The NFL lockout may still be in full effect, but veterans of the Dallas Cowboys are using it to prove their leadership.
While coaches cannot conduct official team practices during the lockout, Cowboys players like Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware, Keith Brooking and Marc Colombo have taken incentive to keep off-season life as normal as possible by holding their own practice sessions away from Valley Ranch.
More than 40 players have showed up for practices held by the veterans. These practices have been held away from official team facilities and have been using unaffiliated personnel, all at the expense of the players.
The players are apparently doing a good job of making the entire ordeal be as normal as possible as well. As ESPN’s Todd Archer writes,
The players follow a script — seven minutes for stretch, pat-and-go, move-the-ball, walkthrough — that their coaches have used for years… The tempo of the workouts are Jason Garrett-inspired, but if the offense or defense needs more time on a certain technique, play or formation, then they take the extra time to get things clarified.
Quarterback Tony Romo has been taking a major role in holding the practices. He’s acted as media relations, scheduler and head coach during the off-season. Without coaches to lead workouts, Romo, who has been allowing to let his golf game suffer, has been taking initiative to make sure the newest players to the Cowboys are being involved.
Draft picks like Tyron Smith and DeMarco Murray are supposedly going to practice and are getting adjusted to the team. For a team that will rely on rookies to replace non-effective veterans, this is critical.
The Cowboys went 6-10 last season and disappointed many along the way. While the lockout would deter some teams, the Cowboys only prove that they are willing to fight it through. The Cowboys are showing leadership, something that has been debated in recent times. If players are willing to improve on the field at their own expense, it can only mean good things for the regular season.