Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett
September 2, 2021
Q: How do you feel about where the offensive line is at? I know maybe they struggled a little bit to start out that game the other day, but how do you feel about how they’ve developed and where they’re at right now?
A: Really, it’s the same answer that we’ve had all training camp long. I think we’re getting better and better. I think if you look at that game the other night there’s a lot of good examples of guys playing well individually, guys playing well together. There are certainly some examples of stuff where it wasn’t good enough, so we’re just in that process of trying to build on the good stuff and learn from the stuff that wasn’t quite as good. Some of it is recognition, some of it is technique, some of it is just experience, but they’re working hard every day and I think they’re getting better.
Q: You guys added a couple of new guys via trade. How quickly can they get acclimated when the season is around the corner and you only have a practice today and then they’re off? Are you worried at all about having them ready for Week 1?
A: It’s just part of the deal. Each of these guys we think are smart guys, they’ve played football, they have experience. So, it’s their job, it’s our job to make sure that we catch them up as quickly as we can. You said it, we have today’s practice and then we’re off. We’ll have a bonus practice on Monday, but they’ve just got to spend some extra time, we’ve got to spend some extra time getting them up to speed.
Q: Everybody always talks about how hard (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) works at his craft. What tangible things have you seen this summer that show that the hard work is starting to pay off and that he’ll be able to make those jumps that everyone wants him to?
A: I think he's done a lot of good things. Obviously, he hadn't played in the preseason until the game the other night and if you look at that tape, there's a lot of positives on that tape. There were a couple of really bad decisions, a couple of things that he's going to continue to learn from, but there are a lot of positives in how he's playing. I think he's in general getting the ball out of his hand quicker, he's more decisive, he's making a lot of good throws. We’ve just got to make sure we clean up some of the plays that we want to have back. He knows that and we all know that, and he'll continue to grow from the experiences the more he plays.
Q: Is that how he’s going to get to that next level, not necessarily by stretching his top part, but by cleaning up the bottom part?
A: It's really every quarterback I've ever been around. One of our jobs as an organization, as a coaching staff is to try to create a great environment for him – the players that we put around him, what we're calling, what we're running, give him an opportunity to take advantage of some of his strengths and also kind of put him in situations where he can be a really good decision maker. That's our job and we’ve got to continue to do that. That's why we add personnel. That's why we're trying to put some weapons around him. The better Daniel plays, the better the runner is going to play, the better the receiver is going to play, the better the line plays, the better they're all going to play, the better the defense plays –it all works hand in hand. So, we're trying to create a great environment for him and for all our players, and when we do that and when we continue to learn from our experiences, we'll get better and better.
Q: Big picture with him, what is it about him that you’re so sold that he's going to be a high-end quarterback?
A: I think there are just so many positives about him. Start with who he is as a person, his approach, his competitive spirit, his smarts, his toughness, all of that. And then he has athletic ability. He's big, he can throw the ball, he can move around and make plays with his feet. I think we've all seen that. The biggest thing for him is just to play more football and, again, it's every quarterback I've ever been around. They need more experience. We need to create a really good environment and they need to grow from the experience that they do have. We believe Daniel can do that.
Q: There was a stat that the average depth of target against the Patriots when Daniel was in there was 5.9 yards. Is that you just kind of keeping things vanilla for a preseason game or is it that Daniel didn't have enough time from the offensive line to throw the ball any deeper than that?
A: I think it's a combination of things. I think when you're talking about offensive football, you want to be able to run the ball and you want to be able to throw the ball. It starts there, you want to be balanced. Then, you want to be able to run it and throw it different ways. You want to be able to throw it quickly in the intermediate range and then throw the ball down the field. We’re talking about the offensive line and bringing guys in, we have to get better. We have to be able to give our quarterback more time to throw the ball down the field, but we also need to be efficient. We need to be able to mix it up, throw the ball quickly, get it out, make positive plays. I think we had two 11-play drives in the game, a nine-play drive. Those are positive things, but you and I both know we need to make some explosive plays. That's what leads to scoring. So, we have to find what that balance is.
Q: With (Tight End) Kyle Rudolph, obviously, we know (Tight End) Evan (Engram) is banged up right now. How close is Kyle Rudolph do you feel without having much training camp to being ready to be effective in your offense?
