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Cowboys Aren’t Responsible for a Player’s Poor Life Choices

John Williams

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Cowboys en Español: Obteniendo un Trade Por La Selección #28, ¿Richard Sherman?
Vernon Bryant / The Dallas Morning News

With the most recent news about a Dallas Cowboys player having an “altercation,” many have thrown shade grenades in Jason Garrett and the Cowboys organization’s direction. I’m just going to casually walk over, pick up the shade grenades and lob ’em right back at you.

At some point in the history of sports, organizations like the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Hurricanes began getting a reputation of being unruly and unable to “control” its players.

It has to stop.

Jerry Jones, Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys Owner/GM Jerry Jones, Running Back Ezekiel Elliott #21 (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The Dallas Cowboys, other NFL teams, and universities in the NCAA can no more predict or prevent immature players from making immature decisions than a parent can after a child leaves the house.

Several people over on Twitter have been listing the offenses of players like David Irving, Nolan Carroll, Damien Wilson, and Ezekiel Elliott have been in the news for. Then sarcastically tweeting things like “Trust the Process” and “RKG (right kinda guy).”

Your sarcasm has been noted for the record and is summarily dismissed. The actions of individuals cannot be an indictment on a coaching staff or a front office.

Can Jason Garrett follow Ezekiel Elliott around and make sure he doesn’t drive over the speed limit or get into “altercations?” No. 

Can Rod Marinelli make sure that Nolan Carroll takes an Uber after a night of drinking? Nope. 

Is Will McClay responsible for knowing what David Irving is putting into his body? C’mon man. Absolutely not. 

Was Wade Phillips responsible for Jason Witten and Tony Romo going to Cabo during the playoffs? Negative.

Cowboys Blog - The Dallas Cowboys Trust Will McClay

Dallas Cowboys Draft War Room (Photo: Smiley N. Pool/Staff Photographer)

Too many times people look at the actions of the players of the most popular sports franchise in North America and then try to attribute their actions to the organization as an indictment of its character. That is such a lazy and false narrative.

The Dallas Cowboys aren’t any different from any other NFL franchise. They have players on their teams who make poor decisions that they as an organization have no control over. 

You can’t hire baby sitters for every player on your team to keep them “under control.” Players are people too. They make mistakes. Just like I did in my twenties and just like you did too.

Jason Garrett is one of the better head coaches in the league at getting the best out of his players and keeping them motivated. How responsible should we hold head coaches for the decisions made by a small percentage of players on their football team?

You don’t hear people talking about Bill Belichick being a bad guy or a bad coach because of Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez. You also don’t see people throwing shade grenades at Marvin Lewis for all the troublemakers the Cincinnati Bengals have taken on during his tenure.

The only time that an organization or institution should be held responsible is if they’re covering up gross misconduct. Like what happened at Baylor.

To assign blame to a head coach because of the actions of his players off the field is like blaming a Pastor for the actions of his congregants outside of the church. Can he control what they do the rest of the week? Uh-uh.

Jason Garrett can talk to his team about making the right decisions and approaching the game and life the right way, but it is up to the individuals on the football team to heed that instruction.

We’ve all received instruction from wise people in our lives. Whether it was our parents, religious teachers, coaches, teachers, or other adults; and we didn’t always heed that instruction.

If I made a decision that didn’t fall in line with the way my parents were trying to raise me, it wasn’t my parents fault.

As a parent myself, my goal is to raise my daughter to make sound and wise choices. She won’t always make the right decision, however. Just because she will make a bad choice one day, isn’t an indictment on my parenting. There will come a time in her life where the responsibility for her decision-making will firmly fall on her shoulders. My wife and I will be there for her if she’s in a jam, but the responsibility will be hers.

That’s a part of life.

We make mistakes, learn from them, grow from them. For some people, especially guys, it can take much longer to grow up.

Personal responsibility, though it’s being diminished more and more every day, matters for something. No one is responsible for the actions of the players off the field aside from the players making those decisions.

Jason Garrett and the rest of the organization can’t be with players 24/7. They do their jobs when they are with the players and hope that their instruction takes hold in the mind of the player.

There comes a time in every man’s life where he has to take personal responsibility for his actions and his maturity.

The Dallas Cowboys as an organization can’t decide when that is for any player.

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I didn't start out as a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quickly as I could. I grew up a Joe Montana fan when he was with the 49ers and followed him to the Chiefs, until we moved to Texas. I've now been a Fan of the Boys since the Dark Days of the Post-Aikman, Pre-Romo era of abysmal quarterback play, now relishing in more than a decade of franchise quarterbacking for America's Team.

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6 Comments
  • Bruce Budner

    You are right that each player ultimately must take responsibility for his actions. But I am not a big believer in coincidences. And so when a long list of Cowboy players run afoul of NFL rules and/or the law, longer in recent years than any other team, one must consider whether something about the organization is at fault. I am no insider and so can’t pin the precise blame. But whether it’s Garrett not impressing on the players the importance of good conduct or the Joneses neutering Garrett in this respect or something else, one can’t simply write this problem off by saying the Cowboys have just been unlucky. Something else is going on. If the organization doesn’t look itself in the mirror, I fear the problem will continue.

