DALLAS COWBOYS CALENDAR: NFL announces 2015 offseason workout dates | Dallas 2015 OTA dates | Cowboys voluntary & mandatory camp calendar 2015
The mover & shaker mode of free agency is winding down. Super Bowl XLIX is in the rearview mirror. That means it’s almost time for all 32 teams to start their offseason programs.
Below are the key offseason dates to know for your 2015 Dallas Cowboys and their evil NFC East rivals. Continue reading →
THE TOUGH-LOVE DEFENSE: Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli focused on teaching | Dallas Cowboys rookie mini-camp 2014
Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli: Time For Teaching | 2:54 | Rod Marinelli talks about why it’s an important time for teaching instead of competition. He also talks about where he could envision Tyrone Crawford playing on the defensive line. (Watch | Listen)
Former Marine, and Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s not into nursing anyone’s confidence, or lack thereof.
The second week of organized team activities started for the Dallas Cowboys today (on Tuesday). As expected, Tony Romo remained out of the mix.
Romo is unable to practice after having a cyst removed from his back in April. The quarterback hasn’t started working with the Cowboys’ 2013 NFL Draft picks: center Travis Frederick, tight end Gavin Escobar and wide receiver Terrance Williams.
Romo was asked what he misses by being forced to sit out early practices.
“I think sometimes timing,” Romo said Tuesday. “But at the same time, I’m going to wear that out with them, too. I’m sure they’ll want to get out of here a little bit in June and July, but I’ll probably force the hand a little bit to keep them around and it’ll be a good thing for us. It’ll be just a bonus, time wise.”
Meanwhile, the quarterback said he watched film on Escobar and Williams prior to the 2013 NFL Draft, per the request of general manager Jerry Jones.
Romo would like to take part in the Cowboys’ June 11 to 13 minicamp. He can fret about timing, but time remains on his side.
Organized team activities at Valley Ranch usually conclude with an activity like paintball, fishing, or bowling designed for the players to have a good time and build chemistry.
This year was different. The Cowboys staged a football camp for 160 area high school kids. The group was broken up into eight teams Thursday. Eight Cowboys were assigned to be head coaches _ Tony Romo, DeMarcus Ware, Jason Witten, Gerald Sensabaugh, Sean Lee, Jay Ratliff, Doug Free and Miles Austin _ and assembled their coaching staffs from the rest of the Cowboys roster.
Then, the kids took part in a 7-on-7 tournament.
“I think the kids really understand the opportunity they had here to interact with our players at our facility, but our players were off the charts,” head coach Jason Garrett said. “They had so much fun out here.
“There was so much enthusiasm and passion for the game and each other. I think everybody had a great day.”
The team coached by Witten defeated the team coached by Free in the championship game. Witten had his team run the no-huddle.
“Oh yeah, he was a little cocky throughout the day,” Garrett said of Witten. “He was getting those guys on the ball fast. Their tempo was outstanding.”
Witten joked that he will be happy to help Garrett with his game plan and play calling.
“I don’t know if I’m going to be a coach,” Witten said. “But I’ll hold this trophy and keep it in the house for sure. A lot of bragging rights with about 80 other men in that locker room.”
RELATED: Witten’s team wins at Cowboys youth football camp
In the end, few seemed surprised by the result: A team coached by Jason Witten was the champion.
A squad the tight end supervised claimed the title Thursday at the Cowboys’ U high school football camp that featured a round-robin tournament of 7-on-7 games involving 160 underserved student-athletes from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Eight teams — led by Witten, quarterback Tony Romo, safety Gerald Sensabaugh, nose tackle Jay Ratliff, linebacker DeMarcus Ware, receiver Miles Austin, linebacker Sean Lee and offensive tackle Doug Free — competed on the practice field at the club’s headquarters at Valley Ranch, where Cowboys stood on the sidelines and offered words of encouragement.
“It’s great to be able to impact them through a game of football and it puts a perspective on what our job is day in and day out,” Witten said.
The Cowboys, who held their final day of organized team activities on Thursday, adopted the format used at a similar camp head coach Jason Garrett hosts annually at Princeton University. And Garrett was pleased with the outcome.
“I was really proud of everybody…I think everybody embraced the opportunity,” Garrett said, “and it was a great moment.”
