Rolando McClain’s absence may benefit Cowboys
By Ben Grimaldi
The absence of linebacker Rolando McClain from OTAs for the Dallas Cowboys may benefit the team in the long run.
Another round of OTAs and another missed session for Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain. Aside from the nonsense owner Jerry Jones spewed about giving McClain some “slack” about skipping practices, his absence may actually be good for the Cowboys.
Since McClain has been with the team, there have been issues getting him on the practice field, especially in the offseason. Missing workouts in May and June have become the norm and it shouldn’t surprise anyone. This is who McClain is, Dallas knows how it all plays out.
McClain doesn’t participate in offseason activities, hangs out in Alabama, comes to camp overweight and works his way into football shape. Last year it took the linebacker a few weeks to round into form after his suspension.
However, there are some positives by not having McClain around. Without him, linebackers Mark Nzeocha and Damien Wilson are seeing more time on the practice field. Both lack experience and could use all the instruction they can get, especially Nzeocha, who missed all of last year with a knee injury. This is an important time in the offseason for young players and the extra repetitions Nzeocha and Wilson are getting is priceless.
McClain’s absence also gives head coach Jason Garrett a chance to establish the tone for his team. Garrett took a not so subtle shot at the veteran linebacker the other day when asked about McClain not attending the OTAs, according to USA TODAY Sports’ Eric Prisbell.
“We want our players here,” Garrett told USA Today. “Again, we are focused on the guys that are here. We have a really good football team, great character guys who come to work every day.”
Garrett also added that he had some “strong words” for Rolando.
That’s a side of Garrett we rarely see. Usually stoic, to a fault in some eyes, Garrett appears frustrated with McClain’s disappearing act every season.
And he should be.
There are too many Cowboys showing up and putting in the work every day, while McClain avoids team activities. Quarterback Tony Romo had offseason surgery, yet he’s practicing; so too is 14-year veteran tight end Jason Witten. Other injured players like wide receiver Dez Bryant and fellow linebacker Sean Lee, who isn’t participating at all, are with their teammates, yet McClain continues to stay away.
The Cowboys are building team chemistry and the coach is making sure no one ruins what they are trying to establish. Garrett is sending the message that one player is not bigger than the team.
As the sign reads inside the walls of Valley Ranch, The Team, The Team, The Team. Jason Garrett is making sure the Cowboys are practicing what he preaches.
Rolando McClain continues to be on the side of a milk carton for the Dallas Cowboys, but the team is making the best out of his absence. It may help them in the long run.
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