Jason Garrett will be clapping from a new NFC East sideline next season.
The former Cowboys head coach, whose contract was not renewed after 9 1⁄2 seasons, agreed Friday night to become the Giants’ offensive coordinator.
Garrett interviewed for the position with head coach Joe Judge on Wednesday at the Giants’ facility and they hit it off, but Garrett wanted to wait several days to discuss his options with his family before moving to New Jersey.
Said Judge, “We had some great conversations when we were able to bring him in here. It was a great opportunity to get to know each other a little better than we had before. It was a great opportunity to sit there and talk ball and share philosophies and views on the game. It’s a great system he brings with great teaching that will allow our players to go out there and play aggressively.”
Garrett, 53, fills several important roles on the coaching staff. He now becomes the shepherd for the development of quarterback Daniel Jones as he enters his second NFL season. Garrett has experience working with quarterbacks Tony Romo and Dak Prescott, which was appealing to the Giants.
Garrett spoke fondly of Jones before the Giants-Cowboys game in early November.
“He’s big, he’s athletic, he can throw the ball, he can make plays in the pocket, he can make plays out in space with his feet,” he said. “He keeps his eyes up, makes a lot of plays when he’s on the move throwing the ball down the field, plays with a competitive spirit. He’s someone who seems calm and poised and handling it all really well and getting better and better every week. We are very impressed by him.”
Garrett also will take over the offensive game-planning and play-calling after not doing the latter with Dallas since 2012. It will be his job to integrate Jones, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard and the Giants’ other offensive weapons into a cohesive unit.
Judge said he wants the offense to be flexible — able to run 50 times in one game and pass 50 times the next. He was not looking to hire someone with a system but with an open mind.
“If you can only do one thing as an offense, ultimately defenses and defensive coordinators do a great job of taking that away from you,” Garrett said during the 2019 season. “So the best offenses we’ve been around are ones that can run the ball and throw the ball. Run it different ways — inside, outside, zone, gap, run it to different guys — and the same thing with the passing game. If you have variety with your passing game, you can throw the ball different ways to different people and execute all of those things. That’s what the best offenses are able to do.”
But it isn’t only young players whom Garrett will be helping. He also becomes the most experienced member of Judge’s staff and the only one with experience as a head coach.
Judge, who is taking on that responsibility for the first time at age 38, has never ranked any higher than special teams coordinator. He undoubtedly will use Garrett as a sounding board and something of a mentor as he faces the obstacles every rookie head coach invariably encounters.
Garrett has spent more than a decade in Dallas but is no stranger to the Giants. The Princeton product served as the backup quarterback for the Giants teams led by Kerry Collins for four seasons in the early 2000s.
It was that time in New York that first endeared him to Giants ownership — so much so that the Giants wanted to interview Garrett for their vacancy at head coach last week before they offered the job to Judge.
Asked last week at Judge’s introductory news conference if he would like to see Garrett as the team’s offensive coordinator, co-owner John Mara said that would be up to Judge . . . but he seemed excited about the prospect.
“I certainly wouldn’t have any objection to that,” Mara said. “I have a lot of respect for Jason.”
With Garrett on board, the Giants officially announced the rest of their staff on Friday night. That includes former Giants defensive line coach Patrick Graham as defensive coordinator and associate head coach and incumbent Thomas McGaughey as special teams coordinator, both of whose posts had been previously reported.
“We’re setting out to develop a smart, tough and really sound football team, and that’s going to start with the coordinators setting the tone in each room,” Judge said. “The priority is to put the best teachers and the best people around your players so you can form a strong locker room and make them fundamentally sound and situational. And I think all three of these guys bring that to the team.”
Jason Garrett’s journey
Born: Abington, Pa. Age: 53
College: Princeton, Columbia
Cowboys head coach (2010-2019); Cowboys assistant head coach/offensive coordinator (2008-2010); Cowboys offensive coordinator (2007); Dolphins quarterback coach (2005-2006)
Cowboys (1993-1999); Giants (2000-03)
SOURCE: Pro Football Reference