Jimmy Johnson: Boys had 'shut it down'

In his weekly column for ESPNDallas.com, the incomparable Ed Werder, who's called Minneapolis home for much of this season, talked to former Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson about the sad state of the Dallas Cowboys. In particular, Werder delivered some great anecdotes from a trip that Troy Aikman and Jason Garrett took to Johnson's place in the Florida Keys three years ago.

"Garrett arrived with a purpose and was thoroughly prepared, and Johnson clearly was not," writes Werder. "Garrett had several pages of questions, which he asked relentlessly. At one point, Johnson turned to Aikman, laughed and said, "I need a little break. Let's enjoy each other a little here."

"The three spent a few days discussing Garrett's role as offensive coordinator under Phillips, the Cowboys' personnel and what Garrett should be prepared to do whenever his next head coaching opportunity was presented."

Johnson told Werder, who covered those Cowboys Super Bowl teams of the 90s for the Dallas Morning News, that Garrett is already doing the right things with this team. He'd advised Garrett to start earlier in the morning with team meetings, and that's exactly what Garrett did beginning Monday. But Johnson showed some of his disgust for the current players when Werder brought up the fact that Garrett had been charged with simply trying to get them to compete each Sunday.

"That tells you how far they've fallen,'' Johnson said. "How deep their problems are, how low it has gotten when you have to tell millionaires to try. The last couple of weeks was embarrassing. It's embarrassing to anybody affiliated with the sport."

And I'll close with this gem from Johnson: "It was obvious to anybody who watched -- from the astute football person to a housewife -- that team had shut it down, and that's a shame. I don't think it's too far wrong when people said this was extremely talented team, and this year is wasted. It's a shame to see all that talent wasted.''

The good thing for Garrett is that Johnson's only a phone call away if he needs advice. The bad news is that he only has eight games to prove himself as a head coach.