I anticipated that Jonathan Gannon was going to bring a burst of energy to the Cardinals’ building today. What I didn’t anticipate was feeling a sense of genuine honesty at that podium in ways that I don’t think I have ever seen before.
You have heard me say numerous times how it has often felt like the Cardinals were always trying to act like some sort of covert, undercover operation to the point where every terse remark came across as being veiled or coined.
If I am correct in what I am feeling right now —- doing as JG suggested in “be where your feet are” —- aka “living in the moment” —- the days of deception at the Cardinals’ podium may have just come to a swift and merciful end.
If I am being honest with myself, I think this was the most outstanding introductory press conference for a new head coach that I have ever watched and heard.
The truth was in JG’s eyes and calmness in which he articulated his messages.
I have never seen the kind of honest and direct answers to questions from any Cardinals’ coach than what I saw from JG today. Even when he offered what might have been construed as a few cliches, they didn’t feel trite, they felt spun in a fresh and inspiring way.
Look at how JG answered the questions about Kyler Murray. He provided a distinct blueprint for how he is going to get Kyler healthy and back on track to being a DC’s “problem” to defend. Listening to JG talk about Kyler one could have easily believed that he is an offensive-minded head coach.
JG talked about how he got to where his feet are today by being curious to learn, by eagerly wanting to listen to people, by heeding Nick Sirianni’s advice as to what it takes to be the commander of an entire team and organization,
I kept thinking to myself, if the Cardinals’ players follow the path that JG illuminated for everyone watching today, then we are likely to be surprised by the players’ growth to the point of wondering whether these are the same players..
You’ve heard me allude to the Hubie Brown quote before —- “the great ones always listen.”
There is no doubt in my mind that JG is a great listener —- because he is ravenous to learn.
Speaking of the Cardinals players, look at how many of them showed up.
That tells us something right there,
It looks like the days of some Cardinals not showing could quite possibly be behind us.
Like JG said, “if you have the right mindset —- and you listen to people —- and you bring a winning attitude —- and you always put the team first —- you will be able to hold yourself accountable to the highest standards.”
That’s about as honest an understanding of what taking accountability means.
After all isn’t accountability —- honesty?
JG’s statement about accountability is exactly in line with what Monti Ossenfort, in his intro presser, outlined to us about the team’s new core values.
JG said that the two most winning stats in the NFL are “explosives and takeaways.”
JG said his schemes can change from week to week because in today’s NFL “adaptability” is the key to preparation.
What JG wants and expects from his team: “to be very adaptable —- violent —- explosive —- smart —- and ever-evolving.”
What the Eagles players loved about JG, he was always asking them for their input as to what their strengths are and what their weaknesses are —-because he was curious to know the players’ thoughts first so that he could devise a plan to maximize their strengths.
I appreciated what he said about re-watching the Super Bowl game in his hotel room on Sunday night —- feeling most sad for his players —- and viewing the game as an auspicious learning experience in order to understand what he would do differently the next time.
So, when JG talks about being ever-evolving, the words and the music match.
Amazing to think too that JG didn’t even know he was interviewing with the Cardinals until after the game when Eagles’ GM Howie Roseman told him he’s be staying the night in order to meet with the Cardinals the next day. Michael Bidwill confirmed that arrangement with the Eagles so as to not cause any distractions.
When JG was asked what the last four days were like for him emotionally and physically, one would have understood if he uttered a sigh and spoke about what roller coaster it had been —- except, no —- he said it felt like “normal” because when one lives in the moment one deals with each challenge as it is presented.
Typically, I would feel a little cynical about someone calling JG’s last four days normal, but hearing it the way he described it, in conjunction with his daily mantras, I knew he was being completely honest.
Talk about being adaptable.
And now that a sunburst of honest energy has shown up at the Cardinals’ podium for the first time in a what feels like ages, I am starting believe that players all around the NFL will want to play for the Cardinals. This guy has all the feel of a pied piper.
The charisma that was on display in Glendale today will be felt all over the NFL universe.
If there was ever any doubt as to why the Cardinals chose JG to be the next head coach, all questions were answered to day —- by the man himself —- while manifesting the honest values that he lives with —- in the present —- where his feet are.
Did you hear what JG said about why he loves football more than any other game?
His answer to that question, as much as any other, was exactly what the Cardinals’ players need most to hear —-
Aside from the thrills of running out if the tunnel and playing on high adrenaline before millions of people —-
What a shocker!
JG said football is greatest sport because of the weekly process of how you build your preparation for the game.
He had the temerity to say —- “the process is just awesome.”
Process? You talkin’ ‘bout process?
Was there any doubt in your mind that JG meant it? After 40 minutes of answering questions as honestly, earnestly and specifically as he could, was there any doubt? This a coach who loves the process.
If the passion for process catches on with Cardinals’ players —- and, mind you, MO/JG have vowed —- they will only scout, sign and draft players who love the game, who want to put the team first and “embrace the process” —-then the brand new team culture that has been so desperately needed could be on its way.
And when that day arrives —- so might some new uniforms.
See what a little honest energy can get you?