In OTAs — or organized team activities — no live contact is permitted, but teams can run 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills. The team had 10 on the schedule, but traded in their pads on the final day to help run the “Cowboys U” youth camp.
It was a productive and well-attended offseason grind for the Cowboys, who now look forward to minicamp, which will be held June 11-13.
“The whole ‘iron sharpens iron,’ it’s coming alive more than ever in these OTAs,” quarterback Dak Prescott said. “Looking forward to next week and just finishing off the right way.”
The biggest difference between OTAs and minicamp is that minicamp is mandatory. Players that don’t show will be fined.
Unlike other teams, where star players staying away from optional team activities becomes a storyline of the offseason (see, Cleveland Browns), the Cowboys have not had a problem with attendance.
“I think it’s a huge part of the year,” veteran linebacker Sean Lee said. “You have to start building your team at this time of year. The shared sacrifice, the hard work — you start building those bonds right now.”
According to the Dallas Morning News, all of the team’s healthy players participated throughout the last three weeks — quite the feat.
“I think we made progress,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We’re a different team now than we were on OTA No. 1 and that’s really the way that it’s designed. You want to come out here every day and get better. But we certainly have a long way to go.”
After minicamp, the team has a long break before meeting up again on July 27 for training camp, which will be held in Oxnard, Calif.
The Cowboys have an interesting lead up to the season, with camp being held a few states away and a preseason content in Hawaii.
The game breaks an NFL drought in the 50th state since the Pro Bowl moved back to the mainland. Aloha Stadium hosted the all-star event for nearly 40 years until 2016.
The rematch of the NFC divisional round playoff game between the two squads will be the first NFL exhibition to take place at Aloha Stadium since 1976.
Here’s the Cowboys full preseason slate:
Aug 8: San Francisco 49ers (Santa Clara, CA)
Aug. 17: Los Angeles Rams (Honolulu, HI)
Aug. 24: Houston Texans (Arlington, TX)
Aug. 29: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Arlington, TX)
The Cowboys kick off the regular season against the New York Giants on Sept. 8 at home.