So far, so good. The ‘Boys had a pretty solid draft board back in Garrett’s first year. But those first three picks were as NFL-ready as college players can be. Arkin, coming from a small school, was always intended as a project. His success or failure will speak to Garrett and his staff’s ability to take raw talent and develop it.
“It’s a couple training camps in a row where Ark has gotten a lot of reps here in Oxnard because other guys have been banged up a little bit,” Garrett said in a recent press conference. “He always brings it. There’s no question about that. He is the right kind of guy – he loves football, he works very hard at it, and he’s getting better.”
Ah, yes: The Right Kind Of Guy. If Garrett can ever manage to net this organization some hardware, The Right Kind Of Guy may become as trendy among the TV genius class as The Patriot Way.
But that’s at least a few years off. For now, the focus is on the process, and the process is supposed to help developing players get better. Some have said the front office’s exhaustive search this preseason for help at guard shows the Cowboys have no confidence in Arkin. Maybe that’s true.
But I have to believe the coaching staff still sees potential; they would have cut Arkin, otherwise. They have to have some belief in his ability to have him starting against the Cardinals this weekend – Garrett and his staff don’t take doling out opportunities like that lightly.
Like every other player on the roster, the Cowboys want to challenge Arkin to be as good as he can be by creating competitive situations for the young guard. Either the new players are superior, or the existing players get better – either way, the organization wins. Garrett isn’t the type to christen any player. You want to play for Garrett, you got to earn it. Every day.
Ask Jason Hatcher if this trip to Oxnard at all resembles Wade’s Country Club. Ask Phil Costa if he believes his cushy perch in Jerry’s Pet Emporium still cuts him any breaks. You want to start for Garrett’s Cowboys, you’re gonna have to suit up every day, intent on holding back guys who are trying to take your spot. That pressure is always there, pushing up from the bottom, challenging you to do better.
Keep an eye on Arkin the Saturday against the Cardinals. His two years with the Cowboys have presented a plethora of opportunities – it’s time for the right kind of guy to snatch one up and claim it for his own.