Since former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was fired in January, Cowboys players have offered a variety of different reactions to his departure. Now with new head coach Mike McCarthy manning the controls for several weeks of practice, players have been exposed to a new style of coaching that has provided some perspective. According to veteran Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown, the former coach apparently had some issues communicating with certain players.
Jason Garrett gets fired
By the end of the 2019 NFL season, many Dallas Cowboys fans had grown tired of head coach Jason Garrett and his leadership. After a decade of floundering in mediocrity, Garrett’s years of service were appreciated, but it was time to go in a new direction.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, however, had much to consider. After all, Garrett was the definition of the Cowboys silver and blue. He had spent his entire career in Big D, including eight seasons as a backup quarterback from 1993-2000. In 2007, Garrett transitioned to coaching as the offensive coordinator under Wade Phillips. He served in that capacity until 2010 when he replaced then-fired Phillips as the interim head coach.
The following year, Jones turned over the reigns to Garrett, who then managed to compile an 85-67 record through the end of the decade. Despite a winning record, the Cowboys managed to reach the playoffs just three times in nine seasons. Jones finally decided to pull the trigger in January.
“We are extremely grateful to Jason Garrett for his more than 20 years of service to the Dallas Cowboys as a player, assistant coach and head coach,” Jones said in a statement at the time of Garrett’s firing. “His level of commitment, character, and dedication to this organization has been outstanding at every stage of his career.”
The New York Giants hired Garrett just a few weeks later to serve as the team’s offensive coordinator.
Dak Prescott unhappy since Cowboys fired Garrett
In July, reports surfaced that Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was unhappy with Jason Garrett’s departure. Former Dallas Cowboys scout and employee Bryan Broaddus had reportedly spoken with multiple former coaches about Prescott’s displeasure with the move.
“Garrett was Dak’s biggest fan and supporter, and he said he and Kitna were really behind him, especially when Jerry Jones would question him and ask, ‘Is he our guy?'” the coach told Broaddus, who relayed the information on radio station 105.3 The Fan in Dallas.
Broaddus said the Garrett-Prescott relationship has been strong since the quarterback joined the Cowboys. The only coaching-related issue Prescott ever had was with quarterback coach Jon Kitna.
“Garrett absolutely loved him. Dak also loved Garrett. Dak bumped heads with Kitna early in this thing when Kitna was trying to help him. But Garrett would come to (Dak’s) his defense.”
The coach said Prescott and Kitna worked through their differences and Kitna was “the real reason we saw development out of Dak Prescott” last season. When asked about Prescott’s frame of mind when Jason Garrett was relieved of his duties, the coach said the quarterback wasn’t pleased.
“In talking to (these coaches), Dak was disappointed that Garrett was relieved of his job.”
Anthony Brown throws shade at Jason Garrett
Anthony Brown joined the Dallas Cowboys in 2016 as a sixth-round pick out of Purdue University. Since his arrival, Brown has steadily made his way up the depth chart. He has started a total of 33 games in the Cowboys defensive backfield.
Brown was under Garrett’s leadership for his first four seasons. Since Garrett’s departure, Brown said McCarthy has brought in a completely new and different attitude where the players have a voice.
“So far, it’s a totally different environment walking in the building now,” Brown said after Friday’s practice. “Kind of a like a breath of fresh air when you walk in right now with coach McCarthy coming in.”
Anthony Brown’s words aren’t uncommon to hear from players after a coaching change that results in a refreshed outlook and renewed spirit within the team. What is uncommon? Brown offered a specific reason as to why McCarthy’s leadership is better than Garrett’s.
“The players have a lot more leeway to say what we want to. He gives us more opportunity to express ourselves, I would say,” Brown said.
That’s an indictment on Jason Garrett’s coaching and his inability to communicate with certain players, while at the same time a ringing endorsement of McCarthy’s obviously more open-minded approach. For Cowboys fans, that’s a good sign for the future.