IRVING, Texas – Inside scoop from the halls of Valley Ranch: Running into the head coach is a treat, no matter who or where you are, for one simple reason – his aura will elevate you.
A quick conversation with Jason Garrett will have you asking if the Cowboys are truly five straight losses into this season, because his attitude simply doesn't radiate that reality.
Enter Matt Cassel, who, despite being thrown into a stormy situation in Dallas, strikingly resembles Garrett's glow.
"I've known Jason Garrett since I was coming out of college," Cassel said. "He was recruiting me to Miami as I was a free agent. He wanted me to come there as a free agent. I've known him a very long time."
Maybe that's why it's so easy for Cassel to remain calm amidst the chaos.
"He's a tremendous coach. He does such a tremendous job in front of the team, really expressing and conveying the right messages. He's a positive, upbeat guy and we have a great relationship. He's been supportive, helpful, and that's all you can ask of a head coach," Cassel said.
At this point, fans across the globe are only asking for a win. And as desperate or dejected as the outside world may feel, that isn't the case inside these walls at Valley Ranch.
As the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, Cassel becomes, without choice, the face of the franchise. The emotion he conveys represents and impacts the entire team. So how does it make you feel to know that he's so cool, calm, and collected? Possibly because after playing for two conferences, four divisions and five teams, he can decipher different scenarios.
"It's not like we've been blown out of any of these games. It's been close," he said. "We make a play here, we make a play there, and then it all changes for us. At the same time, there's a lot of positive in this building, because we know we're only one game back. A lot of years, you can't say that. You go into some of these divisions, and it's tough sledding trying to get back after a five-game slide. But you get back right now, you beat Philadelphia, and you're right back in the division. So, there should be a lot of optimism in this building."
Tony Romo (collarbone) has roamed the sidelines since Week 2, eligible to return to game action Nov. 22 at Miami. On Wednesday, he trotted onto the practice field for the first time to throw. But up until then, he's had his hands tied – and Cassel couldn't be more thankful for the way he's handled it.
"Romo takes a lot of pride in helping myself, Brandon (Weeden), whoever is out there," Cassel said. "I think it's killing him not to be out there, at the same time. I think as a professional, he's done a tremendous job at actually being a team player. And being a guy who comes out and who wants to win just as bad as I want to win, he's going to do whatever he can not playing, to help us win."