How the Cowboys create competition

June, 19, 2013
6/19/13
12:53
PM ET
Todd Archer offers a neat look inside Dallas Cowboys practice, where coach Jason Garrett likes to set up one-on-one battles between offensive and defensive players and apparently reward the winners with protein bites, whatever those are:
Earlier in one of the organized team activities, Jason Witten had a battle against Sean Lee, running a simple option route that he has done a million times and Lee has seen a million times. As Witten went for the catch, Lee poked the ball away, setting up something that resembled a game of hot potato for nearly five yards before the ball went to the ground.

"I just know a couple of days earlier he beat me pretty good on the same route," Lee said, "so I was doing everything I could to stop him on that route that day."

Witten said: "Those are battles that you're trying to win as many as you can. Honestly, the best players I've been around are the most competitive and prideful and are willing to go against anybody. Anytime you can get 50, 60 guys doing that, that's how you build a football team."

Garrett cites the 1990s Cowboys teams of which he was a part as the inspiration for the intensity of the mano-a-mano practice competitions. Garrett cites those teams a lot, which is obviously a perfectly acceptable thing for the coach of the Cowboys to do with his players and the general public. Those teams were fantastic, and if the goal is to find ways to inspire even a little bit of the character of those teams in the current group, then it's a worthwhile pursuit.

Anyway, I liked Todd's story and thought you might too. So, enjoy.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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