Category Archives: Mike Woicik – Strength and Conditioning

DALLAS COWBOYS INJURIES: 2013 2014 Key injury recap | How ‘bout them hamstrings

With the Dallas Cowboys 2013 2014 season over, injuries to several key players took shape this season. The Cowboys lost 77 gameday starts to player injuries this season, including 23 to hamstring problems.

Veteran and well-respected strength and conditioning coordinator Mike Woicik said his staff worked hard to solve the number of hamstring injuries. Extra stretching and monitoring the amount of work players did during practices were some of the things Woicik’s staff did to combat the problem.

The Cowboys lost seven players to hamstring injuries this season including five games each to wide receiver Miles Austin and linebacker Justin Durant. Austin just wasn’t the same player in the latter half of the season because of his tender hamstrings.

Durant was placed on injured reserve Dec. 17 because he couldn’t recover in enough time to get ready to play.

DALLAS COWBOYS INJURY UPDATE - 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys injury report - nurse button 2

Here’s the list of Dallas Cowboys players who were injured and how many games were lost:

DeMarco Murray, two games

Lance Dunbar, seven games

Dwayne Harris, three games

Miles Austin, five games

Tony Romo, one game

DeMarcus Ware, three games

Sean Lee, five games

Bruce Carter, one game

Morris Claiborne, five games

Jason Hatcher, one game

Justin Durant, six games

DeVonte Holloman, seven games

Edgar Jones, nine games

Ernie Sims, four games

Anthony Spencer, 15 games

J.J. Wilcox, three games

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TEXAS-2 IRON MAN STREAK: DeMarcus Ware game-time decision for 135th start; Kyle Wilber prepared

TEXAS-2 IRON MAN - DeMarcus Ware game-time decision; Kyle Wilber prepared to start

IRVING, Texas – Forget three or four weeks. DeMarcus Ware might still be playing this weekend against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Dallas Cowboys’ all-time sack leader doesn’t know his status yet, but he’ll travel with the team on the flight to Philadelphia, and he thinks he’ll be a game-day decision. He said he doesn’t need to practice this week to remain a possibility to play.

“I’m not going to be out three or four weeks,” Ware said. “I don’t know where that came from, but somebody said it. My recovery’s pretty fast, and I’m feeling pretty good today.”

Ware has never missed a game in his career, despite suffering hamstring, shoulder and elbow injuries last year and dealing with stinger problems this season. The latest thigh injury had many thinking he’d be out multiple weeks, but he said he’s already started running and will continue to work off to the side at practice before the ultimate decision is made.

He admitted the leg is still sore, but he’s continuing to get treatment and believes he’ll be in proper shape if he’s able to go this weekend. Ware said he can’t worry too much about his remarkable games played streak, which sits at 134.  

“I think when you look at it, the bigger picture is always important,” Ware said. “You don’t want to ever be defined as just a number. You want to be somebody that when you get out there, you’re wreaking havoc and playing. If I can do that this week, I’m going to get out there and play.”

In addition to running, Ware said he can also plant and cut. It wouldn’t really be a surprise to see him return to action and play, despite the initial prognosis.  

Ware’s iron man streak of consecutive games played continued even after getting carted off the field with a neck injury in 2009 that left him temporarily motionless. He played six days later against the Saints after missing practice throughout that week.

“I know that I can get through injuries, but you never can (predict) what one injury’s worse than another,” Ware said. “Each week, just like I took it with that injury, you’ve got to take it that whole week and make a game-day decision.”

He said he needs to weigh the importance of being on the field this week against the potential for future harm. He said he needs to be able to run, pass-rush and change direction with ease, particularly considering the speed at which the Eagles play.

If Ware can’t go, Kyle Wilber will get the call at defensive end. Wilber went in after Ware’s injury last week, recorded a strip sack on Robert Griffin III and secured the fumble.

“Last week, when I went down, Wilber went in there and made a big play on a really great tackle,” Ware said. “I know that he can get out there and play, me just showing him a lot of things, his confidence level has boosted through the roof. You’ve got to let him keep playing that way, and I know he can get the job done.”

Wilber continues to talk to Ware as the second-year player prepares himself for a starting opportunity. Head coach Jason Garrett preaches the “next man up” philosophy, while Wilber hears from defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin that everyone in the defensive room should consider himself a starter. For Wilber, it’s now time to play like one.

