Good News: The Lockout's Almost Over. Bad News: So Are Two-a-Days.
I'll never forget the image. It was 2009 and your Cowboys were holding their afternoon training camp practice at San Antonio's Alamodome. In shorts. The pace and feel of coach Wade Phillips' camp mimicked that of a leisurely picnic kicking off a weekend 10-year high school reunion.
Lots of back-slapping. Lots of story-telling. Tons of laughing. Seemingly very little teaching. Absolutely no hitting.
Appalled by what he saw -- including defensive lineman Igor Olshansky parading onto the field and doing his pre-practice stretching in a Tam 'O Shanter cap -- former Cowboys' offensive lineman Erik Williams sauntered up to the sideline and asked to no one in particular but everyone in the building:
"What the fuck is going on here?!"
The eye-rolling scene was repeated during that camp upon the arrivals of Jay Novacek, Daryl Johnston, Michael Irvin and Troy Aikman.
Sorry, 'Boys. Get used to it.
With the NFL's lockout close to being lifted and football training camps about to commence, one of the changes forthcoming in the new 10-year collective bargaining agreement is the abolition of two-a-day practices.
One key concession made by the owners will effectively eliminate two-a-day practices during training camp as a health and safety issue that players termed critical to an agreement, the sources said. Teams will be allowed to have some helmetless and padless non-contact walk-through practices in lieu of a second training camp practice on the same day.
Somewhere Jimmy Johnson just vomited. And right here Jason Garrett is scrambling to find a new way to change Dallas' soft culture.
Garrett won't say it publicly, but he cringed at some of Phillips' player-friendly concessions. The ol' quarterback played for Johnson in the mid-90s, a time when the Cowboys routinely had two full-contact, full-tackle practices outside in the 100-degree heat at Austin's St. Edwards University. And, oh by the way, they won three Super Bowls in four years.
Changing a team's mindset and yanking the Cowboys from 6-10 to being contenders again won't be easy. With the concessions by owners in this lockout agreement, Garrett's task just got tougher.
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