Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett
Q: As play caller, when your offensive line is playing well, how much confidence does that give you and how much does that open up what you can do?
A: Well, it really makes a difference, that's where it starts. The game is won and lost on the line of scrimmage every week in the NFL. I thought our guys did a good job in that environment the other day against New Orleans, against a good front in a hard place to play. Crowd noise is typically a factor there and I think they handled all of that really well. I thought the protection throughout the game was really good.
Q: The result was significantly different in that game. You threw the ball down the field a lot more than you did in the previous games. How much of that was you guys making changes and schematically doing stuff different? Or was it something else?
A: Yeah, I don't think anything we ran in the game was anything different, to be honest with you. Sometimes you call those plays and the ball has to go somewhere else for a variety of reasons. We had some opportunities to start with, the protection to hold the ball a little bit, and drive the ball down the field a little bit more than in the past. Again, a tribute to those guys going against a good front in a tough environment. I thought (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) did a good job seeing things, I thought the guys did a good job on the backend just winning on routes and were able to make some plays down the field.
Q: So much of the offensive line playing well is that chemistry and consistency. Your offensive line hasn't had that because of the injuries. How have they managed to put it together and get better?
A: Yeah, again, a real tribute to those guys individually. How hard they work every day, they're real pros up front. We've had some guys that have been with us for little bit, but then we've had some guys who are new. There have been some moving parts up there, but their approach is outstanding. They come to work, their preparation mentally and physically is really, really good. They work hard to develop that chemistry in a short period of time. They did a nice job in the game.
Q: This is your first year of coaching with (Offensive Line Coach) Rob Sale. What does he do that you like as an offensive line coach?
A: Rob is a good coach. He really is. He's done a good job with our guys. We put the system in place last year and I think the guys that have been around are understanding more and more of what we want to do, but he's certainly added a lot. He's helped those guys individually and collectively across the board.
Q: Is it more encouraging for you to see (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) cutting and running in the open field like he did on that touchdown? Or powering through like he did for that touchdown?
A: Well, he's a great player, like we've talked. I have so much admiration for him coming back from the injury that he had. He worked really, really hard to get himself back and I think we all see that he continues to improve day by day and week by week. We saw some of the plays that he's made throughout his career in the early part of the season, but that game the other day, you saw exactly what you said. You saw him make some great space plays, but also some tough runs inside.
Q: How much will the speed of (Wide Receiver) John Ross or (Wide Receiver) Kadarius Toney help Saquon? Maybe defenses can't stack the boxes as much because they have to worry about going deep.
A: Yeah, the essence of offensive football is attacking different ways. We've talked about this a lot, it starts with running pass, and if you can throw it to different guys and hand it to different guys and just simply attack them – whether it's tempo or personnel or formation use or movements. Whatever those things are. So, when you add those guys – Kadarius and John and they've proved they can be effective and make big plays down the field, that certainly gets the defense's attention. That opens up opportunities for other people.
Q: For the most part, Daniel has played pretty well this year. Where in particular have you seen the most progress from him since last year?
A: Yeah, I just think he's made progress over the last year and a half that we've been with him. It starts with playing winning football. You have to take care of the ball and I think he's done that. Starting from about midseason last year, he's done a great job taking care of the ball. He has made really good decisions, he's played decisively. I think he's getting a better understanding for what we're asking him to do, what defenses are trying to do to us and he's seeing the field and he's making a lot of good decisions. When things aren't there, he's made good decisions to get rid of the ball. Two or three times in the game the other day, maybe a rusher came free, or something didn't come up exactly like we wanted to, he used his feet, he threw the ball away, we went to the next down. So, I think that's a big sign of maturity and then he's been able to make more and more plays. As the environment gets better around him as we protect better and we get some guys outside who can make some plays for him, he's going to continue to play better. That's been my experience with quarterback play. You make the environment better, all of a sudden, the guy starts to play better and better. He's gaining more experience, he learns from his experience, his approach is outstanding, he's always so prepared – mentally, physically and emotionally to play. He did a really good job in the game last week, but he understands you put that one behind you, you learn from it, you build on the good, you clean up the bad and you get ready for the next one. We'll have a hell of a challenge this week in Dallas.
