Back when Jason Garrett was announced as the head coach of the Cowboys in January, he electrified Cowboys fans by talking about “The Cowboy Way“. Most of us had immediate flashbacks to the Cowboys of the 90s and could hardly contain our excitement at the prospect of seeing a return to the level of confidence and, dare I say it, swagger that characterized the Cowboys of the 90s.
Jason Garrett is good at a lot of things, but one thing he is particularly good at is formulating a organizational mantras that everybody can understand and that everybody can get behind. The Cowboy Way was one, ‘stacking on good day on top of the other’ was another, the exact time and date of where the next opponent will be waiting yet another and that are many more that we have already begun to internalize.
In the course of the draft, another organizational theme emerged, the “Right Kind Of Guy”. Find out what Garrett means with this after the break.
In a segment on ESPN, Trey Wingo asked Jason Garrett what the Cowboys philosophy was in this draft:
Jason Garrett: “The most important thing is we talk about what it means to be a Dallas Cowboy, the kind of guys we want on our football team. If you look at the guys we’ve selected, each of these six guys represents that. They’re good football players. The top three guys are from big schools. They’re prominent players at that school, they have production at a high level. And then as we’ve gotten a little further down in the draft we’ve been able to take some guys who we think can fit a particular role for us. At least to create some competition on our football team. Again, they have the right measurables, they’re the Right Kind Of Guys, we think they’re good football players.”
In his post-draft press conference yesterday, he described fifth round pick , CB from Buffalo, as the right kind of guy, which later prompted a couple of follow-up questions that I’ve transcribed below:
Q: You called J.T. Thomas “the right kind of guy”. What is your “Right Kind Of Guy” with you as the head coach?
Jason Garrett: “We have a lot of “The Right Kind Of Guys” on our football team right now. Whenever we acquire a player, through the draft, through free agency, in any way, we want to have “The Right Kind Of Guys”. Obviously they have to have the physical requirements to play this game. The measurables, the talent, the aptitude to play. Part of that is being “The Right Kind Of Guy”. You want guys who love to play football and show you that they love it each and every day. Passion, enthusiasm, emotion, all of those things come into it.”
“It’s one thing to talk that, but you need to see that. I think if you look at these eight guys that we chose in this draft over the last three days, each of these guys has those traits.”
Q: Some of the guys you drafted were Captains on their teams. How much do you look at that as “The Right Kind Of Guy”?
Jason Garrett: “I think it goes to it. It’s certainly not a prerequisite to say you have to be a captain, but I think that has a lot to do with what we’re talking about. These are the “Right Kind Of Guys”, they love it. At the college level, the guys in their team look to them as leaders, and those are the kind of guys you want on your team.”
Q: Is there a “Wrong Kind Of Guy”?
Jason Garrett: “Sure. And you know what those guys are. The guys who don’t love to play football. Guys who don’t love to work. The guys who don’t love to be around their teammates. The guys who aren’t trying to be the best they can be. All those things.”
“Again, we have a number of “The Right Kind Of Guys” on our football team right now. You can’t get better than Jason Witten. This is a rare guy, and there are a number of other guys like him who we love. They’ll be great leaders for these new guys who come in to say, “Keep doing it the way you’ve been doing it. You’ve been the right kind of guy, we expect the same from you now. We have these guys to show you how to do that.”
In describing OT Tyron Smith and seventh round pick Bill Nagy, OG out of Wisconsin, Jason Garrett described them both as linemen who would “finish plays”, and that that was something that stood out on tape and made those players attractive to the Cowboys. Garrett was asked about the importance of finishing plays and provided this insight
Jason Garrett: “That’s what you want to see throughout your football team. You want a physical team. Guys who play with emotion, passion and enthusiasm. And it shows up in their play. When you have offensive linemen who can set the tone for your football team, that’s a good thing.”
“And a lot of that is how they come off the ball, how they get into their guy and then how they finish their play. You don’t want guys who block their guys initially, and then watch the action. You want those guys to set the tone for the play and for your football team, and finishing has a lot to do with that. That is an emotional thing, but it is also an athletic thing. You need to be athletic enough to finish plays. We feel like these guys are that when you watch them on tape.”
