FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys are altering their format for this week's rookie minicamp.
Head coach Jason Garrett is calling it a "rookie orientation" – a slower tempo than past years and more similar to the Cowboys' "team on the grass" morning walkthroughs at training camp.
Views from the 2018 Rookie Class checking in at The Star in Frisco for medical evaluations and equipment fitting.
The reasoning is sound: The coaching staff wants to give the rookies time to acclimate to football again since they've spent the last few months preparing for the NFL Draft, not part of a team offseason program.
"Really it's something that we've studied for a number of years, trying to figure out what's best to ask them to do at the outset because of where they've been," Garrett said. "They haven't been in the offseason program. So, we want to make it aggressive, we want to make it intense for them, we want to get them to understand what we're asking them to do at a very high level, but maybe laying the foundation in the offseason program rather than going full speed at practice is a better way to transition."
First-round pick Leighton Vander Esch and the 2018 draft class arrived Thursday to receive equipment, undergo physicals and take individual photos. The Cowboys are expected to officially sign a group of undrafted rookies leading into the camp.
Garrett said he anticipated all the rookies being available for the five scheduled practices – two Friday, two Saturday and one Sunday.
"They'll learn a lot of football but they won't be going full speed," Garrett said. "The other thing that we're going to do on Friday and Saturday is get them integrated into our strength and conditioning program. That will be their physical work to get them started on that.
"As coaches, we want to put them in competitive situations to see what we have. But we just think it's better to pull back a little bit, a lot of instruction about how we do things."