    • John Williams

      At the moment the Dallas Cowboys have two players suspended. The Baltimore Ravens lead the league in the amount of money players have been fined and the New York Jets lead the league in the amount of players suspended.

      It isn’t a Dallas Cowboys’ issue, it’s a NFL issue.

    • John Williams

      You’d be surprised to learn that Dallas ranks 25th in suspensions and 19th in fines since 2002.

  • Mauricio Rodriguez

    So glad you talked about this subject, John.
    People are quick to point fingers at coaches when they really shouldn’t. As you said, Baylor was a case in which it is fair to do so. Not this though. Great job writing this.

    • John Williams

      Thanks man. I just think it’s so easy to look at the most popular and most talked about team, see they have a guy in the news for trouble, and believe that it’s the organizations fault.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DallasCowboyBooksBlog fgoodwin

    John, you are right that colleges and teams cannot be responsible for the actions of their players.

    What they CAN do however, is not tolerate or enable such behavior. By keeping such players after multiple repeated instances of breaking the rules (or laws), such organizations are enabling the bad behavior. Yes, persons s/b responsible for their own actions.

    But when do organizations go from merely being the team the player is a member of, to actively enabling such behavior by constantly looking the other way, or worse yet (as in the case of Jerry), making excuses for their bad behavior?

Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: ¿Estará Dez Bryant de Vuelta en el 2018?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys en Español: ¿Estará Dez Bryant de Vuelta en el 2018?

Dez Bryant es ese jugador que incontables veces me hizo gritar y saltar de alegría con sus excepcionales recepciones y su manera de pelear el balón en el aire. Tantos momentos tan memorables con Tony Romo e incluso algunos con Dak Prescott lo han vuelto uno de mis jugadores favoritos…

Pero ahora, después de una difícil temporada de los Dallas Cowboys, los sentimientos están encontrados.

En muchos momentos, no parece que estamos viendo al Dez Bryant de antes. Claro, podemos decidir recordar esa recepción de touchdown que rompió el récord de la franquicia contra los Redskins, o esa escapada de 50 yardas en New York en la semana 14.

Pero Dez no ha sido el mismo las últimas tres temporadas. Y este 2017, todos los momentos de frustración culminaron en el partido que eliminó a los Cowboys de la temporada.

Cuando los Cowboys se enfrentaron a los Seattle Seahawks, un fumble acompañado por un pase soltado de Dez que resultó en una intercepción, todos nos pusimos a pensar.

La cosa no es que Dez Bryant sea un mal receptor. El talento está ahí, y es fácil verlo en ciertas jugadas. A veces es visible cuando atropella a algún defensivo, a veces cuando busca el balón y consigue atraparlo de una manera impresionante.

Quizá el próximo año se sacuda la mala racha que ha tenido los últimos años y encuentre una manera de ser el jugador que alguna vez fue… el problema es la cantidad de dinero que se le paga.

Después de la temporada del 2014, cuando Bryant terminó el año con 16 touchdowns y más de 1,300 yardas, el receptor estrella firmó un contrato por $70M.

Los Dallas Cowboys tienen frente a ellos una pregunta muy importante que resolver este offseason.

 

¿Deberían Deshacerse de Dez Bryant?

A pesar de tener una mala racha, la razón por la cual Dallas le diría adiós a Dez es su contrato. Dez está listo para cobrar $16.5M en el 2018 y otros 16 millones y medio en el 2019. De ser cortado, los Cowboys se ahorrarían ocho millones y medio la próxima temporada.

Suficiente dinero para firmar a un jugador que realmente haga impacto esta agencia libre.

Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (Brad Penner / USA TODAY Sports)

Normalmente, cuando hablamos de jugadores como él, hay muchos conflictos para los aficionados. Vaya, yo mismo acabo de plantear que es uno de mis jugadores favoritos, pero quizá a veces el cambio es necesario.

Sí, la producción de Dez Bryant no ha sido la misma desde la última temporada que tuvo con Tony Romo. Pero ¿es eso excusa suficiente?

Basta pensar en jugadores como Larry Fitzgerald y DeAndre Hopkins para darse cuenta de que no. Aún con quarterbacks mediocres, ambos se mantienen como receptores de elite en la NFL.

Es cierto que Dak Prescott no es el mismo QB que Romo era, y no es un jugador que vaya a lanzar pases profundos tan frecuentemente como Tony lo hacía, pero eso tampoco significa que sea algo malo necesariamente.

Este equipo le construyó un equipo a su ex-mariscal para sacarle todo el provecho al #9. Es hora de hacer lo mismo por Dak Prescott.

Insisto en que los Cowboys tienen que buscar a un WR tan pronto como en la primera ronda del NFL Draft o incluso hasta en agencia libre.

Los Dallas Cowboys tienen tantas cosas que hacer antes de la próxima temporada y decidir que hacer con uno de sus jugadores más emblemáticos de la actualidad, Dez Bryant, es una de ellas.

¿Les gustaría ver a Dez Bryant de vuelta en el 2018?

