Dallas Cowboys: Jason Garrett promises this team will fight


Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett took the podium Sunday to reflect on his team’s first padded practice of the 2015 training camp. Take a wild guess what made the headline at ESPN and the Dallas Morning News:

“I thought it was good,” Garrett told reporters in a video available on the team web site. “I thought we worked hard, I thought it was competitive, I thought it was spirited, I thought it was sloppy.”

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In short, it was everything Garrett could ask for.

This early in camp, players aren’t necessarily expected to execute at the highest level. The veterans need time to knock off the rust of another offseason, and the rookies need reps to more deeply understand their roles in the offensive and defensive schemes before they can play fast.

"“The execution wasn’t really good in any phase of our team” Garrett said. “The communication wasn’t really what it needed to be. I don’t think the young guys understand the level of commitment they need to make to learn their assignments and learn this game the way it needs to be learned… So we try to make that abundantly clear to everybody. There certainly was a lot of good things in practice yesterday. Excited to learn from it.”"

The goal is to have every edge honed sharp enough to split a hair by Week 1, when the Cowboys host the New York Giants in NBC’s Sunday night opener. That’s six weeks away. This is the grind of training camp: Installing the schemes, coaching the players on their assignments, preparing their bodies for the long, hard slog of a 16-game schedule.

That grind is made easier with the Right Kinda Guys in the right kind of culture. That’s what Garrett saw in the first padded practice – hard work, competitive fire, spirit. He saw saw some sloppiness, too, but with it the mindset and demeanor that drove a 4-0 December last season, in which his team averaged more than 41 points per game and won every contest by at least two scores.

On this first day in pads, Garrett saw his players living his vision of what’s at the core of every championship-caliber team. He saw fight.

Garrett has to feel good about that, because he’s the one who put it there:

"“The foundation of our program and the foundation of our team is the word ‘fight.’ And we’re going to fight. We’re going to fight every day. We’re going to fight to be our best. We’re going to fight against each other. We’re going to fight for each other. We’re going to fight for our goals. They hear that a lot from me.”"

Great talent, great fundamentals, and great scheming aren’t enough to execute. The NFL is hard. Mental and physical toughness gets a team over the top. Garrett saw hard work, competition, and spirit in his team’s first padded practice. He saw the continuation of what he has spent over four years building.

On Day 1, it supposed to be sloppy. When you get the Right Kinda Guys in the right kind of environment, and you teach them to fight, the execution will be tight when it counts.

Next: The worst kept secret within Cowboys training camp