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Kavner: Cowboys Casting Net Wider For Talent, Potential

Posted Jul 10, 2014


IRVING, Texas – Jason Garrett’s approach of getting “the right kind of people” in the locker room seems to be creating a more important subsequent effect.

But first, what are the “right kind of people?” They’re players who fit into a type of culture he’s tried to foster since becoming the head coach in Dallas. Those players are guys he doesn’t have to worry about because he knows they’re accountable and prepared hard workers.

Buzz words and phrases describe this attitude on giant boards and posters hanging throughout the Cowboys’ facility, usually with five or fewer words on each:

Compete. Execute. Passion. Do Your Job. Finish. The Team. The Team. The Team. Relentless.

Speaking of that last word, Garrett always references a “relentless spirit” when asked what he wants from his players. He’s preached the importance of having the right kind of players on his team since he became the head coach. With three full seasons in that position, he now has the guys he wants from a locker room standpoint.

What that now does is allow the Cowboys the opportunity to take chances on players who might not fit that typical bill and whose previous teams may not have used those buzz words to describe them. 

The Cowboys simply need to get better, and the head coach appears willing to take more chances to get that done, particularly on defense after an abysmal season. Assistant director of player personnel Will McClay and the pro personnel department have signed a multitude of players they may not have touched in previous seasons, most notably with their recent signing of Rolando McClain.

Now, given the circumstances of that team-friendly deal, it makes perfect sense. They’re assuming little to no risk for the potential of a lucrative award in bringing in McClain, who’s got the talent to start but the past transgressions to warrant hesitancy.

It’s doubtful two or three years ago the Cowboys would take that chance. 

On a lesser note, they may not have grabbed Jeremy Mincey, either, a player the Jaguars penalized for violating team rules and arriving late to meetings. In addition, Dallas’ second-round pick and first defensive player selected in 2014, Demarcus Lawrence, dealt with multiple one-game suspensions during his short tenure at Boise State for violating team rules, which Lawrence described as a result of childish behavior.

Now, those three could end up being starters and among the better defenders on a Cowboys team in desperate need of talent after the departures of stars and a critical loss in the middle with Sean Lee. The pro personnel department’s stacking up talent it may not have in the past, and that’s a credit to the current locker room presence that allows the head coach to feel comfortable stepping out on a limb.

Because of the personalities and attitudes of the players already in Cowboys’ jerseys, the coaches and talent evaluators feel comfortable enough to give players with past issues a chance they wouldn’t have in past seasons.

Casting that net wider in search of talent is a necessary step that could pay off in the form of wins.

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