“It’s pressure and it’s a challenge, but it’s good pressure and a good challenge,” Wilber said. “You want to be a dependable guy, so the team looks at you like, ‘This person right here, we can count on him.’”

Wilber went from 240 pounds last year to 248 pounds this year, as he made the move from linebacker to defensive end. He said it’s difficult for him to put on weight, but eventually he’d like to be around the 255-pound mark. Strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik is pushing him to help reach that total.

It’s been tough for Wilber to serve as a backup since getting drafted in the fourth round in 2012. He’s accustomed to starting, and last year was particularly tough for him after getting injured because he felt like he didn’t help the team.

“You have to kind of motivate yourself,” Wilber said. “It’s kind of hard being a backup, especially behind a Pro Bowler and future Hall of Famer. You’re not seeing yourself getting a lot of playing time. You definitely have to prepare yourself mentally.”

He may now get his chance to stand out on a “no-name” defensive line. Well, almost a no-name defensive line. Wilber said Jason Hatcher has become more of a household name after his five-sack start to the season.

“As long as we’ve got ‘Hatch,’ I feel like we’re good,” Wilber said. “He’s one of the best three-techniques out there.”

Wilber, however, feels like a no-namer until he demonstrates what he can do consistently. Even after his performance last week against the Redskins, he knows teams aren’t going to strategize for him, but they will have to plan for his presence.

He feels more ready than ever for a starting role if Ware can’t go, and a lot of that has to do with the star pass-rusher getting him ready.

“Definitely,” he said. “D-Ware, he’s still on me, still coaching me up. He’s making sure I can do everything.”

COACHES ROSTER: Meet the 2013-14 Dallas Cowboys coaching staff

There have been a number of changes in the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff over the offseason. Here’s an updated list of the assistant coaches and links for more detailed information on each of them. This page will be updated if any other changes are made.

DALLAS COWBOYS HEAD COACH

Jason Garrett

Jason Garrett was named the eighth head coach in Dallas Cowboys history on January 5, 2011. Garrett, who played for or worked alongside four of his predecessors, became the first former Dallas Cowboys player to become the team’s head coach.

DALLAS COWBOYS COACHING STAFF

Offensive Coaches Defensive Coaches Specialty Coaches
Jimmy Robinson
Asst. Head Coach/Wide Receivers
Monte Kiffin
Defensive Coordinator
Mike Woicik
Strength and Conditioning
To Be Determined
Tight Ends/Passing Game Coord.
Jerome Henderson
Secondary
Chris Boniol
Assistant Special Teams/ Kickers
Wade Wilson
Quarterbacks
Matt Eberflus
Linebackers
Brett Bech
Assistant Strength and Conditioning
Bill Callahan
Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
Rod Marinelli
Defensive Line
Rich Bisaccia

Special Teams

Wes Phillips
Assistant Offensive Line
Ben Bloom
Quality Control/Linebackers
Keith O’Quinn
Off. Quality Control/Wide Receivers
Joe Baker
Assistant Secondary

OFFSEASON HEALING: Dallas Cowboys medical staff keeping busy

OFFSEASON HEALING - Dallas Cowboys medical staff keeping busy with Dez Bryant and 12 others - The Boys Are Back blog

When the Cowboys’ season ended, they had 11 players on injured reserve and rookie safety Matt Johnson on the reserve/injured returnable list.

Rookie wide receiver Danny Coale was on the practice squad reserve/injured list.

It was a busy year for the Cowboys’ medical staff.

One of the lasting images of the season was strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik trying to loosen up the back of wide receiver Dez Bryant, who suffered severe back spasms in the regular season finale at Washington. Bryant had to leave the stadium in a wheelchair.

Quarterback Tony Romo walked out of Washington with a fractured rib. Several other players left the stadium needing crutches to get to the team bus.

Several players, including wide receiver Miles Austin and outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, had to deal with hamstring issues off and on.

Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik - The Boys Are Back blog

Woicik and his staff stretched out some players individually before the team stretching period. The staff did everything they could to get players ready to play. Austin seems to always be battling hamstring problems, and Johnson was only able to practice a handful of times because of his hamstring and ended up hurting his back while rehabbing.

