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Eakins attends Cowboys camp, picks Garrett’s brain

Aug 4, 2014, 1:32 PM EDT

DallasEakins2 Getty Images

Prior to getting hired in Edmonton, Dallas Eakins carved himself a niche as an “out of the box” thinker and “innovative” head coach.

Well, his latest move certainly fits that billing.

Last week, the Oilers bench boss dialed up Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett — whom he’d never met — and asked if he could drop by training camp to see how the NFL club operates.

Garrett obliged, and here’s how it went (per ESPN Dallas):

Eakins reached out to Garrett to see if he could watch a few training camp practices to see how such a big coaching staff works together with hockey staffs growing in number, too. Garrett said Eakins made reference to the mix of the Cowboys’ staff.

Garrett has had a lot of changeover on his Dallas Cowboys coaching staff since taking over full-time in 2011. He has always tried to have a mix of experience and youth on his staff, and this year the ages range from 28 (assistant wide receivers coach Kyle Valero) to 74 (assistant head coach/defense Monte Kiffin).

“One of the first things he said to me is, he sat in a lot of the different meetings and he said ‘There’s unbelievable diversity on your staff — old guys, young guys, guys who have come from different places. Different philosophies, different coaching and teaching styles,'” Garrett said. “We have done that, whether it’s very, very consciously in every decision, I don’t know if that’s the case, but I do believe that’s important. You want to be able to reach the players and touch the players a lot of different ways. If I tried to hire everybody who was exactly like me, that would be a really, really bad thing. If we tried to hire everybody who was exactly like some model, that would be a bad thing. You want to have guys who have different personalities and somehow touch the guys differently. I think we’ve done that. It was interesting to me that he recognized that.”

Edmonton doesn’t have an overly large coaching staff, though it did undergo a significant change this offseason. Two of Eakins’ assistants — Steve Smith and Kelly Buchberger — were replaced by Craig Ramsay and Rocky Thompson; they joined a staff that already included fellow assistant Keith Acton and goalie coach Frederic Chabot.

Thompson and Ramsay are at different ends of the age spectrum, which could explain Eakins’ visit to Texas. Thompson turns 37 this week, was playing professional hockey as recently as 2007 and had just four years of pro coaching experience (as an assistant with AHL Oklahoma City). Ramsay, 63, is a well-traveled veteran; he had head coaching gigs in Buffalo, Philadelphia and Atlanta to go along with assistant/associate jobs in Florida, Ottawa, Tampa Bay and Boston.

  1. gbatap - Aug 4, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    Out of the box for sure. Let’s go visit one of the worst head coaches in the nfl, who is on the hot seat like no other, on one of the most notoriously dysfunctional franchises in the league. Oh wait, that sounds exactly like oilers. I’m actually starting to feel sorry for oil fans.

    • sgs32 - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:10 PM

      I don’t know what it is, I don’t dislike the Oilers, but ever since Eakins took over he has always irritated me I the only one?

      • jaguar0413 - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        I think it’s the know-it-all attitude combined with the fake “humility” and “toughness” that does it for me.

      • blomfeld - Aug 4, 2014 at 3:25 PM

        You’re not alone friend …

        *** heard earlier today at Edmonton (YEG) International Airport ***

        “would Tardistan Airways passenger Dallas Eakins please report immediately to gate 5”

        summary: when you’re a LA King’s fan, everyday is a ‘beautiful’ day !!! :) :) :)

      • ibieiniid - Aug 4, 2014 at 4:05 PM

        you WOULD like U2, blom.

  2. succulentnipples - Aug 4, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    Cool story bro.

  3. guitarhunterdude - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    Maybe he can pick up some roster-building tips from Jerruh Jones while he’s at it. I actually like Eakins, but this just sounds like more Oilers’ FO stupidity.

  4. 7mantel - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    Of all the NFL coaches he chooses Garret ? Picked his brain and found nothing !

    • ibieiniid - Aug 4, 2014 at 3:31 PM

      hell, there’s 3 better coaches in that division alone.

  5. ruthlessandtoothless - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    Apparently he wants to go for a 41-41 record this year

  6. pete387 - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    Why not the Seahawks and Pete Carroll? Would’ve been a shorter trip.

  7. tmoore4075 - Aug 4, 2014 at 3:12 PM

    Glad I’m not the only one who thought….”huh?”

  8. wutangwild - Aug 4, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    Why…? Yes, I know the Vikes have been sub-par too, but there are much better coaches to consult.

  9. ray2013 - Aug 4, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    A friend of mine is an Oilers season ticket-holder so I go to a few games every year. Honestly I think he is the worst coach out of the past four, but because the Oilers finally recognized that changing coaches every year wasn’t a good thing, he got to stay on. This sounds good on paper, and if he had gone to see the Seahawks or the Patriots, then we may even applaud him for the move. But not Garrett and not the Cowboys.

  10. ibieiniid - Aug 4, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    missed opportunity on the sub-headline for “Dallas does Dallas”?

  11. alicesrightfootesq - Aug 4, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    This sounds like an Edmonton front office PR move more than something Eakins thought would be a great idea. I’d ask why EDM FO thought it would be good PR but I’m sure I know the answer to that.

  12. Hard to BeLeaf - Aug 4, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    If I’m going to Dallas to pick another coach’s brain, I would have went with Lindy Ruff. Only reason to talk to the Cowboys would be if their cheerleaders were having tryouts this weekend.

  13. vipod4ever - Aug 4, 2014 at 7:11 PM

    Out of the box? More like this guy is desperate and reaching.

  14. txhockeygirl - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:53 AM

    feel sorry for the fans – Garrett is a puppet and a sorry one at that.

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