FRISCO, Texas – In the middle of an unprecedented training camp, it's easy to get confused.
With NFL teams taking major precautions against COVID-19, there have been a dozen different dates to know -- from report days to testing to conditioning and everything in between.
Let there be no mistaking this: Friday morning, two full weeks after they reported for testing, the Cowboys will work through their first full practice of 2020.
"I think like everybody is -- players, coaches, support staff -- we're really looking forward to Friday for our first full practice," said Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy on Wednesday.
It's not that the Cowboys haven't been working. The last two weeks have been full of meetings and installations, not to mention a conditioning program. Part of the NFL and NFLPA's agreement on returning to work was a ramp-up period that would allow players to ease back after missing the offseason program.
In fact, McCarthy said the first few weeks of training camp have felt like an accelerated offseason program.
"The strength and conditioning phase has gone very well. We're making progress," he said. "In a lot of ways this would be kind of the end of an offseason program and that's probably a little further along than we would be, as far as my experience and awareness of how an offseason program would end."
Live everything else in this situation, the return to full contact will be gradual. These first few practices will be held in shells – that is, helmets, shoulder pads and shorts. The NFL is allowing fully-padded practices as early as Monday, Aug. 17. So it's a good bet we'll see the team ramp things up next week.
For now, it's exciting enough that the Cowboys will take the practice field on Friday.