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Sullivan: In Truth, Garrett Is Not A Players' Coach, More Thoughts

Some of the thoughts that run through an oversized, bald head:

  • During the first 90 minutes or so of Tuesday's afternoon practice, I had jotted down three different notes about Tyrone Crawford: 1) Never seen him so vocal, clearly the defensive line leader, maybe a captain this year; 2) Keeps yelling, like jumping up and down yelling, "bludgeoning" after any defensive teammate makes a play; and 3) looks more explosive in his first step.
  • Then as the crowd was "oohing and aahing" about a nifty Ezekiel Elliott run, as the play was being blown dead, Crawford fell to the grass in that sort of fashion where it's not going to be a paper cut. Orlando Scandrick's reaction a few seconds later only reinforced what we already were thinking. This wasn't good. As he was carted off, Crawford was emotional and really in as much pain as I've seen any athlete in person.
  • However, it appears worst-case scenario has been ruled out. It wasn't his Achilles tendon – remember, he tore his left one at camp in 2013 and missed the entire season – and it's not a break/fracture. There's even a chance he could be back for the regular-season opener depending on any ligament damage.
  • Everyone needs to chill about first-round pick Taco Charlton. It's been the Hall of Fame Game and a few weeks of practice. He actually looked pretty good Monday and Tuesday in one-on-one drills, even beating Tyron Smith on the outside, which happens as often as defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli enjoys a chill day.
  • Honestly, never mind Hard Knocks or any other reality NFL show. Give me an hour of Marinelli a night, the best of his day, and that would be as entertaining as anything on television.
  • Before Tuesday's practice, head coach Jason Garrett was taking some snaps in a low-key scrimmage, no helmets, no hitting, and a defensive player – I couldn't tell who – guessed correctly on an audible and jumped into the backfield basically on the snap. Marinelli, who is 68 and walks with a limp, started jumping up and down and yelling. Again, this is before practice even began. What a joy to see someone have that kind of passion.
  • Speaking of Garrett, he's definitely more intense than I've seen him at past camps. Intense might be the wrong word, as he's always pretty intense, even in relaxed settings. Let's go with he has more of an edge. His voice has an extra octave or two. There is no walking allowed between drills, even during morning walk-through.
  • The biggest misconception about Garrett over the years, and I was guilty of this when he was the offensive coordinator before he was the head coach, is that he's a players' coach. He's not. He's more in the mold of Jimmy Johnson with less psychological mind games.  Those who he has learned the most from – Nick Saban, Mike Krzyzewski, Johnson, his own father, Jim, back in the day – none of them have ever been described as players' coaches.
  • I noticed this during minicamp and decided that I didn't trust my own observation skills, thus, didn't share. There it was again in Oxnard, so I decided to ask around here and there, and seems it's not just me. Dak Prescott is throwing the ball with more velocity. I'm not saying he's Jeff George or Jay Cutler, or even Dez Bryant, but the ball is coming out with a little more zip. I also think he's tweaked his throwing motion slightly, something Garrett and he worked on extensively after practices last season. I'm hoping to delve into this more the next few days.
  • One other note on Dak, and yes, I've decided like Dez, Zeke and even Jerry, the first name works better on second reference. Last season, while hardly anyone noticed he was here the first two weeks, Dak was the first non-special teams player on the field and the last to leave. That hasn't changed this season. Yeah, his world has certainly changed in the last year, but he's keeping that same work ethic, and he's also signing autographs for fans every afternoon.
  • While we are on the topic of autographs and fans, just a quick note: What, exactly, do fans expect when they scream "Hey, Zeke," or "Hey, Dez, sign this," during practice. I mean, screaming as loudly as they can, some have to be trying to break glass. And not just once, like 87 times in a minute. Let's play this out. So in the middle of practice, Zeke catches a bubble screen, runs toward the sideline, fans start yelling his name, and he calmly stops, takes off his helmet and signs a few hundred autographs, takes a few selfies? Does this really seem doable?
  • All these questions on Twitter about trading Alfred Morris and/or Darren McFadden have me confused. First off, both could rush for 1,000 yards in this offense if need be, and the goal is winning a Super Bowl this season, so why lose either. Second, though, I don't understand what fans think the market is for 28-year-old and soon to be 30-year-old running backs.
  • There is absolutely, positively no issue with the physicality and the hands of Rico Gathers. Haven't seen him drop a ball yet, and he's a beast. There's still a lot of football to be learned. I'm not sure he's ready to have an impact this season, but he's going to see as many snaps as anyone these next four preseason games, and he's working his you-know-what off.
  • From what I've been told, this started last year, but it was mostly away from the field, in the locker room, watching film. That's Jaylon Smith more or less being Sean Lee's shadow. Every time I look to find either on the practice field, if they are not running a play or drill, they are side-by-side talking. This couldn't be more fantastic news.
  • Darren Woodson might be the coolest person I've ever spoken with. He's always on, I don't think he's ever had a bad day. Was talking with him briefly Tuesday at practice, told him how the Pro Football Hall of Fame doesn't value safeties and tight ends, and it's ridiculous he's not already enshrined. He smiled, and said, "It will come in time. I'm not worried about it." How perfect is that answer?

Follow Jeff Sullivan on Twitter, @SullyBaldHead, or email him at

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