Finish the Fight. Attack. The Ball, The Ball, The Ball.
We’ve heard all these mantras before. Maybe we’ve seen them on t-shirts. They’re catchy, they’re inspiring, but more importantly they are necessary messages that are paramount for the team to live by as they work towards a common goal - a Super Bowl victory. This year’s decree is “Re-Commit.” It’s a good message as it serves to remind everyone that everything they did to win 13 games last year carries no weight going forward. The 2016 season was a great season, but it’s over. What matters now is what they are doing today, tomorrow, and the day after that. It’s time to focus in on the tasks needed to prepare for the upcoming season.
It’s a significant message, but if these last few months are any indication, it might be falling on some deaf ears in Dallas. If the common goal is to prepare, train, fight to continue to get better so one is able to help his teammates achieve something special this season, then there should be this “all-in” attitude that spreads all throughout the community that is the Dallas Cowboys roster. Players would be spending their time training, learning, rehabbing...whatever is on their agenda that will make them a better football player tomorrow.
Jaylon Smith is committed. Jason Witten is committed. And you better believe that Dez Bryant is committed.
Unfortunately, some players aren’t so committed. Instead, fans are subjected to headline after headline where a Cowboys player is in some type of weird predicament. It’s like a messed up Three’s Company episode, only there’s no kooky landlord and each show is “to be continued” with a possible suspension.
At first things started out mild. David Irving was suspended four games for performance enhancing drugs that he ignorantly wasn’t aware was illegal within the realms of the NFL guidelines.
Then Damien Wilson got into an altercation over a parking spot. The details of the events are still cloudy, but in all accounts so far, things are pointing to a Cowboys player who behaved very irresponsibly.
Finally, there’s Ezekiel Elliott. I don’t even know what to say about what’s going on with him. Between the pot shop, car accidents, shirt flip, and now supposed bar fight - the madness is straight up out of control. If HBO did a Hard Knocks show on the Cowboys right now, people would swear it’s made up. Even Lucky Whitehead’s dog gets kidnapped and held for ransom. That sounds like something right out of a movie.
Without getting into any of the story lines or speculated views of what actually happened in these incidents, there is one thing that is perfectly clear. These players aren’t committed. If you play NFL football for the Dallas Cowboys, you have to know that every little step you take is going to be scrutinized. You are walking around under a microscope with people just waiting for you to misstep. That would be a good clue to not put yourself in a situation were something bad could happen.
I get it, the players are people too with real lives and real thirsts for fulfillment outside the game of football. But at some point they have to decide what is more important, having some fun or being a championship football player? If their actions get them in trouble and they become unavailable, they’re hurting not just themselves, but the other fifty-some odd players that they call their teammates who have been working their tails off this offseason. They are obstructing the common goal. That’s not being the right kind of guy that this organization is expecting from them. For some of these players, it’s truly time to re-commit.
And this is where Jason Garrett comes in. With training camp just a short week away, the Cowboys coach will once again be around to deliver whatever messages come out of his well-spoken mouth. It’s probably not hard to believe that there’s a good chance he’s not real happy with some of his players right now. How will he go about it within the confines of the group? How will it be received? These are very important questions that could have an insurmountable affect on the success of the Cowboys in 2017 and beyond.
We all know this is going to be a great season. The Cowboys are loaded with talent. The only thing standing in the way is if some of that talent is unavailable. It’s time for the leaders of this organization, coaches and players alike, to step in and impress upon these younger players where their focus needs to be. Without it, the “re-commit” message loses it’s meaning and they’re just standing around in a silly t-shirt.