The only thing that could be worse than being 2-7 (as the Cowboys are) is doing nothing about it to improve. While I don’t know if changing EVERYTHING is the best way to resolve the issue, change in general is a good thing. Obviously what was being done before just wasn’t working.
Dallas interim head coach Jason Garrett has done almost nothing but change things. Here is a compiled list:
- Practice, no matter when, is in full pads.
- The Cowboy’s players have to hustle all the time. In practice and in the game.
- Game balls will be given out to the best players.
- A dress code is required at away games.
- Oh, actually, now a dress code is required at all games.
- Defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni says that there are changes in the defensive scheme. What exactly that is, is unknown.
- They’ve won a game.
- Running back Marion Barber was benched and fined for violating team rules.
Holy moly, that’s a lot in so little time — less than two weeks to be precise. I just wanted you to see all that Garrett has done in one complete list and absorb it. This list includes only the changes that the media and I know about. So I’m sure there is more to it that I’m missing. But just these eight changes alone do so much for the Cowboys. Here are the advantages to everything:
Practicing in pads, having a dress code and having players hustle all the time will help Dallas become a more disciplined program. The Cowboys have consistently placed at the top-spot, week after week, for most penalties committed in the league. These penalties sometimes singlehandedly lose games (refer to the end of the game against the Titans to verify).
Benching Barber and fining him makes a statement. It says that Garrett is not going to take anyone’s crap. This sends a message to the team that every player is equal and everyone will be held to the same standard.
The benefit to the change in a defensive scheme is intuitive. Our defense has been “god-awful-horrible-terrible-a-little-bit-bad” to say the lease. Meaning any change in scheme will most likely make it better.
Lastly, the game ball creates something it seems that up until now Dallas has been missing — incentive. And though it may seem simple, giving out the every-now-and-again compliments really could make a difference. Even professional athletes don’t mind hearing that they’re doing well once in a while.
So while sometimes it is difficult to tell whether change and reform is a better option that consistency and frequency, it isn’t difficult to see that the change Garrett has been producing is different. The short term benefits are seen immediately. As for the long term implications, I can’t prove anything now, but in hindsight I think they will produce positive consequences.