Dallas Cowboys Player-Organized Workouts: an Exercise in Futility?

Allan UyContributor IMay 9, 2011

OXNARD, CA - AUGUST 14:  Tight end Jason Witten #82 talks with quarterback Tony Romo #9 during Dallas Cowboys Training Camp at the Marriott Residence Inn Oxnard River Ridge on August 14, 2010 in Oxnard, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

For those of us who have been begging for scraps of information during this lean offseason, the news that Dallas Cowboys players will begin a second week of self-run workouts should make our collective mouths water with anticipation at a team seemingly ahead of the lockout curve. But a number of people, including ESPN's Mark Schlereth and Marcellus Wiley, believe that with no coaches present to teach technique and provide direction, these activities are nothing more than a glorified bonding experience.

Could this be true? Are these workouts practically meaningless?

I don't think so. Not for the Cowboys, anyway. Per Todd Archer's blog of a recent interview Tony Romo had with the press, the players “could go bowling” if all they wanted to do was bond.

Although bonding is a part of it, there's more to it than that. “Personally, I think it's about sharpening skills and getting better,” said Romo.

And he's right. This is a chance for Romo to exert his leadership and for him to get his timing down with the receivers-like during any OTA.

Most importantly, unlike the draft, this is all about the defense. They have a new system to learn and need every chance they'll get to learn it. It's obvious that at least one player, maybe DeMarcus Ware or Bradie James, got their hands on a copy of Rob Ryan's playbook.

Now don't get the wrong idea, with Rob Ryan unable to attend, there's only so much the defense can learn on their own. But with these workouts, they have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the terminology and can even “stop and discuss a particular play to make sure everyone understands what to do.”

It probably won't be until the season starts when we'll know for sure if these player workouts have any substance to them. But if we're to take Tony Romo at his word, then there's good reason to believe that this offseason is not futile.


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