Thursday marked the end of what Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett called a “really good” offseason program, as the team held its final mini camp session at AT&T Stadium.
“I think it’s good to have everybody in [that] environment, seeing how we operate and where we’re going to play, and to get that in their minds, particularly for the new guys,” Garrett said.
So as practice closed with a final stretching session and the field at AT&T Stadium emptied in front of a group of kids from a local summer camp watching in awe, the team has a little over a month off until reporting to Oxnard, Calif. for training camp July 22.
While Garrett said the time off is needed to get away from the game and get “recharged” mentally and physically, it’s not possible to totally escape.
“We’re all very much invested in it. So you’re always thinking about it,” he said. “You consciously try to get away from it, but it’s always on your mind, and it’s always kind of in your person, trying to somehow, someway do it better, make it better. You’re always fighting that balance.”
Fast forwarding four-and-a-half weeks to the start of training camp, Garrett said the team has a number of priorities as the coaching staff tries to build a successful football team.
One of those immediate priorities doesn’t seem to be addressing the Kyle Orton situation. Garrett said there is no plan or timetable for resolving the stalemate with Orton, and the team doesn’t have plans to release him.
He said communication is the most crucial part of the backup quarterback's situation.
“We have to do what we need to do as an organization in penalizing him the necessary amounts of fines and those kinds of things,” Garrett said. “We also just want to understand and communicate and try to figure out… what’s best for the Dallas Cowboys and for Kyle Orton.”
Bryant in the bullpen?
Wide receiver Dez Bryant saw reps as a punt returner during the Cowboys’ three-day mini camp that concluded Thursday, rotating with Cole Beasley and Dwayne Harris.
“Dez is always somebody we’ve had back there as a punt returner and he’ll continue to work at that. He’s very good at it,” Garrett said.
But with Dez, who led the Cowboys with 93 catches and 1,233 yards last season, other factors are at play.
“He also is very valuable to our offense, so when you make those decisions you try to weigh all of those things,” Garrett said. “He’ll always be in the bullpen for us if we need him, but we have other guys we like there as well.”
Bryant has returned 42 punts in his career for 384 yards and two touchdowns, including a 93-yard return in his rookie campaign. He returned 22 punts over three seasons at Oklahoma State.