Garrett wants Dixon to play physical, but within NFL rules

Dallas Cowboys safety Ahmad Dixon tackles Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry.

Brad Barr/Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

IRVING, Texas – If Dallas Cowboys rookie safety Ahmad Dixon continues to insist he won’t change his physical style, head coach Jason Garrett has some news for him.

"Well he probably won’t be playing," Garrett said Monday. "We’re not going to have those kinds of penalties."

Dixon was flagged for unnecessary roughness for hitting a defenseless receiver in Saturday’s preseason game at Miami.

Afterwards, Dixon told reporters he won’t change his style of play no matter the fines and penalties he may incur.

When Garrett was told Dixon’s stance during his Monday press conference, it didn’t sit well with the coach.

"We understand the balance there," Garrett said. "He’s not the first player to be in this position. There’s a lot of physical players in this league that have to somehow, someway find a way to be physical but also do it in the framework of the rules."

Garrett said he didn’t get a good view of Dixon’s hit on Dolphins receiver Matt Hazel on the game film, but the fact he drew the personal foul was reason enough to caution Dixon about his play.

"You don’t get a great view. I did not see a TV copy of it, but the feedback is the same: They’re going to call those kinds of plays," Garrett said.

"We just impressed upon him the importance of understanding where the NFL is on these rules, and they’re going to call them. It’s the same same thing with defensive holding, it’s the same thing with offensive holding. There’s penalties being called all around the league and everybody has to understand what the atmosphere is and we’ve got to coach it and the players need to understand that they’re going to get called."

Dixon had a reputation for physical play at Baylor and said that’s why the Cowboys drafted him in the seventh round. However, this is also an era where the NFL is overly conscious about penalizing hits that could cause long-term damage to a player, especially blows to the head.

Garrett said Dixon is capable of being physical while staying within the rules.

"There’s some great examples of him being physical and doing it the right way all over the tape, on defense, on special teams," Garrett said. "He really did a nice job, that’s the kind of player he is. You never want to take that edge away from a guy. At the same time, the rules are for a reason and we’re going to continue to coach him to play within those rules."

Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire