Maybe it’s coincidence that the Dallas Cowboys played their best game of the season after Wade Phillips was fired and Jason Garrett was named the interim head coach. Or maybe Garrett really did institute a different mentality in Dallas in one week.
A Dallas Morning News story on the changes Garrett has made says the biggest change was forcing the players to wear full pads in Wednesday practices, which Garrett believes instills toughness in the players.
“I just think football is a physical sport. You can never lose that,” Garrett said. “You have to be smart going forward over the course of a season, but Wednesday is the day when you’re putting the base stuff in.”
Garrett is careful not to say that Phillips lacked toughness in his dealing with the team, but he believes that getting tough in practice has a direct impact on making them more effective on Sundays.
“A lot of it is focused on the running game and the play-action passing game, and you need to be physical in those areas,” Garrett said. “Over the course of time, if you’re not practicing that way, I think maybe you lose some of that physicality. Now there are a lot of other coaching philosophies that have been incredibly successful doing it a different way. This is just something that we believe in.”
With the Lions coming to town today, the more physical Cowboys have an excellent chance of improving to 2-0 under Garrett after going 1-7 with Phillips.