So just what is a leader?

February, 20, 2012
2/20/12
12:50
PM ET
I've gone back and forth on the comments made by Jason Hatcher about a lack of leaders in the Cowboys locker room.

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ESPN NFL analyst Darren Woodson responds to Jason Hatcher's comments about the Cowboys needing a vocal leader in the locker room.

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Hatcher said the Cowboys need more Ray Lewis-type leaders. Lewis commands the Baltimore Ravens locker room.

He's the pulse of the team. When he speaks people listen. Reporters seek him out for what goes right and wrong. He doesn't hide.

After Baltimore's Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal against New England in the AFC Championship game, Lewis gave an inspiring speech in the locker room after the loss.

Lewis told his teammates not to worry, life will go on. He didn't blame Cundiff for the loss.

It was a wonderful message.

Not everybody can do that.

Prior to Hatcher's comments, Lewis was at the Pro Bowl speaking about a conversation he had with nose tackle Jay Ratliff and outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware about leadership.

Apparently, Ratliff and Ware wanted to know how Lewis does it.

The Cowboys don't need any of their players to be Ray Lewis. If Ware and Ratliff try to act like Lewis, they come off as phonies.

Ware and Ratliff should continue to act accordingly.

Do the Cowboys have a leadership issue?

It depends on how you define it.

Tony Romo led the offseason workouts last summer. He sent out a mass e-mail to teammates telling them get to an area high school to workout.

Early in the 2011 season, Romo had to basically tell Dez Bryant what to do in the huddle. Romo never mentioned it. He just kept doing it until Bryant grew more comfortable with the offensive playbook.

Bryant even noted how Laurent Robinson's and Jason Witten's professionalism helped him on the field.

Tony Fiammetta's play at fullback showed rookie running back DeMarco Murray about how to play the game as well.

Felix Jones kept his cool and praised Murray when he took over the starting running back spot from him after he got hurt.

When Bradie James and Keith Brooking lost playing time both veterans asked for special teams snaps to help the team.

Mike Jenkins played with a dislocated shoulder for the bulk of the season. It was so bad, Jenkins couldn't lift his shoulder above his head. Gerald Sensabaugh took a pain injection to play every game, but didn't for practice and worked out in pain. Kyle Kosier played with a foot problem that he walked around the locker room like Fred Sanford.

Let's not talk about what Romo played through, fractured rib, punctured lung and swollen hand, in 2011.

Not everybody can yell and scream and tell inspiring stories and quote bible scriptures like Ray Lewis.

Leadership comes in different ways.

One thing this Cowboys team must do is win. It can't allow the New York Giants to continue winning in Cowboys Stadium. The Giants have never lost there.

When the team goes though tough times, it can't hide from reporters in the locker room each week and rely on the same old players to speak about the issues.

Every player needs to be accountable.

The Cowboys need to finish off opponents. Too many times in the 2011 season they didn't finish teams off.

Is that because of leadership?

I don't know.

Maybe they don't know to finish or lead and that's why Hatcher said what he said. He was being honest and you can't get mad at a man for being honest.

Leadership is also about honestly and maybe in his own subtle way, Hatcher was showing that by telling the truth about his team.

It's something the Cowboys need to address this summer.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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