INDIANAPOLIS -- It didn't take long for the Cowboys to snag former Giants tight ends coach Mike Pope after he was not retained by the team following this past season. One of the reasons was because of Jason Garrett's time working with Pope as a backup quarterback on the Giants.
"Mike Pope is a great football coach," Garrett said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "I had the good fortune of being able to be around him for four years with the Giants and he's really as good a coach as I've been around in my career. I saw it up close and personal with a lot of different guys, established players and young players. He's a great friend, a great addition to our staff."
Pope developed a knack for bringing the best out of young players, from Mark Bavaro to Jeremy Shockey. He also helped develop Kevin Boss, Jake Ballard and Martellus Bennett during his time with the Giants. Unfortunately, Brandon Myers turned out to be his Waterloo in 2013.
But now that he's with the Cowboys, Pope gets something he's never had in his time with the Giants: an established Hall of Fame-caliber player -- Jason Witten. In 22 games against the Giants, Witten has 10 touchdowns, by far the most he has scored against any opponent. In 2012, Witten set an NFL record for tight ends with 18 receptions for 167 yards. And now, the Giants killer will be teaming up with one of the Giants' longest-tenured coaches.
"Witt is the kind of guy who is always trying to get better," Garrett said. "To add Mike Pope to the mix, to have a different perspective on how he gets coached, I think Witt's really excited about it and I know Mike is as well."