Tough loss to Giants meant more work to be done.
After the Cowboys had a melt down in 2010, Wade Phillips was fired and Jason Garrett named head coach. From the start, Garrett spoke of changing the culture on the team and reestablishing a mind set of doing things the “Cowboy Way.”
Jason said in January 2011,
“I was fortunate to be on teams here in the ‘90s that went to the top of the National Football League. .. were the best. I understand how those teams played. I like to refer to it as the Cowboy Way. When I think about those teams, and the level we played at, and how we went about it each and every day, those are some of the models that I think about for this football team. And again, we’re going to work very hard each and every day to try and get back to that level.”
With an opportunity to win their division and make the playoffs in their last game against the Giants in 2011, the Cowboys were rolled up by the Giants 31-14. In that game fans did not see many Cowboys doing it the “Cowboy Way.” With injuries and players missing, they failed to “Cowboy Up” when things got tough.
From Urban Dictionary:
Cowboy Up: it means when things are getting tough you have to get back up, dust yourself off and keep trying.
Unfortunately, this team didn’t Cowboy up, they folded up.
I support what Jason is attempting to do in Dallas by trying to bring in the right kind of people and correct the culture. True to his word, Garrett does seem to be looking for certain type of players and it was on display in the NFL draft recently.
The Cowboys didn’t always take the top ranked prospect in each round and some experts were critical of that fact. I even called them out myself in my draft grades. Heck you have to call it out when they take a guy in the 4th round that they likely could have drafted in the 7th. Especially with higher ranked players on the board.
Jason may have been focused on guys that he believes will do it the “Cowboy Way.” So what does Jason mean when he uses that term? What is different about these prospects?
“Just One Thing”
When I hear the term “Cowboy Way” I can’t help but think of one of my favorite movies “City Slickers” which is the story of some guys facing mid life crisis who find renewal and purpose on a cattle driving vacation. A favorite scene is when true cowboy and a “man’s man”,Curly, explains to Billy Crystal, the secret of life is”just one thing.” Naturally Billy ask what is that one thing? And Curly replies, “that’s what you got to figure out.” VIDEO
Curly wisely points out that it is helpful to be focused on “just one thing.” I think Jason was looking for some rookies whose “just one thing” is football. He wants guys that eat, sleep, and drink it and are consumed with becoming better players and making their team better. Jason has said he likes players who, “love to play football and show you that they love it each and every day.”
Guys who are distracted with the media/social media and such have been given a one way ticket out of Dallas. Just ask Martellus Bennett. By the way, T.O. and Pacman Jones need not apply.
Team Captains Wanted
It has been no accident that Jason has drafted 8 team captains in his two drafts as head coach including 4 more recently. In college, team captains are selected by their teammates as guys who set the example of working hard on and off the field including the classroom.
Clearly Jason likes guys who set a good example of a strong work ethic. I believe a poor work ethic can be just as contagious as a good one so it is important to have leaders who do it right or the cowboy way.
Chip on Their Shoulder
I believe Jason likes to draft guys who feel they have something to prove. These kind of guys hear a voice in their head that drives them to succeed. They tend to stay in the weight room after everyone else leaves and are often found on the field doing additional drills after practice. No coach makes them do it, they just are driven by something inside.
These type of players are inspiring and you can’t help but pull for them to succeed. Many people can relate to hearing “you aren’t this” or “you are too that.” It can be highly motivating.
Morris Claiborne– It was no secret that he had one of the lowest Wonderlic scores ever and it has been reported that he may have a reading disorder that effected his performance. Perhaps Morris, at one time a WR at LSU, hears a voice asking him,” are you smart enough to play in the NFL?” He has something to prove.
Tyrone Crawford– Received no interest from FBS college teams after playing HS football in Canada. Tyrone had to go the JUCO route to Boise State in order to get noticed. Perhaps that is why he plays with such intensity. Tyrone has a chip on his shoulder.
Matt Johnson and Caleb McSurdy– Small school players that must realize the odds are against them. It will require them out working people just to make the roster. Something to prove for sure.
Danny Coale and James Hanna– Athletic guys who had good, but not necessarily outstanding, college careers. Do they deserve to play in the NFL? They must prove themselves.
I don’t know if Jason Garrett’s efforts to change the culture in Dallas will ultimately succeed or not. But I do commend his approach and I believe the guys he drafted will prove to be an inspiration to their teammates.
In the “City Slickers” movie referenced earlier, the guys have a discussion about what was their best day and worst day ever? Perhaps Jason’s worst day as a head coach was on 1/1/12 after losing to the Giants in the final game last season. But maybe his best day as a head coach is yet to come. His best day may come when he finds the guys who will “cowboy up” in the 4th quarter of games.