EXCLUSIVE: 5 Topics with ... Jason Garrett

IRVING, Tex. – Let's play Five Topics with … New Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, who visited with TheRanchReport.com for this exclusive interview:

FISH: Jason, can you put a frame around the sort of offensive you're running? We don't need a nickname for it yet. … just a sort of definition of it.
"We want to make sure the things we do, we do well, but at the same time we want there to be flexibility so we can tailor what we're doing to the talent we have,'' said Garrett after supervising his offensive for the first time at Saturday morning's Cowboys minicamp at Valley Ranch.

I asked Garrett is this offense might be reminiscent of what the Cowboys did when he played here, of a Norv Turner-style offense? "I think that's probably the best way to define it, yes,'' Garrett said. "One of the lessons I learned from the coaches when I was a player here is that you have to play to the guys' strengths. You can't just force people into a system that won't work for them. As coaches, we talk about that all the time. And if you look at Wade Phillips' history, that's what his teams, and his offenses, have always done.

"I think you'll see a downfield passing game, with the foundation of everything being a power running game. There is flexibility from there, but those are the basics.''

FISH: As a former QB, and a guy who has worked with a bunch of them, share your thoughts on Tony Romo and the decision of the Cowboys to not acquire a potential franchise QB in the draft.
"Tony knows that until the end of time – or at least as long as he's a quarterback – he's going to have to face competitive situations,'' Garrett said. "That's just sports. But at the same time, this organization is obviously very comfortable with him as the starter. And creating an environment where he can continue to be comfortable can be important.''

And what did Garrett think of Brady Quinn?

"Let's put it this way: Our mutual friend Babe Laufenberg (the former Cowboys QB now a DFW sports anchor) said, ‘If Quinn plays in Cleveland the way Romo has played in Dallas, Cleveland's going to be very happy with him.' I think that's about right. Tony has 11 games under his belt. There's a lot of room for improvement there. But there's also a very good foundation there.''

FISH: I've got a theory on Terrell Owens: What if you just let him be himself, let him try to lead his way, let him be his own boss. It's not likely to make things worse, and it could make things better. Certainly it's a better approach than what the last head coach did, which was to make fun of Owens behind his back. What do you think?
"We've talked to T.O., and made it pretty clear that there are going to be open lines of communication at all times,'' Garrett said. "I think that's the starting point. Communicate. Tell guys what they're role is. Let them know that we all have to exist within the same boundaries, but also that they can be themselves.''

Turns out, Garrett has already had extensive dealings with Owens.

"He's been fabulous in meetings so far,'' Garrett said, "and when I was back in Miami (preparing for the move to Dallas), he was there, too. So we got together and visited. I just told him there is a high standard for him to meet. And again, he's been fabulous about it.''

FISH: What is the likelihood that this offensive line will have cohesion and therefore success? It's kind of been in a constant state of flux for years.
"It's like that every year almost every place with the O-line,'' Garrett said, "because you are always adding new people and new elements. Having said that, it takes time, finding five guys and getting five guys on the same page at the same time. We're talking after Practice No. 1. … so let's have a little patience here!''

FISH: Is there more pressure on you to be a first-time coordinator with the Cowboys because you have a name in this town, or is there more comfort zone because of your association with the team?
"I feel very fortunate to be here,'' Garrett said. "I mean that sincerely. I love this area, I love this city, the people here, and the people in this organization. It's a great thing for me and my family. The Cowboys ARE family. It's always been very special to me. This coaching staff has already established itself as the kind that gets here early and stays here late. We all know it's special.

"As far as the pressure involved in the job, I look at it as a good thing. There is pressure to get it right – and we will get it right.''

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