"You have to evaluate what the injuries are and if there is any correlation to your strength and conditioning program," coach Jason Garrett said.

Woicik is considered one of the best in the NFL. He’s been a part of six Super Bowl-winning teams, including three with the Cowboys in the 1990s.

"I think you have evaluate them one by one and see if there is anything we could have done differently in terms of practicing, offseason program, anything like that," Garrett said. "A lot of that just seemed to be those kinds of injuries that happens over the course of a season in the NFL."

COACHES ROSTER: Meet the 2013-14 Dallas Cowboys coaching staff

There have been a number of changes in the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff over the past few years. Here’s an updated list of the assistant coaches and links for more detailed information on each of them.

DALLAS COWBOYS HEAD COACH

Jason Garrett

Jason Garrett was named the eighth head coach in Dallas Cowboys history on January 5, 2011. Garrett, who played for or worked alongside four of his predecessors, became the first former Dallas Cowboys player to become the team’s head coach.

DALLAS COWBOYS COACHING STAFF

Offensive Coaches Defensive Coaches Specialty Coaches
Jimmy Robinson
Asst. Head Coach/Wide Receivers
Monte Kiffin
Defensive Coordinator
Mike Woicik
Strength and Conditioning
To Be Determined
Tight Ends/Passing Game Coord.
Jerome Henderson
Secondary
Chris Boniol
Assistant Special Teams/ Kickers
Wade Wilson
Quarterbacks
Matt Eberflus
Linebackers
Brett Bech
Assistant Strength and Conditioning
Bill Callahan
Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
Rod Marinelli
Defensive Line
Wes Phillips
Assistant Offensive Line
Ben Bloom
Quality Control/Linebackers
Keith O’Quinn
Off. Quality Control/Wide Receivers
Joe Baker
Assistant Secondary

This post has been revised. Please click HERE.

CBA PROVISIONS: New rules beat offseason lockout from last season

CBA PROVISIONS: New rules beat offseason lockout from last season - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING, Texas – This year’s NFL offseason program has several provisions under the new collective bargaining agreement. The Cowboys began “phase one” Monday – a two-week period in which players can conduct strength and conditioning exercises at the team facility but no on-field workouts with the coaching staff.

“Phase two” is three weeks of on-field workouts with coaches, but no live contact or one-on-one drills. “Phase three” lasts four weeks and includes a maximum of 10 OTA workouts, plus a team minicamp.

Head coach Jason Garrett brushed up on the rules during last month’s NFL meetings. There are more restrictions, but it certainly beats last year’s lockout that barred contact between coaches and players from mid-March through late July.

Strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik, owner of six Super Bowl rings with the ‘90s Cowboys and ‘00s Patriots, finally can put his stamp on the offseason program.

“We excited to have a traditional offseason going into a traditional training camp into a traditional season,” Garrett said. “I think everybody in this league is. We talked adversity a little before – that’s inevitable. Everybody deals with these kinds of things. The teams that handle it best are the ones that will be successful.

So those are the situations we were put in over the last year and a half, you deal with the best you can. Now having a traditional offseason is best for everybody.”

THE WOICIK FACTOR: Miles Austin, other Cowboys expecting benefits from Dallas’ strength and conditioning program

THE WOICIK FACTOR: Miles Austin, other Cowboys expecting benefits from Dallas’ strength and conditioning program - The Boys Are Back blog

When Cowboys receiver Miles Austin said during a recent interview that he wasn’t in the best physical shape last season, he didn’t mean to suggest that he didn’t work hard in the off season when he trained primarily in California during the lockout.

Austin said he worked hard but he acknowledges that his preparation is different this off season under the guidance of Cowboys strength coach Mike Woicik. He hopes it leads to better results after missing time in training camp last year and six games during the regular season because hamstrings problems in both legs.

“What I meant to say is that I felt prepared. I felt prepared, but what I’m doing now with Woicik and our team is different than what I was doing,” Austin said. “I’m confident in what we’re doing now. I feel good. I’m working out every day. I mean, I was working out every day before, but now I’m working out with our strength coaches.”

Coach Jason Garrett said earlier this off season that the Cowboys are working with Austin to solve the hamstring issues that not only plagued him last seasons but also in 2009.

