Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett
December 31, 2020
Q: I was curious do you have any idea about the circumstances behind what caused you to test positive for the virus? What was your experience like with it?
A: I have no idea, to be honest with you. Like most of us, we’re pretty much reclusive all during the season, so I haven’t really seen anybody. I don’t know how it happened. The people that are close to me have not tested positive. For whatever reason, it popped positive so I had to deal with that the last week and a half or so. But I’m feeling fine, ready to go. I thought our guys did a good job in my absence, but it’s fun to be back.
Q: What was kind of the challenge of putting a game plan together remotely and not being around the guys and not being at practice?
A: Well, this has been an unconventional year for everybody, in and out of football. Certainly during the football season, we’ve had to do things differently this year than we have in past years. We’ve all learned how to live and communicate through Zoom, so I had to do that. I was in the hotel room and was involved in the staff meetings and the meetings with the players and the game plan meetings all over Zoom. I was not able to go to practice and be a part of it that way. You certainly feel detached, but it’s just the world we’re living in right now.
Q: It’s interesting, this has been such a bizarre year. Do you find the coincidence even more bizarre that playoffs are at stake and here you are facing Dallas of all teams?
A: We play them twice a year, and obviously, they’re a division opponent. Certainly, it’s interesting. The circumstances are what they are, but we’re just excited to have this opportunity to be playing for potentially the division on Sunday. It’s been a funny year in the NFL, in the NFC East, all of that. You just keep trying to bang away and take advantage of your opportunities, and we certainly have a good one on Sunday.
Q: Daniel Jones told us yesterday that he’s going to have to play from the pocket, that he really is not physically able to run. Now either he’s doing a great con job to try to convince the Cowboys of that, or he’s going to have to play from the pocket on Sunday. In that case, do you take all of the RPO stuff and everything you have for him, and kind of put it over here and say, ‘ok, I have to deal with Daniel Jones, the pocket quarterback, this week’?
A: Daniel has done such a great job working back from this injury. He’s an incredibly mentally tough guy, incredibly physically tough guy. I think we’ve seen that throughout this season. He’s doing everything he can to play his best and have all aspects of his game available. He’s working a tremendous amount of time, energy and effort with our training staff to be healthy and be ready to go, and he’s made great strides here the last few weeks. There’s no question he’s not 100 percent in terms of his mobility. We recognize that, he recognizes that. But you certainly want him to be functional. He’s a very good pocket quarterback, and that’s probably where we’ll spend most of the day.
Q: We don’t know when the next time we’ll talk to you will be, so I have to ask. There’s been a lot of speculation about your future. Do you expect to be back here next season?
A: I’m just excited about the opportunity we have this week. Really, I’ve just tried to stay in the moment in any position I’ve had as a player or coach in the NFL. That’s typically when you play your best and coach your best. That’s really what I’m focused on.
Q: We don’t know how this is going to play out, so we don’t really know if we’re going to talk to you again this year. I’m curious what have you thought about the offense and the strides that it has made? What do you say to the idea that you’re 31st in the league in points?
A: We want to play better offensively, there’s no question about that. I do think we made strides in different areas over the course of the season. I think the biggest area that we tried to emphasize with your players is playing winning football. You can’t do the things that cause losing. A lot of that has to do with the ball and taking care of the football, and not doing the things that put your team in a bad situation, a situation that you can’t overcome and you lose the game. Ultimately, your job on offense, defense and the kicking game is to try to contribute to winning. One of the ways that we believe as a coaching staff to do that is prevent yourself from losing first. That’s where it starts, taking care of the football. Having said that, I think we’ve made strides in that area as the season has gone on, but we have to play better. We have to run it better, we have to throw it better, we have to score more points, and we have to contribute to winning in other ways too by being more productive. Guys have worked very hard to do that. At different times, we’ve played better than others. The last few weeks, we haven’t played as well as we need to play. We have to do a better job this week against Dallas.
Q: The idea that you guys haven’t scored enough points per game, do you feel like the offense has done it’s job overall this season when you just look back at how these first 15 games have gone?
A: No, we have to play much better offensively. There’s no question about that. But the biggest thing you try to do is you focus on the individual improvement of the players, the overall unit. Again, I think we made strides from the start. We’ve had a lot of different combinations of players playing. We’ve had young guys playing. I think if you look at them individually, they’ve grown over the course of the season. At different times, we’ve done some good things that really helped our team win. At other times, it hasn’t been good enough. But you keep learning from your experiences. You try to build on the good stuff, you learn from the stuff that wasn’t quite good enough. You try to grow as coaches and as players and as a unit. That’s what we’re trying to do. The effort and the attitude and the energy and the juice by everybody has been really outstanding. I think that’s helped us grow. But we certainly have a long way to go. But our focus right now is doing everything we can to help our team win on Sunday against Dallas.
Q: Have you been contacted for any head coaching interviews? And while you were quarantined, what was your experience with the virus symptom wise? I think it’s noteworthy just hearing what everyone’s experience was with it uniquely physically.
A: In regards to head coaching opportunities, again, we’re focused on what we need to do Thursday to have a great practice to get ourselves ready for Sunday. That’s really been where my attention is. Again, excited for this opportunity against Dallas on Sunday. We want to put our best foot forward. In regards to the virus, I don’t know that I had many symptoms, to be honest with you. When you’re sitting in a hotel room for 10 days by yourself, I think you get a little sluggish. But beyond that, I really didn’t have any symptoms. It’s just one of those things that we all have to kind of deal with. I had to deal with it individually, but thankfully, there weren’t a lot of physical symptoms that really dragged me down.
Q: In terms of Daniel Jones, what do you make of his season? You guys lost Saquon (Barkley), who’s your most explosive player. If I look across the way, I see Zeke (Elliott) and CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. I see a lot of explosive players. How much of Daniel’s struggles this season are there’s a little bit of a lack of explosion in this offense?
A: Again, the biggest thing we try to do is focus on ourselves and the opportunities we have. As a coaching staff, you’re trying to help your players play as well as they can, individually and collectively. That’s where our attention is. We’re not comparing our group to anybody else’s group. It’s our group and what we think we can be each day and each week. Like I said, at different times this year, I think we’ve done a good job offensively. Other times, it hasn’t been good enough. But our intention is to come to work and do everything we can to play our best. As a coaching staff, to try to put our players in position to play their best. DJ has done some really good things, the skill guys around him have done some really good things at different times. Again, we’re just trying to help them play their best individually and us collectively to help our team win games.
Q: Have you seen enough from him where you know he’s a long-time NFL starter? Having worked with him, having played against him last year, have you seen enough from Daniel to know he’s a long-time NFL starter?
A: We think Daniel has a chance to be a really good player. There’s no question about that. He has all the attributes that you want in a quarterback. He’ll grow from his experiences that he’s had. There are a lot of positive things he can build on over the last couple of years. There are certainly some things that he has to improve upon. But he’s absolutely the right kind of guy. He’ll focus his energy and attention on those things. Hopefully we’ll continue to grow around him and continue to create a better environment for him to play his best football.