Jason Garrett's stance on Kyle Orton

June, 18, 2014
Jun 18
1:00
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- You can't expect Jason Garrett to be someone else. Garrett, the Cowboys' head coach, is his own man and can't be something he's not.

On Tuesday afternoon, Garrett was asked about the absence of backup quarterback Kyle Orton, who apparently is considering retirement.

“We had a good conversation," Garrett said of Orton. "We’ll keep that to ourselves. Again, we think as an organization we anticipate all our players who are under contract and on our roster to be here at a mandatory minicamp. He’s not. We’ve focused our attention on the guys who are here and handle his situation accordingly."

Orton
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Garrett told reporters several times he expected Orton to arrive at the mandatory minicamp.

"He’s 0-for-1," Garrett said. "You never know."

On the other side of the country, San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was asked about the absences of tight end Vernon Davis and center Alex Boone from that team's mandatory minicamp.

"I'm disappointed in that decision for them not to be here. ... [It's] not the decision I envision being the 49er way," Harbaugh said.

The key words here from Harbaugh was "disappointed" and it wasn't "the 49er way."

We assume Harbaugh has a good relationship with Boone and Davis, yet he's voicing his displeasure in the players' absences. He's making a strong public stance that's he's not happy with two important members of his football team.

Garrett, however, has avoided saying he's disappointed in the backup quarterback. He's been critical of players in the past for poor play, including Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, among others.

Should Garrett be more forceful with Orton?

Garrett and Orton share the same agent, David Dunn, so maybe the coach is being careful in his public comments on Orton. Behind the scenes he could be yelling and screaming at Orton to come to Valley Ranch.

"We’re focused on the guys who are here," Garrett said. "Injuries provide opportunities, situations like this provide opportunities. The other quarterbacks who are getting the work in his absence have taken advantage of that work. It’s good for them, good for our football team."

Garrett also wouldn't speculate if Orton would be at the first training camp practice in July.

"You probably should ask him that question if you get an opportunity to do that," Garrett said. "From my prospective, we’re going to coach the players who are here and focus on doing that and really build a good foundation for our football team and we’re not going to let the actions of one player distract us from what we’re trying to get accomplished with the guys who are here."

The Cowboys are in this tug of war with Orton. They cut him, they get a cap hit. Orton retires, he pays the team back signing bonus money. Either way, the Cowboys get weaker at the position.

At some point this story about Orton will go away because he'll retire or the Cowboys will cut him. Of course, he could just show up at training camp and be ready to go, which is what Garrett wants.

Until something concrete happens, Garrett's public stance has been mainly "we hoped for him to come but he's not here so the business of football moves along."

Garrett is correct in this line of thinking. Yet, what message does it send to the rest of the team and a fan base tired of missing the playoffs the last four seasons, that he won't at least express some disappointment in his backup quarterback's absence?

Harbaugh went after his players with strong comments expressing disappointment. Maybe Garrett is disappointed in Orton, too, but we will never know it.
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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