Scott Linehan: Day 1 of minicamp not 'perfect,' but feeling good about Cowboys' progress
The Dallas Cowboys wrapped up their offseason program on Thursday with the final day of the three-day mandatory minicamp.
After nine organized team activities (OTAs) and three days of minicamp, the Cowboys are getting a five-week break before reporting to training camp.
With that, our final observations from minicamp:
1. Team building. It’s cliché, but the Cowboys are looking to build camaraderie in these weeks leading up to training camp. It started with a team lunch in the Cowboys Club after minicamp concluded, and will continue in the weeks leading into training camp.
Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have discussed getting the skill position players together for workouts, and it’s common for other positions groups to go on vacation or spend time together.
"Definitely a time to step back and relax and take a break, but not really a break," Elliott said. "It’s going to be important for us to put in some work these next five weeks."
2. Practice nuggets. Coach Jason Garrett made sure the players didn’t get into "vacation mode" until Thursday’s practice concluded.
There were a few standout plays.
Prescott connected with Allen Hurns on a back-shoulder fade in which Hurns boxed out Byron Jones and got both feet in bounds. Backup Cooper Rush had a nice touchdown pass during seven-on-seven drills, finding an open Michael Gallup in the left corner of the end zone.
3. So long, D-Ware. DeMarcus Ware signed on as a part-time pass rush consultant with the Denver Broncos after spending time as a guest coach with the Cowboys earlier this offseason.
Ware can’t work for two NFL teams, meaning he’ll exclusively be helping the Broncos pass rushers. Garrett addressed that situation on Thursday, saying he’d always be welcomed by the organization.
"He’s been such a great player and such a great person to this organization for a long time," Garrett said.
4. Injury updates. The Cowboys are hopeful that most of their players will be ready to go when training camp begins next month.
Garrett said wide receiver Terrance Williams, who underwent foot surgery this offseason, is progressing well and should be ready to go on Day 1.
So should the rest of the players who have been given time off this offseason such as Leighton Vander Esch (ankle).
The only known player who will still be rehabbing when camp opens is defensive tackle Maliek Collins, who underwent foot surgery. Collins is expected to be ready in the middle of camp with the hope of him being available when the regular season starts.
5. Vacation time. These five weeks are always the most precarious as the structure goes away for the players. Injuries and off-field issues are always a concern, but coach Jason Garrett makes it a point to give the players a message of handling themselves the right way.
It's a nice break for the coaching staff, too.
"You try to get yourself refreshed and recharged to get ready to go once training camp starts," Garrett said. "You never turn it completely off, but you do change the environment and you take care of some things as they come. It also gives me some time to think a little bit about what we want this team to be and how we try to make that happen — whether it’s with schedules or different things we need to do."