IRVING, Texas – They may be baby steps, but the brief work Henry Melton got during individual drills at the first practice of Organized Team Activities are for a greater goal.
Melton said the plan is for him to be full go for training camp, and that idea was expressed when he first signed his deal with the Cowboys this offseason. Until then, it'll be a slow progression toward going all out.
"We were going to keep it strictly headed toward training camp so I can really get it as strong as possible," Melton said.
The star free agent signing, brought in to a Cowboys defensive line that needed some rejuvenation after losing DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher, looked like he was moving around well as he continues to progress from a torn ACL he suffered in September.
"I feel great," Melton said. "It's a lot different when bullets start flying around you, but at this moment I feel great."
Melton's trying to get back to the level he played at in 2011 and 2012, when he amassed a combined 13 sacks those two years from the interior playing for Rod Marinelli in Chicago. The hope is that a reunion with the defensive guru will reap similar results in Dallas.
More than anything, Melton's excited to get back on the field. But he knows what he can accomplish with Marinelli, and Marinelli knows what Melton can look like when healthy. [embedded_ad]
"He knows what it's supposed to be and what it looks like," Marinelli said. "Now it's just get him stronger, keep getting him healthier. He's moving around pretty good right now. He's getting all the individual work in right now, so he's full speed on all that right now."
Tyrone Crawford could get more work at the three-technique spot if Melton misses more time, but Crawford's also learning to play the left defensive end spot. The Cowboys could use a multitude of players on the interior until Melton's back fully healthy, but that could happen as soon as training camp.
"That's the plan," Melton said. "We've still got plenty of time."