Jimmy Johnson: 'Country club' Cowboys have no fear

November, 8, 2012
11/08/12
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IRVING, Texas -- Wednesday was a busy day for former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson. He called out owner Jerry Jones for saying he was the general manager when they were together in the 1990s.

Now Johnson is raising questions about the atmosphere at Valley Ranch.

In an interview on the Dan Patrick Show, Johnson put the Cowboys on blast again.

"All the players in this league think they’re self-motivated and that’s a bunch of bull because there are only a handful that are self-motivated," Johnson said. "So you’ve got to motivate these players through some respect but the No. 1 motivator is fear. Fear of letting down your teammates, being embarrassed or fear of losing the job. Where is the fear in Dallas? There’s no fear in Dallas. It’s a country club where everybody is buddies."

We think coach Jason Garrett has changed the climate at Valley Ranch sharply from how it was under Wade Phillips. Of course, Phillips changed the atmosphere from how it was under Bill Parcells. Each time, players said the change was good.
UPDATE:Garrett was asked about Johnson's comments on Thursday morning and didn't offer much of a response.

"I don't really have any comment on that," Garrett said. "We do things the way we do things here and from a football standpoint we believe we practice the right way, we meet the right way and create the right atmosphere of urgency for our players it's what I learned as a player and coach in this league. And that's what we're trying to create with our football team."

And the players' view, courtesy of Jason Witten:

“I didn’t hear about it, but obviously he’s a great coach here in this franchise and won a lot of Super Bowls,” Witten said. “I haven’t seen him around a lot. The guys are working hard. Ultimately (talk like Johnson’s) is going to happen, but I don’t think as a player you can worry about that. You’ve got to fix it. We know the expectations. Trust me, we feel it every day and so I don’t think you allow that (talk) to get in but obviously got a lot of respect for him.”

Johnson doesn't seem to have anything personal against the Cowboys overall, but he protested Jones' comments about how he was the general manager when he first purchased the team in 1989.

Johnson has formed a good relationship with Garrett in terms of being a mentor. In the same interview with Patrick, Johnson questioned whether Garrett would remain the man in charge at Valley Ranch.

"Jason Garrett is probably coaching for his job for the rest of the year," Johnson said. "This game with Philadelphia on Fox may decide the future of coaches and players with those two teams."

Maybe Johnson was channeling Bob Arum, the boxing promoter who hypes fights. And with the Eagles and Cowboys at 3-5, the loser most likely will see their playoff hopes disappear. So creating drama is fine.

The quarterback, Tony Romo, who's got one year left on his deal, might also be on the way out according to Johnson.

"I would extend Tony Romo unless I had somebody better, and they don’t have anybody better," Johnson said.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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