Austin didn’t acknowledge whether he thought the hamstring issues might be chronic, only saying “I’m working very hard.”

2012 OFFSEASON DEVELOPMENT: Players will get first offseason training program with Mike Woicik

IRVING, Texas — Of Jason Garrett’s staff hires last winter, strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik had the longest wait.

The four-month NFL lockout eliminated the Dallas Cowboys’ offseason training program. Woicik’s primary office, the weight room at Valley Ranch, was empty until late July.

With labor peace now established, Woicik’s program will start on time in a couple of months. And the primary beneficiaries are the Cowboys’ 2011 rookies, who became professionals last summer without any offseason time in a professional setting.

Woicik has six Super Bowl rings with the Cowboys and Patriots. He knows how to physically prepare a team for a 16-game grind.

The young offensive lineman in particular need time: tackle Tyron Smith; guard Bill Nagy, who broke his ankle; and guard David Arkin, who essentially redshirted and needed to get stronger.

"It’s more of a maintenance-type situation (during the season). The offseason is really when (Woicik) gets to work," Garrett said. "We’re excited about the opportunity to have our players be with him — our older players and also our younger players because I think he has a track record of developing individual players and hopefully help develop our football team."

SPOTLIGHT: Mike Woicik – Dallas Cowboys’ strength and conditioning coach

Mike Woicik - Mr_Six_Superbowl_Rings - Dallas Cowboys S-C coach

Mike Woicik - Mr_Six_Superbowl_Rings - Dallas Cowboys S-C coach

IRVING, Texas – A contemporary Dallas-New England matchup always evokes discussion of the 1990s Cowboys and 2000s Patriots, the only teams ever to win three Super Bowls in a four-year span.

Mike Woicik happens to own all six championship rings.

Woicik is back for his second term as the Cowboys’ strength and conditioning coach. From 1990-96, he was an integral part of all three Super Bowl teams. Same with the Patriots from 2000-10.

No player or head coach in NFL history can match Woicik’s six rings. Charles Haley, who’s entering the Cowboys Ring of Honor next month, comes close with five.

“Mike’s got a wealth of experience and he’s got a tremendous background with all of the things that you want your strength and conditioning coach to have in the National Football League,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said via conference call this week. “He’s got a lot of experience with track and running and his speed training as well as power lifting and becoming stronger and more explosive as well as rehabbing injuries and working guys back from being less than 100 percent all the way back to being full speed.

“And that’s what that position is. You’re dealing with fast, skill players. You’re dealing with big players that are trying to create power and explosion. There’s obviously conditioning levels with all of them and then you have players that you’re constantly trying to bring back from less than 100 percent to a 100 percent or a high enough level that they can participate in the game and train with everybody else.”

This season Woicik replaces Joe Juraszek, who originally succeeded him as Cowboys strength coach from 1997-2010. Running back Tashard Choice said Juraszek did an outstanding job working with the current players, and Woicik has filled in well despite losing an entire offseason due to the NFL lockout.

Along with the Cowboys’ athletic training staff, Choice credited Woicik for helping him return from a training camp calf injury.

“He was making sure I stayed on top of my legs, doing different things,” Choice said. “He has a whole regimen of how he wants to make you stronger, and he made me stronger.”

Dallas Cowboys coach Mike Woicik meets his former team

Mike Woicik - Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning coach

Mike Woicik - Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning coach

IRVING — The Cowboys strength and conditioning coach, Mike Woicik has won more Super Bowl titles than any player or coach in the game. He’s won six, three with the Cowboys during his first tenure with the club (1990-1996) and three more with the New England Patriots (2000-2010).

Sunday Woicik will get to see some old friends when the Cowboys and Patriots meet at Gillette Stadium.

Woicik doesn’t speak with reporters other than a brief hello as he walks by them.

Bill Belichick, however, did have some good thoughts about Woicik.

“He made a very positive impact,” said Belichick, who has won three titles as a head coach. “Mike’s got a wealth of experience and he’s got a tremendous background in all the things you want your strength and conditioning coach to have in the National Football League. He’s got a lot of experience with track and running and speed training as well as power lifting and becoming stronger and more explosive as well as rehabbing injuries and working guys back from being less than 100 percent all the way up to being full speed. That’s really what that position is.”

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