Garrett borrows from Jimmy’s coaching handbook

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“Intelligent people that work at it, they can solve the problems,” Johnson said. “That’s what I like about Jason _ he’s intelligent, has a passion for the game and he’ll work hard. That’s what gives him a chance. Is he the greatest in the world in every phase? Probably no, not right now. But smart people figure out a way.”

Garrett was smart enough to get a history degree from Princeton. In fact, he’s the first Princeton alum to become an NFL head coach. His wife, Brill, went to Princeton, too, and she also got a law degree from Harvard.

Garrett comes from a football family _ his dad, Jim, was in pro football nearly every year from 1954-2004, the last 17 years as a Cowboys scout. His oldest brother was a high school coach for more than 20 years, and two more brothers are in Dallas as the tight ends coach and assistant scouting director.

Garrett’s career journey is a tale of hard knocks: a year on the Saints’ developmental squad, a year as an assistant coach at Princeton, time in the World League and the CFL, all before making an NFL roster. He ended up lasting for 12 seasons and it wasn’t because of his arm; he played only 25 games. But he was ready when called on, going 6-3 as a starter.

Those who know him best are convinced he has what it takes to be a successful coach.

Aikman told Fox viewers Sunday that Garrett could’ve become president of the United States had he chosen politics over football. Cowboys radio analyst Babe Laufenberg, a former quarterback, compares Garrett to Bill Walsh.

“I’m not saying he’s going to win three Super Bowls like Bill Walsh,” Laufenberg said. “But Bill Walsh recruited me to Stanford and I see so many of the same characteristics in Jason _ as a person, how they approach football, how they teach it.”

Former Cowboys safety Darren Woodson still remembers a conversation he had with Garrett more than 15 years ago. Garrett wanted to know how a safety decides which way to cover a tight end on passing downs, whether to move up and bump him off the line of scrimmage or to back off and follow his route.

“I had to think about it myself,” Woodson said, laughing. “You just knew then that this was his life. You could sort of see that this is what he’s going to do. He’s so organized. He pays attention to all the details. He asks all the right questions. So what he’s doing now doesn’t surprise me.”

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