Dallas Cowboys: Pete Carroll

IRVING, Texas -- Maybe Jason Garrett is more like Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll than we know.

The Dallas Cowboys' coach doesn’t chew gum like Carroll. He’s not as rambunctious on the sidelines as Carroll. He doesn’t count Macklemore as one of his buddies.

Garrett
Garrett
But in searching through the Seahawks’ media notes, I came across a section dedicated to Carroll’s beliefs:

Philosophy: It’s all about the ball -- “You win by taking care of the football,” Carroll said.

Central theme: Competition -- “Practice is everything, it’s where we make us,” Carroll said.

Team rules: Always protect the team; no whining, no complaining, no excuses; be early

Style: Great effort, great enthusiasm, great toughness, and play smart

It’s not exactly new stuff. Every coach at every level says these things, right?

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But Garrett has a sign in the team meeting room that reads, “The ball, the ball, the ball,” stressing the importance of the turnover ratio.

Garrett did not let players like Morris Claiborne, Bruce Carter, Mackenzy Bernadeau or Gavin Escobar slide in practice. There seemed to be real accountability around Valley Ranch in 2013, if not enough good players.

Another sign near the locker room reads, “It is a privilege, not a right, to play and coach for the Dallas Cowboys.”

How many times has Garrett mentioned passion, emotion, enthusiasm since taking over?

We sometimes mistake the Garrett who addresses the media as the Garrett who addresses the team. We saw a glimpse into what he is really like during his introductory meeting with the players at training camp last summer. Players talk about his motivational tactics all the time.

So Garrett doesn’t have to start chewing gum and prowl the sidelines looking to give the next high five or even play music in practice -- we made fun of Wade Phillips when he did it, remember? It was a lack of discipline then.

You are who you are. If Garrett changed publicly, it would be phony.

What Garrett is trying to sell is what Carroll has sold.

NFLN survey/popular coach: Cowboys

January, 28, 2014
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IRVING, Texas -- In the latest installment of the NFL Nation survey, coaches enter the mix.

The 320 players asked could not pick their own head coach, so after the final vote was tallied, 28 head coaches received at least one vote. One defensive coordinator received two votes. Who? Former Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips.

Jason Garrett received one vote. Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was the winner with 77 votes.

Locally, the Cowboys’ vote was split between four coaches with two votes apiece. And all four were coaching in the conference championship games. Carroll, John Fox, Bill Belichick and Jim Harbaugh each received two votes among the Cowboys polled.

Mike Tomlin and Tom Coughlin received one vote each.

What does it say? The reputation that others might have of these guys as either tough guys or player coaches doesn’t matter. Winning matters. All of them have coached (or in Carroll’s case will coach) in a Super Bowl. Belichick, Coughlin and Tomlin have Super Bowl rings.

For Garrett to get more votes, he will need to win.

Cowboys will be more than Tampa 2

February, 24, 2013
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On looking at how the corners will be used: The great misnomer about Tampa 2 defenses, and it’s something as an offensive coordinator we talked about Wednesday morning when you’re getting ready to play a so-called Tampa 2 team, they play a lot more single-high defense than they do Tampa 2. And that’s been that way for a long, long time. But what those guys want to do is get you in those passing situations by defending the run and then letting those guys rush up front and play coverage behind them. That’s been their history for a long, long time. Anybody who has ever played in a Tampa 2 style defense also has to play a single-high style of defense. And certainly some of the things Seattle has done from a front standpoint, playing some of their eight-man fronts and some of their pressures, are similar to what Monte has done in the past. I think what they’ve tried to do is fit their scheme to what their personnel is. And we’ll certainly try to do the same thing.

Pete Carroll: Monte Kiffin back where belongs

February, 22, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS – Pete Carroll counts Monte Kiffin as one of his most important mentors, and the Seattle Seahawks coach believes Kiffin is back where he belongs: in the NFL.

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Kiffin spent four seasons as the defensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee and Southern Cal with his son, Lane, as head coach and did not have the same success as he had in a 12-year run as Tampa Bay’s defensive coordinator.

The Cowboys hired Kiffin this offseason to replace Rob Ryan at defensive coordinator and implement the 4-3 scheme.

“I think he brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge and understanding, an extraordinary ability to analyze and evaluate and his communication skills with the players on this level,” Carroll said. “I think there was some issue for him in college that he was just so far out there with how he coached and what he understands and what it takes to play on this level that it didn’t translate as easily as he would’ve liked (in college). I think the Cowboys are lucky to get him, and I think he’ll be a great asset.”

Several players have said Kiffin told them to study Carroll’s defense in Seattle as a way the Cowboys would play in 2013, but when he met the local media last week Kiffin hedged.

