IRVING, Texas– Today marks the beginning of the voluntary portion of team workouts, both for the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL as a whole – though you wouldn’t know it’s optional, judging by the full parking lots at Valley Ranch.
A lot was said (and implied) last week about Tony Romo’s lack of participation in the teams OTA’s. The fact is, Romo was very involved in the activities with coaches and teammates … both on the practice fields and in the clubs meeting rooms.
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo directs teammates during the Dallas Cowboys first OTA practice at Valley Ranch
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo directs teammate Jason Witten after he runs a pass route.
Tony Romo warms up arm during the Dallas Cowboys first OTA practice
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo tries not to collide with Dez Bryant as he runs a pass route
IRVING, Texas – Tony Romo wants to take part in the June 11-13 mini-camp.
Romo had a small cyst removed from his back in April and has been limited in his conditioning work for most of the offseason. He has only recently done some light jogging to go with work on the bike and elliptical machines. He has not done any sprinting.
Over the next few weeks, he will be able to make progress in his conditioning to get on the field for full-speed practices.
Romo’s experience has been touted for his ability to be more involved with the game planning and instillation means so much, then OTA’s in May will not be a great deal of help.
Let him work through some individual drills the way DeMarcus Ware is doing. Ware is coming off major shoulder surgery. He could take part in full practices if necessary, but the Cowboys are being conservative with his comeback.
There are $108 million reasons why the Cowboys must do the same with Romo.
The Dallas Cowboys Week-1 OTA’s wrapped up today, with three days of practices and exercises. The team will have a total of ten days of these activities … three more next week, and four in the final week. Click HERE to see the full off-season NFL calendar for the Dallas Cowboys.
Bill Jones and Mickey Spagnola wrap up the first week of Dallas Cowboys OTA’s on The Blitz.
With Organized Team Activities kicking off today for the next three weeks, I thought I would take a few moments to give you some of my thoughts:
- Despite all the questions that will be asked of Tony Romo on Tuesday about the comments made by Jerry Jones during the offseason, I honestly believe that nothing will change in his approach to how he gets ready to play these games and his interactions with Jason Garrett and Bill Callahan. Starting quarterbacks around the league have input to the type of plays that the club is going to run each week. When Brett Favre was a first year starter for us in Green Bay, Mike Holmgren would go through each play that week and ask Brett what he felt comfortable with. Tony Romo has always been a hard worker in his preparation and knowledge of what the plan was going into the game. I can speak from experience in visiting with him after games and being amazed with his ability to recall play by play, read by read of what happened to him in a game. You don’t do this by accident, you have this ability because you are really locked into what is happening on the field but also what the coaches are trying to do and this will never change.
- Two weeks ago, these rookies got a big taste of what will be expected of them each day they step on the practice field under this coaching staff. In my years in the NFL, I have always been a huge fan of bringing in the rookies early before the veterans just for this reason. Let the rookies get that feel of the pace and let them make mistakes that can be corrected then and there. In training camp coaches are teaching with the thought of getting ready to play games and don’t always have the time to go back and make major corrections. In these OTAs and mini camps, it’s easier to take a step back and coach these rookies using the examples of these veteran players as examples. Terrance Williams didn’t have the best start to his rookie camp but now he can study how Dez Bryant and Miles Austin run their routes and with that mental picture it can help him get a better understand of what he is going to have to do to be successful going forward.
- Injuries made things very difficult for this squad last season. In this first OTA practice, there will be a few players that will not take part in the action, but guys like Sean Lee, Barry Church, Bruce Carter, Jay Ratliff and Matt Johnson will be in the mix. These camps will be especially important for a guy like Johnson who lost his entire rookie season to a hamstring problem that never healed. When this camp opens it will be Johnson and Church at safeties to start.Kyle Wilber is another player like Johnson that will also be looking for a second chance to show better at defensive end. Players that will be limited in the camp will be DeMarcus Ware, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Danny Coale, who will have his hands full in an attempt to make this squad at wide receiver.
- It was this time last year where I noticed several players that appeared to make that jump from one season to another. Dez Bryant physically looked in better shape and his routes were run with purpose. Dwayne Harris played with better quickness and Barry Church stepped up and begun his quest to win the starting job. Players that I am going to keep an eye on that could possibly make that jump are: Jermey Parnell, Tyrone Crawford, Ronald Leary and James Hanna. Of these four players, Crawford has the most experience and he was only a rookie. Parnell will be given every opportunity to start over Doug Free. I feel like Leary is most likely a year away but Hanna is very intriguing to me. Just watching him play during training camp and then going back and talking to folks about how he practiced each week gives me a great deal of hope that he could develop into something special. I like what I am hearing about using this “12” personnel group but my gut tells me that Hanna will be the one that takes advantage of the situation to work with Witten. I do like Gavin Escobar a great deal but he doesn’t move up the field like James Hanna does. Keep an eye on these four players and see who makes that jump in 2013.
- I will be very interested to see how much progress that cornerback B.W. Webb is going to make the next three weeks. He was clearly the best corner on the field during the rookie mini-camp and with the veterans in the mix will he be able to carry that over now that they are here? Webb did play mainly on the right side and on the depth chart as it sits, he is behind Mo Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick. He will not start ahead of Claiborne but can he show enough ability to work ahead of Scandrick not only on the depth chart but in the role of the nickel corner. Webb has the talent to put pressure on Scandrick but he doesn’t have the experience. I see this competition as a good thing because last season it just wasn’t there and Scandrick knew that but with Webb on the squad, it’s going to make him have to elevate his level of play to keep his job.
Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Scout
Today, kicks off the first of three OTA’s scheduled by the Dallas Cowboys …
|May 21-23||Organized Team Activities (OTAs)|
|May 28-30||Organized Team Activities (OTAs)|
|June 3-6||Organized Team Activities (OTAs)|
For more information about upcoming calendar events, click on the button below:
Dallas Cowboys fullback Lawrence Vickers doesn’t care about his sore knee or that he played 27 plays last week or that he had four touches last week. All he cares about is beating Cleveland.
"Cleveland was home. I was there five years," Vickers said. "I gave that organization a lot. I learned a lot. I got a lot from them. I appreciate them for even drafting me. It’s personal in the sense that it’s like playing your family. Whenever you play against family, you want them bragging rights. So yeah, it’s personal."
Vickers was a sixth-round draft pick of the Browns in 2006. On Thursday, Vickers named the two head coaches, the four offensive coordinators and the seven starting quarterbacks he played for and with in Cleveland before leaving for the Texans as a free agent during the 2011 off-season.
"If you give something five years of your life, and you put all you put into it, it’s going to be personal to you," Vickers said. "Point blank, period. It is what it is. It’s not that, ‘Oh, I’m mad.’ I’m not mad, upset, at all. Cleveland gave me a chance. They were the team that picked me in the draft, so I’ll forever love Cleveland. They gave me the chance to do what I wanted to do, and that’s play football. So it’s no hate thing. It’s I’m going to celebrate."
Vickers’ sore left knee kept him out of practice Wednesday, and he was limited Thursday. But Vickers says he won’t miss Sunday’s game for anything.
"It would take for me to die [to not play]," Vickers said. "Lord bless me, I hope I don’t do that. I ain’t missing this for nothing in the world. It’s personal. Believe that one."
HUMOROUS FLASHBACK: Lawrence Vickers leaves practice with fire ants in his pants
I must start off this post by saying that we’re not making this up.
Dallas Cowboys fullback Lawrence Vickers was forced to leave Wednesday’s OTA practice once he felt the burning sensation of fire ants in his pants.
“Fire ants got in my pants,” Vickers said. “I was freaking out. Oh, ants!”
Fire ants are reportedly a nuisance in the Dallas around this time of year. Vickers was bitten by them about four months ago. At that time he found out he’s allergic to them when he started wheezing and his neck started to swell up. Now he carries an EpiPen with him for cases like today.
MORE ABOUT VICKERS –> PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Dallas Cowboys FB Lawrence Vickers
Cornerback Morris Claiborne, the Cowboys’ top pick (No. 6) out of LSU, still isn’t a full participant at Cowboys practices. But he is getting closer.
Claiborne, who recently had pins removed from his left wrist, continued to work on conditioning Wednesday. While he didn’t wear a helmet, Claiborne had on a practice jersey and shadowed the Cowboys corners on the field. He is not expected to be cleared to practice until training camp late next month.
"Morris has done a really good job of staying engaged, as engaged as he can in this process where he hasn’t been able to practice," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "He’s locked in on the meetings. Sometimes you’ll see him out on the practice field, literally the quarterback is walking up the line saying you’ve got 12 guys out there. Well, the 12th guy is Claiborne over there, shadowing the corner, over there where he would play. He can’t line up and practice against anybody because of his wrist, but he’s going about it the right way, and he’s really trying to get as much out of this experience as he can. Once he gets back going again, there’s going to be a huge transition for him. But all you can do is go about it the right way, approach it the right, be as prepared as you can for your opportunities, and he’s been doing that."
Safety Gerald Sensabaugh also stood on the sideline during practice, out with a sore knee.
"His knee was acting up on him a little bit," Garrett said. "I don’t think it’s anything serious."
Linebacker Dan Connor (shoulder), defensive end Marcus Spears (neck), defensive lineman Sean Lissemore (side), nose tackle Jay Ratliff (foot) and running back Felix Jones (shoulder) also were among those missing at Wednesday’s practice. The Cowboys have their final OTA practice Thursday before a mandatory minicamp next week.
Rookie wide receiver Danny Coale said the team is trying to get him ready for training camp.
“That’s the goal,” he said Wednesday at Valley Ranch after an OTA practice. The fifth-round pick out of Virginia Tech suffered a broken foot two weeks ago in the opening week of OTAs. “
“Whenever I come back, I’m going to try my hardest at that opportunity,” he said. “ But right now, I’m kind of focused on this and getting this right and then, when the opportunity comes, I’ll try to make the most of it. But I don’t want to get too far ahead right now.”
Coale said he broke his foot at the end of a conditioning drill.
“I needed to turn my foot, and my foot stuck in the ground,” he said. “It popped right there. I knew it right away.”
Coale said he should be out of his walking boot in seven to 10 days, and he’ll be off crutches in another day or two.
“It’s feeling a lot better each and every day, which is good news for me,” he said. “I’ve never been through this before. It’s nice waking up each morning feeling a little better, doing a little more each day.”
Broken feet run in the Coale family, apparently. Coale said his brother Kevin broke his feet twice playing lacrosse in college at Virginia and that his father broke a foot in middle school.
“I thought I was exempt from it,” he said with a smile. “I guess not.”