Jason Garrett’s trust issues a work in progress

Posted Monday, Jul. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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engel The Jason Garrett we see at press conferences and in TV interviews is the boring man he specifically advises his players to be in similar settings.

If he wants his players to be dull, he certainly provides the template.

He is often colorless, polite, and uses hundreds of words to say what can be with 10 to 20. He is a politician’s dream.

In what historians are calling one of the most poorly phrased questions in the history of the spoken language, I asked Coach Process if he is boring.

“It’s in the eye of the beholder,” he politely answered.

On behalf of millions — he’s boring.

It is too bad because the Red that we see in the first meeting with his team, that was filmed for Peter King’s new website MMQB, he is anything but dull.

The Jason Garrett who talks to his players is imaginative, passionate, professional, excited, sincere, organized, and an inspiring Type-A micromanaging control freak. As inspirational as he is, he could also be an example of a leader who needs to trust that it will all work out.

He still looks like he suffers from the Smartest Guy in the Room Syndrome.

Even if you don’t like football, hate the Cowboys and or Garrett, but want to be inspired to lose the final 10 pounds or finish that fence, watch this clip on YouTube. Garrett is an f-bombing Tony Robbins with red hair, and it’s not a con job.

“Overcome it. Figure it out. Find a way. Get the job done. No excuses. No excuses. That’s the deal,” Garrett told his players. “None of us need help being mediocre. The standards are going to be high.”

This is the Garrett Jerry Jones hired in 2007, promoted in 2010 to replace Wade Phillips, and ultimately has so much faith that can direct this team to success. Garrett is as convincing of a salesman as Jerry is charming.

If you recall, when the HBO Hard Knocks cameras filmed a Garrett meeting with his offensive team during training camp in 2008 he sounded much more like a head coach than the actual head coach. When King’s new website, MMQB.com, was permitted to film Garrett’s first meeting with the Cowboys this weekend to address his team it was an improved version.

He even used some of the exact same lines from that talk in ’08 to this one in ’13 — specifically how the coaches who told him how good he was as a player infuriated him because he knew otherwise.

It is hard to watch this clip and not immediately want to exercise and just be better at everything you do. Red would make a great personal trainer.

Watching this 35-minute speech it’s easy to envision another team would hire him to be its head coach.

Garrett may be boring in TV interviews, and he has screwed up a few late-game time management situations, but he nails job interviews and motivation. There is a reason why the Ravens and Falcons offered this man their respective head coaching positions in 2008 — he sounds great.

His teams may occasionally play dumb, but they can never be accused of laying down, mailing it in or quitting. This is Garrett’s strength.

“It’s the No. 1 aspect of my job,” Garrett said of motivation. “You have to give them motivation. If you are a human being you need motivation and inspiration.”

Why hasn’t all of this convincing motivational rah-rah resulted in the standards he so verbally demands?

Players, execution, and some of the Red tenure is earmarked by a possessiveness that suggests paranoia has a bigger role in his daily routine. The Garrett regime has been full of a distinct lack of trust, from his coordinators to his quarterback.

The way the Garrett regime is going has some of the signs of Bill Belichick’s five-year run as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns in ’90s. Part of the reason that didn’t work was because he simply could not let go (and he didn’t have Tom Brady).

Garrett delegating play calling is a sign that he is letting go, and trusting someone else can do the job. Maybe. The way he fumbled what was eventually a reasonable and believable message about that decision suggests Garrett’s trust and execution of the message remain a work in progress.

Driven, organized and inspiring he has down.

Not to mention boring.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @macengelprof

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