Cowboys defensive end Jason Hatcher recently bemoaned the absence of a team leader. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett disagreed with Hatcher’s opinion during Garrett’s media availability at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
“I don’t want to comment too much on what Hatch said but we certainly have very good leadership on our team,” Garrett said. “I don’t want to go into the names of the guys but you know them. They set the pace for our football team and guys we wouldn’t trade for anybody. . . . [T]he more of those kinds of guys that you have on your team, guys who get invested in what you’re doing, are willing to be the right example for their teammates, are willing to be the right example for everybody in the organization and make sure they hold everybody accountable to that standard, that’s a good thing. We have a lot of them now and we want more, just like every team in the league does.”
Garrett said that leadership within the Cowboys comes in various forms.
“We believe leadership is important throughout the organization in football and outside of football,” Garrett said. “That comes from ownership, administration, from coaches and the best teams I’ve been on, it comes from players. We have a really good band of players, experienced veteran players, who’ve been very good leaders for us over the past number of years. You can’t get enough of them. We want more of them. We want young guys to be leaders.
We want middle-range guys to be leaders. We want our more veteran players to be leaders, so that’s always a criteria when we’re evaluating players, draftable players or players we might acquire in free agency: What’s their makeup, what can they bring to the football team, are they leaders. And as you know there’s so any different styles of leadership. There are guys who are more vocal guys, guys that lead by example, guys that pat a guy on the back, guys that wring guys by the neck. That’s the way it is and the way it’s always been. Again the best team’s I’ve been
on had a variety of styles of leadership from the payers. . . . We have a lot of that now. We always want more. I think if you ask any coach in the league they want more leadership from their players as well. So that’s always a part of our process.”
That’s a lot of words. But the fact remains that the Cowboys don’t have a jump-off-the-page leader. They just don’t. It’s not Tony Romo or anyone on offense, and it’s not anyone on defense.
That’s why Hatcher said what he said. The Cowboys’ players apparently want someone who will command the locker room, and they currently don’t have that. They may have a smattering of second-level leaders, but that’s not what they need in order to get back to the playoffs and, eventually, the Super Bowl.