Training camp kicked off for the Cowboys in San Antonio yesterday, as it did for nine other NFL teams, with more teams opening camp today and tomorrow.
The first day of training camp usually starts with physicals. Players get weighed and measured, and teams get a good first look at what shape their players are in after the 4½-month lockout. Garrett was pleased with the overall shape of the team, and some players even tweeted some of their measurements yesterday, both of which we'll look at after the break.
- DE Alex Daniels: "weight 270 and they tested my body fat and it was 9.8 OMG flexen just a walking muscle";
- WR Teddy Williams: " 202lbs 3.2% is about as perfect as u can get ur body! Haha I love it";
- TE Martin Rucker: "Physicals are done. Body fat at 6.9%"
But there are also bound to be some nasty surprises on that first day of physicals around the league, and the situation can quickly and literally turn ugly when the conditioning tests start, as the Redskins and Albert Haynesworth painfully demonstrated last year .
Brian Martin, CEO of TEST Football Academies where dozens of NFL players trained during the lockout, believes there will be an increase in injuries across the NFL due to lack of offseason condition:
"The most common injuries will be pulled muscles, hamstrings and groins primarily, due to lack of preparation. Players need to lengthen and strengthen muscles in the offseason to be ready for the rigors of the NFL."
Martin also notes the type of offseason conditioning required to stay in top physical shape is not something that comes naturally to all NFL players:
"The lack of offseason will seriously affect those that have not prepared on their own or at a facility. Based on working with over 60 active NFL guys, I believe it is roughly 50-50 with those that are workers and those who are not. Many rely on natural gifts, and they will be affected with the lack of mandatory conditioning.
I will be the first to admit that the results of the physicals and conditioning tests have little to do with with a player's ability from a football standpoint.
But the point here is, the players know that they are coming, and they know how important it is to show up in shape if they want to stand a chance of surviving training camp. Tony Romo even reiterated that point when talking about the player-only workouts the Cowboys conducted this offseason:
"The guys know how important it is to be in football shape and be ready to go when the lockout ends."
There really isn't an excuse to fail one of these tests. Showing up in shape is about being accountable. In his first press conference as interim headcoach, Garrett stressed accountability:
"It’s important to be accountable. Be accountable to yourself, to your teammates, to your coaches, to your players, to your family, to the fans, to everybody. It’s part of the deal."
We probably won't ever see the full results of the conditioning tests the Cowboys conducted, but Jason Garrett was very pleased with the results overall:
"The conditioning test this year is really interesting because we’ve not been around our players the entire offseason," Garrett said. "We made it very clear to them what our standards and approach will be for the team. I thought in general the team did an outstanding job of being in shape. This is the first time they’ve run the test and I thought for the most part it was good. Did everyone pass under the time on every single one? The answer to your question is no, but for the most part it was run really well."
Wide receiver Troy Bergeron, safety Justin Taplin-Ross and defensive end Matangi Tonga did not pass their physicals and were promptly released.