Looking Busy

In January, Romo promised the Cowboys would work to get ahead during a potential lockout.

Bryant hasn't been around long enough to build one with the franchise QB.

But Bryant, apparently, has been taking part in these workouts, leading to far better headlines than the ones he's been responsible for most of this offseason. Whereas a week ago we were shaking our heads at Bryant's decision to no-show at Valley Ranch for the small window in which the lockout was lifted, we're raising eyebrows now that he is showing some real commitment. Bryant, who freelanced for large portions of last season, is desperate for coaching, and not the kind of pointers that can be dished out by Austin or even Romo. There are things receivers coach Jimmy Robinson would see that players will not, bad habits that Bryant or any of the guys may be reinforcing with repetition.

Romo has said Bryant is holding back because of that ankle, and apparently there are some trainers in attendance, which is good. The worst case scenario is somebody getting hurt in one of these things, and in fact that is the reason some player agents have told their clients to stay away, because teams wouldn't have to honor the contracts of someone hurt in what is deemed a "non-football activity."

But the fact Bryant is kind of toughing it out is good to hear, isn't it? It's good publicity for a guy who needs it. And Romo showing his leadership capabilities - which have been criticized from time to time, whether or not they should have been -is great public relations as well. The guy spent Monday trying once again to qualify for the U.S. Open, which typically would be met with questions of What are you getting out of playing golf? But on Monday, Romo had something productive to talk about, the walkthroughs and 7-on-7 being conducted almost entirely under his direction.

Garrett said Monday he would need no less than three weeks of training camp and preseason to get the team ready whenever the lockout is lifted. Personally, I think those practices will have a lot more to do with the Cowboys' ultimate success or failure than anything taking place at some Little League field in May. At some point in the year, the players will mention these practices as being crucial to their success. The fact is, they do stuff like this every May and June, only with the help of coaches.

"It's obviously much more important this year when we're not having the time that we typically would have at Valley Ranch," Garrett said. "So I don't think it's the same, but I do think it's important, and it's important to have the kind of guys who have a willingness to do that."

It's also important for the perception of the players that they be working right now, both from a large-scale P.R. standpoint in the battle for hearts and minds during the lockout, and for the individual athletes who have something to prove to teammates and fans in their own career.

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