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Emphasis On Bye Week Responsibility

Bill Parcells would not have liked the provisions of the new collective bargaining agreement guaranteeing players four consecutive off days over their bye week, including the weekend.

The former Cowboys head coach would force players to stay in town as long as possible, separating their off days, because he so feared his players jetting off somewhere far away from the reservation and getting themselves in trouble, or if nothing else, completely forgetting about their football responsibilities.

For Cowboys coaches, the hope is that this down time is a chance for players to rest their respective bumps and bruises, get healthy and refreshed, and be ready to go next week in preparation for a tough game against New England. They're truly on their own for the time being, and can go visit their school, go see their parents, stay at home, anything.

The worst case scenario is for some to treat the four days off as a miniature spring break, over-doing it at the club, or getting themselves in trouble somehow, so decision-making was emphasized with the players on their last day together for this week, on Wednesday morning.

"We had a nice hour-and-a-half life skills meeting this morning," Jason Garrett said. "It's mandated by the league, but it's great for everybody to hear."

Last year, when their season was ended short of the playoffs, Garrett encouraged his players to watch the postseason games to gain an appreciation for what they were missing, and what they could personally do to get the team in the hunt in 2011. There is no such directive this weekend.

"I think it's probably a personal choice," Garrett said. "One of the things that I find for myself, and I think our coaches and players find as well, is sometimes you're drawn to it. You say, 'Ah, I'm not going to watch football.' And then all of a sudden the game's on and you get caught up in it. I think we have a combination of guys. Some guys will want to get away from it. Some guys will want to watch it, and be real in-tune to what's going on this weekend."

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