The first Organized Team Activities (OTAs) are in the books! The Dallas Cowboys took to the practice field on Monday, in shorts no pads unfortunately, and it is officially the footballiest time of the year!
Before the OTAs took place Head Coach Jason Garrett strolled on up to the podium to hold court. He answered all of the questions that we’ve heard for the last few months. Where’s Dez Bryant? Not here. Who’s going to be the starting runningback? We’ll see. How do you keep your hair so stylish? Head and shoulders. After he mesmerized us with the Garrett stare he headed on out to the field to see his team.
So a few things before we talk about OTAs:
- These are VOLUNTARY. It is not a big deal, it is not even a normal sized deal, if players are not here. They will be.
- This is Day 1. The first time these guys are all interacting together as a complete unit. Nobody is going to look perfect.
- FOOTBALL IS ON ITS WAY BACK!
In regards to the offense we got to see Tony Romo in action. This is actually a big deal in itself because each of the last two seasons Romo has been limited in these initial OTAs both times coming off of a back surgery. He was out there firing today and acting in his coach-on-the-field way that he usually does. In what was a “highlight” of the day (hard to have highlights in OTAs) Romo completed four straight passes with the final for a big gain to James Hanna.
Darren McFadden was first to get a shot at the runningback position, but he did split reps with Joseph Randle. Both showed some significant bursts and legitimate promise, but it’s important to remember that players look and play differently in full pads. Undrafted rookie free agent La’el Collins saw some work with the second team at right tackle. Doug Free didn’t participate fully in practice today as he is still coming off of surgery.
Defensively we got to see a lot of things that we’ve been very excited for. For starters, our defensive leader, Sean Lee was back in action! Lee was lost for the entire 2014 season, on this exact day last year, and it was a sight for sore eyes to see his #50 near the ball like he usually finds himself. Another player lost for a significant part of last season, cornerback Morris Claiborne, worked on drills off on the side field. Morris has had not one, but two, offseason surgeries and his status for even training camp is still uncertain.
First round draft pick Byron Jones looked great and Barry Church made an impressive interception, so the secondary seems to be on the rise. Rolando McClain is in Alabama, where he starred collegiately, rehabbing an offseason knee surgery so free agent signee Jasper Brinkley took the first team reps at Middle Linebacker. The defensive line looked very sharp, and Demarcus Lawrence looked HUGE. During the second team drills Randy Gregory and Ben Gardner both beat La’el Collins and Chaz Green to the QB, so even down the depth chart they’re getting after it.
While Day 1 was certainly exciting it wasn’t even close to what’s to come. This wasn’t even the appetizer for our meal. This wasn’t even the bread that gets served before the appetizer. Today was the moment that you decide on the restaurant that you’re going to eat dinner at and run to the car to head out.
We’re en route and we’re starving. The food is going to be delicious.