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Minicamp recap: Cowboys finish offseason program ahead of training camp

The Dallas Cowboys had their final team tune-up before training camp while head coach Mike McCarthy found himself in hot water with the league.

DALLAS — The offseason program for the Dallas Cowboys has officially ended and the next time the team will meet together for practice is when training camp opens in late July. Unofficially, everything ended two days earlier than scheduled when Mike McCarthy canceled the last minicamp practices, instead electing for a team outing at Top Golf.

This has been par for the course lately with the Cowboys, and other teams, where they opt out of the last few days of the glorified practices for team building activities. Team chemistry is now being emphasized with the Cowboys, which is a positive.

With that in mind, here are some other things that were revealed about the Cowboys as they finished their offseason with training camp on the horizon:

Offseason work complete

McCarthy felt comfortable canceling the final workouts because the team had accomplished what they had set out to do with their offseason program. The work began in mid-April and ended with mandatory minicamp, which was the last part of the scheduled program.

The head coach also spoke about the team being ahead of where they were in his first two offseasons in Dallas, which is no surprise considering the COVID restrictions in his first year and quarterback Dak Prescott still rehabbing his injury last spring. According to McCarthy, all of the installs are done, which led to the forgoing the final workouts.

Injury updates

For the last few weeks, the Cowboys have been practicing without some players due to injury. One of them, rookie wide receiver Jalen Tolbert, was back in action for minicamp. Tolbert was not only taking reps at wideout either, he was also being tried out as a punt returner. The Cowboys have a need for a returner and if Tolbert can win the job, it would help a weak spot on the team.

McCarthy also gave updates on fellow receiver James Washington, who has been seen with a walking boot, and second-year linebacker Jabril Cox, who is returning from an ACL injury suffered last October. Both are expected to be available once the team arrives in Oxnard for camp.

Meanwhile, cornerback Kelvin Joseph didn’t practice during minicamp, as he was dealing with a minor injury. He is expected to be ready for training camp without any limitations. What’s less certain is the league’s stance on Joseph’s offseason legal issues. The Cowboys are likely bracing for a suspension for the young CB.

Fined again

The Cowboys will be fined, again, for too much contact during their offseason practices. The NFL announced that the team, and McCarthy, will be fined for the second year in a row for excessive contact.

The loss of money isn’t a big deal, nor is the cancellation of an OTA next offseason. With the Cowboys electing to forgo some of their workouts anyway, the team won’t be hurting. However, the NFL takes contact during offseason team activities seriously.

Observers of the practices were perplexed as to what could’ve been the cause of the violation, but the best guess is that it was the pushing and shoving between rookie defensive tackle John Ridgeway and offensive lineman Josh Ball during OTAs.

School’s out

The Cowboys are now on their own until camp opens, as there are no more scheduled events or practices. This is a time where teams generally hold their collective breaths. McCarthy imparted words of wisdom before the Cowboys departed, asking his players to “be smart and be safe.”

Although there are no scheduled team practices, McCarthy alluded to the fact that players are expected to keep working out in preparation for the season. There’s roughly five weeks between now and camp, and McCarthy believes the players will continue to move forward instead of staying away from the team.

Participation for voluntary workouts this offseason had outstanding attendance and that’s not expected to change. The hope is that there are no off the field incidents before the Cowboys meet again in an official capacity for training camp.

But until everyone lands in Oxnard, it’s worry season in the NFL.

With training camp around the corner, are you content with how the offseason shaped up for the Cowboys? Share your thoughts with Ben on Twitter @BenGrimaldi.

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