Like most Steelers fans, I was expecting the team to select cornerback Aaron Williams from Texas with the 31st pick in round 1 in-order to fill their most pressing need. But I must say that I wasn’t overly disappointed when they went a different direction and addressed another concern with defensive end Cameron Heyward from Ohio State.
From what I’ve read about Heyward from the many awesome contributors to BTSC and from what I’ve heard on the radio from Steelers insiders, most seem to be happy with the pick. I’m far from an expert on the 3-4 defense and don’t pretend to know a lot of about the 5-technique, but the experts are saying Heyward is the perfect fit for what the Steelers like in a 3-4 end. I guess we’ll find out.
I think we can all agree that the quickest way for teams to get into trouble is by reaching on first round selections. Even though Williams was the projected pick for the Steelers on several mock drafts before Thursday night, I didn’t sense great enthusiasm about him from fans and most draft experts. The consensus was that he wasn’t exactly the fastest of cornerbacks and I believe I heard it suggested by more than one person that he may be better suited at safety down the road. Those are the kinds of things people used to say about Chad Scott. Remember him?
I know players like Williams, and Brandon Harris from Miami, graded out as end of the first round selections, but when it comes to grading players, I often wonder if a lot of it has to do with the needs of certain teams and where they happen to be drafting. For instance, would Williams or Harris be thought of as potential late first round prospects if a team like Pittsburgh (drafting 31st) didn’t need to seriously upgrade at the corner position?
And there’s a difference between addressing a position and being set at one. So many draft experts that you see on television talk in absolutes when a team drafts a player. For example: “The Carolina Panthers drafted Cam Newton at quarterback so they’re set at that position.” No, they’re not set, they’ve just addressed a need–two totally different things.
The Tennessee Titans had to draft another quarterback in the first round Thursday night because the Vince Young pick from a number of years ago failed miserably. They sure weren’t set at the quarterback position. There are obviously no guarantees.
Some people are disappointed that the Steelers didn’t just roll the dice and draft a corner anyway in round one , but it isn’t as if the defensive line didn’t need to be addressed. The defensive line is probably the team’s 3rd most pressing need behind cornerback and offensive line. But just because the defensive line is their 3rd greatest need doesn’t mean they should automatically try to fill a greater need with a player that they feel grades out lower than the top DE on their board.
The age of the defensive line has been an obvious concern for the Steelers for a long time and it wouldn’t take long for it to go to the top of the list and become the team’s number 1 priority. By drafting Evander “Ziggy” Hood just two years ago and now Heyward this year, they’ve at least taken steps to reload at that position with players of high pedigree.
In the 2nd and 3rd rounds, the team went about addressing their top 2 needs when they selected right tackle Marcus Gilbert out of Florida. In the 3rd round, the Steelers did take a defensive back out of Texas after all in one Curtis Brown.
Some might say the Steelers addressed their top 3 needs in reverse order, but I’d say it’s fairly reasonable to expect 2nd and 3rd round selections to someday start in the NFL.
Along those lines, in my opinion, the drafting of Gilbert pretty much signals Willie Colon’s exit from the team. With Flozell Adams stating he’d like to come back for another year, that could be enough time to groom the young lineman and have him ready to start in 2012. The Steelers aren’t going to pay second round money for a right tackle if they are at all serious about signing Colon.
As for Curtis Brown, as I said, it’s not unreasonable to expect a 2nd or 3rd round choice to start and even if Brown only cracks the line-up as a nickel back in his first few years, it would still be a successful pick. As Michael, Maryrose, and many others have been stressing this weekend, in today’s NFL, the nickel position is becoming more and more valuable. If you remember back to the late 90′s, one Deshea Townsend cut his teeth as a nickel back in his first few seasons and eventually went on to have a great career with the Steelers.
As you know, it’s far too early to judge this draft, but I’m happy that the team used its top 3 picks to address their most glaring needs. As a fan, that’s all I can ask for.