There are varied opinions on the player-led workouts that are taking place around the NFL. On the positive side, players are working out to some extent, and hopefully are building the ties that bond, and that will help when the season finally comes around. On the negative side, some wonder how much is actually able to get done at these workouts and the specter of injury to a player hangs over every session.
Personally, I'm very much in favor of them. This team needs to take every opportunity to improve on the abysmal 2010 season. So doing what they can to workout together, to try and learn as much of the Rob Ryan defense as they can, it's all a good thing. But, check back with me if something goes wrong.
Also, as I wrote about recently, the workouts allow Tony Romo to flex his leadership muscles. But it's not only Romo who is being a leader. Jason Witten notes multiple guys helping out.
"[Romo] has done a good job of leading it, but a lot of other guys, too, are being responsible for their group -- Marc Colombo and [Keith] Brooking and Bradie James and DeMarcus [Ware]. There are so many guys. It’s really an opportunity for us as leaders to take our team to another level. It’s been good from the standpoint of there’s no distractions. It’s go in and go to work and get better."
One of the things missing from the workouts - besides the coaches - are the rookies. It sure would be nice if some of them showed up. So far, the Cowboys have had an unbelievable number of players participating, among the best in the NFL from what I've read. Tony Romo says that 45 veterans attended last week's workouts.
Now, it's time for some rookies to show up. Which reminded me of a Tyron Smith interview I read last week but never got around to posting. Among other Q&A in the article, was this little tidbit.
I know you’ve been working out on your own but are you planning on coming to the team workouts?
Yea, if I can; if I can get in contact with one of the players and start working out with them, it’d be great. But, for now, I’m just working on my arms and just keep pushing myself so I can be ready to come in and start practicing.
If he can get in contact with one of the players? Someone please get Tyron a directory...quick. His agent I'm sure could help out. Whatever it takes, get the guy to the workouts.
One of the big questions about the workouts is how much of the Rob Ryan defense can the guys really learn? DeMarcus Ware gives his thoughts:
"We’re not going from a 4-3 [defense] to a 3-4," Ware said. "It’s 3-4 to 3-4 with different terminology, with different positions but the principles are still the same. You’re just learning the terminology and communicating out there what to do, communicating the plays. If we mess up it’s not like someone’s on your back saying, ‘Get it right.’ It’s, ‘OK, let’s do it over again.’ We’re going at our own pace, which is good."
"When I look at this, I’m like three different guys," Ware said. "I can be a defensive end, a tackle, a standup outside linebacker. There’s a lot of movement. The thing is it’s not about which guy plays that position. It’s about everybody being in the right spot at the right time so things play out the right way."
There's that reference to versatility in a Ryan defense again. Or as Rob Ryan calls it - multiples. He likes guys who can play multiple spots.