Tell me what you think about “Cowboys en Español: ¿Estará Dez Bryant de Vuelta en el 2018?” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Will Ryan Switzer see an Increased Offensive Role in 2018?

Brian Martin

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Will Ryan Switzer see an Increased Offensive Role in 2018?

The Dallas Cowboys clearly had a specific role in mind for Ryan Switzer when they drafted him 133rd overall in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Come to find out, that role didn’t include being involved much on the offensive side of the ball, at least not as a rookie.

After watching the way the Cowboys utilized Ryan Switzer in 2017, it’s pretty obvious the sole purpose he was drafted was to improve the special-teams play in the return game.

They clearly didn’t envision him being a part of the game plan on offense, despite the continuous outcry from fans.

Like most rookies, Ryan Switzer didn’t really get off to a fast start, and took a while to get used to the speed of the NFL. But, once he calmed his nerves and regained his confidence, he proved to be an upgrade in the return game.

Switzer ended up ranking third in kickoff returns, averaging 25 yards per return in 2017 and 12th in punt returns with almost 9 yards per return.

He also became the first Dallas Cowboys player to return a punt for a touchdown since 2013. He accomplished this against the Washington Redskins, in Week 13 when he took an 83-yarder to the house.

Surprisingly enough, using Ryan Switzer solely as a return specialist wasn’t enough for a lot of Cowboys Nation. A lot of fans wanted to see his talents utilized more on the offensive side of the ball as well, but were only left disappointed.

Ryan Switzer

Dallas Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer

Getting Switzer involved in the offensive game plan just wasn’t in the cards in 2017.

He only managed to catch six passes for 41 yards and rushed four times for 5 yards. This isn’t exactly what Cowboys fans envisioned after hearing Switzer was opening a lot eyes in training camp and organized team activities (OTAs). That was the main problem.

He was hyped up so much heading into the season that fans expected to see him involved much more on offense.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, had something else in mind, but I doubt that’s the case for the upcoming 2018 season.

I really think we’re going to see an increased role for Ryan Switzer next season.

The Cowboys coaching staff should have a much better understanding of his strengths and weaknesses now that he has a year in the system under his belt. And, they’ve seen firsthand how explosive he can be with the ball in his hands.

What the Cowboys coaching staff will have to determine this offseason is just how big of a role Switzer will have next year.

Should Switzer take Cole Beasley‘s job?

Cole Beasley, like the rest of the Cowboys receivers, had a down year in 2017. We shouldn’t assume that his job is safe, especially with someone like Ryan Switzer waiting in the wings. But, is Switzer ready to take over full-time?

Tough decisions will have to be made eventually, but such is life in the NFL.

Will Ryan Switzer see an increased offensive role in 2018?

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Will Terrance Williams be Back with Cowboys in 2018?

Brian Martin

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Will Terrance Williams be Back with Cowboys in 2018?

Each offseason tough decisions have to be made by teams around the NFL, and the Dallas Cowboys are no exception. Teams have to decide who to promote, who to demote, and who to cut ties with altogether. For the Cowboys, Terrance Williams fits into one of those three categories, but which one?

It was plainly obvious that the Dallas Cowboys wide receivers all had an extremely disappointing 2017 season.

Everybody has their own opinion as to why this happened, but one thing is for sure, the Cowboys coaching staff will definitely look at ways to get more out of their receiving core. The one player who I think could be affected most by whatever decision the coaching staff ends up making is Terrance Williams.

Williams didn’t do much to make a case for keeping his starting job in 2017, let alone sticking on the roster.

To say he had a disappointing season would be an understatement.

Williams finished the 2017 season with just 53 receptions for 568 receiving yards and absolutely zero touchdowns. The Cowboys were likely hoping for more production from someone they just signed to a four-year, $17-million contract extension back in March [2017].

Now, you can make the argument Williams took a team discount in order to stay in Dallas, but that doesn’t carry much weight when your production leaves so much to be desired. This is especially true when there might be somebody on the roster who can do just as well, and possibly be an upgrade.

Noah Brown

Dallas Cowboys WR Noah Brown (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Yes, if you haven’t guessed it yet, I’m talking about Noah Brown.

I know I’m not alone here, but I think Noah Brown could easily replace Terrance Williams’ production. I understand that there’s not much evidence to back up that statement based on Brown’s rookie season, but he has all the tools required to succeed.

This is really all about potential, and Noah Brown simply has more upside than Terrance Williams.

We all know what Terrance Williams is as a receiver, and what he brings to the table for the Cowboys offense. I believe Noah Brown can do all the things Williams does and has the potential to be even better.

I already think Noah Brown is a better blocker, something the Cowboys coaching staff really values about Williams. I also think Brown is a better pass catcher. He is a natural hands catcher and has a large catching radius, something Williams obviously isn’t (body catcher).

Right now, Williams is only better than Noah Brown in a few areas. He is slightly faster, he’s more advanced as a route runner, and has more experience. That’s about it.

This will obviously be a tough decision for the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff to make. But, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we see Terrance Williams playing somewhere else when the 2018 season kicks off.

Do you think Terrance Williams will be with the Cowboys in 2018?

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