Hatcher Was Right, Cowboys Lack Leaders

I’d like to remind Dallas Cowboys’ faithful of a noteworthy anniversary arriving in 4 days.  On February 17, 2012, Cowboys’ DT Jason Hatcher controversially admitted a leadership deficit within his team.

At that point in his career, Hatcher was merely a rotational player unable to eclipse 28 tackles in a season.  While ironical and mouthy coming from a longtime Cowboy yet to secure a solid starting role, his comments nonetheless hit home.

As a 6 year contributor by 2012, Hatcher occupied a ringside seat to observe his Dallas teammates from both the battlefield and the bench.

Below are parts of his controversial response when Radio station KESN-FM 103.3 (and co-host Deion Sanders) asked him what players led the Cowboys.

Yeah, I really don’t know. That’s another thing we really need. We need like a Ray Lewis. We don’t have that. We have talent and everything we need, but if we get like a Ray Lewis, everybody buys into him…someone who will hold you accountable…guys aren’t doing their own thing here or there. Everybody is going in one direction. Once you have that, you’ll be good. We’re still looking for it. — Jason Hatcher 2/17/12
At the time, most Cowboys fans emphatically agreed with his controversial public assessment.  He threw himself and teammates under the bus to make a valid point.

My question today, nearly 2 years removed from the accusation, what exactly has improved regarding the Cowboys’ glaring lack of leadership?


March 11, 2014…the new NFL calendar year begins.  The 2014 free agency period opens on this very day.  Soon after, DT Jason Hatcher will likely depart Dallas.

He fully intends to test the market and maximize his contract value.  Along the way, Hatcher has publicly declared Dallas as just another potential employer in his eyes.

More specifically he’s not remotely considering ANY discount favors for the hometown team he spent 8 years with.

I’m going to get what I deserve and get what I’m worth.  Age don’t matter. Whatever. If you ain’t talking what I want, I don’t want to talk to ‘em.  —  Jason Hatcher, via ESPNDallas.com
Does that sound like a man who’s seen any encouraging improvements in his team? Especially in the 2 years since he labeled his own team void of player leadership.

Sure it’s very common for players to value money over loyalty.  The difference is most 8-year veterans of one team are a little more gracious with their departure vocabulary.

Hatcher became a full-time starter in 2012, the very next season following his comments.  He even made the Pro Bowl when Dallas switched him to DT in 2013.


…the more they stay the same.  Since Hatcher’s early 2012 comments, what leadership improvements have been made to the Dallas Cowboys?

Same owner, same General Manager, same Head Coach…same 8-8 results.


Despite changes in the play-caller and offensive coordinator, HC Jason Garrett often publicly clarifies this is still his offense.  There may be slightly altered formations, but the offensive system remains the same.

The potential leaders of the current Cowboys’ offense are typically viewed as Jason Witten, Tony Romo, and Dez Bryant.  All 3 were major components of the 2011 team when Hatcher said it lacked leadership.

Tyron Smith and Doug Free along the offensive line are both quiet personalities.  O-line novices Ron Leary and Travis Frederick were both first time starters.

Less than a year of experience naturally prohibits leading veterans.  Thus no new leaders were developed or added to the Dallas offense since 2011 ended.


The defense has seen 2 new coordinators and a switch in scheme from 3-4 to 4-3 alignment.  Unfortunately not much has changed in the form of results.

With DC Rob Ryan at the helm, the 2012 unit finished 24th (25 ppg) in points allowed. Under the guidance of new DC Monte Kiffin, the 2013 version finished 26th (27 ppg).

2014 will usher in the latest annointed DC Rod Marinelli.  Regardless of revolving coaching leadership over the defense, the players remain without field generals.

The candidates for potential defensive leaders are most often seen as Sean Lee and DeMarcus Ware.  Again, both were key pieces of the 2011 defense that Hatcher claimed had no direction.

Since 2011, a few new leadership candidates appeared in the likes of Brandon Carr, Barry Church, and Bruce Carter.  Both Carr and Carter turned in highly disappointing 2013 performances.  Real leaders don’t fall drastically short of expectations.

With 2013 being Barry Church’s first full season starting, he’s relegated to the same boat as Leary and Frederick…no player authority without respectable experience.


On 2/17/12, Jason Hatcher boldly claimed his Dallas Cowboys lacked any real leaders to align the players in the same direction.  He also indicated it was the missing piece preventing them from being a ‘good’ team.

Two years later nothing significant has improved in this area.  Is it any coincidence 9 wins have been unattainable?  Each season ending with an embarrassing collapse.

A recurring mediocre fate shows far more than an inability to make the playoffs.  It signals a deficit of the leadership needed to elevate teammates to victory.

The Cowboy cupboard is already stocked full of silent warriors.  It’s time to add a few wildcards, guys with swagger to turn up the volume and awaken the sleeping giant.

Since Jerry demands on being the Owner AND General Manager, let him figure out the details.  If he continues to ignore the leadership value of this sport, the playoffs will remain nothing more than an elusive pipe dream.
Hatcher Was Right, Cowboys Lack Leaders Hatcher Was Right, Cowboys Lack Leaders Reviewed by Mr. DCStands4 on 9:00:00 AM Rating: 5

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