OXNARD, Calif. –As Joe DeCamillis said afterward, there's no more complaining about trying to organize 11 guys on special teams.
Wednesday, the Cowboys took in a presentation by U.S. Army general David Rodriguez, the highest commander of more than 800,000 American troops at home and abroad and the man who, along with general David Petraeus, oversaw the surge in Afghanistan. Rodriguez is a distant relative of Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, who asked him to speak to the players and coaches on the concepts of leadership, preparation and teamwork.
"He was off the charts," Garrett said. "All the stuff we're talking about right here, he talked about in the context of life and death running the Army … all of the same things we talk about, they talk about. Theirs are life and death situations, ours are trying to win football games, but there's a lot of stuff we can learn."
Rodriguez spoke to the team for roughly 20 minutes, and answered questions for another 20.
"He talked about preparation, adaptability, 'if' type situations, and what you need to do to be able to do, how prepared you need to be to be able to adjust," Garrett said. "And again, it's not about making a first down. It's about, if we don't do this, we're going to lose some lives here. … It was emotional for some of our players, and it was really pretty darn good for me individually, for guys individually and I think certainly for our team as well."
The Cowboys were presented with a jersey on behalf of Rodriguez and his team, and DeMarcus Ware and Tony Romo gave the general a signed helmet.
"He came in and sat in the meetings and was fascinated by it," Garrett said. "We talked about film … Rodriguez says, 'Oh yeah, we do a lot of that high definition stuff too.' I said, really? He said 'Literally, it's 10,000 feet away and we can see the writing on this (press credential) right here.' That's how close they can zoom in on a guy.
"It's just a whole different level."