Three players failed the Dallas Cowboys’ initial conditioning test of training camp and will take part in special drills until they are released to work with the team, coach Jason Garrett said this morning.
Garrett was clearly surprised that running back Felix Jones, receiver Andre Holmes and safety Brodney Pool did not meet the necessary standards in timed runs to join their teammates on the field for today’s initial walkthrough session in Oxnard, Calif.
“We would anticipate all of our guys being able to pass the conditioning test,” said Garrett, adding that the three will take part in “remedial running” drills and other conditioning sessions with strength coach Mike Woicik until they are released to practice.
“They will condition with coach Woicik during the walkthroughs and during practice until they prove to us that they’re ready to practice the way we need to practice,” Garrett said. “I don’t want to get into the reasons why. It’s just the reality of it. We’ll address it and move on.”
Pool projects as a candidate to start at free safety but lost ground when he did not impress coaches during mini-camp. This additional setback could place his roster spot in jeopardy.
Jones projects as the backup to starting running back DeMarco Murray, as well as the team’s primary option as a kickoff returner. Holmes will battle others for the third receiver spot, behind Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, and has been identified by owner Jerry Jones as a likely frontrunner in that race.
Holmes acknowledged he had “no excuses” for what happened and did not help his case with his failed test.
“I was surprised. I didn’t expect to fail,” Holmes said. “There’s no excuses. Whenever you fail something, you’re going to question something. I’m just going to put it behind me.”
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who coached Pool in Cleveland, said Pool’s back tightened up recently and could have impacted his performance on the conditioning test. Barry Church took Pool’s spot with the first unit during the walkthrough.
Asked about his failed test, Pool said: “I’ll be fine.”
_ Jimmy Burch