Rookie safety J.J. Wilcox has already demonstrated that he’s capable of delivering the big hit. The problem is, we’re still in the first week of training camp, and the guys getting the brunt of Wilcox’s abuse are his teammates. It’s happened enough, in fact, that head coach Jason Garrett diagnosed the rookie with a case of “Bill Bates Syndrome,” a reference to the undersized but always physical Cowboys safety and special teams ace.
“Yeah, he told me that after he cussed me out,” Wilcox said, per ESPN Dallas.
This physicality could be a good thing, of course, so long as Wilcox can learn to rein it in during practice. Fellow safety Will Allen has said he hopes to bring a hard-hitting mentality to the secondary from Pittsburgh, and it appears that Wilcox has taken that message to heart. It’s worth adding too that, if you’re going to be compared to a Cowboys safety, you could do a lot worse than Bill Bates, who became sort of a cult hero in the early 90s.
“Bill Bates is the nicest person on the planet until he gets between those stripes and then he just tackles everybody,” Garrett said. “And he did that forever, and he’d tackle them to the ground and then he’d say, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’ He’d pick them up and do it the next play.
“Some guys just have that, and you love that and you have to constantly teach them how to practice, but you love that nature that they have. Wilcox has a little bit of that. Wilcox tackles way too much in practice, and you kind of coach both sides of it: ‘Hey, keep doing that, but don’t do that.’ You know what I’m saying?”
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