The Dallas Cowboys have finally walked onto the practice field...well, that is until they started running.
As is the typical Jason Garrett style the past few seasons, the team would get things started slowly as they ease their players into football activities. After being off for the last five weeks, players aren’t accustomed the rigor of competitive play, so the coaches will be pulling back the reins. There would be no pads or players going after each other for these first two days. Staying healthy will be a huge objective this training camp, so it shouldn’t be surprising that coach Garrett is proceeding with caution.
"We just think it’s in our best interest to be deliberate as we start camp and let them get their football legs underneath them in a situation where they’re not competing against someone," he said. "That’s oftentimes when guys get hurt – because they’re not quite ready, they’re not quite reacting the way their body needs to react when they’re in a competitive situation."
But before things get started, let’s take a look at the participants or lack thereof for those who are physically unable to perform (PUP) or who have been placed on the non-football injury (NFI) list.
PUP - Lance Dunbar, Maliek Collins, Benson Mayowa, and James Hanna
Dunbar is still recovering from an injury to his left knee that he suffered last year against the New Orleans Saints. There is no definitive timetable for his return. The Cowboys rookie Collins broke his foot in June. He was initially placed on a 12-week recovery timetable, which could see him missing most, if not all, of training camp. Free agent defensive end Mayowa had a knee scope in June and the team was optimistic he’d be ready for camp. It is unknown just how close he is in returning. And Hanna has soreness in his knee.
Resistance cord work for defensive linemen Benson Mayowa and Maliek Collins— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) July 30, 2016
NFI - Darren McFadden, Jaylon Smith, and Damien Wilson
McFadden broke his elbow during OTAs (not at OTA’s, but during the time OTA’s were going on). McFadden slipped and fell and landed on his elbow. He was holding his cell phone at the time, so it was believed he hurt himself trying to catch it.
Cowboys RB Darren McFadden doesn't have any brace protecting his elbow. He's working on side.— Brandon George (@DMN_George) July 31, 2016
Speaking of an injury away from the field, second-year linebacker, Wilson injured his eye while playing paintball. He’s likely to miss a couple weeks. And Smith is still waiting for that peroneal nerve to strike.
RESERVE/DNP - Randy Gregory and Rolando McClain
Gregory is in a treatment facility and his non-arrival was expected. The same is not true for McClain as he was expected to be on the flight. The Cowboys front office was only interested in talking about the players that made the trip, so keeping with their interests - that is all that will be said about them.
FREE AGENT SIGNINGS - Darius Eubanks and Henoc Muamba
No football had been played yet, but that didn’t stop the Cowboys from making moves. The team added a couple linebackers on Saturday when they signed Eubanks and Muamba. Our own Dawn Macelli provided sound background on these new players.
Now that we got all that cleared up, on to some football stuff...
Not surprisingly, all eyes were on the Cowboys veteran quarterback, Tony Romo, and man did they get an eyeful after a photo surfaced that made him look like he had packed on a few extra pounds.
Not to worry, Cowboys fans as Machota would clarify that it was just an unflattering angle and that Romo is the same size that he was at OTAs and minicamp.
It certainly appears as if Romo is overweight. He is not. It was some poor camera work on my part.
But that didn’t stop people from taking to twitter to inject their best joke attempts. This one is my favorite.
Romo must be sneaking in clean urine samples for the defensive players under his jersey. Guy's a leader. https://t.co/o8zTH2irT5— Matt Alexander (@MattAlex982) July 30, 2016
Amazingly, he was able to drop several pounds by just running a few extra feet.
Despite being healthy, the Cowboys will take it slow with several players coming back from an injury. One player that is a full participant is Gavin Escobar. He continues to show good progress.
Know you non Escobar fans don't want to hear this but he is actually moving better than pre injury. He's cutting well off that foot.— Bryan Broaddus (@BryanBroaddus) July 30, 2016
It wouldn’t be a Cowboys training camp if Mike Pope didn’t have the tight ends doing some weird drill.
New Mike Pope drill. Rico Gathers with bag over his head pic.twitter.com/kEisw0s5yQ— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) July 31, 2016
Keep in mind, Rico hasn't been a tight end very long and is not used to running with bags over his head.
Sean Lee is healthy and looks to be moving well.
Sean Lee said his knee is 100 percent. "Felt great today." Had scope in April. pic.twitter.com/JYMSwiSep2— Rob Phillips (@robphillips3) July 31, 2016
DeMarcus Lawrence is suspended for the first four games, but he was at camp doing work.
Ryan Russell is getting work at RDE with Lawrence working on left side in some snaps.— Bryan Broaddus (@BryanBroaddus) July 30, 2016
Ryan Russell: "We have enough pass rush out here to be the best defensive unit in the league and the best defensive line in the league."— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) July 30, 2016
No word yet if this statement will prompt any additional drug testing for Russell.
The Cowboys aren’t the only team having a successful start to training camp. Don’t look now, but Eli Manning has added another skill to his arsenal.
New York Giants (@Giants) July 30, 2016
Before there was any football, the Cowboys would show their support for the real people in blue that spend their lives protecting others. They walked onto the field, arm in arm with Dallas Police Chief David Brown and the families of four of the victims killed in the July 7th shooting in downtown Dallas. It was a great moment to bring some peace and joy to those who have been through so much recently. The Cowboys are about unification as a team, but it’s good to show that this type of collaboration extends further than the football field.