“We play a similar scheme we have for years,” Kiffin said. “I was at the Bucs and Pete was at Southern Cal and we would talk all the time. We’ve kind of played that scheme. It just so happens that he’s at Seattle and they happened to play pretty well this year, but they do play some single-high safety and have some good corners that can bump. And we play cover-2 and they play cover-2. That’s where you hear about this Seattle deal. But we are also very much the Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, without a doubt.”

Carroll was a graduate assistant for Kiffin at Arkansas in 1977 and when Kiffin took over at N.C. State, Carroll became his defensive coordinator from 1980-82.

“We’re real disciplined to our scheme,” Carroll said. “We’ve always been a very, very disciplined group, and it stated way back when about doing things right and execution. It’s not just slugging guys and running around and hitting. You think it would be, but there’s a lot to it. So it’s a very disciplined approach to the game, play with speed whenever we can. A real aggressive style is how we’ve done it and all those kinds of phrases started with Coach Kiffin a long, long time ago for me.”

Opposing voice: Seahawks QB Russell Wilson

September, 15, 2012
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IRVING, Texas -- Russell Wilson will make his 52nd straight start Sunday, dating to his three years at N.C. State, one year at Wisconsin and one game with Seattle.

While much was made of five rookie quarterbacks starting in Week 1 of the NFL season, Wilson, Seattle’s third-round pick, had the most experience even if his ascension to the role was the most surprising.

“The fact that in all four years in college I started every game and just played a lot of football, that really helped, especially at the conferences I was in,” Wilson said. “I was in the ACC for three years, then going to the Big 10, also going to N.C. State with a pro-style offense, then Wisconsin with the vertical, play-action run the ball down your throat offense, I got the best of both worlds.”

Seattle looked like it wanted to make free-agent pickup Matt Flynn its starter, but Wilson won the job in training camp.

“Everything he did was impressive, from the rookie minicamp where he took every snap and just took over and assumed a leadership position,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He was well prepared. He functioned well. He made plays. He made mistakes, as you would expect, but he made a lot of things happen. He has a way a about him. We learned he’s a great competitor. He studies as much as anybody can study to prepare himself. He’s really a cool competitor, very poised.”

And now he gets a Rob Ryan defense known for a myriad of looks designed to confuse even veteran quarterbacks (although it should be noted Ryan was fairly basic vs. the Giants in the opener).

“More than anything, just trust the process of the week and trust what the coaches are telling us and teaching us and go with it,” Wilson said. “And come game time, trust what I’m seeing and just play ball.”

Like he’s done the last 51 games.

The Other Side: Danny O'Neil, Seattle Times

September, 13, 2012
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IRVING, Texas -- Danny O’Neil covers the Seahawks for the Seattle Times and he brings you this week’s version of The Other Side.

Archer: How did Russell Wilson win the job in camp? People expected some rookie starters at QB this year, but I don't know if too many had him as one of the guys.

O’Neil: When the Seahawks drafted Russell Wilson in the third round, many assumed he would spend the year developing on the back-burner as the No. 3 quarterback. The Seahawks had signed Matt Flynn and still had Tarvaris Jackson, and they figured to be the two dueling for playing time. Well, it figured that way to everyone but coach Pete Carroll.

No sooner had the rookie minicamp finished than Carroll announced Wilson would be part of the competition, and from that moment forward, Wilson simply put together the best body of work. He had a bad day in practice during training camp, but that was one day. Singular. He was picked off three times, and showed an ability to correct it. He has a bigger arm than Flynn, more mobility and he was clearly more explosive in the exhibition games.

Wilson wasn't given this job, he won it.

TA: Is there any buyer's remorse on Matt Flynn if he's not the starter?

DO: What, doesn't every team want to pay its backup $8 million while starting a rookie? But seriously, there's not necessarily remorse. Seattle wanted to come out of this with a starting quarterback capable of taking the team to the playoffs. If it's Flynn, great. That was money well spent. If it's Wilson, that's fine, too.

Consider the Cardinals: They paid more in a contract for Kevin Kolb (five years, $63 million) than Seattle paid to Matt Flynn (three years, $26 million). Not only that, but the Cardinals gave up a second-round pick and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to get the privilege of playing that money while Seattle chose Wilson with a third-round choice. Seattle certainly appears to have acquired more talent at quarterback for a lesser investment.

TA: The Seahawks finished the year 5-3 after losing to the Cowboys last year and all of the losses were by less than a touchdown. Obviously, they started with a close loss to Arizona in Week 1. How does Pete Carroll get this team over the hump in close games?

