IRVING, Texas – Preaching “the process,” the need to be strong in “all three phases of the game” and not looking past the given week’s opponent are all typical for head coach Jason Garrett during his press conferences.
He knows at times he may sound monotonous, but Garrett said the best coaches he’s ever been around had an ability to deliver a constant, consistent message and hammer away enough at it that 30 years later those players would still remember what that coach believed in.
“I can tell you what Nick Saban believes in from my head to my toe, and I can tell you that because he kept hammering it and hammering it,” Garrett said, “and you tell it a lot of different ways, and eventually it sinks in. I can go back to every coach I’ve had and I can tell you what they believe in because it’s important to them. I’m no different than anybody else.”
Garrett’s been called robotic and mechanical at times in his responses during his weekly press conferences. As he leaves the podium, he tends to open up more, but his message generally remains the same.
Even now, when the playoff picture is clearer and the Cowboys know they’ll make it to the posteseason if they win their next two games, Garrett doesn’t want to look past this week’s opponent. His message of one game at a time, one practice at a time, one day at a time and having “the right people” to get the job done may sound tedious and overused, but they’re themes he wants his players to adopt.
“We try to do that as a staff, and at some point, hopefully it sinks in and guys understand what you’re trying to do,” Garrett said, “and it doesn’t happen overnight. It happens over time. I think our guys are understanding what we’re trying to convey as a staff and hopefully when we’ll wake them up 30 years from now in the middle of the night, they’ll say the same thing.”
Garrett said what he’s trying to get accomplished and conveyed in Dallas is no different than most coaches or organizations around the nation.
“The best organizations that I know, in and out of sports, try to get the best people that they can and try to do things the right way on a daily basis,” Garrett said. “That’s what we’ve tried to do. We’ve tried to be consistent with our message to our team. We try to be process oriented and not overly results oriented and that’s a really important thing to understand.”
Garrett learned those values from his family, his playing days and from past coaches he worked alongside, including Saban, who was always relentless about practicing and preparing the right way.
But just because Garrett’s more focused on the next play or the next game in front of him, rather than the next cluster of games or plays that follow, that doesn’t mean he’s not keeping his grand goal in mind.
“A lot of times I stand here and you guys will start out a question by saying, ‘I know you’re not a big-picture guy,’ and you know I kind of let it go because I hear it a lot,” Garrett said. “But we always start out with where we’re going. We always start out with what our vision is for our program, what we want the whole thing to look like, what our goals are. Everyone understands that. We’re abundantly clear with that with our football team from day one, where we want to go, where do we want this whole thing to go, that goal, that vision. It needs to be there or you have no direction. You’re rudderless. But having said that, once you establish what that is that’s most important, you have to focus on what you have to do each and every day to get there.”
Until he gets to that ultimate goal winning a Super Bowl, the same message will be preached.
“We’ve got to focus on the task, and the task is to beat the New Orleans Saints,” Garrett said. “They had a great win yesterday against Tampa, so we’ve got to get our preparation right. We’ll do it day by day and hopefully put our best foot forward on Sunday.”