Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett
August 17, 2021
Q: How do you feel about what you saw from the offense on Saturday?
A: The preseason, it's a great night regardless. You get a chance to see a lot of young players play and our starting group played 19 plays. I think it was a good learning experience for them. Some young guys who haven't played a lot of football had to battle through some things and certainly when the real young guys went in for most of the game, it was great to see them. It's an opportunity for them to take it from here, this practice field, and go out and play in a game and see how they respond to that. See how they respond to what's good and they can keep playing and see how they respond to the adversity and see if they can keep playing. A great learning experience for them and a great learning experience for us.
Q: Where do you think your offensive line is in the progression at this point?
A: I think you said it, it's a progression really with everybody on our team right now. You go through training camp and you practice against each other and then you go through the process of planning these preseason games. Typically, it's a ramp up as you go in preseason, so they’ll play more as we get going and it was just good to see them out there. Obviously, we're a younger group. Guys need to play, guys need to play individually. They need to play together and that's the process we're in right now.
Q: One of those young guys was (Tackle) Matt Peart who gave up a sack on the first drive. How do you think he responded to that?
A: Yeah, it wasn't a good play, but it was a good response. I think after that he settled in a little bit more, did a good job both in the run game and as a protector. It wasn't perfect by any means, but he was one of those guys we’re talking about. Matt's a young player who’s got a lot of tools. He just needs to play in games. He needs to play against NFL players in a game-type situation. To see him respond the way that he did, that was a positive thing for him.
Q: What have you learned about some of your younger receivers that have been out there since (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) and (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) and (Wide Receiver) John Ross (III) have missed the last week?
A: Really the same answer, just so good to see those guys out there. Any time there's an injury or a guy’s not in the lineup, it's an opportunity for somebody else, particularly this time of year. We have 90 or so guys on our team, now we'll go to 53 and it's a great opportunity for us to evaluate them and really what you're looking for as much as anything else, are they taking advantage of opportunities? Are they getting better? Are they prepared for the opportunity and then do they learn from it? And I think across the board without singling anybody out, I think they're doing that.
Q: This is a tough league for rookies and Toney is missing a lot of time. Are you starting to get a little concerned that he's fallen too far behind?
A: It just is what it is. He wants to be out there. We want him to be out there. He's just had a couple of different situations that he's dealing with, so what you have to do is take the approach of, OK, what opportunities do I have? Meeting room, walk through, those kinds of things. You have to take advantage of those. We want him to be out there at practice every day, getting reps. We want to play in the preseason games. That's just not how it is right now, so you take advantage of the chances you do have to get better.
Q: We see the results, obviously if it’s completion, if it's an interception, if it’s an incompletion. Are you seeing (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) make better decisions during practice?
A: Yeah, absolutely. Daniel’s growing every day. Daniel has tools. Daniel approaches it the right way. I think the biggest thing for him is to play with his teammates, play with the guys up front, get that communication right. Play with the receivers, be out there and all the different situations that you come across and learn and grow from them. That's a big part of playing quarterback in this league is just developing chemistry with the guys around you. We're in the process of doing that. You see him grow, you see the group grow.
Q: Without knowing when (Running Back) Saquon’s (Barkley) going to come back, does that affect how you prepare offensively and what you want to implement not knowing when you’re going to have him?
A: Not necessarily, we feel good about the guys behind them. (Running Back) Devontae Booker's a good football player and has played a lot of snaps in this league. Obviously, Saquon’s one of our best players, so we want to get him back quickly. He's made great progress. He's worked really, really hard to come back from that injury and you see the strides he's making every day. But we're going to be smart with him. We'll be deliberate with him, like we would with any player, not put them out there before he's ready to go. In the meantime, it's an opportunity for the other guys and we feel good about Book. (Running Back) Corey (Clement) has gotten some opportunities for us. He's shown that he can play in this league. Giving those guys some opportunities to grow in the system and then have confidence in them once we get going. Feel good about their progress.
Q: From your experience, what is most valuable about joint practices?
