Great character Cowboys? Well, yes…kinda…

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 20: Head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys leads the Dallas Cowboys against the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth quarter at AT
ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 20: Head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys leads the Dallas Cowboys against the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth quarter at AT /

Cowboys’ head coach, Jason Garrett, has recently received criticism for referring to his players as, “great character guys”. He may just have a different definition…

The Dallas Cowboys have become a punch line this offseason. The team everyone either loves, or loves to hate, has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Legal trouble, failed drug tests, and ungentlemanly behavior abound, the 2017 Cowboys are experiencing quite the public image problem.

To make matters worse, head coach Jason Garrett spoke publicly on the matter, first admitting the “incidents”, and then referring to his team as “great character guys”. Not surprisingly many in the media pounced. Tim Cowlishaw  declared it’s Garrett who’s making the Dallas Cowboys a “laughingstock” and it’s not hard to see why he thinks that.

"“Character is critical with us, with the Dallas Cowboys,” Garrett said. “We have built this team with great character guys. We have 90 players and we love the character.”"

In the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Or perhaps it’s us that don’t understand Jason Garrett. Maybe it’s us who don’t know what he’s looking at and ultimately using to judge “character” on his team.

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High Character to Garrett

Allow me to speculate. When Jason Garrett speaks of character he’s speaking to character pertaining to the job. It’s about how the player interacts with teammates. How that player handles criticism and coaching. Character to Garrett is how a player handles himself in stressful game situations. How he adds to the culture of a locker room. And whether he bonds the team tighter or divides a team apart.

A definition like that would explain his tendency to gloss over obvious off-field issues that some of his “great character guys” seem to have a bit too often. It would explain why he cares about their availability on Sundays but avoids any public judgement concerning their morality and lifestyle.

If Garrett really did have a stance like this, it would be controversial, but at least it would make sense. It’s something I’ve been lobbying for since forever, really. I’ve wondered on many occasions why we allow our employers to judge and monitor our private lives. If we’re all doing our jobs well, what should it matter what we do “off the field”, so to speak. If we commit a crime we pay the legal penalty. Our jobs shouldn’t be allowed to pile on as well.

Perhaps when Jason Garrett speaks of high character he’s only speaking of character relevant to him and the Cowboys organization.  If that’s the answer it would be nice to hear him elaborate and explain it to the world. I’ll be the first to offer my support on his stance. But alas he has not clarified and probably never will.

The Great Distraction

Since Jason Garrett is unlikely to ever expand on his definition of “great character guys”, he’ll probably continue to get drilled for his weak approach to player discipline. It’s a shame because it distracts us all from his real head coaching deficiencies.

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Garrett’s Deficiencies

The reality is every head coach for the Dallas Cowboys is going to yield an abnormal amount of power to ownership. So let’s table all of the “puppet” talk regarding Garrett. We should be focusing on Garrett’s performance instead.

Garrett should be held accountable for his coaching. His reckless challenges and his time management.  He should be judged for his sideline demeanor and inability to adapt in real time. These are deficiencies.

When we waste our time talking about how he labels the character of his players, we take away from real issues he should be judged for: like head coaching ability.

I’m as sick as anyone for all the problems the Cowboys have had this year. I would factor off-field behavior heavily into free agent or draft decisions – not because I want to punish them but rather because those players can’t be trusted to play every week. They risk legal issues and suspension. I‘ll take a boring and reliable player every day of the week.

The Jones’ must be accountable for employing so many problematic and embarrassing players. Not Garrett. Garrett should be held accountable for his head coaching. And fairly often his head coaching leaves something to be desired.

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Let the national media grill Garrett for his press conferences. Cowboys Nation needs to grill Garrett for his coaching.