The Dallas Cowboys held their opening training camp press conference from Oxnard, California on Sunday, and as expected the trio of Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Head Coach Jason Garrett generated plenty of interesting quotes for Cowboys Nation.
Entering their first training camp in 14 years without QB Tony Romo, expectations – along with the feeling of doubt – have never been higher for a Cowboys team that discovered a budding star to replace Romo last season in Dak Prescott. Dak’s backfield mate and fourth overall pick Ezekiel Elliott should also be reason for optimism with the 2017 Cowboys, but yesterday all Elliott related questions directed to the team’s brass were understandably about a potentially impending suspension and his off-field behavior.
Watching mostly as a fan just desperate to get back to some football, one theme stuck out from Dallas’ press conference. This is a team that absolutely can meet their Super Bowl expectations this season, but only if Jason Garrett takes a step up as their leader.
Upcoming Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Jones spoke to the media Sunday about being able to take more risks to round out the roster when the Cowboys’ “core” has been so strong. On the surface, these comments make the Cowboys’ head coaching job sound like a nightmare – far from the privilege Garrett frequently refers to it as.
Yet Jason Garrett, entering his seventh full season as the head coach of America’s Team, has been exactly the guy both the Jones’ and Will McClay have wanted to transition their roster from old and middling to young and competitive.
Risks that the Cowboys have taken will still be present from the practice fields of Oxnard, but at least on day one it was Jason Garrett – with his blue shirt, sunglasses, and cool demeanor – that lulled the press and fans alike to sleep with repeated talk of his trust in the Cowboys’ core, his coaching staff, their program, and leadership ability.
Not only was Jason in mid-season form, but he was right.
The Cowboys 2017 draft class, from top to bottom, was about bringing in overall low-risk players with above average floors. This, on the heels of a 2016 class that could go down as their best ever despite another second round risk in Jaylon Smith, should signal the full arrival of a Jason Garrett led Cowboys football team this fall.
If Garrett truly believes in the Cowboys’ overall structure as a team he is ready to lead to an elusive sixth Super Bowl, he is going to need to show even more leadership qualities and command over every aspect of the Cowboys.
This power for Jason will certainly come as warranted, as the cornerstone players the Cowboys turn to in hard times like now have all raved about his player-first mentality and right approach to the game. More than just cornerstones are in place for the 2017 Dallas Cowboys though, as Garrett has built a roster capable of amazing things.
So, as Jerry Jones rambled yesterday afternoon about past players the Cowboys gambled on for better or for worse and how proud he’s been of previous successes, the stories he told all felt like cautionary tales from the past – thanks solely to the man sitting next to him that was chosen for moments like these, Head Coach Jason Garrett.