Dallas Cowboys: Jason Witten's Message Should Set Tone for the Season
Jason Witten has been very vocal about his sense of urgency and expectations for the Dallas Cowboys and himself for this season. Within minutes of landing in California for training camp, the Pro Bowl tight end immediately made his feelings be known and his presence felt in his message—it's time to win right now !
Witten, heading into his 10th NFL season, all with the Cowboys, is starting to feel the chilling reality that there may not be too many more chances for him to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. Still in his prime and more determined than ever, Witten has been a pillar of leadership, consistency and excellence for the Cowboys since being drafted in the third round in 2003.
An NFL career has a particularly short shelf life due to the violent nature of the sport and the risks that accompany it. The fact that Witten has been able to play with whatever injuries he's sustained by staying on the field is nothing short of remarkable. He's been an All-Pro, a Pro Bowler, a model teammate and citizen, but he wants more. In fact, so do the fans.
Quite simply, the time has arrived for Witten and the Cowboys to grab their opportunity in this parity-driven league. Witten is not only making his message loud and clear, but it's in blinking lights. For Cowboy fans, It's frustrating to sit back and watch teams such as the Packers and Giants will their way into the playoffs, steal victory in hostile environments and achieve ultimate glory. For the Cowboys, they need to be tired of being frustrated and falling short.
Mediocrity is not an option for this football team anymore. Neither are December collapses, failing to execute in big games and not possessing mental toughness. As a franchise that is proud to boast five Super Bowl championships, the only recurring themes lately have been missed opportunities and not finishing. How many fourth-quarter leads were blown last season?
When you see a veteran player like Witten make a statement, stand behind it and say it with purpose, I feel that it can have an infectious and positive impact on this team. But should we believe this season will be any different than the past few? Do the Cowboys believe in themselves? And will the team listen to Witten's message as a basis for the season?
That remains to be seen, but I like the tone and the foundation his message has sent. The players have to believe it and, as a matter of fact, it's the reality this team is faced with. For too many seasons, the Cowboys have been the victim of hype and not reality. They've been distracted by selling, marketing, reality television, multiple-city training camps and, oh yeah, the Jerry Jones public relations machine.
You want the biggest reality of all—how about one playoff victory in 16 years. Are you starting to sense that Jason Witten gets it? I do. I also believe Tony Romo, DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff and the core group gets it, but that's not enough. It's going to take the entire organization collectively.
Jason Witten has cemented himself as one of the true leaders of this football team. The comments he made as the team arrived in Oxnard should not be viewed as lip service but rather as a reminder of exactly where this team stands. Last season was a disappointment, and it's time for this franchise to learn from the past in order to bury it.
This season is about moving forward, finishing strong, grabbing opportunity and winning now. As training camp winds down and the season approaches, now is as good a time as ever to write the next chapter for this franchise and win a Super Bowl.
It's all in Jason Witten's message.
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