OXNARD, CA - AUGUST 14: (L-R) Running backs Felix Jones #28, Marion Barber #24 and Tashard Choice #23 share a laugh during Dallas Cowboys Training Camp at the Marriott Residence Inn Oxnard River Ridge on August 14, 2010 in Oxnard, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
We’ve spent so much time this year wringing our hands over what’s wrong with Felix Jones, that we really haven’t addressed why Marion Barber has been so pedestrian through the first half of this season. Well, perhaps his attitude has something to do with it, for new head coach Jason Garrett plans on punishing the back for violating the team's new dress code.
Barber declined to follow Garrett's edict of sport coat, tie, slacks and dress shoes to be worn on all charter flights. Barber was in violation on the flight to Newark, N.J., for Sunday's game and on the trip home…
"We lay out expectations for our players for all different kinds of behavior, '' Garrett said. "And there will be consequences if they don't follow those procedures."
Garrett said all consequences will be handled "in-house."
Garrett’s new dress policy is a massive sea change from Wade Phillips’ “Let the kids run around nude” policy. Garrett is a Princeton man, and as such all Cowboys are expected to be wearing their finest Eating Club attire when traveling for games. To do otherwise would be most uncouth.
Barber was already punished for his transgression, when he was benched at the beginning of the Giants game. Felix Jones got the start, and certainly made the most of it. It also appears Barber will be subject to a fine, and possible further discipline should he ever again decide to hop on the team plane wearing jeans and the dreaded mock turtleneck.
On its surface, a dress code is kind of a silly thing. But it’s one of those little details that promotes a greater atmosphere of organization and general attention to detail, something this team has sorely lacked for the past four years. We’ll find out down the line if Jason Garrett is worth much as a head coach. But if he turns out to be great, we may all look back to mandatory sport coats as the first telltale sign.