OXNARD, Calif. – The ultimate goal of any training camp is to get the team ready to play for the regular season, in particular, the Week 1 matchup.
However, the Cowboys have a unique situation this year in having a pair of players who will be able to practice but not eligible to play until Week 5 of the regular season.
The suspensions of both Greg Hardy and Rolando McClain might alter the approach somewhat in camp. The Cowboys need to get both players plenty of reps considering they are projected starters. But since neither will be lining up for the defense come Sept. 13 against the Giants, the Cowboys have to also get their respective backups ready for the season, too.
But head coach Jason Garrett said the approach won't change for either player.
"It really doesn't. We've had this experience before. What you're trying to do is you're trying to get your whole football team ready," Garrett said. "Those guys are a part of our football team. Orlando Scandrick had a situation last year and he had one of the best training camps of any player on our team. Each of those guys are going to try to get themselves ready to play a season."
"We have to understand that a couple of them won't be ready for the early part of the season. We'll get some other guys ready in their place. But as we start training camp here at the end of July we're trying to get each of our individual players as ready as they can be as we get our team ready."
Hardy's 10-game suspension for a domestic violence issue that kept him out of 15 games last year in Carolina, was reduced to four. There is some talk he might further appeal the ruling, but both Stephen Jones and Jerry Jones said Wednesday they haven't received any news on the matter.[embeddedad0]
"The only knowledge I have right now is the same thing we had yesterday, or the day before," Jerry Jones said on Wednesday. "His group, his advisors, are considering it. The chief advisors that he has is the players' association and I know of no changes."
McClain's situation is also tricky considering he is rehabbing a knee injury that required surgery this offseason. Aside from his four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, McClain is a candidate to go on PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) at the start of camp, which could keep him out of action for six games in the regular season if the Cowboys decide not to remove him from the list.
Expect McClain to practice during camp at some point, although the Cowboys will need to get others ready to step in at MIKE. Those candidates include Jasper Brinkley and Anthony Hitchens, now that Sean Lee has moved to the weak-side position.