Stephen McGee got extra work all week during the minicamp because Kyle Orton sat with a hamstring injury.
But McGee did not make the most of his chance. He had an inconsistent week, and Thursday’s final practice of the minicamp was an example.
He had a tough time in red zone and goal line 11-on-11 situations. He was pressured. He threw away three balls. And he couldn’t find the touch on deep balls to the corner. One out pass to the end zone was too high to catch.
But he avoided resorting to simply running when pressure came. He stopped one scramble at the line of scrimmage and found receiver Cole Beasley going to the sideline. He also showed good touch on mid-range throws to the middle of the field for Andre Holmes.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett agreed McGee was inconsistent, but cautioned that McGee doesn’t get the benefit of playing with the first-team offense.
“One of the challenges that a backup quarterback has when he goes in is that there are a lot of young players playing,” Garrett said. “We’re putting a lot of things on their plate as an offense. The defense has challenged us a lot of ways. And a lot of times, mistakes are made around you . And you have to process what happened and still make great decisions. You can’t let their mistakes become your mistakes.”
This is an important camp for McGee. He was passed over for the No. 2 backup spot with the signing of Kyle Orton, which he said he understood. But the Cowboys have also brought in Rudy Carpenter to compete for the No. 3 spot.
“I think Stephen did a good job handling some of the different things that didn’t go quite so well for him, and he made the right decision with the ball and handled the situation well,” Garrett said. “So those were big strides for him.”
Since the Dallas Cowboys rookie minicamp ended early in May, safety Matt Johnson has only been able to study his playbook – no reps, meetings or advice from veteran players.
Until Thursday, Johnson was still a college student on campus at Eastern Washington, which didn’t finish classes until this week.
Johnson flew in to DFW Wednesday night and was on the sideline during the Cowboys final minicamp practice.
“It was good to get out there. It was different from seeing it in the playbook,” Johnson said. “It was good to get one practice with the vets before camp.”
The Cowboys drafted Johnson in the fourth round of April’s draft. He missed all of the OTA practices and the first two days of minicamp this week.
“I’m doing as well as I can without being on the field,” Johnson said. “It’s totally different seeing it on the field. I feel like I have a little grip on things. At least I’m familiar with it.”
Johnson, who had 17 interceptions in his college career, has also agreed with the Cowboys on his rookie contract. He expected to sign it shortly after Thursday’s workout.
“It’s great,” Johnson said. “I wasn’t worried about it. I just want to play football.”
Cowboys new addition Brandon Carr showed Wednesday why he was one of the top free agent cornerbacks on the market this off-season in the second of three consecutive mini-camp practices.
During a two-hour practice at Valley Ranch, Carr was dominant defending the pass in the red zone. Carr is a physical cornerback and that really helps him when defending a short field, such as the red zone.
Carr knocked away pass after pass in the end zone as quarterbacks Tony Romo and Stephen McGee continually tested him on the outside.
No matter if the pass went inside or outside, Carr was in position to make a play on the ball. Finally, receiver Dwayne Harris beat Carr inside, barely getting both his feet down in bounds at the back of the end zone. Even on that pass, Carr maintained tight coverage on Harris and it took a perfect pass by Romo and great footwork by Harris to complete the pass.
Earlier in a red zone situation, on the same route inside, Harris stopped short on the route and was forced to dive for a Romo pass. Cowboys tight end Jason Witten quickly told Harris to keep coming on the route because he was in a one-on-one situation. Witten’s advice paid off for Harris, who made the catch against Carr in the back of the end zone the next time he had a chance.
Owner Jerry Jones said he had a chance to talk to cornerback Mike Jenkins before the start of Tuesday’s minicamp practice and that he didn’t sense that Jenkins was upset.
“No, I didn’t see that at all,” Jones said. “We had a good visit. I visited with him for a little bit, and there was none of that at all. As a matter of fact, I talked a lot about our coming year and how we’ve really bolstered up our secondary and how being a part of that can be something special. It was a very cordial conversation.”
Jones said there was no talk of Jenkins’ trade demand.
