IRVING, Texas – It's been a month since the Cowboys completed their final minicamp practice. In nine days, they'll hold their first training camp practice in Oxnard, Calif.
Just as important as prepping for Sept. 13 opener against the Giants will be managing the veterans' practice reps in training camp and preseason games.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Tuesday the Cowboys will have a plan for working All-Pro receiver Dez Bryant back into practice after he missed the entire voluntary offseason work over his contract situation. Bryant signed a five-year, $70 million deal just before last Wednesday's league deadline.
"He hasn't had a competitive offseason. We want to make sure we don't just throw him out to the wolves," Jones said from the grand opening of Dallas Cowboys Club at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. "I know he works hard, but there's nothing like working with your teammates in a competitive environment. I think it's a real difference.
"I think there's probably a half dozen guys we'll manage and our goal is to get through it. It's an art to get through the preseason without significant injuries. Those things happen, but we're going to do everything we can to manage it and be better at it."
Quarterback Tony Romo most likely fits into that veteran group whose reps will be monitored in some capacity. The Cowboys were careful with his reps in camp last year following his back surgery; he didn't practice more than two consecutive days.
Romo participated in OTAs and minicamp for the first time since 2012, but Jones said the team has talked "extensively" about a smart camp routine for their veteran starter.
R. McClain, Rookie Green Among PUP Candidates For Camp Start
When the Cowboys open camp next week, Jones said it's possible veteran linebacker Rolando McClain will start on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.
McClain skipped voluntary OTAs following a knee scope and was held out of mandatory minicamp when he returned to Valley Ranch. He's facing a four-game NFL suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Jones said the team believes McClain's knee is progressing well and they'll monitor him when they get to Oxnard. If he starts camp on the active PUP list, the team can move him off the list and designate him ready to practice at any point in preseason.
Rookie offensive tackle Chaz Green is likely to start camp on the PUP list following his hip surgery in June.[embeddedad0]
The Cowboys continue to feel confident cornerback Mo Claiborne (knee) will be ready for the start of camp. They've also said they expect starting right tackle Doug Free (foot) to be ready, too.
No Hardy Update
Nearly two weeks since the arbitrator Harold Henderson reduced Greg Hardy's 10-game NFL suspension to four games, there have been no reports yet on whether or not Hardy will accept or challenge the ruling.
Jones reiterated that the Cowboys are not involved in the process.
"We don't play a role in that. At the end of the day that's between the NFL players union and Greg Hardy and his agent," Jones said. "He's done a great job in the offseason. As far as what ends up happening and where he needs up with the league and with the NFLPA is something we're going to accept, but we certainly don't have a hand in it."