Dallas Cowboys Voluntary Workouts Begin Today - Tony Romo Ready To Go

USA TODAY Sports

NFL football doesn't officially kick off for another few months, but most teams are starting their voluntary offseason programs today as they start preparations for the 2014 season.

The 2014 NFL season officially gets under way for the Cowboys today with the start of voluntary off-season workouts, and per a report from Calvin Watkins, Tony Romo is expected to participate after undergoing offseason back surgery. Other injured players expected back:

  • Running back Lance Dunbar (knee) who was injured in the Thanksgiving Day game against the Oakland Raiders last year, will also be at Valley Ranch working out.
  • Defensive lineman, Tyrone Crawford, who tore his Achilles tendon in the first day of training camp last year, is also participating in camp.
  • Cornerback Morris Claiborne (shoulder and finger) is also expected to attend workouts.
  • Wide receiver Dwayne Harris (shoulder) could also be ready for workouts.

The Cowboys weren't very active in free agency, only bringing in defensive linemen Henry Melton, Jeremy Mincey and Terrell McClain, as well as backup QB Brandon Weeden, but that doesn't mean there won't be any new faces in the locker room today.

The Cowboys currently have 60 players on their roster, 18 of whom were not on the season-opening roster in September 2013.

All players, new and old alike, will see a fairly stable coaching staff - at least by Cowboys standards. Rod Marinelli was promoted to defensive coordinator, Scott Linehan was brought in as the nominal "passing game coordinator" but will be the game-caller on offense, and Mike Pope was brought in to replace Wes Phillips as the tight ends coach. The few changes to the coaching staff are conveniently highlighted with a green background in the table below.

Offensive Coaches Defensive Coaches Specialty Coaches
Bill Callahan
Offensive Coord./Offensive Line
Rod Marinelli
Defensive Coordinator
Rich Bisaccia
Special Teams Coordinator
Scott Linehan
Passing Game Coordinator
Monte Kiffin
Assistant Head Coach/Defense
Mike Woicik
Strength and Conditioning
Gary Brown
Running Backs
Jerome Henderson
Secondary
Brett Bech
Asst. Strength and Conditioning
Derek Dooley
Wide Receivers
Joe Baker
Assistant Secondary
Kendall Smith
Asst. Strength and Conditioning
Keith O'Quinn
Off. Quality Control/Wide Receivers
Matt Eberflus
Linebackers
Mike Pope
Tight Ends
Ben Bloom
Quality Control/Linebackers
Frank Pollack
Assistant Offensive Line
Leon Lett
Assistant Defensive Line
Wade Wilson
Quarterbacks

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As for the voluntary workouts commencing today, the CBA has specific rules governing what can and can't be done:

The Cowboys will get a 10-week window for their nine-week offseason programs. Programs cannot exceed four workouts per player in a week and they are limited to weekdays. These initial practices are entirely voluntary, with mandatory minicamps not starting until June. There will be three phases to the workouts, all spelled out in the CBA.

Phase one will cover the first two weeks, with players limited to strength and conditioning or injury rehab. This phase will only allow full-time or part-time strength and conditioning coaches that have no other coaching responsibilities onto the field. No footballs can be used, except that quarterbacks may elect to throw to receivers - provided they are not covered by any other player. The players cannot wear helmets during phase one.

Phase two covers the next three weeks of the offseason workout program. All coaches are allowed onto the field and on-field workouts can include individual player instruction and drills. However, there can be no live contact or team offense versus team defense drills, and players cannot wear helmets during this phase.

Phase three covers the next four weeks of the workout program, which can include up to ten days of organized team activities. This provides a chance for more instruction and helmets, but players cannot wear any pads, including shells.

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Here are the key offseason dates for the Cowboys between now and the start of the season:

April 21: Start of offseason workout program
May 8-10: NFL Draft
Rookie Minicamp (Probably weekend of May 16-18)
Three OTA sessions (veterans and rookies): May 21-23, May 28-30, June 3-6
June 11-13: Mandatory Minicamp
Training camp opens 15 days prior to first preseason game (Betw. July 24 and July 27)
Week One (Aug. 7-10) — at San Diego
Week Two (Aug. 14-18) — vs. Baltimore at AT&T Stadium
Week Three (Aug. 21-24) — at Miami
Week Four (Aug. 28) — vs. Denver at AT&T Stadium

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And Cowboys players are getting ready to participate.

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