ORLANDO – Talking to reporters and national media for nearly an hour this week at the owners meetings in Orlando, Jason Garrett addressed many different topics regarding the Cowboys' recent offseason moves and upcoming season.
While the head coach had positive things to say about former players DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher, the focal point remains on his current team.
Here's what Garrett had to see about different players on the roster:
On Morris Claiborne:
"We feel like he is a guy who is very talented and still needs to grow and develop. He has certainly shown flashes of the player that we drafted with the sixth pick of the draft a couple of years ago. He has very good feel for covering guys and just plays that position at a high level. We have a lot of confidence in Mo."
On Tyrone Crawford
"He has really good versatility. We are going to look at the landscape of our defensive line and see where he fits in. We really think he can play all four spots. We will use him in a couple of different spots certainly. We want to get him into a role, into a position where he is most comfortable and get his body right. We will make that determination here relatively soon. He has been doing everything he needs to do coming out of his rehab and we're excited to get him back on April 21."
On Kyle Wilber
"We drafted him to be a 3-4 outside linebacker. We put him back playing a 4-3 linebacker where he was playing off the line of scrimmage a little bit more, and he really responded well to it. He is a very productive special teams player for us. And he showed a lot of that same production when we put him out there on defense, playing off the ball. He had a number of tackles, number of tackles for loss. He was around the ball a lot, so he really responded well and will be part of the discussion as we go forward and talk about one of those spots."
On Tony Romo
"We feel like he's right on schedule and hopefully will be ready to go once we get out on the field in the spring. He's moving around. He hasn't been out on the field or anything like that yet. By all accounts he's doing well."
On Brandon Carr
"Brandon is a good football player. We're excited to have him. If you look at our football team, you say we feel good about the corners that we have: Brandon and Mo and Orlando (Scandrick). That's part of the strength of our defense. We have a lot of confidence in him. He plays very well. He's had a couple of games he certainly would have liked to have played better in, but again, we evaluate what we did as a defensive staff in some of those games and how we could have put him in a better situation. He'll learn and grow from all of those experiences. He's the right kind of guy. He cares a great deal about getting better."
On Henry Melton
"When you see him move around, you see a lot of those traits that allowed him to play running back early in his career. He's got great quickness and explosiveness and great change of direction. He can really run. When you think about the traits you want for that under-tackle position, that 3 technique, he's got a lot of them. Obviously he's coming off of an injury, he only played in three games last year, so that's a factor, but we feel like he's made a lot of progress. He's at a place where we can very confidently think he's going to be a big part of what we're doing this year. He played really well in an environment up there in Chicago when Rod (Marinelli) was the defensive line coach. We feel like that marriage can be a really good one for him, and hopefully we can get him to play his best and he can have an impact on our defensive front."
On Terrell McClain
"McClain has been a guy that's just been a good football player. He's been down there in Houston. We feel like he's an interior player who can have an impact on our team. We're excited about just really seeing him. Is he truly a nose? Is he a potential under tackle, three-technique? He's a been productive, good college football player. We liked him coming out of the draft and are excited to add him."
On Jeremy Mincey
"Mincey is just a really solid football player and we see him as a defensive end candidate. Just watch him play. He plays hard, he plays the right way and has done that a number of years."
On Dez Bryant's leadership
"Yeah, when you talk about leadership, really what you're talking about is influence on other people. Dez has been able to positively influence so many guys on your team, really for the last few years. As he's gotten himself settled into the role he's been in, he's an outstanding football player. He loves the game. He has an infectious way about him. People really like Dez, and they care about Dez. If you come to one of our football practices, you see that. He's a very competitive guy who wants to be great. And there is an infectious way about him. It's been really positive. You see it in practice and see it in the game. I think he certainly understands his role with the team."
On Kyle Orton [embedded_ad]
"Kyle is under contract and we feel very good about him as our backup quarterback. I think he showed a lot of people how well he could play in Week 17 in the game against Philadelphia. Certainly not a perfect game, but he did a lot of really good things and gave us a great opportunity to win that game. He's been a starting quarterback in this league and has played a lot of football. The guy has a great deal of belief in himself and confidence in himself. He plays the game very well. If we had to put him in a ballgame as a backup guy at some point, if something were to happen with Tony, we have a lot of confidence in him."
On Jason Witten
"We talk a lot about being your best regardless of circumstance. I can't think of a guy who epitomizes that more than Wit. Each and every day, in every situation we ask him to be in. He's an easy guy to game plan with. The challenge with him is he gets a lot of attention. We love him. He's a leader and one of the best players in the National Football League."