“I don’t really know that. I didn’t hear that. I didn’t talk to his agent about that. There’s no need to talk about that,” Jones said. “We’ve got a great situation here, and we’re going to be really able to maximize the use of the talent we got here at cornerback.”
Asked if he gave Jenkins a pep talk, Jones said, “No. We just discussed the team and the prospect of how great it’s going to be to have him working with these other corners. And our talent back there could really make our defense special. There was no talk about contract or expression of animosity or anything like that.”
So, what did they talk about?
“I didn’t see anything other than talking about this year’s team,” Jones said. “I asked him how he was feeling, what he weighed and that type of thing. No issue regarding my conversation with him regarding his status.”
Jenkins was the only player who didn’t appear at Valley Ranch during the voluntary part of the offseason. He spent the spring in Florida recovering from shoulder surgery. He declined interviews Tuesday.
Jones has no fear Jenkins will not compete at his best once he’s healthy.
“I’ve never seen Mike Jenkins not compete. I have not,” Jones said. “He’s a guy that’s a competitor. All the incentives are here for him to come in and have a big year. There is no rationale to have at all not to have a big year. He needs to get well and rehab, but he’s aligned right with everything that I’m aligned with and the Cowboys are aligned with: get in here, have a big year, play with a great bunch, this secondary, his corners, distinguish themselves.
“I told him about how our rotation in the years we won our first Super Bowls, how the defensive line rotation set a standard, similar to what you talk about the New York rotation. I see him joining in with our other corners with the depth we’ve got and doing something relative to our corners, could do something special and enhance his career and everyone smile.”
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins is expected to show up at the Dallas Cowboys’ minicamp this week. He may not participate in the offseason team activities, but he will be with the team, NFL.com reported.
The five-year veteran has been pushing for a trade during the off-season. However, as late as last week, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he has no intention of granting the cornerback’s wish. Jenkins would like an opportunity to compete for a starting job elsewhere.
Jenkins is scheduled to earn $1.05 million in the final year of the rookie contract he signed as a first-round pick in 2007. He underwent offseason shoulder surgery. He played through pain much of last season after suffering a dislocation.
It’s hard to gather a whole lot of information from one measly practice on the first day of rookie minicamp, when top picks square off, mostly, against players who were undrafted in shorts and no pads.
Still, Dallas Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones was keeping close watch, looking for any positive sign.
"I liked the way those D-backs moved around today, and those are the things that really stand out," Jones said. "Of course, your offensive linemen got a lot of reps. (Ron) Leary didn’t disappoint. I liked the way Leary moved out there. He’s not my pet cat, but it sounds like it, and I did like the way he moved.
"And then I thought (Danny) Coale had a good day out there, and (James) Hanna caught some good balls. And then those quarterbacks through the ball pretty good."
Two quarterbacks are in the minicamp on a tryout basis, Nathan Dick of Central Arkansas and Larry Smith of Vanderbilt.
"We’ll take the film of the drills and practices, and that’s where I’ll get my best look," Jones says. "But you just like to see quickness, and you can see that with these receivers and these D-backs … it’s hard to tell without pads on with these linemen."
Two undrafted cornerbacks had interceptions on consecutive plays late in the workouts, Troy Woolfolk of Michigan and Lionel Smith of Texas A&M.
Jones also mentioned third-round pick Tyrone Crawford by name, saying he was pleased with the kind of shape the defensive lineman was in, weighing a solid 281 pounds.
Today, the league put out a press release announcing the dates of offseason team activities and minicamps. The full list can be found here. The rules state that teams may hold a rookie minicamp on one of the first two weekends after the draft and may also hold a mandatory camp for veterans. New head coaches can hold one additional voluntary camp for returning players, but there are no new head coaches in the NFC East this year, just as I continually assured you there would not be when you kept asking me that question throughout the 2011 season.
Here are the offseason schedules for our teams:
OTA: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Minicamp: May 4-6 (rookies), June 12-14
New York Giants
OTA: May 23-24, May 30-June 1, June 4-5, June 7-8
Minicamp: May 11-13 (rookies), June 12-14
OTA: May 22-24, May 30-June 1, June 4-7
Minicamp: May 12-14 (rookies), June 12-14
OTA: May 21, May 23-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Minicamp: May 4-6 (rookies), June 12-14