Although injuries have been a recurring theme in Dallas Cowboys’ training camp among interior offensive linemen, there has been no missed time for two young, offensive playmakers who are making significant strides in the estimation of coach Jason Garrett.
That would be running back DeMarco Murray and wide receiver Dez Bryant, who rank among the team’s primary offensive difference-makers when healthy. Murray missed most of camp last summer and suffered a fractured ankle that kept him out of the team’s final three games last season. Bryant has had multiple minor ailments that have caused him to miss time, as well as a fractured ankle that caused him to miss the final four games of his rookie season in 2010.
“At the end of the day, it’s good for our players to practice. And particularly if you’re a younger player learning the game, like both of those guys are,” said Garrett, who credited both Bryant and Murray with making “great strides” during workouts in Oxnard. “I think they came into training camp in great physical condition. I think you see that every day … DeMarco missed most of training camp last year. And Dez has had some different things that have forced him to miss. We believe in practice. We believe in training camp.”
And Garrett believes in the improved work ethic he sees in both of his young playmakers, whether that involves Murray sprinting an extra 40 yards into the end zone with each carry in non-contact drills or Bryant doing likewise with his catches.
“That’s something that we think is important. They’re training themselves to play in a game and to score touchdowns,” Garrett said. “The best runners I’ve ever been around do that. Watch DeMarco Murray at the end of a run. A great example to his teammates about how to practice every day … No. 88 (Bryant), he’s doing the same kinds of things. He’s consistent throughout practice with his route running, his depths, coming in and out of breaks and then finishing after he catches the football. And those guys have to maintain it. They have to maintain it through camp and carry it into the season. There’s no reason for us to think they can’t do that.”
_ Jimmy Burch