In the final installment of my look I want to take a look at the role a leader plays in following the path that Jason Garrett has set forth. We all know the media believes that there is a dearth of leadership on the Dallas roster, but a closer look reveals that nothing could be further from the truth.
As a player, Garrett himself lead by example. He was the guy who put in the extra effort, set a positive example for others, and lived up to the moniker The Right Kind of Guy. The type of leadership that Garrett is looking for among his players is not necessarily the Ray Lewis type, although that type of performance has its place. Getting the team fired up is only one part of what a real leader does. The Disciple of the Rooster leads by example.
The first, and the most criticized, leader on the team is quarterback Tony Romo. HE is a guy who sets an example by working hard and taking responsibility upon himself for continually striving for improvement. Remember during the lockout it was Romo who organized the player's off season workouts. Tony also, like his head coach did before him, puts in the type of serious study of film, not only for game prep, but also for self improvement. He sets the tone to drive his fellow players to invest themselves into putting forth the effort to become a better football player.
Another guy who puts forth a positive example is DeMarcus Ware. Not only is he focused on maintaining himself at the level he has obtained, Ware was also observed earlier this off season doing something unexpected. He was on the sidelines working with Cole Beasley, helping the young receiver work on beating press coverage. Not only was he investing his efforts in a guy who is essentially the fourth or fifth guy at his position, but he was working with him on something that most DE/OLB types would not normally be expected to be involved with. When you are one of those silent leaders; however, you do whatever it takes to help make the entire team stronger.
Both Dwayne Harris last year, and according to several sources, Phillip Tanner this season; have committed themselves to a complete rebuilding of their bodies in order to make them more effective on the football field. Last season we saw what Harris was able to do, and early reports out of OTAs this summer are showing that Tanner, who many believed would be the odd man out this year, might have upped his odds of remaining on the 53 thanks to the effort he put in. Both guys have clearly set an example that should serve to inspire their teammates to put in a similar effort.
Doug Free, the much maligned right tackle, did an outstanding job of setting an example for his colleagues during his recent renegotiation. He took the high road, even while being bashed in the media and pressured by the team in to taking a serious pay cut. Doug not only kept the issue out of the media and refused to "negotiate" through the press, he also stayed involved in team activities like the home run derby at the Rangers game and the team golf outing.
The type of leaders Coach Garrett is looking for are the guys who actually get things done. They don't draw attention to themselves by doing so publicly, behind the scenes these leaders serve as an inspiration to the rest of the team. They talk the talk when the time is right, but more importantly the walk the walk.