Jason Witten is one of the unquestionable leaders of the Dallas Cowboys. He does everything right including huge receptions and runs with his helmet off. Witten is also a work horse and head coach Jason Garrett is afraid to offer the 31-year-old tight end some rest and time off.
Carlos Mendez of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram shared a story from Jason Garrett about how Witten wasn’t thrilled about a play called “Aggie 21.” The play had former Martellus Bennett to block the nose tackle, also known as a wham block, but Witten was offended he wasn’t allowed to make the block.
“We were playing Tampa a few years ago in the opener. We liked this ‘wham’ play. A wham play is when you take a tight end or a fullback or somebody and you wham the nose tackle – you let the lineman go up to the next level and you try to surprise the defense by taking this other guy to block this defensive lineman.”
“We thought one of our tight ends, Martellus Bennett, would be very good at this. Big, strong physical guy. He’d be a great whammer. We thought it was important to stay in regular personnel, a true fullback, a true halfback. So we put this play in. It was a one-play package: Aggie 21. We were going to call ‘32 Wham.’ So Witt was going to come off the field, and Martellus was going to come in and wham the nose.”
“And I have a great relationship with Witt – have had a great one for a long time. When we put this thing in, he literally didn’t talk to me for a week,” Garrett said. “My image is, it’s a 300-pound nose tackle and a guy who caught 100 balls last year is going to come up and have a separated shoulder. It’s not good coaching. So we had a battle where he did not talk to me for a week about Aggie 21 whamming the nose.”
That story is an example of how hard it is to get Witten to take a day off.
“So getting him to take a day off of practice is a little bit like the Aggie 21 story,” Garrett said. “You start the conversation. He nods his head, he continues to nod his head, and he goes out to practice again and again and again.”
That’s leading by example.