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Dallas Cowboys Minicamp Day 1 Review - Now Let's Talk Football

At long last, the definitive word has come from Jason Garrett himself on who is calling plays. Now, hopefully, we can get down to concentrating on how the Cowboys play football.

Yeah. It's official.
Yeah. It's official.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
It was the elephant wandering around the fifty yard line, at least to judge by the way it has been covered, discussed, and dissected. But the biggest piece of news from the first day of the Dallas Cowboys Mandatory Minicamp is that Jason Garrett finally came out and admitted what even the most casual observers could see for themselves: Bill Callahan is calling the plays. In a twenty minute press conference he devoted the bulk of the time to explaining the decision and the confusion over the subject. You can see the video and read a detailed summary by David Helman at (Garrett also discussed a few things not having to do with the playcalling, and Helman put a separate post up on that.)

While the belated confirmation is being hailed by some as overdue, the actual content and reasoning is really not at all surprising. Garrett maintained that the entire process (and you can't really avoid his favorite buzzword here) was long term, carefully thought out, and designed to maximize the chances for success. I didn't see anything that has not been touched on here at some point. To me, the most telling quote Helman had addressed the delay.

"Just candidly, you guys come to practice and you guys watch and you guys see where I am and you guys see where the playcallers are, so it wasn't going to be a big secret," he said. "But to stand up here and share it prematurely - I didn't think that was in our best interest. But it came out, and it's not a big deal, and I take full responsibility for that communication not being as clean as it should have been."

The real conflict was between Garrett and the media. He is not inclined to tell the press anything, because he wants to keep just about everything out of sight with the Cowboys. And although this was seen as a disconnect between Garrett and Jerry Jones, Jones actually played along for a very long time. In that, Garrett was not just taking one for the team in putting the miscommunication on himself. There probably should have been a time set to make it official, one that everyone was on board with. Instead, we had the awkward semi-announcement last week when Jones gave a rather flippant reply when he was asked again about it all.

Now it is finally laid out in detail, and hopefully this irrelevant distraction will fade away for a bit. (Thanks again to the New England Patriots for giving the reporters something else to focus on.)

One thing that did come out of all this was that the hire of Frank Pollack was a key part of making this happen. Pollack is going to take care of offensive line matters on the sideline, which a lot of people figured. A little less expected was that Callahan will be calling the plays from the booth, which does seem like a better vantage point.

Tony Romo also talked about his role and how things happened. And, as Calvin Watkins reported at ESPN Dallas, he had what was undoubtedly the line of the day.

"I think more than anything I think [the media], not trying to be rude, but you guys don't matter," Romo said.

While the discussion and occasional swipe at the reporters was all interesting, there was a practice going on. The overall health of the team seems to be pretty good, but there are a bevy of players having to sit out. Brandon George has a full list at SportsDay DFW (which is the new name for the Dallas Morning News sports page). In addition to Romo, who said he would be on the field if the practice was next week instead of this, Morris Claiborne had a migraine but is expected to be back. There was a scare on the field when Dwayne Harris went down, apparently with a bit of a scream of pain, and had to be helped off, but initial word is that he hopes to practice Wednesday. And a bone bruise saw Anthony Spencer join DeMarcus Ware on the sideline. Spencer is hoping to get back on the field before the end of minicamp, but meanwhile Kyle Wilber is taking advantage not only of extra snaps, but getting coached up by both Ware and Spencer, as Carlos Mendez reports in the Ft Worth Star Telegram.

"I'm not trying to get hurt, but I'm not going to be timid out there and not allow myself to get better," he said. "Right now, it's a great feeling to actually go through OTAs. Last year I didn't go through OTAs. Now that I'm actually able to practice, D-ware is critiquing me every play, everything I'm doing, telling me look at my angle, look at how I'm attacking, look at my first step.

"Getting taught by DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

As always, the observations of Bryan Broaddus at comprise one of the best articles to read to find out what was really going on out on the field.

  • He felt defensive tackles Jay Ratliff, Jason Hatcher, Ben Bass and Nick Hayden all had good practices. One thing you might miss: Ratliff took some snaps at the one, which is not generally how he has been lining up. And looked good working on Travis Frederick.
  • Just as Broaddus thought Spencer was the standout player on the field on defense earlier, he thinks one player may be poised to elevate his game offensively: Jason Witten. Yes, that's right. Broaddus said he is giving everyone who tries to cover him fits, and that includes Sean Lee. Also, the Senator is running more routes straight up the middle in the red zone. If that is part of the offensive plan this year, I would like a big helping of it, please.
  • B.W. Webb was another player benefiting from a starter (Claiborne) being out. He looked good both in coverage and on a blitz.
  • Finally, he discusses the evolution of the team away from a fullback. Although there was a remark from Calvin Watkins on Twitter about the team being committed to Lawrence Vickers, Broaddus thinks the FB position is going to disappear from the roster soon, and having Callahan calling the plays makes that more likely.

Now that the coaching stuff is all ironed out and hung out in public, we should be seeing more real football stuff this week. And all three days of minicamp are open to the media, so come back to see what happens.

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