The Dallas Cowboys are in the workout stage of their offseason right now, only it might feel a little different. Gone are longtime guys Jason Witten, Orlando Scandrick and Dez Bryant. As we discussed earlier this week, there is a bit of a youth movement going on in Dallas and some are worried about who will be leaders for this team.
That should not be an issue for the Cowboys. They still have players who are more than worthy of leading the team. Besides, hasn’t that been a problem in the last five or six seasons, the Cowboys fail because they have leadership issues? So who will step up and be the leaders for Dallas this season?
The easiest answer is Sean Lee. They call him General Lee for a reason, he leads on and off the field for the Cowboys. If you watched the All or Nothing series on Amazon, you’d see him in the meeting rooms and on the field, he’s a natural leader.
Obviously, Dak Prescott is another easy answer. Prescott is already well respected and liked inside the locker room and the quarterback has the right personality for the job. It’s always a big help when your quarterback is one of the leaders on the team, and Dak certainly is for the Cowboys.
Dallas also has leaders on their offensive line, starting with Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick. Both are seasoned veterans and have a commanding voice in the locker room.
Defensively, other leaders are Tyrone Crawford and Jeff Heath. Crawford has been around at least two years longer than any other defensive linemen on the team and Heath is the elder statesmen in the secondary. And don’t sleep on Jaylon Smith as being a leader, he has one of the best attitudes on the team and his positive voice should grow even louder in his second full season on the field.
There are plenty of guys the Cowboys will look to lead this team, perhaps the bigger question should be who is going to give Dallas an edge? Jason Garrett loves to talk about guys who play with an edge, players who have a confidence about them and set the tone. Witten had it, and Dez and Scandrick surely had it in spades as well. With all three gone, who carries that task now? Who is the tone setter in practice and on the field when things aren’t going right?
This isn’t a small feat, the Cowboys need multiple players to carry the torch. We may not know who some of those players are yet, but we can assume that Dak and Sean Lee will be tone-setters. They need to be the guys who stop a bad practice and get it corrected.
These types of players also need to have that energy to keep things moving to avoid becoming stale over the course of a season, count Ezekiel Elliott among that group. Zeke and Dak brought a great deal of energy and excitement in their rookie campaign and with the legal crap behind him, expect Elliott to bring that enthusiasm once again.
Another player who brings that edge is cornerback Jourdan Lewis. The rookie did not shy away from competition last season and doesn’t lack confidence. In the Amazon series chronicling the Cowboys last year, he was challenging the offense, and especially Dez Bryant, in practice. Every day is a new adventure in the NFL and Garrett wants each day to bring a renewed enthusiasm, which makes Lewis his kind of guy. Lewis has that dog in him and fights every day.
It’s a new era for the Dallas Cowboys and players have to step up into new roles. For some, they have been developing to this point, for others, they will just take the opportunity to become leaders.
Either way, these Cowboys will look very different in 2018.
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