Eight months after being fired as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys and accepting the New York Giants’ offer to be their offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett made it clear on Tuesday that he did not want to talk about his former team.
After taking a moment to acknowledge the death of Steve Tisch’s daughter, Garrett said via videonconference that he was “grateful” for his time in Dallas, but that it was a “new day” and he wanted to focus on the task at hand of building an offense in New York.
Garrett was asked to explain how things unfolded in Dallas when he was fired, but deferred, saying “I don’t want to talk about the past that way.”
Here are some other takeaways from Garrett’s first meeting with New York media.
Garrett’s first impressions of quarterback Daniel Jones ...
“Great respect for Daniel from my first interactions with him ... There were so many great things said about him from the people at Duke. We admired his career and weren’t surprised one bit that he was taken in the first round and has had the success that he’s had up to this point.” ...
“Playing as a rookie in the NFL is a challenge. Playing quarterback as a rookie is a real challenge. Daniel handled himself really, really well.”
Garrett said Jones is “a joy to work with.”
“There’s no question he is a football guy. He loves football. He’s always so prepared. He’s always studying his stuff, he always has great questions and wants to get better. My experience has been when you have that kind of approach and that kind of attitude, if you have some ability you’re going to keep growing and getting better every day.”
Garrett said Jones “has got all the tools you’re looking for” in a quarterback.
On adjusting to being an offensive coordinator again ...
Garrett has been a head coach for 10 seasons, so returning to being an offensive coordinator only is different.
Garrett said the chance to work with Joe Judge in New York, a place where he played as a backup quarterback for four seasons, was “too good an opportunity to pass up” because he has had “great admiration for this organization for a long, long time.”
“Just excited about the opportunity that I have and the role that I have here with the Giants,” Garrett said. “I’ve learned so much from Joe and from others in this organization right from the start ... excited to work for him [Judge].”
On all of the offensive linemen the Giants drafted ...
The Giants, of course, selected Andrew Thomas fourth overall, Matt Peart in Round 3 and Shane Lemieux in Round 5. Thomas is expected to start, while the hope is the other two will become long-term fixtures on the Giants’ line.
“We felt like they had the skillset necessary to do what we’re asking them to do,” Garrett said. “We ask our linemen to do a lot of things. Our linemen have to be athletic. They need to be able to run block on the second level. They need to be able to pass protect against the rushers in this league. These guys are all rookies. They’re learning on the run, we haven’t had a real practice yet ... their approach has been outstanding, we’re excited to work with them.”
On coaching Saquon Barkley rather than coaching against him ...
Garrett lauded Barkley’s professionalism.
“Talk about a first-class person. Talk about someone who loves football, someone who wants to work hard and do everything he can to be the best player he can be, the best teammate he can be. He’s a sterling example of that.”
Memo to Garrett: That’s all nice. Just remember to give him the rock when it matters.
On the difficulty of evaluating players and building an offense this season ...
This was a question from yours truly, aimed at asking about the lack of prep time relating to COVID-19.
“The biggest thing you try to do is you watch any tape you have of players in the past to get a feel for that. We did that early on in this process,” Garrett said. “In regards to this process that we’ve been in since then a lot of Zoom meetings over the spring, that was the medium we had. No excuses. You find a way to install the offense over Zoom. ...
“One of the things we try to emphasize to our players is we’re always evaluating them. We’re evaluating that old tape, we’re evaluating they do. How they handle themselves in a Zoom meeting, how they handle themselves in a real-life meeting, in a walk-through and a practice.”