IRVING, Texas – Cowboys coach Jason Garrett took the podium Tuesday following the final open practice of Organized Team Activities. The Cowboys are going through their final few days of OTAs before a mandatory team minicamp next week.
Here are some highlights from Garrett's press conference, which included injury issues, Brandon Weeden's development in the Cowboys' system and player flexibility between positions.
- Garrett said the first nine days of OTAs have been instrumental in installing the team's playbook, and it followed a similar schedule to what the Cowboys will follow in training camp.
- Asked about the injury issues with safety Matt Johnson, who has been limited with hamstring issues, Garrett said the coaches have been impressed by what he has been able to do when healthy. He added that Johnson's ability continues to be enough for the coaching staff to want to give him a chance. He said Johnson's mental approach has been crucial, and he hasn't seemed outwardly frustrated despite the injury issues.
- First-round pick Zack Martin has received some practice reps at the center position, and Garrett emphasized his flexibility at all offensive line positions – which was a big part of the decision to draft him.
- Brandon Weeden has been the primary quarterback in team work during OTAs, and Garrett said he has impressed with the amount of snaps he's been able to take in the absence of Tony Romo and Kyle Orton. Garrett said the key for Weeden is to take as many snaps as possible.
- Garrett was asked if he felt comfortable with Weeden as the team's backup if Orton does not re-join the team this year. He said the coaching staff isn't at a point where it's worried about the depth chart – he just wants Weeden to get acclimated as quickly as possible.
- It doesn't look likely that Romo's regimen will change much when the team reports for minicamp next week. Romo has been working with the team during practice walkthroughs and individual drills, but he has been sitting during what Garrett calls the "competitive portion" of practice. He said that will likely continue next week.
- Terrell McClain has been one of the Cowboys players who has shown the most during OTAs, according to Garrett. He said the coaching staff liked McClain's tape from both USF in college and his pro tape with the Texans. He added that McClain has shown flashes of ability, but he needs to work on consistency.
- Much has been made of the transformation of the Cowboys' offensive line during the past four or five years. Garrett said there's an analogy to be made there with the current state of the team's defensive line, which is currently being rebuilt. He added that it's no coincidence that the roster has become much younger over the past few years. [embedded_ad]
- Garrett said he expects that Orton will be present when minicamp opens next week.
- He also said the expectation is for Sean Lee to have surgery on his torn ACL on Thursday of this week – June 12. He said the Cowboys will weigh their options with regard to the roster after the surgery.