Plenty Of Inspiration

IRVING, Tex. - Dallas safety Mike Hamlin hates losing. He hated it in high school, he hated it as a star at Clemson, and he hates it in the NFL.

The Cowboys' season-opening loss to the Washington Redskins, Hamlin said, was the worst loss he has suffered — ever.

Granted, he hasn't actually participated in a lot of losses as a professional player — a broken wrist suffered in the preseason made his rookie year into a six-game mini-season — but he has been around them. None, he said, left him with a bad taste in his mouth like the loss to the Redskins.

"I don't like to lose — period," he said. "A loss is a loss. They all count the same. But that game … I can't wait for Chicago."

Of course, the reason for Hamlin's reaction is twofold. It's the only game his team has played this season, so the memory remains fresh in his mind, but the Cowboys lost in ways players and coaches deem unacceptable: a missed (relatively short) field goal, a fumble on the last play of the first half that got returned for a touchdown, and a slew of penalties, including the now-famous holding penalty on the game's last play that nullified what would have been a game-winning score for Dallas.

The plane back from Washington, Hamlin said, was not a pleasant place to be.

"Let's just say there was not a lot of talking," he said.

But Hamlin said the loss should serve as motivation for his team to not repeat its sloppy effort.

"We have to be more intense, in practice and against Chicago," he said. "We have to correct all of our mistakes … and we made a lot of them.

"We have to be more focused. I don't know that we weren't focused before, but it's obvious that we have to be better. We have to put more emphasis on the little things, the stuff that seems routine — blocking, tackling.

The Cowboys are favored to even their record at 1-1 when the Bears come to Arlington this week, but unlike some of his teammates, Hamlin said he doesn't want to merely erase the loss to the Redskins from his mind. The image of the Redskins celebrating after Roy Williams' would-be touchdown was nullified, sticks with him. The pit he felt in his stomach when an apparent victory turned into a painful loss — to the division-rival Redskins, no less — remains. Hamlin said he hopes those feelings remain for his teammates, too.

"I don't want to wipe that feeling out of my mind," he said. "I do — nobody likes to lose, and I definitely don't like to lose at anything I do — but that just makes me want to go into the Chicago game with a real chip on my shoulder. We play better when we have a chip on our shoulders, so I hope the rest of the guys are treating last week the same way."

CowboysHQ Top Stories