Cowboys defensive end Taco Charlton had a pointed subtweet Sunday.
“Don’t believe everything said.”
The first round pick from Michigan declined to elaborate on the essence of the tweet, saying: “Just laying out some wisdom. People can take it how they want to take it.”
It can easily be deduced that Charlton is taking issue with reports of his early struggles at training camp.
But he even acknowledged having a rough first day in pads when he was lifted off the ground by right tackle La’el Collins and losing a battle with undrafted free agent guard Dan Skipper.
“I had my struggles Day 1, but now I’m doing fine,” Charlton said. “I basically didn’t keep my feet up under me. I was too ready to hit something that I wasn’t keeping my feet. As days went on I got better. Things improved. The pass rush improved. Moves improved and I started winning more.”
Charlton has gotten better under the watchful eye and constant harping of defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who derides as much as he encourages and has even belted out “Taquito” rather than Taco a few times.
“He has said that once or twice,” Charlton said of the “Taquito” crack from Marinelli. “He gets after me. He likes what he sees. He tries to get me to do things and try different moves and expand my repertoire.”
Clearly, the spotlight is on Charlton because he was a first-round pick and the need for somebody to come in and help the team’s suspect pass rush. It’s even more crucial with defensive ends David Irving and Damontre Moore opening the season on the suspension list.
The Cowboys, however, are not worried about Charlton.
Coach Jason Garrett said he has improved since the start of the camp.
But he’s also facing challenges no different than any other young player making the transition from college to the NFL.
“It’s just real life,” Garrett said. “You have heard me give the example of (Pro Bowl left tackle) Tyron Smith, his rookie year as a 20-year-old, going against (defensive end) DeMarcus Ware every day in practice. Early on DWare was wearing him out. The greatness of Tyron Smith is he is physically tough, but maybe more than that is he is mentally tough and he battled and scratched and clawed and fought each and every day in practice. He was the last guy off the practice field. He is out there for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 40 minutes with (offensive line coach) Hudson Houck getting better, refining his skills and coming back the next day.
“What you find is if you take the right approach you do have some mental toughness about you and you withstand the adversity you keep getting better and better and better. And over time some of those matchups with Dware started to change.
“That is one of the best examples I can think of. And it’s really what you need every young player to do. It’s a big jump. Guys who are here already have been playing at this level for a long time. So the other guys need to understand what the requirements are, what the demands are. There are going to be some rough spots. They have to fight through them.”
Now that’s real wisdom.