Dallas Cowboys: Can they survive training camp without a major injury?


The Dallas Cowboys are set to open training  camp in Oxnard, California in less than a week. Officially, they start practices on July 30 and begin the process of preparing their minds and bodies for the physical and mental pounding that they will endure throughout the upcoming season.

Organized team activities (OTA’s) and training camp practices are a time where coaching staffs around the NFL try to prepare their players the best way possible for the season to come. They want to help to get their new free-agent acquisitions and rookie players get acclimated to how they run practices and install their playbooks, all the while trying to avoid any injury mishaps.

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The past two offseasons alone, key contributors for the team have gone down with major injuries that resulted in missing extended amounts of time.

In 2013, defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford ruptured his Achilles tendon while going through drills on the first day of training camp. He would end up sitting out the entire season, but was able to rehab and come back strong in 2014.

Again, while preparing for the upcoming season last year, linebacker Sean Lee went down during OTA’s with a knee injury that would require surgery and resulted in him missing the entire year while he rehabbed.

Rookie defensive end Demarcus Lawrence also missed nearly half of the season after breaking his foot during a one-on-one pass rushing drill with offensive tackle Tyron Smith.

Both Lawrence and Lee were supposed to be major contributors for a Rod Marinelli led defense, especially after the exodus of fan favorite defensive end/outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware and defensive tackle Jason Hatcher. Fortunately, we now know how the Cowboys were able to replace those players in the lineup, which resulted in a fantastic 2014 team effort that led the franchise back to the playoffs.

Heaven forbid anything like this happening for the third year in a row.

These particular occurrences really left me thinking about what the coaching and training staff of the Cowboys can possibly do in order to help prevent against these types of injuries?

If the wrong person were to sustain a major injury and miss an extended period of time, it could lead to a disastrous 2015 season.

So, how can America’s Team help keep the players injury free and on the field?

Unfortunately, there really isn’t a quick fix to ensure the safety of the players. The game of football, as we know it, is a physically demanding sport and injuries are going to occur from time to time. The only thing that the organization can really do is to make sure that the players are playing under control and not delivering any unnecessary hard hits during practices.

Player safety has become a hot topic in the NFL and there are rules in place to help ensure participant’s safety as a top priority in both practices and games.

In fact, the NFL distributes its League Policies for Players manual to all players and coaches at the beginning of training camp. The manual is to be used as a reference guide so that everyone knows the league’s stance on different safety rules and equipment and how to abide by those rules.

Personally, I think the Cowboys will be okay. Head coach Jason Garrett knows firsthand what it’s like going through practices and the physical demand that it requires. I believe he is the type of person who’s meticulous about every single detail of how practices are structured and the physicality or lack thereof that he demands from his players.

Garrett likes to have practices be as physical as possible, but also controlled at the same time. Tackling or taking players to the ground is frowned upon, but it does happen from time to time.

If we really take a close look at the major injuries over the past few years, they all have one thing in common. They were all freak accidents where the player sustained an injury by mere happenstance. None of the above mentioned injuries would be considered the result of something that would fall under putting the players in a bad situation. Accidents do happen in the NFL despite the best efforts from everyone involved.

We all know that avoiding major injuries is the best way for the team to remain as competitive as possible for the entire season. The Cowboys did an excellent job last season covering their losses by trading for linebacker Rolando McClain when Lee was lost for the season and having other players step up and raise the level of their play.

There are even higher expectations in the upcoming 2015 season, and rightfully so.

So you might want to get on bended knees and pray to the heavens above or do whatever voodoo that you do to help ensure the health of the team.

Who do you think the Cowboys can ill afford to lose?

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