FRISCO, Texas – For at least a few hours, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett will spend his Monday night like everyone else.
The vast majority of the time, an NFL head coach would be immersed in game tape of the upcoming opponent on Monday, leaving him far too busy to watch the final game of the week.
In this particular instance the Cowboys' Week 2 opponent, the Denver Broncos, don't play their season opener until 9:20 p.m. on Monday night. So while he gets ready for the week ahead, Garrett will be watching on ESPN just like any other fan.
"Obviously, we'll get focused in on this game tonight," Garrett said Monday. "So we'll have a little bit of a plan together, but you certainly want to verify it based on what happens in tonight's game."
Of course, far more work goes into it than just watching on TV. The Cowboys will get the fame film of Monday night's Broncos-Chargers game within hours of the final whistle. On top of that, NFL teams make sure to scout their early-season opponents well in advance, giving them a head start in the preparation process.
"Right now, we're just in the process of gathering a lot of the information," Garrett said. "We do an offseason scouting report on all of the early opponents, so we'll rely on that a little bit."
There's also plenty of preseason game tape, given that the Broncos went 4-0 in exhibition games against Chicago, San Francisco, Green Bay and Arizona. But given that Denver's leading passer in the preseason was Kyle Sloter, who was released at the end of the preseason, it's obvious that there will be marked differences between that tape and Monday night's game.
So Garrett and the Cowboys' coaches may watch the broadcast like most other football fans. But they'll be hard at work dissecting it long after everyone else goes to sleep.