The Dallas Cowboys are still searching for leaders on their team. Some of the guys who you might expect to be leaders just aren’t cut out for that kind of role. On defense, a guy like Roy Williams might seem like an obvious choice as a leader. But by all accounts, Roy is a quiet guy who isn’t very vocal on the field. Ditto Terence Newman, who is one of our best players but is more of a prankster than a leader. (Witness his "pantsing" of Andre Gurode in a recent practice. Or better yet, don’t witness it; it’s not a pretty sight.)
On offense, we had Drew Bledsoe last year, and Drew seemed like a leader, except Bledsoe’s personality was always a little cold and aloof. Not the qualities that will inspire other players. Another potential leader, Greg Ellis, is still mentoring guys but is stuck in his own squabble with Cowboys’ management over his contract. Terry Glenn is as silent as the Sphinx, so that rules him out. Terrell Owens is Terrell Owens; if you follow his lead you’re likely to end up at the bottom of a very deep ravine. Bradie James, by virtue of being the MLB who calls the defenses is in the natural position to be a leader, but his spotty play over the last year make that task a little more problematic.
So who will step up and lead this team? This year, on offense, I think it’s become obvious that Tony Romo is the natural leader because he’s the QB and his personality lends itself to leadership. Confident, friendly, and always quick to praise his teammates, I expect him to step up this year. On defense, it’s still a little thin for potential leaders, but I’m betting that Ken Hamlin might become that guy. Even though he’s new and only signed a one-year deal, from what I’ve heard about him he seems like a guy who will take the bull by the horns.
On offense, we have another potential leader, Jason Witten. He says he is going to step up to the plate and take his cuts. (Sorry for the baseball analogy in the middle of a football column.)
"I think, for me, I'm looking to have more of a leadership role," said Witten, who turned 25 last month. "It doesn't really matter how old you are, or how long you play. If you can get the job done, it's really more about leading by example. So that's something I want to do this year."
Mickey Spags discusses the man, the myth, the legend, Jason Garrett. OK, so he’s not exactly mythical or legendary yet, but he is a man. And he’s the man who has to handle our mercurial wide receiver Terrell Owens. So naturally, the press being the press, they are looking to get some headlines by asking Garrett about how he’ll deal with Owens. Garrett isn’t taking the bait.
"Terrell Owens is a good player, Terry Glenn is a good player, Jason Witten is a good player, the runners are good players, the line is good, so as a coach, you are really excited about that and you want to try to feature every one of those guys," said Garrett, the question merely putty in his hands. "If there is anything I learned here from my time playing is that the coach (Norv and Ernie) did a great job of that. We did things that Emmitt Smith did well, what Jay Novacek did well, and Michael Irvin and Alvin Harper, and on down the line. And obviously with the quarterback. And those guys were very good players and we did a lot of things well, and I don't want to make comparisons to those guys, but we're excited about our group and working with them and getting them to execute at a high level."
That’s worthy of a politician’s answer.
It should also make some Cowboys’ fans happy because he referenced the old regime of Cowboy greats. Lots of people complained about Bill Parcells not being a true Cowboy but actually a true Giant because he didn’t talk about the Cowboys history enough. I never understood that and thought is was silly. Is Wade Phillips actually a true Bronco because that was his first team as a head coach? Or maybe he’s a true Buffalo Bill because that was the last team he took to the playoffs. My point is, coaches in the NFL move around, it’s just the way it is, so all the stuff about Parcells not being a Cowboy I found slightly ridiculous. But that’s neither here nor there because Parcells isn’t here anymore; he’s there, as in there at the ESPN studios.
Anyway, the point of the article is that Jason Garrett may be young and inexperienced by NFL coaching standards, but he’s wise beyond d his years.
Mickey Spags also answers some email concerning Romo’s contract status. And I have to say Mickey’s right on target. Why? Because he agrees with me! Thus passing my crucial test of being a smart Cowboys writer. I kid. But he really does agree with me. One, he thinks it might be smart to wait until the season progresses and the Cowboys’ management gets a chance to further evaluate Romo. Two, he cops my analogy about the Cowboys actual commitment to Romo.
Mickey on June 15th:
Now I agree with you, but I still say it's one thing to commit to someone in your mind and it's another thing to commit to someone financially. Kind of like the difference between living with someone and marrying them, isn't it?
It’s kind of like the Cowboys are engaged to Romo, but haven’t married him yet.
Hat tip to Cowboys81 who posted the Mickey answer in the comments.
BTB-regular MysterD has a diary up linking to an article in The Sporting News about the difference between Parcells’ 3-4 defense and the Phillips 34. The article doesn’t break new ground, but it’s a good compare and contrast write-up between the two philosophies on defense.