The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic isn't expected to push the NFL to the brink of a shutdown as it did in 2020, but that doesn't mean it isn't still impacting what the league would like to do. Things are much more promising in 2021 with the availability of vaccines -- to the point some are predicting full stadiums this fall -- but the NFLPA is still not comfortable with players attending voluntary workouts as they get underway ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft. To that point, players of 19 teams chose to issue statements making it clear they'd remain 100 percent virtual, but the Dallas Cowboys aren't one of them.
Players in North Texas have been showing up at the team's headquarters in Frisco, Texas for weeks now to ramp up their strength and conditioning work, sources tell CBS Sports, including two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Dak Prescott, who is working to put the finishing touches on his injury rehabilitation. That remains the case as the start of of the voluntary program officially lands on Monday, April 19, with players continuing to file in to get an early start following a disappointing 6-10 finish to last season.
With the firing of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and others, seeing them replaced by Dan Quinn and newly-hired defensive assistant coaches, the Cowboys hope to avoid the debacle of last season that was largely fueled by their inability to successfully install a new coaching regime virtually. In parting ways with longtime head coach Jason Garrett to hire Mike McCarthy, the club was scheduled to begin their offseason program two weeks prior to teams that hadn't made a change at head coach, but instead found themselves without an in-person offseason whatsoever -- a truncated and slimmed down version of training camp notwithstanding.