Rookie minicamp kicked off for the Cowboys on Thursday, but there’s been one notable absence from the sessions at The Star.
Head coach Mike McCarthy was only virtually involved in Saturday’s short practice after undergoing a back procedure on Friday, it’s been reported. According to the team website, the 59-year-old McCarthy has been a part of some meetings at the facility, but he will not be involved in on-the-field activities for a little while longer.
But even the on-the-field activities didn’t look the same Saturday.
Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News shares that there was no direct competition between offensive and defensive players in this minicamp. Most of the work has reportedly been instructional in nature, with some players not even putting on a helmet over the course of an hour and change spent on the field.
Special teams coordinator John Fassel, who helped run the proceedings in McCarthy’s place, explained the reasoning behind the less-is-more strategy.
“I think around the league, the trend is going into just walkthroughs, jogthroughs, a ton of meeting time, and just waiting to get the young guys in with the vets,” Fassel said, “to get the strength and conditioning part before we ask them to perform.”
The rookies and veterans will share the field starting Monday, but there will still be no direct-competition drills as the team enters Phase 2 of the offseason’s voluntary workout plan.
Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer called it a “ramp-up” designed to help limit the kinds of early-summer injuries that can sideline a player just as the real work is about to begin.
Cowboys assistants are hoping to make sure their head coach is the only one laid up in these early sessions, and to that end, they had no trouble implementing McCarthy’s minicamp plan.
“It’s easy because Mike is always so clear and, ‘Hey, this is what we’re going to do,’ so we had a real vision for what we wanted to get accomplished this weekend with these guys,” defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said, per ESPN’s Todd Archer. “It’s mainly just taking those first steps, and I think Mike would agree: let’s not miss one step of their development and see what we have and how we communicate and testing them and seeing where we are at. And then we’ll begin with Mike and everybody else here this week of merging everybody together. So if there was a time to miss for him, there’s never a time he…