With a noticeable amount of high-profile players opting out of voluntary workouts this spring, the Dallas Cowboys are lauding their near perfect attendance.
According to ESPN.com, “during the two sessions open to the media so far, every player has been accounted for.” Coach Jason Garrett said that has extended to the workouts without media present.
“We’ve been very fortunate — we have near 100 percent attendance of everything we do in the offseason program and we have a lot of guys who live here and a lot of guys who don’t live here, get here,” Garrett said. “They’re the right kind of guys. We have guys who care about football, care about this football team and care about getting better — and that’s a manifestation of that.”
This is a volatile, and ultimately fruitless debate to dip ones toes in this time of year. The fact remains that voluntary workouts are voluntary, and that some players prefer to keep this time to themselves and spend it with private trainers.
Of course, should the Cowboys succeed, stories like this one from ESPN will take on a higher amount of significance:
Last Tuesday, (Dez) Bryant walked by the film room and saw (Dak) Prescott in there alone. He joined his quarterback and soon (Ezekiel) Elliott walked in too. They were able to study what happened in that practice, see some mistakes and attempt to improve the next day.
If the Giants falter — the moment Odell Beckham and Eli Manning miscommunicate on a route — Beckham’s absence from offseason training activities will come up right or wrong. So far, Beckham missing practices and workouts have not seemed to matter much.
Team building in the NFL is a hazy concept — even the coaches believed to be the best at it like Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll have their struggles. There is no perfect formula. But in any situation, it’s paramount not to put too much stock in one element of the offseason that is directed more toward younger players grasping the playbook before the start of training camp.