Cowboys’ new WR coach left Packers for Garrett
Jimmy Robinson was the receivers coach for the New York Giants
when Jason Garrett was a backup quarterback about 10 years ago.
They got to know each other through offensive meetings and on the
nights when Garrett put in coach-like hours, staying at team
headquarters long after his teammates were gone.
They became fast friends, prompting talk of one day working
together. So when Garrett became coach of the Dallas Cowboys in
January and began putting together his first staff, he wanted
Robinson on it.
Only Robinson was busy coaching receivers for the Green Bay
Packers. Garrett had to wait until the second week of February for
permission to interview his pal, and Robinson was faced with
deciding whether to leave the Super Bowl champions.
The choice ended up being pretty easy. Lured by Garrett and the
added title of assistant head coach – plus the likely bump in
salary that came with it – Robinson accepted the job last week and
arrived at his new office on Monday. He jumped right into
evaluating offensive schemes and getting to know his new players,
including dynamic youngster Dez Bryant.
Savoring his Super Bowl title, Robinson figures, can come
”It’s bittersweet,” he said during a staffwide meet-the-media
gathering at team headquarters Thursday. ”On one hand, that’s the
best time to leave, when you’ve just won a championship. But maybe
it’s the worst time to leave because maybe you’d like to defend a
championship and maybe win another. I just felt like for my family,
for my wife and I, it really was the right time, the right
opportunity, a chance to grow in the business a little bit.”
Garrett’s history with Robinson helps explain why the Cowboys
dumped Ray Sherman, creating the vacancy at receivers coach. It
seemed odd because of how beloved and successful Sherman was,
helping Miles Austin go from afterthought to two-time Pro Bowler
and keeping Bryant going as a rookie. Sherman’s departure seemed
awkward, too, because he was the first person team owner Jerry
Jones interviewed for the head coaching job before deciding to
remove Garrett’s interim label.
But Robinson wasn’t hired merely so Garrett can have another
buddy on the staff. His credentials are solid.
He’s been a receivers coach since 1990, working for the Falcons,
Colts, Giants, Saints and Packers. His star pupils have included
Marvin Harrison, Amani Toomer, Joe Horn, Donte Stallworth, Andre
Rison, Mike Haynes and the Packers’ crew that included Greg
Jennings, Donald Driver and the receiving star of the Super Bowl,
Robinson knows what it takes in the NFL because he found a way
to make it.
Despite being only 5-foot-9, he was a star receiver for Georgia
Tech who lasted five seasons in the NFL in the 1970s, mostly with
the Giants. It’s similar to Garrett’s playing career – an Ivy
Leaguer who seemed to lack the size and arm strength of an NFL
quarterback, yet he lasted 12 seasons.
”I think we both were in the mode of a kind of guy who had to
fight for everything he got … maybe both overachievers to an
extent,” Robinson said. ”We just kind of seemed to jibe on how we
thought about things.”
Robinson has worked for all sorts of coaches, from loosey-goosey
Jerry Glanville to buttoned-up Mike McCarthy. That range of
experience, and his history with Garrett, should make him a good
sounding board for the young coach, perhaps fulfilling the
assistant head coach part of his title.
”I’m certainly not here to reinvent the system and change the
offense or anything like that,” Robinson said. ”I’m here to bring
ideas, bring creativity, ideas on how to do things structurally –
as a team, as an organization, as an offense. Jason is open to
ideas and those kinds of things. … I can say, `Hey, remember in
New York when we did this,’ or, `Hey, here’s how we did things on
Garrett is a very process-oriented coach, often talking about
stacking good days together. Robinson described himself as being
that way, too.
”Details are important,” he said. ”The little things add up
to the big things. I talk a lot about controlling the things they
can control, which is their preparation – their work habits, work
ethic, study habits, preparation for the game both in game planning
and opponent study.”
Being fresh off a Super Bowl title should help his
Being a longtime pal of the coach might help, too.
”I’m looking forward to the challenge, the opportunity,”
Robinson said. ”I think it’s going to be fun.”