DO: Let Wilson mature. This team is built to play to the strengths of a big, physically imposing defense and a punishing ground game. Wilson is the guy they're depending on to be able to pull a game out in the fourth quarter. He came closer in Week 1 than Tarvaris Jackson ever did last year so that time may be coming.

TA: People really like the Seattle secondary, but where does the pass rush come from? How is Bruce Irvin's progress going?

DO: Bruce Irvin has not been the immediate-impact pass rusher the Seahawks predicted when they chose him. Chris Clemons remains this team's best pass rusher. Irvin will get a chance to see if Seattle's home crowd can help give him an advantage in rushing off the edge.

TA: I can't go without asking a Terrell Owens question even if he's not on the roster. How did he look and why didn't the Seahawks keep him?

DO: He was in great shape, still had the speed to get deep, but had two significant drops. He was acquired to provide a veteran alternative in case Sidney Rice wasn't ready when the season began. Rice was ready, and Owens wasn't so impressive the team was willing to carry him as a fourth or fifth wide receiver given the fact he doesn't play special teams.

If Rice were to get hurt again, the Seahawks wouldn't hesitate to bring Owens back.

Are the Cowboys practicing too hard?

June, 11, 2012
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Last week, for a few brief moments, NFC West blogger Mike Sando was our guest in the comments section here at the NFC East blog. This week, Mike has a post that touches on one of our teams -- specifically the Dallas Cowboys. In the wake of the NFL's punishing the Seahawks for violating the non-contact rules of offseason practices, Sando and one of his Twitter followers went on an investigative reporting mission to examine video clips from each team's web site. They found some contact during Cowboys OTAs, as Mike outlines here.

Here's the thing on the non-contact rules: They're not new, and the Seahawks aren't the first team to get busted for breaking them. If my memory serves me correctly, the Jets and Lions each lost OTAs for such violations in 2010, and I don't think they were the first ones either. And regardless of what Pete Carroll thinks, a team's only going to get punished for these violations if one or more of its players reports the violation. The NFLPA has encouraged its players to do so, since they do have rights and should feel empowered to defend them, but obviously it's impossible to imagine that most players wouldn't fear repercussions and ridiculous to think that the unreported violations far outnumber the reported ones.

I looked at the video, and there's obviously contact going on in that Cowboys practice. More than is permitted under league rules? No idea. I imagine that's for the league to decide. But in order for it to be brought to the league's attention, someone on the Cowboys would have to decide to report it. That's the way these things work. And in the case of the Seahawks, if the contact was more than what's permissible at this time of year according to the CBA, I applaud the player or players who brought it to the attention of the right people.

Don't give me the "everybody does it" or "it's been going on for years" garbage. Those are weak, simpleminded excuses. Right is right, wrong is wrong and society evolves. If the players have negotiated the right not to have to get hit by other players in May and June, they should be standing up to make sure that right is protected. And if what's going on in that Cowboys video rises to the level of an offseason rules violation, then I hope someone on the Cowboys would have said something about it already. The game is dangerous enough from September through January. There's nothing wrong with trying to keep it extra-safe in June.

Cowboys ready for Seattle copycat

November, 2, 2011
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IRVING, Texas -- Tarvaris Jackson is no Michael Vick. Marshawn Lynch is no LeSean McCoy. Sidney Rice and Mike Williams are no DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.

But the Cowboys expect Seattle to replicate what Philadelphia did to them last week this Sunday at Cowboys Stadium.

“I think you’ll see some of those plays run against us that Philadelphia was able to have success with,” defensive end Marcus Spears said. “If you’ve got a blueprint of a great house you probably want to follow it. We’ve got to figure out how to break into that thing and shut it down. If we do see plays that Philly had, I’m sure we’ll be ready for it this time around.”

Seattle coach Pete Carroll wasn’t so sure his team could do what the Eagles did.

“They’re kind of unique in what they have with Michael Vick. Michael’s an amazing player,” Carroll said. “Right off the bat, he’s scrambling around and making some yards, causing some problems for guys, thinking they don’t know if he’s going to take off and run or sit in the pocket. He found some space and started hitting guys all over the field and, man, the thing just snowballed with the running game. Michael had a great factor in that, as he’s always going to have a factor as you defend him. You’re thinking about him the whole time and you’re trying to design things so he doesn’t control the game. They just handed the ball off and made a bunch of yards. They really probably played the game differently than even they expected to where they ran it so effectively against the best rushing defense in the NFL.

“I’d like to think that we could learn something from it, but we might have to get a moped or something for our quarterback to ride around in to be like Michael. We’re not as fast as he is.”

A moped?

“Well, maybe, that’s probably not right,” Carroll said. “Call it a Harley or something, all right?”

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