Back To The Future


Spagnuolo and Mike McCarthy? 

And, who has won the past few Super Bowls? Like Sean Payton, Mike Tomlin, Coughlin and, oh, Cowher, and I do believe that was his first, which by the way if he was so great, why the heck did it take him 14 years to win his first Super Bowl? Nowadays, if you don't win one in five, you're gone. And hey, I got nothing against Cowher. Do believe he's a good coach. But my gosh, when it comes to winning Super Bowls, he's 1-for-15, and been to just two. 

Come on, what are we doing here? 

And why do so many have their panties in a wad over Jason Garrett? My gosh, the backlash. What's he done so wrong he can't become a fine NFL head coach? Wonder what you guys were saying about Sean Payton back then. 

Does he have a lot of coaching experience? Nope, sure doesn't, and might have become the quickest former player to go from a 53-man roster to a head coaching job, however interim it might be, taking him just 5½ seasons. I'll give you that. 

But Garrett has been preparing for this day since 1992 when he was first signed to the Cowboys' practice squad. When you don't play much - he played in 25 games over his 12 NFL seasons - when you're the team's third quarterback and then the immediate backup, you watch a lot, learn a lot. You're always playing mind games with yourself, like now what would I call in this situation. 

You've already heard about some of the subtle changes he's made around here, just to put his stamp on this 1-7 matter and try to inject some newness - energy - into a lethargic bunch. Like changing the reporting times, the day's schedule, wearing pads the first practice, requiring a coat and tie to be worn to and from the road games, no walking around between drills, stuff like that. Will that mean wins and losses will change? No, certainly not. But these can't hurt. 

Says his former Cowboys teammate of seven years Michael Irvin, "I know Jason Garrett got to where Jason Garrett got to with hard work on the football field. I know he understands what it takes on the football field - on the football field Jason Garrett knows what it takes. He wears a ring on his finger that says, 'I know, I was here.' All Jason has to do is implement what he saw, then get rid of what they are doing now, period - period. 

"If I'm Jason, I'm saying to these guys, 'Guys I'm going back to what I know worked then. We are going back to practicing like I know how to practice. We are going back to paying attention to the details and practice like I know how we used to do it and it earned us Super Bowls. And I think guys will receive that because they are looking for guidance and understanding, too." 

Garrett's former head coach, even if it was just part of a season, Gruden, was quoted this week as saying what the new coach must do with the Cowboys, and see if any of this sounds familiar: 

"Well, the first thing is that you just want to change attitudes. You want to try to get some positive attitudes going. You want to be upbeat. Try to have a good week of practice. Maybe make a few changes in the lineup. Change sometimes stimulates something positive. But again, you're playing your backup quarterback. You have to call some individuals into your office, guys that you really want to step up their leadership, and pick three or four guys that you're going to feature in the game and give them a chance to dominate. 

"You got to change the culture, change the attitudes. Give them a spark. And sometimes you can't just do it in the meeting rooms with pep talks. You got to go out and get it done on the practice field. Change the practice format. Use a different field. Paint the ball a different color. Do something to get these guys excited about the second half of the season. Finish strong. That's what life is all about. Get up, dust yourself off and get to work." 

Does that qualify Jason as the red-headed Chuckie? 

There is this other perception out there that Garrett is a softie, that he will get run over by the players just as Wade might have been at times. Please. 

"He's commanding," said defensive lineman Stephen Bowen, who really hasn't had that much contact with Garrett until this week. 

So Mike, is your former teammate soft? (Get ready for a

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