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Mailbag: Getting Reps For Younger Players?


With the Rookie Minicamp coming up this weekend, it reminded me that for weeks I have read about getting reps for the younger players, yet it seems that a lot of focus is given to seasoned vets. Case in point, the wide receiver position. What about Jalen Tolbert and Simi Fehoko? If the first teamers are running the majority of the reps, how can a young receiver build timing and trust with the starting quarterback? Same question on the defensive side. – Bruce Holden/ Glen Burnie, MD

Patrik:It's key to remember that rookie minicamp is just that: minicamp for rookies. They'll get acclimated during that period without having to share any reps from veterans, with there often being few exceptions to that rule, to allow them a better shot at also establishing chemistry with the coaching staff, each other and the organization. When veterans begin reporting for OTAs, obviously the reps will be split (veterans need to theirs to continue improving as well) but in a way that isn't a detriment to the incoming class of rookies. By the time minicamp arrives in June and most certainly training camp in July, you'll see a more equal split because coaches need reps for young guys to evaluate them ahead of roster cuts in late August, so have no fear. Just last year it was Fehoko dominating training camp pre-injury, and Tolbert is going to be tested in a major way to see what shakes loose for Year 2, etc. etc., and the defensive side of the equation will be managed in much the same way.

Nick Eatman: Tolbert and Fehoko will get their turn when the Cowboys begin the OTA practices in a couple of weeks. For now, the focus will be on the rookies only and maybe a couple of first-year veterans (players who were just on the practice squad last season). I always like this rookie minicamp because it allows these guys to stand out amongst the other rookies and really see who can make an impact. In a week or two, they're all going to be bunched together with about 90 players and that's when it's harder to see what these young guys can do. I think there's an interesting debate to be had about the receiver depth behind Brandin Cooks. Fehoko and Tolbert should have the upper hand on any other rookies, but this is certainly the time when players can separate themselves from the pack.

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