Most of the time in sports circles, when a player is criticized for the way he practices, it’s usually for the wrong reasons.
A coach will usually lay into a guy for not giving maximum effort and going through the motions in practice.
Dallas Cowboys rookie safety JJ Wilcox isn’t one of those guys.
Wilcox, the team’s third round pick in this year’s draft out of Georgia Southern, was given an earful by head coach Jason Garrett for going too hard in training camp practices, laying out any and all players who came his way.
While it is a bit ridiculous to employ that type of style in practices that aren’t full speed, that mentality could and will be a very good asset to the Cowboys once the regular season gets underway.
It is no secret that the Cowboys have lacked a certain edge at the safety position in recent years. Roy Williams brought it for a few seasons early on, but for whatever reason, that edge seemed to tail off in his final seasons in Dallas. He lost his ability to cover and wasn’t nearly the feared hitter that he was in his first couple seasons in the NFL. Special teams ace Keith Davis brought quite a bit of aggressiveness, but he didn’t have the overall talent to be a capable, full time starter, and Gerald Sensabaugh didn’t show a whole lot in his years in Dallas.
The Cowboys had a Hall of Famer in Darren Woodson who ruled the position for 10 seasons from the early 1990s to early 2000s, and whenever someone came across the middle of the defense, he made sure they knew the territory they were entering. Garrett mentions Bill Bates, who was a special teams dynamo, as someone who Wilcox reminds him of as far as aggressiveness.
Wilcox will likely be a key component to the Cowboys’ special teams, with a chance to maybe start.
The toughness and edge he will bring in the regular season, starter or not, will surely be a welcomed sight.