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If Mentality Matters, Cowboys Have Right Mindset

By Cory Mageors for 105.3 The Fan | CBSDFW.COM
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DALLAS, Texas (105.3 THE FAN) – Jason Garrett has a model of what he wants players to play like.

It even goes back to the draft where Will McClay is picking up prototype players at every position.

Tall strong wide receivers (save for the unique Cole Beasley) and massive powerful offensive linemen.

On the defensive side of the ball they still have to figure out what they want.

Casear Rayford is 6-foot-7-inches tall and 265 pounds. Ken Bishop is 6-foot-1 and 309.

Ahmad Dixon is a 6-foot 205 pound safety.

The player type is fine and all, but what Garrett really wants is guys who attack.

“Guys like Dixon really pop off the screen on film because they are going full speed all the time,” said Leon Lett, assistant defensive line coach for the Cowboys. “When I was playing we had 22 guys with that type of physical mentality. I think we’re beginning to develop that here.”

Lett knows.

He played with the likes of Charles Haley, Jim Jeffcoat and Ken Norton Jr.

That Cowboys team would light you up and then step over you while they soaked in the glory from the big play.

“Everybody wanted to hear their name called,” Lett said. “Everybody wanted to be the one that made the play. We’re getting close to these guys being like that”

Garrett talked highly of Dixon after the first preseason game because when he hit the field he was doing all of the things the rest of the defense did not do.

Running to the ball. Playing more physical than the other team. Competing.

Garrett wants to see more of that from all of his players but he knows sometimes its easier to teach bulldogs to be in the right spot than it is to teach a tame house dog to play with a knock your head off style.

With three games left, players are going to have to be less worried about the scheme and more worried about making impact plays in the game.

“We play high pressure,” Lett said. “We want to be on their side of the line of scrimmage and stopping the running back and quarterback in the backfield.”

That type of play causes chaos.  A quarterback has to force a throw early, a running back has to pick a different gap to run through and suddenly the game has changed.

Garrett’s looking for physical chaos creators and if Lett keeps bringing some of what he learned from the likes of Butch Davis, Russell Maryland, Haley and Norton, this team might start playing like hell on wheels.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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