OTAs are upon us and boy is it exciting to see some resemblance of football again! One step closer to the regular season! I’ve missed seeing the Cowboys.
It’s important to remember that OTAs, for the most part, have very little hitting and even less action at full speed. While it may not be as exciting, it is the safest approach.
I’m all for half speed during OTAs. My main concern is the health of the team. Sean Lee tore his ACL during the very beginning of OTA’s two years ago. Orlando Scandrick tore his ACL and MCL during training camp last summer and missed the entire 2015 season. He is still in the recovery process, getting better every day.
Like Scandrick, other key Cowboys are also nursing injuries. Dez Bryant is still in rehabilitation from offseason surgery on his foot and ankle. Lance Dunbar suffered a torn ACL and MCL during the Week 4 loss to New Orleans, missing the rest of the season. Gavin Escobar tore his Achilles in the Dec. 19 loss to the New York Jets and was placed on injured reserve for the final two weeks of the season. DeMarcus Lawrence had offseason surgery on his back and while he might not be participating much in team workouts, Coach Jason Garrett said Lawrence’s rehabilitation process looks encouraging. All of these players’ availability is questionable for OTAs and minicamp.
I hope no one gets hurt and everyone stays healthy but unfortunately, the harsh reality is that every team, every year, will have some injuries – including the Cowboys. That’s why I’m happy key players like Bryant, Scandrick, Dunbar, Escobar and Lawrence are likely to be limited in OTAs.
Don’t get me wrong, I really miss seeing Bryant make incredible catches, Dunbar catching dump off passes out of the backfield and Scandrick going toe to toe with a team’s top receivers. It’s been so long since we’ve seen some of that and OTAs is when we finally get a glimpse of it! But I’m willing to wait a little longer. I’d rather those key players stay out of harm’s way as much as possible so they stay healthy for the regular season. Better to rest now and avoid the possibility of re-aggrivating the injury.
Many would argue that Bryant missing a lot of the offseason’s workouts last summer hindered his performance in 2015. But Bryant is most likely not going to miss as many offseason workouts this year. Most of the injured, with the exception of maybe Dunbar and Escobar, are on the better ends of their healing processes and could be back to full form before preseason. Bryant, Scandrick, Lawrence and all the others can fine tune their technique during the grueling summer training camp.
Whatever comes of these practices, keeping the roster healthy is top priority. We saw what injuries can do to a team last year, so I’m all in favor of limiting the opportunity for more to occur. The last thing this team needs is to lose one of its key pieces before football season has even started.