OXNARD, Calif. – Instead of the afternoon practice, the Cowboys got a day at the beach Wednesday. But barely. Coach Jason Garrett put a challenge out after the walk-through – he broke everyone up into six groups, assigned them a quarterback, and if the quarterback could hit the crossbar with a throw from 35 yards, it was a day off for everybody.
Every quarterback missed, even trick-shooter Alex Tanney, although Nick Stephens came very close twice. Then Garrett took his second throw, and apparently hit the money bar.
Apparently, because even though the throw appeared to miss, the team got the day off.
“Why is it disputed?” Garrett said with a laugh in his daily press conference.
Uh, because it missed?
Garrett smiled, “It looked like the crossbar to me.”
Linebacker Sean Lee said, “It’s fun. Coach Garrett is unbelievable to play for, not only from a motivational standpoint for football, but for making it great, making it fun for us.”
Garrett said the players deserved a day off.
“I thought yesterday was probably our best practice of training camp, and in fact we had to kind of cut it a little bit short at the end,” he said. “It was very physical, very competitive. We worked really hard to put our players in competitive situations. It’s a really important thing for individual players and for your team, and our team has embraced that. I think yesterday was probably as good as it’s been in terms of the competition on both sides since we’ve been here in Oxnard. We were planning on doing this anyway – we had three good days of practice coming out of the Oakland game. Our guys have worked hard, and I just think it’s the right thing to do. I think they responded well to the work we had earlier in the week – give them a little bit of a break, come back tomorrow and start getting ready for Arizona.”
For coach Jason Garrett, part of the benefit of camp away from home is a chance for the players to bond.
“They’re together. They eat meals with each other. They get tape,” Garrett said. “Everything they do is kind of next to each other, and we think that’s a positive thing. You can create that same environment at home. I’ve been part of that as both a player and as a coach. So you just kind of figure it out. But that’s a really important piece of training camp. You better make sure that happens.”
Veteran cornerback Brandon Carr said the team is a family, and training camp is “like a family vacation for us, a bonding experience.”
Here are some more notes from the Cowboys’ morning walkthrough session:
- Guard Ronald Leary missed walkthrough with a knee problem. Garrett said Leary will undergo an MRI on Wednesday. He added that this injury doesn’t appear to be related to Leary’s previous one.
- Garrett listed cornerback Morris Claiborne as “day-to-day,” though he didn’t rule out the possibility that Claiborne could play Saturday against the Cardinals. “We think he’s getting better. The week is moving along here, so we’ll see if he’s able to come back and do anything tomorrow,” Garrett said. “If he can’t do anything tomorrow, he won’t play in the game on Saturday … He might play a little bit in this game if he responds well here in the next 24 hours, but if not he’ll probably get ready to play next week.
- Safety J.J. Wilcox will not return to Oxnard, as his mother died this week following a battle with lupus. Garrett said Wilcox will rejoin the team in Dallas.
- Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus spoke to the team ahead of Wednesday’s walkthrough. Garrett said Butkus talked about the privilege of playing in the NFL.(Video | Audio)
- Butkus called linebacker Sean Lee and “old school” player. Garrett said he made sure his middle linebacker got a chance to speak to the Hall of Famer while he was with the team. “It was a privilege for all of us to have him around,” said Garrett of Butkus.
2013-2014 TRAINING CAMP UPDATE: Jason Garrett press conference–Boys hit the beach
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett speaks to the media after completing his teams morning walkthrough.