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2016 Cowboys: An Exercise in Psychological Team Building



Cowboys Headlines - 2016 Cowboys: Psychological Team Building

Hello friends! It's been a while! I missed every single one of you... I promise! Even though I haven't written in quite some time, you best believe my mind has been churning out ideas. Most importantly, on the topic of psychological team building.

There are a lot of things we think about when considering what a championship team consists of. How many times have we seen these "super teams" built, not even just in football, and then you see them fall flat?

Most people would say you need all this great talent on your team, right? That is absolutely true.

You need a quarterback that can at least be a bus driver (I would have said you need great QB play until Peyton Manning won it all last year). Talent on both ends of the ball is a must. You need a part of your team that is unstoppable, whether that be a defensive line that can't be stopped, a secondary that is impenetrable, a running game that gashes, etc.

You can build a team filled with elite players, but that doesn't guarantee success. At the end of the day, a major piece of the puzzle that is missing is the psychological aspect to football, and sports in general.

As fans, we tend to separate the human aspect from the players we are watching. We are all guilty of this. It's hard to see these people as actual human beings, rather than football-playing robots. Do human beings get tired? Have they tried to cut corners? Do human beings get lazy? Are human beings capable of giving their all at all times?


Cowboys Headlines - 2016 Cowboys: Psychological Team Building 3

DeMarco Murray takes oxygen on the Cowboys sideline


For us to think that every single player has it in them to go max-effort every single play of a game is simply naive.

There are 22 players on the field at a given time. Fifty-three players fill up a locker room. Are we really thinking that every single one of them is a high motor, high energy, fiery spirited person that gives their all at all times?

Not to mention, people get tired and when they get tired, these characteristics show up even more.

Now let's get to how it relates to the Cowboys.

The Dallas Cowboys and Team Psychology

For example, let's think about Rolando McClain...

We all know there are plays where you can tell Rolando McClain is either gassed, injured or he is saving up/recuperating energy. You can see when this happens. (Disclaimer: I'm not trying to call out McClain, but he is a great example for this.)

Now, let's also think about Tyrone Crawford last season. Tyrone Crawford played a large portion of last season with a rotator cuff issue.

Now, if Tyrone Crawford chooses a play where he is going to give max effort and he helps clear Rolando McClain for an easy tackle, but McClain is not giving max effort, how does that affect the team as a whole?


Cowboys Headlines - 2016 Cowboys: Psychological Team Building 2


Crawford thinks he just gave his all for nothing, despite the injury he is playing with. McClain knows he missed out on an opportunity. On the next play, McClain gives his all and Crawford is easing up a bit.

This is just an example to try to get people to humanize athletes a little more. It makes sense to think that this sort of thing happens. It's impossible to get everyone playing 100% for every snap of a game.

These things will happen, but it is a matter of minimizing them and making sure you have enough high energy players giving max effort as often as possible.

This is why I believe these super teams are never a slam dunk. When you combine top-tier athletes together, they may not all play at 100%, thinking someone else will make that huge play and they can relax a bit.

How can you counter natural human elements?

Having Orlando Scandrick back in 2016 will be HUGE.

This team plays differently when he is on the field. What Dez Bryant brings to the offense, Orlando Scandrick brings to the defense. This is a player who plays at such a high energy level that he makes everyone else around him play up to his level.


Cowboys Headlines - 2016 Cowboys: Psychological Team Building 1

Orlando Scandrick brings a whole new element to the Cowboys defense


He talks a lot, he's flashy, and he flies around all over the field. It's hard to take plays off when you have that guy energizing you.

With all the youth that this team has, and all the players fighting for a place in the NFL, you get players that should be giving everything that they have. These players are trying to make themselves some money. There is a lot of hunger there.

When you combine youth, hunger, talent and energy, you get the most out of your team. When you hear the term "high motor," that is getting toward what I'm talking about.

If you're an NFL player, chances are there is talent there. Everyone has a particular skill that is very good, at a minimum. Get everyone playing as hard as they can and you're really harvesting something.

I think this is something that Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots do really well.

How many times have people counted out areas of the Patriots team only to feel stupid in the end?

I often question how a guy like Malcolm Butler goes from a nobody to their shutdown corner in no time. Well, it's because Belichick not only knows how to put his players in positions for them to succeed, but he makes every guy bring his all.

2014 Dallas Cowboys: A Perfect Example

The 2014 Dallas Cowboys were a phenomenal example of what energy and effort can do.

Everyone thought that defense would be historically bad. But, they weren't nearly as bad as everyone expected, despite having practically no big-name talent on it.

What they had were a bunch of young nobodies that were playing as hard as they could together as a unit. Jon Gruden called them the "UFO" defense. A bunch of unidentified flying objects, because they were nobodies who just flew all over the field.

The 2016 team is clearly going for the same identity. They need the offense to control the clock and put up points like it has for the duration of Tony Romo's existence.

The defense... well, they will be a bunch of guys looking to make names for themselves, prove people wrong, and make themselves some serious money.

I've been blogging about sports and music for almost eight years now. I also work in media relations for a New York sports team, so I understand the bridge between the outlets writing about a team and the team monitoring content. I hope to bring something new to Inside The Star, getting deep into draft work, breakdowns and I always come with a strong and passionate opinion. I'm very active on Twitter, so ask questions, comment on stuff, etc. and I will almost definitely respond to you in some sort of debate!

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Player News

Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018

Sean Martin



Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladoucer for 2018 1

Continuity is the key to good special teams play in the NFL. Already losing long-time Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia to the Raiders - who promptly snatched ST aces Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber in free agency - the Dallas Cowboys have announced their intentions to re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for the 2018 season.

Returning on a one-year deal, the fan favorite Ladouceur will be back to do what he does best in cleanly executing almost every special teams snap for Chris Jones or Dan Bailey to handle.

Todd Archer on Twitter

Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur will re-sign with the Cowboys on Monday, according to sources, on a one-year deal. He will be in his 14th season with the franchise. Only Jason Witten, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei will have more years of...

While Jones has improved as the Cowboys' punter with each passing season, Kicker Dan Bailey actually enters 2018 as another question mark on this unit. With the general belief around the team being that Bailey will be just fine moving forward, the Cowboys will no longer have to worry about who handles long snaps next year either.

Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladoucer for 2018

Dallas Cowboys LS L.P. Ladouceur

L.P. Ladouceur is back in the silver and blue, and in this moment, everything can be alright with the world.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Player News

Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys Re-Sign Linebacker Kyle Wilber

A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.


The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber:

Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.

Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.

The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.

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Player News

Report: Cowboys Officially Release CB Orlando Scandrick

Kevin Brady



Orlando Scandrick

After requesting his release from the team just a few days ago, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has gotten his wish. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Scandrick has officially been cut by the Dallas Cowboys.

Josina Anderson on Twitter

I'm told the #Cowboys have informed CB Orlando Scandrick he will be released, per source.

This move will reportedly save the Cowboys roughly $1.4M against the salary cap, as we hope they finally look to make some moves during the Free Agency period.

Scandrick's release comes after an offseason in which the Cowboys totally overhauled the back end of their defense, specifically their cornerbacks. With the emergence of young, promising players such as Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, and the health issues of the aging Scandrick, the move makes a lot of sense.

In fact, after the Cowboys drafted Awuzie in the second round of last year's draft it was rumored the Cowboys were looking to move Scandrick for extra draft picks. Instead, one year later, they have cut him to save some cap room.

Orlando Scandrick should have a market to find a new team elsewhere, but his time in Dallas has now come to a close.

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