FRISCO, Texas – Cowboys minicamp and the offseason program is officially complete.
On deck: training camp in Oxnard, California.
This week's mandatory minicamp, originally scheduled for three days of practices, was reduced to one practice Tuesday followed by a group dynamic event Wednesday at a local Topgolf.
"I think the biggest thing is you have a starting line and finish line and I just felt like we crossed the finish line, particularly with the veterans," head coach Mike McCarthy said in Thursday's offseason wrap-up press conference. "Really today's focus was spending final time with the rookies. They had their opportunity to get their final lift in for this week and from that spend a bunch of individual time with the coordinators and assistant coaches and frankly focus on the five-week plan that's in front of them.
"Everything we wanted to accomplish in the offseason was completed and really the focus turns to their individual five-week plan."
The players are off for a little rest time before reporting to camp in late July. Until then, the individual focus on staying in shape and in tune with the playbook will continue. That's especially important for the rookie class, which has impressed McCarthy since arriving in mid-May after the NFL Draft.
"I can't tell you how proud I am of our young players, but just to compliment the coaching staff, that's really what I echoed in the last staff meeting. I thought they knocked it out of the park," McCarthy said. "I thought they hit a home run as far as maximizing their time with our players. Veterans, we had excellent participation in Phase 1 (of the voluntary offseason program) and really the captain workouts, Phase 1, and all the way through, so we were able to go through all the concepts with the vets, and then the vets also got all eight installs. I think we clearly crossed the finish line of what we were trying to get done this year."
The team-building event at a local Topgolf was the type of chemistry-building exercise that, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, hasn't been available often since McCarthy became head coach in January 2020.
Now it's time for a little break before the pads eventually come on in Oxnard. That's when the work really starts.
"What we've accomplished in the offseason, we need to move forward. We can't go backward," McCarthy said. "I think they clearly understand that. That's been the messaging throughout. This isn't something we just talked about yesterday or today. This is something we've been preparing for. I know the coordinators and assistant coaches have been a lot of one-on-ones, a lot of extra time, particularly with the younger guys, in the afternoon.
"I think you've got to really commend today's athlete. There's a lot of interaction that goes on, whether it's Dak with the receivers at his house and the perimeter group, guys will still be working out here all the time. I do think there's structure to it. It's obviously not all us here together.
"This time is really beneficial because I think we all could use a little bit of a break from one another. I think it gives you a chance to get around your family, your friends, to get personally charged, emotionally, mentally. At the end of the day, we all have to do the physical work that needs to get done to make sure we're ready to go in Oxnard."