Q: How tough is it to build the quarterback when the environment around him isn't perfect or isn't great and still to make that progress?
A: Yeah, you just keep banging away. There's never a perfect environment. I think he's handled a really positive environment well. I think he's handled maybe an adverse environment well. That's a big part that goes to who he is and how he was raised and just simply what he's all about. He's a really mentally tough guy. He'll continue to grow as a player.
Q: When you've coached quarterbacks in the past and you've had success within the quarterback room, is there a moment when you've been with a quarterback where you can see that light go on? Have you had that moment yet with Daniel?
A: Yeah, the best ones I've been around, the best quarterbacks, best players, best people, it's always an ongoing process. There's never this feeling like I got it. Everyday you're trying to get better, you're striving to get better, and the best ones learn from their experiences. You have success, why did I have success? You try to build on that. This didn't go well, let's address it, let's figure it out, you learn from that and you move forward. When you play that position, you have the ball in your hands on every play and there are a ton of decision you have to make, there are a lot of variables. You never just simply have it down pat, you're always learning. I think the NFL is a great example of guys, obviously (Buccaneers Quarterback Tom) Brady, arguably the best player that ever walked, he's in his 40's playing. If you think about guys like (Former Saints Quarterback Drew) Brees and (Former Colts Quarterback Philip) Rivers and all these guys, (Packers Quarterback) Aaron Rodgers, played in their late 30's into their 40's, continuing to grow and get better. That's the nature of that position. If you approach it the right way, hopefully you'll get better and better. The best one's I've been around have been able to do that.
Q: When we talk about Saquon, we always think of the runner. How much of a matchup problem is he when you put him outside as a pass receiver?
A: He's just a really good player. He's a really good player as a runner. Again, his ability to run the ball inside like we saw the other day, to make space plays in the running game. Like I said, being a receiver out of the back field but also line up outside and make little plays and also make big plays. He's capable of doing that.
Q: What do you recall last year when (Cowboys Quarterback) Dak (Prescott) went down? What were your emotions in that moment?
A: It was a really tough moment for me and really for anybody who's been around him. Dak's a special guy. I have a great relationship with him, a great friendship with him and he's someone who's made my life significantly better. When you see a guy like that who you're competing against, go down and you know it's a serious injury, the human side of everybody comes out. No one wants to see injuries in this game. Nobody wants to see injuries to people they love and care about. That was not an easy moment for me or for anybody who was close to him. He doesn't surprise me one bit in how he responded to it. Immediately in the aftermath and what he needed to do to get on the road back to recovering and then what he's done since to come back and play as well as he has. He's a special guy, he's made my life way better.
Q: When you go back to play Dallas it kind of serves as reminder that you were a head coach in this league for a long time. Do you still have aspirations to be a head coach?
A: I'm just pretty focused on what we're doing here. I'm focused on our Thursday practice here with the New York Football Giants.
Q: Personally, what was the adjustment like for you going from being a head coach of a billion-dollar organization to offensive coordinator, running an offense, calling the plays again and developing a quarterback.
A: I'm not really focused so much on that. It was a great opportunity to come here with the Giants and work in this organization with the coaches that we have here and also with the players. Excited about this opportunity and what we're trying to do with this team. We're trying to rebuild this team. We're trying to get better every day, so that's really where my attention is.
Q: I was curious how different your day to day is. You don't have to put out every fire in the building and stuff like that.
A: Yeah, there are certainly differences from being a head coach and offensive coordinator.
Q: Dating back to last year, you guys have run that play with the end-around to (Tight End) Evan Engram a few times. What is it that you like about that play in particular and him as the guy that's running it?
A: Well, Evan is a playmaking type guy. If you remember when we played Dallas last year and we gave him an opportunity and a guy came free, he made the guy miss and ran it into the endzone. He is one of those guys you try to get the ball in his hands because he's able to make some of those plays and sometimes you block it well and it comes up perfectly, and sometimes it doesn't. Typically, you get a pretty good result, so you want to give those guys opportunities.