Garrett brings new attitude to ‘Big D’

By Stephen Sellner

Jason Garrett got right to work on Wednesday as the Dallas Cowboys practiced in full pads for the first time since training camp.

Garrett took over as head coach for America’s team after Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones fired Wade Phillips after a 45-7 beat down courtesy of the Green Bay Packers in front of a national audience last Sunday.

Garrett, who was the offensive coordinator for Dallas for the last four seasons, has told his team to put the first eight games behind them.

“It’s time to get to work,” said Garrett, as the Cowboys began preparation for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants.

There was a new vibe at the Cowboys practice facility, as Garrett increased the tempo and energy of the team.

“Jason…stays on ya and…makes sure there’s nobody walking,” explained Cowboys quarterback Jon Kitna.  Tony Romo, the face of the franchise, was placed on Injured Reserve after fracturing his clavicle against the Giants on Oct. 25.

Once Romo went down, some players threw in the towel.

Garrett will have none of that, preaching that everyone on the team will get what the playing time they deserve, regardless of pay, draft status or past accomplishments.

Dallas finished 11-5 last season, emerging as NFC East Champions.  The ‘Boys appeared to be turning the corner with a 34-14 stomping of the Eagles in the first round of last year’s playoffs.  The win was the franchise’s first playoff victory since 1996.

Entering the 2010 season, the Cowboys were viewed as a Super Bowl contender after removing the playoff monkey from their backs.

So what happened?

Dallas has arguably one of the best teams on paper, with a limitless amount of talent and potential.  But as we all know, games are not won on paper.

The Cowboys have committed a ridiculous amount of penalties, disrupting the flow and production of their offense.

Dallas is tied for 28th in the NFL in turnover differential (-9), in front of only the Panthers (-11).

A lot of the blame can be placed on Wade Phillips, as the head coach is in charge of disciplining players and getting the most out of the team.

However, the players are not innocent in this mess, as they deserve just as much blame as the departed Phillips.

“A lot of times with guaranteed money…there’s only so much a coaching staff can do,” explained veteran linebacker Keith Brooking.  “Eventually…we’re all gonna be held accountable for the season that we’re having right now.”

Garrett seems determined to turn this team around.

The 2010 season is lost, as 1-7 is too far a hole to dig out of, especially in the competitive NFC East.  However, Garrett is not dwelling on the previous eight games.

He understands the troubles the team has had earlier in the season, but is more focused on “where we’re going.”

Garrett appears to have the Cowboys moving in the right direction, however Sunday will mark the true test of Dallas’ fresh start, one that it so desperately needed.

Stephen Sellner can be reached at [email protected]