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Leadership And The Cowboys: The View From 2013

After years of talk about how the Dallas Cowboys lacked leadership, a new narrative is finally emerging.


I need to make a little trip to Dallas. I want to find the offices for ESPN Dallas and start searching there and in the surrounding area for some large, empty pod things. Because I don't think the writers there are the same people they used to be.

OK. I'm joking. But look at this excerpt from a recent Todd Archer piece there.

Leadership issues have been more of an outside-the-locker-room issue than an inside-the-locker-room issue because of the lack of playoff success with the core of this team. Jason Hatcher wondered two years ago whether the Cowboys needed a Ray Lewis-type voice, as if that is the only leadership style that works.

Witten is a leader. Lee is a leader. Tony Romo is a leader. DeMarcus Ware is a leader. Hatcher has grown to become a leader.

How many times have we heard that the Cowboys lacked real leadership, from a variety of outlets?

Leadership is not the only area of the team that seems to be inspiring a new attitude among the media. Calvin Watkins wrote a piece that takes a reasoned approach to the ongoing offensive line issues, and points out that this is not an easy problem to solve. And Tim MacMahon has two articles I noticed, one defending Romo against the ridiculous remarks of "first round bust" (MacMahon's own words from the title) Travis Johnson, and another talking about how all the offseason furor about play-calling and hot seats had no effect on the respect the team has for Jason Garrett.

And it is not just ESPN. There is a general change in how the Cowboys seem to be seen all over the place. Not as far as the players on the field or how competitive they are, but more how the team is being run, and led. The blogosphere is joining in, as is demonstrated in a post about how Jerry Jones is changing his ways and how the team has handled Phil Costa, Nate Livings, and Mackenzy Bernadeau this year, a change from the way things were done in the past.

The brash owner of America's Team is amending his stubborn ways. After all these years, he's finally placing the team's best interests in front of his ego.

By allowing all 3 players to ride the bench, Jerry is admitting his mistakes. He's allowing his declared saviors to play support roles. And there is nothing wrong with that. Jones will have indirectly created a new o-line strength...quality depth.

Jones finally moved his ego aside by allowing coaches and scouts form the best team possible. Dallas has a solid chance to field a dangerous team this season.

What this is really about, I think, is that the culture has changed for the Dallas Cowboys, and it is finally becoming impossible to ignore. The real credit goes to Jason Garrett, and to Jerry and Stephen Jones. How that credit is divided up is hard to say, since it is hidden behind the most effective form of dezinformatsiya known to man (the combination of Jason Garrett press conferences and Jerry Jones talking just about anywhere, which often manage to completely cancel one another out), but there is now a realization that a lot began to change for the Cowboys when Garrett became the head coach. I think all three men deserve credit, because there is a blend of things going on. Jerry Jones trusts Garrett more than he has any other coach and is willing to let Garrett have the power he needs. At the same time, Jerry is giving Stephen more and more responsibility in the day to day running of the team, and the third leg of the triangle is that Stephen and Garrett probably see eye to eye on about 90% or more of just about everything.

This has not led to success on the field yet, but it does give hope that it is going to happen, despite the horrid luck the Cowboys have had on the offensive and defensive lines in training camp. I know it is not very scientific, but there is just a feel that this year, a lot of things are coming together. Not all of them, but maybe just enough to see the team get back into the playoffs. There just seems to be a swagger, or maybe it is just quiet confidence from the players. And it all goes back to Jason Garrett and his infamous process, and the owner and his son that trust in the head coach.

The rest of the NFL world is starting to catch on. There is a realization that the old jokes about Jerry and his bull in a china shop ways are now really no more accurate that the whole bull in a china shop myth.

Adult leadership has arrived in Dallas.


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