OAKLAND, Calif. – Jason Garrett isn’t pulling punches with the Cowboys’ draft class. He’s making a habit of ripping rookies.
Third-round safety J.J. Wilcox felt Garrett’s public wrath after a rough outing in the Hall of Fame Game. It was fourth-round cornerback B.W. Webb’s turn after a tough night in Friday’s 19-17 loss to the Oakland Raiders.
A bad night got worse for Webb when he muffed a punt in the fourth quarter, essentially gifting the Raiders what turned out to be the game-winning field goal. The Raiders had already picked on Webb in the passing game, and he also had a couple of costly missed tackles.
“You’re not allowed to have rough nights,” Garrett said when asked about Webb’s outing. “One of the things you're always looking for in any kind of player -- a young guy or a veteran -- is you want to make sure they respond to the success and adversity of the game. There were a couple of missed tackles early on from him, I thought he came back and tackled better and then he obviously he had the dropped punt.
“You're not allowed to have bad nights. You can never excuse your way out of it. You gotta keep battling, keep fighting and whatever opportunity you get, you got to make sure you take advantage of it.”
Wilcox responded well in his second preseason game, for the most part, leading the Cowboys with six tackles and picking off a Terrelle Pryor pass in the end zone. The safety volunteered that he took a poor angle on a missed tackle in the second half, but there’s no question he made progress after a poor preseason debut that was especially disappointing given the buzz Wilcox created with his practice performances.
In other words, Garrett got the intended result by publicly holding the rookie to a high standard, which Wilcox welcomes.
“When I was a little kid, my dad was on me hard,” Wilcox said. “When I got to college, my head coach was on me hard. Here, I see coach Garrett on me hard. I’ve been blessed and fortunate to have some coaches who really care about me and want to push me and see me do best.
“I think he got the best out of me this week.”
We’ll see how Webb responds.