Yesterday, DallasCowboys.com writer Jeff Sullivan discussed in his training camp notes whether Jason Garrett is a “player’s coach”. It’s a term you hear thrown around a lot. Typically when people think of a player’s coach they think of someone like Wade Phillips or Chan Gailey. People who aren’t typically viewed as intense or as disciplinarians in the Bill Parcells or Jimmy Johnson molds.
Here’s what Sullivan had to say:
“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.”
Jeff Sullivan, DallasCowboys.com
I don’t believe that we have a broad enough understanding of what a “player’s coach” looks like in today’s NFL.
With the constantly changing dynamic of player personalities, head coaches have had to figure out a way to motivate players while not throwing them under the bus. Garrett has done just that.
Jason Garrett is a “player’s coach” in my opinion because he always has his players’ backs.
Think about it, how many times have we heard Garrett throw a player under the bus during a press conference or interview? In front of the media or the fans, there aren’t many occasions where he’s called out a player.
In front of the cameras he’s supportive, encouraging, and keeps emotion out of any criticism he might have of a player.
If it was a guy who turned the ball over, it was simply, “we have to protect the ball better.”
The thing that makes Jason Garrett a “player’s coach” is that his players go to battle for him because he goes to battle for them.
He may yell and offer intensity in practice and in the meeting rooms. In the public eye, however, he’s reserved and tries to speak positively as often as he can about his team. This is what I’d want in a head coach: someone who will tell me what I need to do better instead of bringing it to light in front of people outside the organization.
It’s like in a marriage. Nobody wants their spouse going around telling other people about what faults they have. If my wife has an issue, I’d much rather her bring it to me (which she does) than take it to her friends.
Jason Garrett has earned the trust and respect of his players because of the way he keeps things close to the vest. It may frustrate the media and the fans, but players appreciate it. Jason Garrett doesn’t have the skins on the wall that Bill Belichick has, yet Garrett’s team plays for him like he has five Super Bowl rings. That’s respect.
The Dallas Cowboys play for Jason Garrett because they know that he has their backs. That’s a more powerful motivator than fear.