LONDON – Coming out of the off-season, analysts wondered where the leadership along the Cowboys defensive line would originate since DeMarcus Ware was in Denver and Jason Hatcher in Washington.
Through nine games in 2014, the leadership has come from an unlikely source: a journeyman defensive lineman with only 21 sacks in eight seasons.
"Mincey’s done a nice job," head coach Jason Garrett said. "He really has. He’s a veteran player who plays the right way, and he has provided a presence along the defensive line, a leader on our defense and a leader on our team."
"He says a lot of leadership with his words and his play," Henry Melton, a free agent defensive tackle who is as new to the Cowboys as Mincey, said.
Nine games into his fifth stop, the 31-year-old only has just a sack. However, Garrett sees there is more to the game than just sacks.
"I think he’s affecting the quarterback. He has kind of a bull rush style and pushes the pocket and impacts the quarterback in the pocket and makes him a little more uncomfortable than he’d like to be. He’s active in the running game."
Mincey says it is defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Rod Marinelli that has helped him become the contributor he is for Dallas.
He’s going to chip away until you become exactly what he sees in you," said Mincey.
"And that’s what I love about him, man. He’s that type of guy. I call him ‘The Carpenter’ because he will carve you and shape you into what you need to be. He knows your potential and he can see it. And he trains you to do it over and over and guys are starting to become themselves."
According to Garrett, Dallas kept tabs on Mincey for a couple of seasons. In the beginning, Mincey bounced around between the Patriots and 49ers in his rookie season in 2006 before finding a home on the Jaguars practice squad. In 2007, he started seeing playing time and ended up starting 40 games for Jacksonville before his release in late 2012. He played the final month of the season and the postseason for the Denver Broncos in 2013. When he became available in free agency, needing effective "rush men," Dallas pounced.
Has Mincey played perfectly? Garrett wouldn’t tell you yes, and Mincey would agree if so. Still, the defensive end is part of a rotation that works in creating pressure in the pocket for the Cowboys.