Jason Garrett has good relationship with Mike Zimmer

IRVING, Texas -- Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has a good relationship with Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.

The two never coached together, but Zimmer was a defensive coach when Garrett was a backup quarterback with the Cowboys in the 1990s.

"He's a great coach, has been a long time, a great coach when he was here," Garrett said Wednesday. "I learned a ton from him. We have a really good relationship and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a person and as a coach and his defenses always play well and this year is no different."

The Bengals have the eighth best defense in the NFL and rank 11th against the run and the pass. The defense has been able to hold a lead late in games. The Bengals are 5-1 when leading after three quarters this season.

Garrett said you can't get caught up in knowing what Zimmer likes to do from a defensive standpoint because mistakes will be made.

"I do believe you have to watch the tape and see what they're doing," Garrett said. "The philosophies we all have as coaches, that we like, and then you have to see what you have on your team and try to coach your team the best you can for now and try to put players in positions where they can be successful. That's the best way to see what they're doing in that regard to watching the tape and see how they're using different guys."