FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys have completed their nine OTA practices and have now moved onto the three-day minicamp, which began Tuesday morning at The Star.
Head coach Jason Garrett previewed the mandatory minicamp, which should include all 90 players on the roster.
After this week’s minicamp, the players and coaches will seemingly be off until the Cowboys report to training camp in Oxnard, Calif. on July 25.
But before that, there is plenty of work to do. Garrett discussed a variety of topics, including another injury to a draft pick.
Here are some of the highlights:
After the press conference, Garrett said rookie lineman Connor McGovern will miss another week of practices with a pectoral injury. The third-round pick from Penn State suffered the injury last week in OTAs. The Cowboys will keep him out all week as well with the hopes of getting him 100 percent for the start of training camp in late July.
Of the players who haven’t been practicing, such as DeMarcus Lawrence, Antwaun Woods and Byron Jones, Garrett said “the same guys will stay out.” However, he mentioned La’el Collins, Travis Frederick, Allen Hurns and Tavon Austin will all participate in individual drills this week.
Garrett also mentioned Jason Witten, Sean Lee, Tyron Smith and Jameill Showers (returning from ACL injury) will all be limited to just two practices this week – either for rest or rehab purposes.
When asked what the biggest difference will be this week in the mandatory minicamp and the previous nine OTA practice, Garrett said there won’t be a lot of noticeable changes. The fact that these practices are mandatory doesn’t affect the Cowboys as much, considering they had such strong participation in the voluntary practices. However, Garrett said the length of the day will be changed as the NFL allows a longer day in the minicamps. The team will keep the players longer after practice to review the film.
Garrett also said there will be more situational sessions in these practices. The Cowboys will use some of these practices to work on “Play-it-out situations,” such as the end of the half or two-minute drills with a specific scenario in place.
Being a backup quarterback for most of his career, Garrett understands the importance of the backups to get reps. He said both Cooper Rush and Mike White are “doing well” as they compete for the No. 2 spots. Garrett also said getting reps there might be the most important for any position on the team. “They’ve made strides,” Garrett said of the backups. “It’s important to get reps. The more work they get, the better they get. We want everyone to get some work equally.”
When asked how Sean Lee might be handling a reduced role this year, Garrett said it’s a bit premature to have those discussions. “I don’t know if we’re at that point. We’re just trying to get everyone better and Sean is one of those guys that has great energy and leadership. He’s just someone that loves to play football. As we get close to this thing, we’ll sort out everyone’s role. He’s had a great offseason.”
Lee is expected to move to strong side linebacker, a spot that doesn’t typically stay on the field as long. However, Garrett added later that the Cowboys are trying to figure out their best personnel packages that will include Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch and of course, Lee.