A: Oh, I think you change the environment up. You go against other people, you hit other people, you see different systems. It's a naturally more competitive environment for everybody. It's naturally a little bit more uncomfortable. You don't know how the other guys are, what the systems are, what the schemes are, so everybody has to respond to that and that's a great opportunity to grow. I think it will be a good week for us in Cleveland and next week up in New England, it’ll be fun for us. I think we'll grow as a team as a result.
Q: One of the biggest reactions on Saturday night was (Running Back) Sandro’s (Platzgummer) run. Have you ever seen that for a guy who’s on the bottom of the roster?
A: It was spectacular. I think if you look at the side copy of the film and you see the eruption on our sidelines, it was everybody. It was universal. It was a really good run. There was a mike linebacker who had a chance to get him in the end zone and he makes that guy miss. He makes the safety miss. He gets out in the open field. It could have been an 18-yard run, he sized the guy up, cuts laterally and makes it a 48-yard run. I think everybody saw that. Sandro is a guy who works really hard. He's very well-respected among his teammates and his coaches. For a guy like that to get an opportunity and then take advantage of it like that, it was really fun to see, and I think our players responded accordingly.
Q: Are you renaming the play?
A: No, we're not. Not, not quite yet.
Q: Kyle Rudolph has been fighting to get back on the field. How involved has he been behind the scenes with you guys?
A: Kyle has been great to have around. He's really a smart player, obviously a very accomplished player. He's a veteran presence. He picks things up quickly, even though he hasn't gotten reps, he understands what we're trying to do. He can help the younger players and he's working really hard to get back. A really good example to the rest of his teammates and we’re excited to get them out there.
Q: Speaking of the tight ends, you lost (Tight End) Levine (Toilolo) to a season-ending injury, right now it kind of looks like the depth is thin there. Is anyone really stepping up right now and how do you feel how that’s going?
A: We certainly feel bad about Levine because he's worked really hard and he's a good player for us and we're excited about him and the role that he was going to be in. Again, injuries like that provide opportunities. He’s gonna work his way back and he has a lot of football ahead of him, but the younger guys who are behind him have a chance to step up. We're excited to see those guys, (Tight End) Cole (Hikutini) has done a good job for us. He got some snaps the other night. (Tight End) Nakia (Griffin-Stewart) has done a good job, excited to see (Tight End Jake) Hausmann and some of those other guys. Again, it's reps in practice, hopefully reps in the preseason game and those guys can grow. Certainly, no decisions have been made. We just want to see those guys play.
Q: What about (Tight End) Rysen John as a guy who’s in year two in his conversion to a receiver?
A: Rysen did a nice job in the game the other night. He's learning to play the tight end position and all the things that are involved with it. It's a complicated position. You gotta be able to run block and pass protect and run routes at all different levels. We ask our tight ends to do a lot and he's most natural doing the stuff that relate to receiving and we saw that the other night. He just has to grow in the other areas.
Q: You’re not going to have all of your guys, receivers and all that when you’re in Cleveland the next few days, but what are you really looking for? What strides are you hoping to make?
A: As much as anything else, it's about just getting out there and competing. Again, Cleveland's a good team. It'll be a good challenge for us with the guys they have on their defense and their defensive scheme, so we’ll go run our offense against them. The guys who were available, let's take advantage of that opportunity. The guys who aren't available, stay close to it and try to learn what you can from the situation that you're in. So continue to try to grow, continue to try to stack good days on top of each other.
Q: Just the way Daniel has performed in practice, does it give you a little bit more comfort in being able to open up your playbook more to what you want to do?
A: Again, you certainly want to make an environment comfortable for the quarterback, but ultimately what we run is going to be what's best for the whole group. At different times last year we had to evolve based on the people we had to try to help our team win and we'll do the same thing this year. If we have to do more or less or a little more of this and a little more of that, that's what we'll try to do. We're always evaluating that. You're trying to play to your player's strengths and try to minimize any weaknesses that they have as much as you can and that's across the board.
Q: You talked a little bit about Cole Hikutini, what is it exactly that he brings?
A: We think he's a good player. If you watch him play in college and then in the NFL, when he's gotten opportunities, as a runner, as a pass receiver, as a protector during his career he’s done a good job. He's learning our offense and learning our system and has done a good job. He's gotten a lot of work and he's just one of those guys you want to see play. We’re comfortable putting him any situation right now.