This was certainly not the look many of the Cowboys expected to see on Garrett's face after Sunday night's victory over the Dolphins; however, it was the one they saw when entering the post game meetings when they returned to Oxnard. Let's take a look at why.
Facts are facts; most of us were well pleased with what we saw on the field Sunday night; fans, media, and even the team were happy at first. This includes Jason Garrett; you could see it on the Rooster's face. The koolaid was running strong in Canton, and many of us were becoming intoxicated on the sweet blue fluid. Based on his 24 years of experience in professional football, Jason knew that this was a toxic situation for his locker room. Instead of allowing the team to bask in the aftermath of their victory, he chose to take a page from the Bill Parcells coaching handbook. The Tuna, as some of you may remember, always used the first game as an excuse to roto-rooter his teams. There was no way he was going to allow complacency with this team.
While many were raving about the Cowboys new found running game or how a journeyman like George Selvie might have found his niche in the Dallas-2 defense; the Head Coach went on a rant. The week began with a film session that turned into a "Come to Jesus" meeting for the younger members of the team. Post meeting, the red headed one had this to say to the media:
"They’ve got the uniform on, right?" Garrett said of the younger players. "(The game is on national TV and) everybody is watching. But there is a responsibility that comes with that. To play at that field, with a big Hall of Fame logo on the middle of the field, 100 yards from the busts…there is a standard that comes with it. I think they understand that maybe a little bit more than they did at 8 o’clock in the morning."
Young guys who did not live up to what Garrett demands were called out. This includes third round draft pick J J Wilcox, of whom much is expected. While the young safety did deliver a few of the hits that Cowboys fans were expecting, he was also quite frequently out of position. Jason is looking for consistency, not flashes, and he made sure that Wilcox knew that.
"What you find out with certain players is that they can be inconsistent, they can be flash players, they show up, they make a great catch, they make a great hit," Garrett said. "But we are going to watch you play after play after play to see how you perform...You can hit everybody all day long, but if you can’t get to the point to hit the guy, you are not going to be real good.
"He’s a conscientious kid. He can be a really good player. He just needs to keep working at it and understand what it takes at this level."
Also called out was third year right guard David Arkin. He did not have a bad game, as KD Drummond told us, PFF graded his performance as a +1.1 and as Coty Saxman detailed, the line looked pretty good when he was on the field. Even though Dallas has spent the past two years working with Arkin on his strength, rather than his on the field performance, the Rooster is now demanding more from the guard who was brought in as a project. From Carlos Mendez:
"He plays tough. He played hard," Garrett said. "There are times the pass rusher got on his edge a little bit. There are times he didn’t get to the second level in the run game.
But he loves this game, and he is very passionate about it and you can see the strides he is making."
Read more here.
One of our own resident scouts, Birddog26, had this to say about Arkin:
Arkin did not look bad last night
But he is not ready for prime time as a starter. There are somethings to work on with him before the Oakland game but he is putting the the work.by Birddog26 on Aug 5, 2013 | 8:49 PM up reply rec (1) flag
It is obvious from Jason's statement that he expects that Arkin will put in that work, but in addition to a pat on the head for his effort, there was also a boot to his nether region to make sure that he continues to strive toward what Dallas expects from him.
The veterans on the team are not immune from a little motivational effort by the staff either. The coaches have all stepped up their efforts following the match up with the Dolphins. Over at that other site, Raf observed some "loud and aggressive" coaching; including "Bad Cop" Monte Kiffin showing a little tough love to his defensive leaders, Sean Lee and DeMarcus Ware. From the effort the coaches are putting in to build on what was clearly an impressive effort, it is clear that they feel that the 2013 edition of the Dallas Cowboys has the potential to be something special. They are fighting to squeeze every last ounce of performance from everyone on the roster. According to Vela "they are aiming for perfection".
To make his point, Garrett focused on the settling of the game, and the fact that Cowboys legend Larry Allen was an inductee this year. During meetings the red headed one stressed that the one thing that really set Allen apart was not his strength; it was his "pridefulness". Jason stressed that throughout his career, everything mattered to LA. Pass rush drills on a hot field in July mattered, inside running drills mattered, and every snap of the ball mattered. Preseason, in season, or post season; they all were important to Allen. The lesson Garrett took from Larry Allen, and the one he now passes along to his players, is that to be a great player you must always play with pride.
"You need to play with that pridefulness if you want to be a great player. It’s play after play after play. Young players need to be reminded of that and veteran players need to be reminded of that."
Jason Garrett has made it abundantly clear that playing with pride, not allowing yourself to become complacent, and working to improve yourself every chance that you get are key components of following The Way of the Rooster. This year he has, what looks to be the best squad that he has ever been given, and the Rooster is doing everything he can to take advantage of the situation. He will accept nothing less from his players. For this year Jason Garrett seems to have stolen a tag line from a BMW commercial: THE RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF PERFECTION. I don't know about you, but I can certainly get on board with that mantra.