Jason Witten does not mind cold weather.
“If anything, I think it helps me,” he said.
He doesn’t even like to wear sleeves.
“Football ain’t meant to be played like that.”
The tough tight end personifies the mental approach the Cowboys are trying to take as they get ready for the coldest game the franchise has played in the regular season, Monday night’s upcoming game at Chicago.
“I played a lot of our games in cold weather, and I think you become comfortable with it over time,” said quarterback Tony Romo, who grew up in Wisconsin and played college football at Eastern Illinois. “The more technically sound and fundamental you are with your throwing motion, you can neutralize that stuff and I think it can be an advantage for a football team.”
Middle linebacker Sean Lee is used to it, to, although he said Penn State did not play games after Thanksgiving.
“Being able to experience the cold here, I think will prepare us a little bit for what we’re going to see up in Chicago,” he said. “We know it’s going to be cold, and it’s part of the game, and we’re excited about it.”
Of course, you don’t have to like the cold to play well in the cold. But you do have to brave it.
“You better have your mental toughness and focus and the will to go out and do it,” cornerback Orlando Scandrick said. “Whether it’s 100 degrees or it’s 51 degrees – it’s going to be hot when it’s 100, it’s going to be cold when it’s 50-something – you’ve got to have the mental toughness and focus.”
That’s what Witten believes, too.
“You go against those environments, you can’t let that get in the way of what you are trying to accomplish,” Witten said. “It’s always tough when you play in those environments, but both teams have to play in it, and you have to fight through it.”
Witten said the Cowboys are equipped to fight through it.
“Tony does a good job throwing it. He has a strong arm. The wind doesn’t affect him,” Witten said. “It’s not ideal for anybody, but you play long enough, you are going to play in games like that. Surface is going to be tough and all that. But you have to work on your balance. There is no excuse within that. I think our team has done a good job of not allowing that to get in the way. We have to be able to handle that.”
-- Carlos Mendez