If I Was Jason Garrett ...
Mostly, players were met by this message -- in all caps, and in red -- on the daily grease board when they arrived: FULL PADS.
"I was like 'Whoa'," says linebacker DeMarcus Ware. "That didn't take long."
Garrett, whose press conference was at 78 rpm compared with Wade Phillips' 33s, also barked at players to run -- don't walk -- during the transition between drills. Still, it's going to take a lot more than that to change a losing culture.
With Marcus Spears and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah placed on injured reserve and defensive ends named Jeremy Clark and Jimmy Saddler-McQueen signed to the roster, the overall talent of this roster dipped again. (The Spears Era, in which he started 88 consecutive games somehow without ever making a highlight play, may have ended.) Of course, with Tony Romo out the Cowboys are going nowhere fast anyway.
So while owner Jerry Jones apparently blows off steam in Las Vegas, what exactly should Garrett do in his improbable attempt to -- in eight short weeks -- evaluate talent, win games and alter attitudes?
I have some suggestions ...
Jon Kitna, step aside. I know what I've got there and I don't much like it. He hasn't won an NFL start in three years. I don't think Stephen McGee is an NFL quarterback, but I've got to find out for sure. He starts, beginning Sunday in New York at 3:15, until further notice.
Oh, and Dez Bryant, get ready. You're not only starting at receiver for Roy Williams -- Jerry's financial and emotinal commitment be damned -- you're now also returning kickoffs and, if and when we run the Wild Hog, you'll be taking the direct snaps.
We're also not going to blitz so dang much. Keith Brooking is a warrior and an emotional leader, but I think he's done as an every-down player. Sean Lee, you're in. If we blitz, we're going to change it up. Maybe a corner blitz. Maybe not. I'm just tired of seeing Brooking stoned by the running back, leaving inferior cover guys one-on-one in the secondary.
Alan Ball, you're out. I've seen enough. You were good on special teams but abysmal at safety. I thought you'd be an upgrade over Ken Hamlin but that's one of the many things we were all wrong about. Barry Church, ready or not, you're in.
Whether it's the opening kickoff or simply our first kickoff, we're going to try an onside kick. Shake things up a bit. We may not recover and it may lead to us losing 35-3 instead of 28-3, but I'm not going to preside over a team that -- as under Wade -- never surprised anyone with anything. If I'm aggressive to a fault, so be it.
We're 1-7 and 14-point underdogs. There are moral victories to be won against the Giants. And I don't want to hear one word about any of them.