To open the 2013 training camp, Jason Garrett issued a public challenge to the 90 men who comprised the initial Dallas Cowboys roster. Using some terminology that many were shocked to hear the mild mannered coach invoke, Garrett challenged each member of his squad to "Be A (Deleted) Leader." It has been a long held belief among some who cover the Cowboys that the team has long been bereft of leadership; the Rooster and his disciples would make it a priority to quash that fallacy once and for all. Garrett had thrown down the gauntlet.
After a less than stellar start to the season, out of the 53 men that remained from that original group, one stepped forward and accepted his leader's calling. After practice this past Wednesday, a Cowboy chose to step forward and address his colleagues.
Any of them could've asked Jason Garrett for an opportunity to briefly address the team Wednesday afternoon.
Only [Jason] Hatcher did.
For Jason Hatcher, it was not a spur of the moment undertaking. Over the past two seasons he has emerged as a player who sets a positive example of how the game should be played. Cowboys safety Barry Church remarked recently that, in years past, Jason Hatcher might have taken a few plays off during a game, but over the last couple seasons that has changed. "But now it's like every snap, he's going all out. His play has been tremendous."
As his career reaches that point where the end is closer than the beginning, Hatcher has found the spark to do more. Church went on to reveal that lately Hatcher has been seeking out guys to stress the sense of urgency that he feels. Over his career he has witnessed the same things year after year. He tells the younger guys that the "same old, same old" concept will not get them where they need to be. The veteran defensive tackle reminds them that they need to give their best effort and that they need to do so now. He knows time is getting short
Following the missed opportunity that knocked in Kansas City, Hatcher took a large step forward as a team leader. To start with, he took ownership of the failure in a public manner.
I'm sorry Cowboysnation. We owe y'all a victory next week. Let's get loud like y'all were last week. We got yall. Don't worry.— Jason Hatcher (@hatcher97) September 15, 2013
Proir to this tweet, there was also one, since taken down, in which Hatcher stated that the defense was responsible for the loss, they broke at the end and could not stop the Chiefs when they needed to; he vowed that he would never allow that to happen again.
Then Hatcher initiated his "Come to Jesus" moment with his coworkers. He called the entire group out for not being singularly committed to winning and challenged everyone to "play for more than just a paycheck." Not through, he also called on two of the most respected men in the locker room, Jason Witten and Tony Romo, to "ride with me." Jason Hatcher has had enough, and he implored each man, player or coach, to stand with him and put an end to mediocre football in Dallas.
This is Jason Garrett's master plan. It's what the Cowboys of the '90s knew and understood.
Sure, Jimmy Johnson held the ultimate trump card, but the players created an environment of excellence and accountability.
The players controlled the locker room and demanded more from one another than Johnson ever could,...
Jason Garrett has preached accountability since he assumed the mantle in mid season 2010. In Jason Hatcher, he appears to have found the "apostle" who will step forth and hold the disciples accountable for following The Way Of The Rooster.