At the coach's presser at the first day of training camp, a reporter asked head coach Jason Garrett how he plans to bring along cornerback Orlando Scandrick, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL and MCL sustained in training camp.
"I like to use the word 'deliberate,'" Garrett said with a corrective tone not seen this side of a Princeton lecture hall.
Throughout the off-season workouts, there was great anticipation as to when receiver Dez Bryant, who hobbled his way through nine games with a broken right foot and the sundry ailments that arise from overcompensating for that injury, would return as a full participant for at least one mini-camp session.
"We don’t really like the word ‘cautious,'” Garrett said about Bryant back on June 9. “We’re just going to be deliberate with our players. Anybody who’s coming off an injury we just got to make sure we’re deliberate in bringing them back."
The same went for linebacker Sean Lee, who missed all of OTA's and mini-camp after a knee scope. Fourth-year tight end Gavin Escobar also gets the deliberate approach coming off of a torn Achilles tendon suffered on Dec. 19, 2015 against the New York Jets. Even linebacker Justin Durant, signed on a one-year deal to offset the "no-surprise" suspension of middle linebacker Rolando McClain, gets the deliberate treatment as he starts camp with the Cowboys after having spent all off-season away from any NFL off-season work.
How is the Cowboys coaching staff 'deliberate'? Well, let's use Scandrick as an example.
Said Garrett: "We'll watch him day by day just like we will the other guys who are coming back off of injuries and don't want to make any blanket statements about when he's going to be full blown and all that. He's made a ton of progress. He's worked really hard. But we're watching him day by day, seeing how he responds to things. We have an overarching plan and a daily plan for him. And he'll adjust as we got if we need to."
The overarching plan is to get Scandrick to play Sept. 11 against the New York Giants and remain healthy the rest of the season. The daily plan is to make sure they don't overwork the nine-year veteran and aggravate his knee, which he claims is fine and ready to go. At the same time, the staff also has to balance overworking Scandrick with observing whether he hits his targets for practice work.
Just as there is an overarching and a daily plan for individual players, there is also an overarching and daily plan for the team.
Here we are on Thursday, a week into camp and a day after a players' day off, and what is about to unfold on the afternoon practice field? Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Ezekiel Elliott - four of the brightest stars going -- will all sit. So will Tyrone Crawford, Terrell McClain and Kyle Wilber. There are minor ailments mixed in there, and "rest'' in there, and the only serious injury so far is to Kellen Moore, who the Cowboys are presently trying to dance round explaining how they'll replace.
"There are guys we've targeted at this (QB) position,'' said Garrett on Thursday morning in a tone as "truthful'' as his aforementioned tone was "corrective.'' Dallas needs a quarterback more ready than rookie Dak Prescott (who will take the first-team snaps today, and we're talking about a price-is-right trade for Josh McCown) and Dallas needs health everywhere else.
Being "deliberate'' today and beyond helps get Dallas there.