In the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s preseason loss to the Miami Dolphins, safety Ahmad Dixon was downright defiant over an unnecessary roughness penalty in the fourth quarter.
Dixon said he was a physical player and had no intention of changing his ways, impending league fine or not.
But after watching the play on film, and getting a talking to from Cowboys coaches, Dixon is now singing a slightly different tune.
“They talked to me about being smarter and trying to make plays on the ball and not playing the man so much,” Dixon said. “That is a habit I have to break. That is what I was always taught as a youngster to always play your man. If you play your man the ball will get there. I got there a little late really. I didn’t realize that on the field but after going back and looking at it I could have got the interception. He pulled up and didn’t even go for the ball. I could have gone for the interception. They just told me I have to be smarter about what I decide to do out there. That was a vital point in the game. It ended up costing us the game. It’s for the betterment of the team. I’m still learning. All I can do is learn.”
Dixon said he has not yet heard from league regarding the penalty. The fine for hitting a defenseless player is $22,500, though Dixon’s will likely be adjusted because he is drawing a rookie salary.
If the fine doesn’t deter him, then this warning from coach Jason Garrett should help Dixon change his ways.
“Well, he probably won’t be playing,” Garrett said of Dixon’s initial defiance. “We’re not going to have those kinds of penalties and we understand the balance there. He’s not the first player who’s been in this situation. There are a lot of physical players in this league that have to somehow, some way find a way to be physical but also do it within the framework of the rules.We just impressed upon him the importance of understanding where the NFL is on these rules and they’re going to call it.”