IRVING, Texas– Given a day to digest it, the Cowboys remain unconcerned about Greg Hardy's sideline demeanor from Sunday's loss to the Giants.
That's not to say they haven't addressed it, however.
"We went through that a number of times after the game yesterday and we talked about the value of having passion and emotion and enthusiasm for the game," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. "Greg and I talked about how you can channel that better."
Hardy is at the center of non-stop discussion for his behavior late in the 27-20 loss, when he had a physical altercation with special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia and argued with Dez Bryant following a kick return touchdown by Giants wide receiver Dwayne Harris.
For his part, Bisaccia said Hardy's motivational tactics weren't concerning, but they were poorly timed given that the kickoff unit was about to return to the field. Garrett agreed with that assessment during his usual Monday evening press conference.
"There's a lot of emotion that goes into this game and that's what we want. What we need to do is have our players channel that emotion," Garrett added. "We talked to Greg specifically about 'OK, we get it, we understand what you're trying to do, but coach Bisaccia is trying to get that special teams unit ready to go play.'"
Garrett said Hardy will not be disciplined for the episode, and he emphasized several times on Monday that the issue isn't particularly concerning within the Cowboys organization. But it's not exactly surprising to see a national spotlight shined on Hardy, given his history and recent outlandish comments.
Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said after the game that he welcomed the kind of passion and intensity that players like Bryant and Hardy brought to the sideline. Asked about it Monday, team executive vice president Stephen Jones agreed with that sentiment, recalling the intensity brought to the organization by other prominent players.
"Frustrations can flow. We've had great football players throughout our ownership that can get fiery on the sidelines," Jones said. "He's not the first to do that, whether it's a Michael Irvin, Dez Bryant, a Charles Haley. We've had them. I think a lot of that is what comes with what makes them great. They are obviously very much big-time competitors and they want to win and they certainly can get emotional and it's not an issue here."
As much discussion as Hardy has generated off the field, his play on the field has garnered plenty of attention, as well. Since returning from his four-game suspension, Hardy has lived up to his Pro Bowl caliber, notching three sacks in two games. That's tied for the team lead, alongside Jack Crawford.
That production, coupled with Hardy's off-field behavior, prompted a question about whether the Cowboys would want to sign the defensive end long-term. Stephen Jones was emphatic in his response.
"Absolutely. Very much a possibility, and he's done everything since he's been with us in a good way," he said. "I know he'll continue to improve because he wants to be respected and he wants to be a guy who is involved in the community. And I think that will come for him."[embeddedad0]
In the meantime, it's to be expected that Hardy will continue to generate discussion – for his excellent play as well as his off-field behavior. Garrett maintained his position that the Cowboys aren't concerned, but that they will keep working with their mercurial pass rusher.
"Greg Hardy practices hard, he plays hard and he plays well in games. Greg Hardy, just like every one of us, is a work in progress. I'm a work in progress, our coaching staff is a work in progress, every player on our team is a work in progress," he said. "So what we're trying to do is develop Greg as a person and develop him as a player, just like we're trying to do with 52 other players on our active roster, 10 players on our practice roster and every coach and everybody else who is connected with our team."
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