ‘s productive, he makes big hits, can make plays in the passing game. He noted how Smith leaped off the tape of his college games and the Cowboys decided they needed to investigate his situation a little more. He also discussed how great of a story Smith is given how far he has come and noted that he tends to really appreciate the opportunity to play football for the Dallas Cowboys.