CANTON, OH - AUGUST 4: Head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys talks to his players as they come off the field during the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Fawcett Stadium on August 4, 2013 in Canton, Ohio. The Cowboys defeated the Dolphins 24-20. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Don’t blame the Cowboys for at least not attempting to thwart the injury problems that helped wreck another season.
GPS devices strapped to players to monitor their movement. A ballet bar installed at Valley Ranch to help in stretching. And, um, just maybe a more conservative, compromising Jason Garrett?
In 2013 the Cowboys were besieged by hamstring injuries. Of course Miles Austin, but also missing time because of the leg injuries were Sean Lee, Justin Durant, Morris Claiborne, Dwayne Harris, Bruce Carter, Barry Church, Danny McCray, Lance Dunbar, Dez Bryant, Gavin Escobar and Terrance Williams. In their NFC East Championship Game loss to the Eagles, the Cowboys were without Williams, Harris and Claiborne.
By any criteria, that’s an epidemic. And after the season we all blamed the strength and conditioning staff for not keeping the players, well, strong and conditioned.
But at last weekend’s rookie minicamp Garrett decided to scale back the final day at Valley Ranch out of concern for a number of players who were injured and/or dehydrated. The Cowboys in the past have been criticized for having a “country club” culture. But one of the keys to this season might be doing less, not more. Wade Phillips was ripped for giving players days off on “Victory Monday” and resting veterans during practice, but the Cowboys haven’t made the playoffs under the more demanding Garrett.
I'm not suggesting Garrett turn into an ol' softie, but maybe getting over the 8-8 hump occurs by not playing your best football on the practice field.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.