Commanders DC Jack Del Rio gave a surprising answer to one question

A reporter asked a leading question to Jack Del Rio, Thursday.

He set up his question, making reference to some late-round picks have made it in Washington and then he mentioned by name safety Kam Curl and edge rusher Andre Jones Jr., both of whom are last-round selections. He then asked the leading question to Del Rio, “Do you ever find yourself kind of rooting for those guys in their rookie season, when they are coming out of the seventh round?”

These questions are asked more frequently than most might realize. They really are. They set a tone, and so often as I listen, I hear coaches and or players fall right in line and respond with the answer the question suggests.

But this question was asked to Jack Del Rio. Del Rio is the one man I have noticed that does not so easily fall for the leading questions. He really doesn’t. The media and fans sometimes misinterpret Del Rio as a result. He is not necessarily being mean-spirited to the media. But let’s just say Jack is “actually one of the sharper knives in the drawer.”

Being more perceptive than many, Del Rio picks up on the leading questions, and chooses to simply answer as he would have anyway and thus the questioner is sometimes surprised.

So, back to the question to Del Rio. Certainly most listeners present were expecting a knee-jerk response such as, “Oh yes, you can’t help but root for those guys who were drafted in the last round. My heart really goes out to those guys.”

How did Del Rio respond? “Not really.”

He paused briefly then continued. “Historically I’ve been pretty fair about letting guys compete and earn their spot. I go all the way back to Jacksonville. We had the ninth running back in, named Montel Owens. He had no spot, no chance.”

“Then he was just so good on special teams that we found a place for him on the football team. Guys come out of nowhere all the time.”

“If you’re open-minded, let guys compete, let them work, let them show you who they are, how you get selected or where you get selected doesn’t really matter. When you get here it’s what you do with the opportunity once you are here.”

“Andre’s done a nice job competing. He’s grown. He still has a long way to go. But I’m encouraged by the way he’s come into camp and been very workman like.”

“We like to have a culture here where you get what you earn, and we’re going to reward those that do the things we are looking for.”

And there you have it. Do you realize how much went into that answer? That reply was for the players, it was for the media, it was for the fans.

Del Rio wanted listeners to understand he is not about cheering for certain players because they were drafted low or undrafted entirely. He is not worried about cheering under his breadth for an underdog.

He has a job to do, and he recognizes objectivity will go much further in his business. He is paid to educate, evaluate and coach players. After all, what kind of culture would he create if he were to root for and cheer for certain players over others?


Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire