The Cowboys are denying reports that defensive tackle Jason Hatcher called at quarterback Tony Romo among others in a speech to the team after practice Wednesday.
But they don’t deny that Hatcher’s words of accountability about making the most of this opportunity helped inspire the team to victory against the Rams.
“I think those reports are inaccurate,” Garrett said. “We try to empower people. Hatcher’s words after practice were directed at our entire football team. I think it was a real good sign of leadership by him. It’s not about words with Hatcher. It’s how he plays every day. Certainly, our guys responded the right way.”
Romo denied being called out personally by Hatcher, saying Hatcher was talking to the entire team. Romo said he and other leaders such as tight end Jason Witten have spoken to the team before, and that Hatcher has earned the right to do so.
“He named like five people,” Romo said. “Why would he call me out? He wants guys to understand how important it is every week.
“I thought it was a great talk. Guys who have been around, you are going to listen to. Witt talks, guys listen. I talk, guys listen. Hatch talks, they listen. One, because Hatch’s production has been good and because he has a great work ethic. It allows you to stand up in front of the team. He has done a great job of that.”
Not coincidentally, it was Hatcher who spoke to the Cowboys in the locker room after the game, reinforcing his words of the past week regarding them making him tired of the mediocrity of years past and stressing the importance of making the most of this opportunity this year.
The Cowboys have a 106-105 record since 2000 and 18-17 since the start of the 2011 season.
Hatcher also wanted it clear that he has no problem with Romo.
“I just want to win, man,” Hatcher said. “We are too good on paper, man, to just let games like Kansas City slip through our fingers, man. So that’s what it was.
“I love Romo to death. I wasn’t getting on Romo. He came out and balled. Did you see that? He balled out. They ran the ball. He threw the ball great. He is the best quarterback in the league. I love Romo. Romo loves me.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Hatcher’s speech and play were an inspiration. He was certainly pleased with the results from Romo, who threw three touchdown passes, and Hatcher, who notched his third sack of the season.
“I know that Hatcher really expressed himself emotionally this week at practice,” Jones said. “It’s inspirational with Hatcher, especially inspiring the team and of course those guys backing it up with play. In order to really make that work, with emotion and persuasion, you need to be a real player. Those two guys are and had the game to back it up today.”Clarence Hill