Rivalry? What rivalry?
For a brief moment, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Giants signal-caller Daniel Jones put their NFC East differences aside to discuss the one thing that now binds them: Jason Garrett, former Dallas head coach-turned-New York offensive coordinator.
Jones revealed that he picked Prescott’s brain regarding Garrett during Super Bowl LIV festivities in Miami.
“I actually met Dak—well, I’ve seen him on the field—met him for the first time down here and talked to him a little bit,” he said, per the Giants’ official website. “Everyone who has worked with Coach Garrett speaks very highly of him and I think Dak was certainly the same way. Guys respect him and it seems like he’s done a lot for a lot of peoples’ careers, so I’m excited to work with him.”
Big Blue’s 2019 first-round pick, Jones enters the offseason as the unquestioned starter in the wake of Eli Manning’s retirement. The Duke product is having to learn his second system in as many years, transitioning from Pat Shurmur to Garrett, who was jettisoned by the Cowboys after a decade in the big (often scorching-hot) seat.
So, who better to turn to for advice? Prescott conveyed to Jones the same endorsement he recently uttered in pre-Super Bowl media rounds.
“They’re getting a great coach,” he said of Garrett, via NJ Advance Media. “A smart coach. As great at preparing and as professional as any I have ever seen… I can’t thank him enough for everything he’s done for my career. Believing in me to drive me and push me to be the player that I have become. I’m thankful for his impact.”
Garrett certainly had a hand in Prescott’s rise from an unheralded fourth-round choice to a franchise cornerstone potentially on the verge of becoming the richest player in NFL history.
But it wasn’t until The Clapper ceded play-calling duties and changed coordinators, swapping Scott Linehan for Kellen Moore, that Dak’s development rapidly progressed. The two-time Pro Bowler set a career-high this past season with 4,902 yards, second-most in the league, spearheading the top-ranked offense in yards per game.
Jones experienced a rocky rookie campaign, shuttling in and out of the lineup as New York went 4-12. But he did log a respectable 3,027 yards and 24 touchdowns across 12 starts, completing 61.9 percent of his passes (284-of-459) — good for an 87.7 rating.
Aiming to improve on his shortcomings as a sophomore, he’s ready to get to work with the new Giants bosses, including Garrett and head coach Joe Judge.
“I like them a lot,” Jones said, per the team website. “I’ve met with them a few times and trying to get to know them. But I like them. Coach Judge, he’s very straightforward. He’s what you saw in the press conference. He’s a football guy, a lot of energy, looking forward to working with him. And obviously Coach Garrett is a proven coach in the league. He’s won a lot of football games, coached a lot of great players, so I’m excited to work with him, too.”
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New Cowboys QB Coach Talks Dak
Prescott has his own coaching change to worry about, going from Garrett to ex-Packers head man Mike McCarthy. What’s more, he’ll have a new QB coach, as well, after McCarthy dismissed Jon Kitna and replaced him with Doug Nussmeier, the club’s tight ends coach since 2018.
The 49-year-old is a former QB himself who played for the New Orleans Saints (1994-97), Indianapolis Colts (1998) and the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League (2000) before transitioning to coaching. The Lions made him QB coach for their 2001 season.
The next year, he held the same position with the Ottawa Renegades, then with Michigan State from 2003-05. He became something of a nomad afterward, coaching passers for the St. Louis Rams (2006-07), Fresno State (2008), Washington (2009-2011), Alabama (2012-13), Michigan (2014), and, finally, Florida (2015-17).
Additionally, Nussmeier doubled as the offensive coordinator during his time with the Bulldogs, Huskies, Crimson Tide, Wolverines and Gators.
“Working with the tight ends, like I said, those two years was enjoyable,” Nussmeier said earlier this week, via the Cowboys’ official website. “But obviously I’m excited to get back to the quarterbacks, that’s kind of been my natural position over time.”
Assuming Prescott, an impending unrestricted free agent, is retained with a long-term deal or the franchise tag, he’ll be Nussmeier’s primary responsibility — a big responsibility given the importance of the position.
Like Jones and Garrett, Nussmeier is equally optimistic about what’s in store with Dak.
“The guy is going into his fifth year,” he said. “So I still think he’s just starting to scratch the surface of where he can go. I’m really excited about working with him.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL