FRISCO, Texas – It’s only May and training camp is still two months from now, but the Cowboys’ heavy lifting began long ago – in case anyone needed a reminder of the never-ending nature of the NFL.
That’s the biggest impression that’s left when Dak Prescott and his receivers talk about the work they’re putting in to get ready for the coming season. It might feel early in the process, but that’s far from the case.
“I think most of that time was kind of done weeks before these OTAs,” Prescott said. “Right now it’s kind of just defining the routes down, you getting a feel for how they’re running their routes versus different coverages – man or zone.”
It’s a good point and a fortunate advantage for the Cowboys at this time of year. The vast majority of the offseason program is voluntary, but the majority of this team’s roster resides year-round in Dallas – and most of them have been working together as far back as February.
“I think the guys understand how important this time is – it’s particularly important now for everybody to be here and be a part of these each and every day so we can build our football team,” said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett.
Prescott repeatedly emphasized the importance of that foundation, and it’s evident in watching the Cowboys practice. In addition to working with longtime veterans, he’s also getting plenty of repetitions with newcomers like Ryan Switzer, not to mention staying after practice with Rico Gathers.
“It’s important that we just keep getting better, we keep figuring each other out,” Prescott said. “They need to know exactly what I’m thinking just as much as me knowing exactly what they’re thinking.”
On that note, enter Dez Bryant. The All-Pro receiver knows how to develop chemistry with a quarterback, having caught 50 touchdowns from Tony Romo – not to mention another eight from Prescott last year.
That was a solid start, but it’s not the end – not by a long shot, to hear it from Bryant. Much like the Cowboys’ good attendance for OTAs,
Bryant said this offseason has been marked by a willingness to do more – whether it’s him, Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott or anyone else.
“Me, him and Zeke were just watching film yesterday after practice,” Bryant said. “All of that plays a factor into moving forward this year. Nobody told us to do that, you know, we just want to be better as a whole. It shows up. Just like today – not just me, but the rest of the wide receivers, the whole offense. Whenever you want something, it’s going to show up.”
It’s certainly showing up to this point. The plan is to continue that going forward.