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Dallas Cowboys Rookie Minicamp Musings: Rookies Getting Acclimated On Day 1

The Cowboys began their rookie minicamp today so we offer up some observation from Cowboys media.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys Rookie Minicamp Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys began their rookie minicamp practices today and will continue them throughout the weekend. Obviously, a huge portion of the rookie minicamp is getting these players acclimated with the facilities, coaches, and training staff. Think of it as an orientation for their new job with some first impression practices to give these coaches their first chance to get their hands on the players. Over the weekend we’re going to do our best to put together a rundown that will highlight all the tidbits of information from the various sources out there.

The Cowboys started out the day by working out eight players, the most notables being the 6’ 10” offensive tackle from Arkansas, Dan Skipper. Skipper was originally a UDFA signing but he was listed as a tryout due to a medical re-check on his bloodwork. Jim Maurer the head athletic trainer felt good enough about his situation to make him a tryout. If all goes well expect Skipper to be signed by the end of the weekend. Here are the other tryouts, courtesy of Brandon George of Sportsday DFW:

Dallas also has eight of their nine draft picks signed with Jourdan Lewis soon to follow. They also officially signed their 14 UDFA’s, those names are:

QB Austin Appleby (Florida)

DT Woody Barron (Virginia Tech)

WR Brian Brown (Richmond)

C Michael Coe (North Dakota)

OLB Kennan Gilchrist (Appalachian State)

TE Blake Jarwin (Oklahoma State)

OLB Joseph Jones (Northwestern)

OT Levon Myers (Northern Illinois)

DE Lewis Neal (LSU)

QB Cooper Rush (Central Michigan)

G Nate Theaker (Wayne State)

RB Jahad Thomas (Temple)

OLB Lucas Wacha (Wyoming)

It’s interesting to note that a handful of veterans that weren’t able to gain their year served in the NFL will also be available for the rookie minicamp including guys like Rico Gathers (Practice Squad) and Jaylon Smith (NFI List). It remains to be seen what work, if any, Smith will be participating in. Garrett made mention of this when asked about Smith’s potential involvement:

“He’s going to do the veteran stuff on the field on Tuesday and Thursday, so we don’t anticipate him doing a lot on the field over the weekend,” Garrett said. “But he’ll go through the meetings and the walkthroughs.”

In the past, the Cowboys have been known to ramp up the workload and throw different things at these rookies to see what they are made of. Though Rod Marinelli will certainly be doing some of that, the Cowboys are taking an easing approach this year to cut down on dehydration and injuries.

Of course, they want to see these guys practice hard and see what type of competitors they have but there’s no need in pushing their limits, the NFL is already going to be a far faster tempo than they have ever seen. Here’s Coach Jason Garrett on the mindset:

“We won’t go against each other in the rookie minicamp,” said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett on Sunday. “We’ll just give them a chance to go through individuals, some group stuff on either side of the ball and get their feet underneath them a little bit.”

“I do think there’s some value to playing football, but we feel like there’s enough opportunity -- once we get going in the OTAs – to get them going in that regard, where they’re working against people,” he said.

Also, of note, the Mothership will no longer be able to have their Mini-Camp Live or OTA Live shows as they were allowed in the past. Though it was great for each and every Cowboys’ fan out there to get a peek at what was going on, the organization had to put the kibosh on it going forward due to the exposure it garnered:

Competitive edge is a huge thing in the NFL and coaches do not like hearing that other teams are paying close attention to their website and especially a meticulous coach like Jason Garrett. It’s a bummer to not have those at our disposal but the reasoning makes a lot of sense. What they did have though was quotes from many of the participating rookies- my personal favorite was this gem:

“I’m here now. It’s all that matters. I’m here now. I’m ready to work.” –Xavier Woods, S

The man of the hour though was Taco Charlton and most of today’s questions surrounded first impressions of the 6’ 6”, 270 lbs. defensive lineman and first-round pick. It was Marinelli that stood in a delivered the goods on Charlton with a noticeable scratch on his face from getting rather close in the pass rushing drills (Oh Hot Rod...):

“Tremendous person, high character, loves football,” Marinelli said. “That’s all of the things you’re looking for. And he’s got some talent. Now it’s about the grind.

“He’s really a good athlete, very good athlete, and then he’s got length. Really good length. He’s long and lean and he’s just going to get stronger and stronger.”

Charlton had his time with the media and there was another nugget he mentioned that probably had a lot to do with him being drafted by the Cowboys. Marinelli has a connection with Taco’s position coach for all four years at Michigan, Greg Mattison:

“I feel like they’ve got very similar coaching styles,” Charlton said. “When Coach Mattison was (coaching) at Florida (2005-07), he would go down and visit Coach Marinelli when he was at Tampa (as the Bucs’ assistant head coach/defensive line coach). So they already had kind of a relationship and he felt like I was in great hands. He’ll push me to that next level and get me where I want to be.”

That’s about all the interesting comings and goings for the Cowboys’ first day of rookie minicamp, we’ll be back with a similar post tomorrow.

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