One of the reasons the Dallas Cowboys struggled last season was due to injury. And while it’s true every NFL team has to deal with similar issues, the Cowboys had a rather odd number of hamstring related injuries last season. And many blamed Dallas’ strength and conditioning coaches for the problem. Yet, there will be no changes to the Cowboys current off-season training program. But why?
Earlier this offseason, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said the Dallas front office was going to take a hard look at what has caused these injuries the past couple seasons. And that the team would have to do “something different”. Apparently, they have found the problem: The player’s new labor agreement.
When asked about any possible changes to the Cowboys offseason training regiment during an interview earlier this week on 105.3 The Fan, Jones responded:
“No. We looked long and hard at it, don’t get me wrong. I think one of the things that we have to look at it, and I think it’s well-documented, with our new labor agreement, obviously the players aren’t required to be here. I would submit to you, and I think players would be the first to say it, if you’re not in a competitive workout situation, then it’s probably not as intense and not quite what it should be. When they’re reporting 45 days later and they’re working out on their own then I think they’re not quite up to where they normally would be when you start earlier. But those are things that we’re going to continue to work with, with the union, and those are things that will have to be worked out over time, and we’ll continue to try to tweak and do things better.”
So, let’s get this straight. The reason the Cowboys have had the unusual number of hamstring injuries the past couple seasons is because the player’s new labor agreement doesn’t require them to workout the way you want them too? So, in order to correct the problem, you’ll be making no changes to the program itself. Instead, you’ll work with the player association to…what? Change the labor agreement? Wow. That’s certainly not addressing the issue.
What should sicken every Cowboys fan even more is how our NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles’ training program is being run. Installed last season by new head coach Chip Kelly, Eagles players are calling it revolutionary. Using the newest technologies and not being afraid of innovation, Philadelphia’s non-traditional approach made them the healthiest team in the league last year. From the use of eye sensors, 3-D cameras and body monitors to gather as much data as possible. To intense practices set to deafening music, yoga sessions, personalized player’s protein shakes, and encouraging their players to sleep longer hours; the Eagles training staff is setting the bar for all other NFL offseason programs. The Cowboys must follow suite.
In 2013, the following Dallas players all struggled with hamstring related issues and many missed significant time because of it: Miles Austin, Sean Lee, Justin Durant, Morris Claiborne, Dwayne Harris, Bruce Carter, Barry Church, Dez Bryant, Danny McCray, Gavin Escobar, Terrance Williams and Lance Dunbar. But it sadly appears the Dallas front office has now put the onus on the player’s themselves to be more healthy in 2014. And I, for one, believe the Cowboys are dropping the ball with their current training program and philosophy. The results speak for themselves.