Jason Garrett’s familiarity with the Dallas Cowboys adds another layer of intrigue to Sunday’s NFC East clash, and could be an advantage for the Giants
Giants head coach Joe Judge just might have an advantage ahead of Sunday’s NFC East opener against the Dallas Cowboys, in one of his top lieutenants.
Jason Garrett, the Giants’ offensive coordinator, spent nine seasons as the Cowboys’ head coach and even though new head coach Mike McCarthy is building his own program, Judge believes there’s value in terms of Garrett’s knowledge of players like quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott, wide receiver Amari Cooper, and their tendencies.
“I try to gain as much information as I can from every member of our staff,” Judge said Wednesday. “Jason’s definitely added a lot. We try to use every resource we have on every single week.
“Obviously Jason’s knowledge of personnel and their building, we’ve talked and discussed everything, offensively and defensively about them.”
It certainly can prove valuable for a firs-time head coach — and a team — to have a member of the coaching staff so familiar with an opponent such as the Cowboys. Likewise, this matchup pitting the Giants’ offense, which is the lowest-scoring in the league, against a Cowboys defense allowing a league-high 38.7 points per game, presents an opportunity for Garrett’s unit to end a two-plus game touchdown drought.
“As a team, we have to keep improving in all three phases,” Judge admitted. “We saw some progress with our offense. We definitely had more balance last week. This game plan will be different than last week, but their defense is very capable.”
The familiarity, though, goes both ways. Garrett’s offensive scheme is one the Cowboys’ defense is used to practicing against every day.
The verbiage and tendencies might be different and tailored to an extend to the Giants’ personnel, but Judge thinks that the impact of empty stadiums makes that less of an issue.
“I think we’re more conscious above all with no fans and the television broadcast, you can hear a lot of communication anyway [during games],” Judge pointed out. “That draws awareness to what you’re bringing into each stadium.
“There are a lot of similarities and crossovers [across the NFL]. Coaches have worked different places, players have played different places, and a lot of people have a lot of shared experiences. It’s a transient league as guys carry things over from place to place. This week is no different.”
The winner of Sunday’s game might just come down to whether the Giants’ skill-players on offense like quarterback Daniel Jones, wide receiver Darius Slayton, and tight end Evan Engram are capable of continuing to exploit the Cowboys’ porous defense.
Matt Lombardo is the site expert for GMenHQ, and writes Between The Hash Marks each Wednesday for FanSided. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattLombardoNFL.