The rookie minicamp over the weekend provided the first organized football highlight of the year for Cowboys fans. And there's more to come with OTAs just around the corner.
But it's also worth keeping in mind that voluntary workouts already began a month ago on April 15. For the first two weeks, players were limited to strength and conditioning or injury rehab and position coaches were not yet allowed to work with players on the field. But that changed on April 29, when the coaches were allowed onto the field and on-field workouts, including individual player instruction and drills, were permitted. However, no live contact was allowed yet, and players weren't allowed to wear helmets.
The offseason workout program kicks into high gear next week with the first set of OTAs.
OTA and Minicamp Schedule
May 21-23: Organized Team Activities
May 28-30: Organized Team Activities
June 3-6: Organized Team Activity
June 11-13: Mandatory minicamp
What Are OTAs?
From the outside looking in, the OTAs don't look like anything more than than glorified walkthroughs.The real importance of the OTAs and minicamps is that this is where 75-80% of the playbook is installed. As such, it doesn't matter so much that live contact isn't allowed yet. Here's what is allowed per the CBA:
All coaches shall be allowed on the field. No live contact is permitted. No one-on-one offense vs. defense drills are permitted (i.e., no offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen pass rush or pass protection drills, no wide receivers vs. defensive backs bump-and-run drills, and no one-on-one special teams drills involving both offense and defense are permitted). Special teams drills (e.g., kicking team vs. return team) are permitted, provided no live contact occurs. Team offense vs. team defense drills, including all drills listed in Appendix G to this Agreement, are permitted, provided no live contact occurs. Clubs may require players to wear helmets; no shells are permitted.
Appendix G spells out the above restrictions in a little more detail, but adds that "7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills will be permitted, providing no live contact takes place".
After the final mandatory minicamp, the players then get another month at home before training camp opens on July 19 in Oxnard. The reporting period for quarterbacks and injured players begins five days earlier.