A: Well, Kyle's played a lot of football in this league. The biggest issue with us is he's just been hurt, so he hasn't had a chance to practice. He’s practiced here the last couple of days, he's looked good. He's obviously very comfortable. He picks things up quickly. He's run a lot of the plays that we're running. I think he's a quick study in that regard, so more than anything else it’s just getting out there, getting his football feet underneath him. He's done a really good job the last couple of days.
Q: Have you seen enough out of (Wide Receiver) Kenny Golladay to know what you have in him, what you can do with him, or is that going to be a little bit of a work in progress?
A: We saw a lot of him in Detroit. That's one of the reasons we liked him and wanted to bring him here, so that's where it starts. But then certainly you want your guys to practice every play every single day. That's how they get better, that's how they get comfortable with each other. But that's not realistic, so whatever the situation is we have to make it work. Obviously, we'd love to have Kenny out there every practice, he and Daniel working on their timing, but that hasn't been the case, so we deal with what the situation is. He’s stayed completely engaged. He understands what we're doing. We'll get a chance to have him practice more and more here the next week or so and we'll find out more, but I think we have a real good feel for what his strengths are and the positions we want to put him in. It’s just time on task more than anything right now.
Q: How much of a feel do you have for what the offense is going to look like given that you haven't seen him and you haven't seen (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney), (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) working with Daniel? How much do you feel that?
A: Again, I think you have a feel going in, now you just want to see it on the practice field, you want to see it next week, so today's an important practice for us. The bonus practice on Monday is important. Again, we have a notion about what these guys are, we have a vision for what they are and how they fit in, but we need some time on task.
Q: Do you learn over time, like you see a guy in practice and think, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve got a play for him. I didn't realize he could do this,’ or do you know it all already?
A: You don't know it already. I mean, you're always learning and growing and you're always learning more and more about your players. I think one of the things that we've always talked about is you never want to put a ceiling on a player. You never want to say, ‘He's only this,’ ‘This guy can only do that,’ ‘He only can play here.’ You always want to stretch their limits. You want to see them as they can be, if you will, so you want to put them in those situations and see if they can handle it. You're always trying to look for those things for players at all positions and then you make those evaluations about what's best for the team and you go forward.
Q: (Center) Nick Gates has been entrenched at center, but if it was your best five to play him elsewhere would it be too disruptive to have Daniel work with a new center suddenly right up against the regular season?
A: I don’t want to deal in any hypotheticals. We're always trying to get our team better, we're trying to help the players who are here get better and we're going to evaluate those players against each other, but also against the league. That's when you make the decisions that we've made. There are some guys out there that we liked, we wanted to bring in. We're going to give them a chance to get themselves acclimated and then we'll decide who we think our best five are, what’re the best combinations and then we'll go.
Q: You said there was examples of Daniel being decisive and making quick decisions. Is that a big point of emphasis for him this offseason?
A: I think it's a big point of emphasis for every quarterback. You have to understand what you're trying to do on offense, what the defense is trying to do, and you want to be a great decision maker. A big part of being a great decision maker is being decisive. I see it, I like it. This is what they're playing, this is what we're doing, here's where I want to go with the ball and that helps everybody get better. So, you're always working with your quarterbacks. Now until the end of time, you'll be talking about that – being a great decision maker and being decisive and getting the ball out of your hand.
Q: Can you fully utilize your whole playbook if the offensive line struggles the way it did against New England, or do you have to call plays to protect everyone?
A: We have a tremendous amount of confidence in our guys up front. We have a young group, they're getting better, they're working hard, they're working the right way. We’ll always evaluate what we think is best for that position group, for the tight ends, the receivers, the quarterbacks, and the runners, and try to put them in the best situation as we try to put a game plan together and call a game on Sunday.
Q: Are you going into next week assuming you'll have Saquon for Week 1 and then waiting to hear back that maybe you’re not?
A: Saquon’s done a great job, so we take it day by day. He did a really nice job at practice yesterday. We anticipate him practicing today, so that's really the approach we take with all our guys. He's done a hell of a job working hard to get back though.