Cowboys camp in previous years started at a leisurely pace. Not so this year. Multiple reports agree that there was an unusually high energy level, the pace was brisk, and a sense of urgency could be felt in the Alamodome. So much so, the coaches had to pull in the reins, writes Tom Orsborn from the San Antonio Express-News, but Garrett was pleased with the overall energy level the team showed:
"Guys are excited to get back into this," Garrett said. "They've been away from football a long time. The business of the NFL has been the focus the last six or seven months, but our guys love to play football, and we feel like we've got the right kind of guys. We feel like they prepared themselves well when they were away from us, and they were champing at the bit to get back at it.
"It was nice to see the energy everybody had."
Ryan also showed some defensive formations where all three inside linebackers, Bradie James, Keith Brooking and Sean Lee were lining up at the same time.
Another part of the energy in the Alamodome came from the way the Cowboys organized the practices.
Todd Archer from ESPN Dallas notes in his practice observations that the team was running different team units in parallel to make up for the time lost to the lockout:
Savvy move by the coaches to run the first- and second-team linebackers and secondary at the same time to speed up the learning process considering the players missed the offseason. Ryan worked with the first team. Linebackers coach Matt Eberflus took the second team. Joe DeCamillis and Chris Boniol did the same during special teams drills.
Tony Romo also remarked on the pace and intensity fans saw at the Alamodome:
"I'm as excited as a guy can be to be playing football again," Romo said. "It's just great to be out here competing."
In an interesting twist, the Cowboys had referees on site going about their officiating duties right from the start. In previous camps, that had happened a lot later. Last season it took the Cowboys until mid-October before they brought in officiating crews to their in-season practices to help clean up their penalty situation.
Also, in what is sure to be a crowd pleaser among Cowboys fans, Garrett has taken the stars off of the rookies helmets. His message to these players is simple: "Earn them first!"
Kyle Kosier and Doug Free are unable to join the workouts until August fourth, Andre Gurode is sitting out while recovering from knee surgery, and Leonard Davis and Marc Colombo have both been released. So who does that leave manning the spots on the O-line? Here are the players getting first team reps yesterday:
LT Tyron Smith, LG David Arkin, C Phil Costa, RG Montrae Holland, RT Sam Young
Get used to this line for the next couple of days. This means of course that Tyron Smith was matched up against DeMarcus Ware, and he'll likely see a lot of No. 94 over the next few days.
"It’s very challenging, but as it goes along I’m going to start picking it up, and it’s going to start getting easier and easier," Smith said. "He’s going to make me better."
Ware is part of a defensive unit that is still missing a couple of free agent additions, but Rob Ryan is taking that in stride:
"We've got a great coaching staff, we've got smart players, so we're going to be fine," Ryan insisted. "We don't have to make excuses. We're going to have everything we need to be successful."
Here are more training camp recaps for your reading pleasure:
BTB's birddog26 has a very nice summary called Training Camp Observations: Day 1, which will hopefully be followed by more summaries down the road.
Todd Archer put up a few bullet points on ESPNDallas.com, as did Calvin Watkins. Rob Phillips from the mothership also has a short synopsis and Brandon George from SportsDay DFW already identified some winners and losers after day one.