On the Cusp of the Cut

Although I haven’t been posting this past week, I’ve read with much fascination all the Blogs and Fanshots from the writers and members of BTB. You guys are the most insightful group of fans I’ve found on the internet for any team in any sport. Your Blogs, Fanshots and the member’s related posts always give me reason to pause and consider all things Cowboy. Forgive me Kegbearer. You made a similar blog while I was typing this and this is no way as good as your blog. But I typed it, so I’m posting it.

Most recently there’s been a lot of Blogs and Fanshots concerning the cuts we’ve seen this year, the debate of Building versus Rebuilding and the influences on Jason Garrett that created all this change. In my opinion, they’ve all been great! They each contribute to my edification and now, I’d like to give my thoughts on the inter-relationship of all these events that are evidence of the philosophy of Jason Garrett.

First things first, I don’t believe for a second that Jason Garrett is the type of personality who can ever or will ever rebuild a team. He’s a fighter and achiever who just can’t be uncompetitive. So, there’s just no way this is a Rebuilding year in the heart and soul of Jason Garrett. It’s not ever going to be Super Bowl or bust either. He’s only going to do his best and expect success, which can only be defined by the realistic goals he’s set for himself. He’s also told us many, many times how he believes he’s going to be the best. It’s a process where every day he tries to become better than he was yesterday.

The "who" influence is hard to define with any individual but there’re some clues as to who influenced Garrett’s professional life by looking into his past a little. We all know his first professional Coach was Jimmy Johnson and it’s assumed his organization skills as well as some of his philosophies have been influential. I’d like to also include Ernie Zampeze to the list. His influence can be seen in the Garrett Offense. It’s also more likely that Garrett had much more contact with Zampeze than Johnson by virtue of Garrett being a bottom feeder on the Cowboy’s roster. Jason also coached under Sabin and Turner who have both been successful in the NFL. So, I’m sure he gleaned things from them as well.

You know, it’s also possible that he’s been influenced by Wade Phillips while he was Coaching Dallas. Although the results of his time here would indicate otherwise, I’m pretty sure some of what Wade did as a Coach was useful. If nothing else, Garrett would certainly evaluate why Wade failed and avoid those mistakes. I’ve actually worked for people who were horrible leaders (as well as people) but I took away from those situations what not to do or what not to be. I’d bet the house that most of you have had that experience at least once in your life and learned the same lesson. So Garrett’s probably no different than any of us.

The "what" is most definitely his life experiences. I don’t know anything about his private life (and don’t want to) but during his playing career, Jason Garrett lived on the cusp of the cut for 14 years. I mentioned before that he was a bottom feeder on the Cowboy’s roster. That applied to most of the teams he played for. That doesn’t make him a bad athlete. Heck, he played in the NFL for 14 years for Christ’s sake. What it did was teach him that every person on a team has a function; even the "bottom feeders".

Michael Irvin had a Hall of Fame NFL career partly because of Jason Garrett. It’s common knowledge that Irvin was the hardest worker on the Cowboys of the 90’s. But, Jason Garrett must have right up there with him because Irvin acknowledges that it was Garrett who was throwing passes to him for hours after practice so he could run such precise routes. Garrett acknowledges that by doing everything he could do to be a better player each day, which helped make the team better is why he stuck around the NFL for so long. So that brings me to why we’re seeing some of the cuts we’re seeing at Camp.

The word most used to describe why past Cowboy teams didn’t live up to their potential is entitlement. Jason just doesn’t have an entitled bone in his boy. Remember, Garrett’s a guy who was a back-up his entire career. He earned every snap he ever got in the NFL. That plays a big part in his decision making as far as who plays on his team.

We’re seeing veterans who are still capable of making an NFL roster being cut. We’re seeing young players being given the opportunity to not only make the roster, but several are going to start and all will contribute. Or they won’t make the final cut.

I’m not even going to try to figure out a final roster. I wanted to and I even tried to figure out who would be starting on the Line. Boy was I wrong! For y’all who continue to try, bless your heart.

Jason sees the player’s practice and workout habits that we don’t get to see. He knows how they study and whether they participate in their positional meetings. He also is aware of the financial implications of keeping a player who’s paid more than what he’s worth, which is a nice way of saying the player’s lazy. Players who don’t put forth the effort to earn their roster spot or their starting position each and every day are looked upon as being entitled.

Well, that’s why there’re surprises on who’s on the cusp of the cut. It’s not the Jessie Holley’s or Barry Church’s who work their butts (can we say butts on BTB?) off every day to make the cut or earn a chance to play. Gerode’s release sent the following message. Players beware; you’re all on the cusp of the cut.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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