In the first installment of The Way of the Rooster I took a look at how his own passion to play football has shaped the image of what type of player he wants. Today I want to look at some other guys who Jason Garrett has been associated with who helped to reinforce the concept in his mind.
Today I want to look at two of Garrett's teammates whose love of football is what carried both of them to the level of performance that secured both of them a special place in the history of the Dallas Cowboys. They both come from different ends of the NFL talent spectrum, and perhaps the only common trait they shared was the drive to do their best on the gridiron. Well that and they both earned the star on their helmet.
My first example is a guy that Garrett frequently sites as his image of the Right Kind of Guy, Michael Irvin. The fact that the Playmaker is whom Jason refers to as his "ideal" RKG should immediately put to rest any belief that he is looking for choirboys. That, as we all know, was not a trait that would ever be associated with Irvin. What Michael brought to the table was a deep love of being a football player. In addition to his high first round talent, the second #88 was always eager to put in the effort to make himself a better football player. Most of us are familiar with the story about how Irvin spent many hours of his own time working to develop his route running and pass catching skills. The question is why? Michael Irvin would have been one of the top WR's of his era with just the effort that he was required to put in, but he still chose to do so much more. He drove himself to be one of the best ever. As a result, the team benefited, and Michael Irvin found himself with a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The second guy whose love of football took him as far as he could go was Bill Bates. A four year starter in college, Bates was considered to slow and too small to make it in the NFL. An undrafted free agent, he was considered to be a long shot to make the team, but thanks to his heart and hustle he earned himself a slot as a special teams guy. The legendary Tom Landry one was quoted as saying " If we had 11 guys who played as hard as Bill Bates does, and did their homework like he does, we would be nearly impossible to beat". Due to his love of football and the effort that love brought out in him, the small, slow guy from Tennessee who was not given a chance to make the team is tied with "Too Tall" Jones and Mark Tuinei for the most seasons spent in a Cowboys uniform with 15.
For Jason Garrett, both guys were examples of what being a Right Kind of Guy can do for a football career. Though each brought something different to the table, inside they were both the same type of football loving, driven guys who left it all on the field. Today I see two guys on Garrett's roster that each match up nicely with these two Cowboys legends. Obviously, Dez Bryant is the guy who bares a strong resemblance to Irvin. Both have faced some issues off the field, but once they enter the locker room each of them is a highly talented receiver who gives all that he has to be the best he can be. For this squads "Bill Bates" I had to think a little deeper. Both Cole Beasley and Barry Church came to mind. In the end Church won out simply because, like # 40, Barry Church started out a special teams guy, eventually won himself a starting slot, and I think that ultimately Church will be replaced as a starter but will remain that guy who is impossible to get off the roster. Then again, nothing says you can't have two of those guys on the same team.