Early Sunday morning, O.C.C published a front-page post about Jason Garrett's comments to the media, during the draft, about drafting the "right kind of guys, and finishing plays." After reading that post, I decided to make a long comment which was my interpretation of the message the current Head Coach was sending to his team, as a group, and to certain individual players. I'd like to thank everyone who rec'd my comment, and I've decided to follow the suggestion to make my comment a fan post. This way, people who previously didn't get a chance to read what I wrote can do so here.
After the jump, you'll see my comment in it's entirety.
1) The Method of Communication
Jason Garrett effectively sent a Phil Jackson, Jimmy Johnson style of message to the team through the media. It was effective because he didn't publicly throw any single player under the bus. At the same time, people who follow this team, as well as the intended recipients of his message, should know who Garrett was speaking to.
2) Message to Recpient #1
Dez Bryant, you better get your bleeping act together. Garrett’s comments about guys wanting to do the right thing, loves being around teammates, and loves going to work, were pointed at Dez for his inability to learn the full playbook last year; his bitching antics on Thanksgiving; his unpaid jewelry bills; and most of all his not showing up to Valley Ranch on Friday. Even if it was excused by Jerry, Bryant could have made the effort, come by "The Ranch", and talked with Jerry, Jason, and his new WRs coach. With the way the week unfolded in the Federal District Court, as of last Wednesday, players on every team knew that on Friday they would be permitted to enter their team's facilities. Dez Bryant should have known that in light of his situation, he needed to be there on Friday, even if he had prior engagements. Garrett is telling everyone whose listening, that Bryant will not become one of the starting wide receiver unless he continues to stay focused on football, and demonstrates to the team, and the coaches, that he is willing to be accountable for his screw ups that related to football and his personal life.
3) Message to Recipients #2 and #3
Marion Barber and Tashard Choice if you expect to make this roster, you will wear a suit and tie on road trips (Barber). If you expect to have playing time increased, then you will do whatever the team asks of you, namely if you’re asked to play special teams, you will play special teams (Choice). Furthermore, just because you made emotional locker room speeches that we can dial up on youtube.com doesn’t mean you’re the right guy if you're going to demand increased playing time when you’re not fully committed to what the team expects of you.
4) Message to Recipient #4
Martellus Bennett, do you truly love football? Or do you love what football has provided you? Are you a team guy? Right now you’ve proven that you’re more in love with being an NFL player because people actually care whatever garbage comes out of your mouth, whether it involves race, or whether it’s openly questioning the abilities, leadership, and competence of your QB. Terrell Owens was a superstar, he threw Romo under the bus, and his ass was dropped like a turd in a toilet bowl. You on the other hand haven’t proven you belong in the league yet, and you flap your gums like your name is Kellen Winslow (the father). John Phillips, who's a late rd/udfa type of prospect, in his rookie season proved he’s better than you. It’s time to put up or shut up Marty B.
5) Message to Recipients #5, 6, 7, and 8
Roy Williams, Kevin Ogletree, Sam Hurd, and Jesse Holley, I hope you don’t mind a little extra competition for your roster spot this season. You guys need to understand that just because you’re veterans doesn’t mean you’re automatically making this team. You haven’t arrived by merely displaying a moment or two of brilliance (Ogletree). You can’t make this team if we can’t count on your services because of injuries (Hurd). You can’t make this team if you continue to talk like you’re a starter but don’t have the focus and drive to sustain what ever little moments of success you accomplish (Roy Williams). Just because you were the victor on Michael Irvin’s Reality Show in 2009, and just because you made the jump from Practice Squad to Game Day roster in 2010, doesn’t mean it’s time to stop working (Holley).
6) Message to the team about FINISHING PLAYS
Remember the dominating performance of football we displayed from the end of the 2009 season culminating in back to back blowouts against Philly? Remember the 60 yard block downfield Doug Free made on the useless Eagles DB to spring Felix Jones loose? Remember the hard earned victories that we had in 2010 against Houston, New York, Indianapolis, Detroit, Washington, and Philly? What did all those wins and plays have in common? We finished what we started. We put our hearts, and bodies into those games for 4 quarters and change (Indy) and came away with the W. Now, I shouldn’t have to remind you, but I will, indirectly, that the reason we lost to: Washington, Chicago, Minnesota, Tennessee, New York, Jacksonville, Green Bay, New Orleans, Philly, and Arizona last year; or for all of the late season collapses/meltdowns from 2006-2009, was we either didn’t have our hearts and minds in the game or because we just couldn’t finish what we started. Gentlemen, we need to keep pounding at that rock, like a mine worker. We need to put every ounce of our blood, sweat, and tears into this process. Every day you need to do things that will help this team get better and ultimately win. Moreover, you need to trust the process, and not get discouraged by any missteps on the path to being a champion.
1) It all comes back full circle to loving football, being accountable to yourself, your teammates, your coaches, and your family.
2) If you’re Dez Bryant, it also means being accountable to your financial obligations, and act like a reasonable millionaire should act, namely, paying your EFFING jewelry bills in a timely manner. Because if you can’t pay your bills, how the hell are you going to be accountable to the team? In case you need it spelled out, being accountable to the Dallas Cowboys means having your head in the playbook, learning all the routes you're expected to run. It also means taking responsibility for your on-field screw ups, and not throwing a temper tantrum like a 5 year old in a toy store, on National Television during Thanksgiving against the defending Super Bowl Champs no less, when the ball isn't being thrown in your direction.
Disclaimer: I'm a Dez Bryant fan.