Updates: This story has been updated with quotes from Cowboys players.
OXNARD, Calif. – Leighton Vander Ash as a human bobblehead cannot escape his sight.
Jack Martin is self-aware in another way.
“I would say on tape, offensive linemen are fighting to look athletic and it doesn’t help,” the Pro Bowl right guard laughed. “That’s the biggest thing.”
The biggest thing is security. This is why the Cowboys and other teams around the NFL wear Guardian caps early in training camp.
Biomechanical engineering experts working with the league’s Players Association collaborated with the equipment maker. The cap, which differs from the model used at the collegiate level, fits over existing helmets and reduces impact severity by 20% when both players involved in the collision wear padding.
All offensive and defensive linemen, linebackers and tight ends are required to wear the Guardian Cap until the second preseason game.
“It’s weird,” said Vendor Esq. “I can feel the weight in it.
“I feel like it dwarfs me a little more.”
Most players are initially resistant to equipment changes. It is no different. There has been some resentment among the Dallas players.
But they recognize the benefits.
“I understand why they advise us to wear them for the first two weeks of camp,” said Vander Esk. “I fully know the reason behind it. But I think you should give people the option to wear them, if they want to wear them or not.
“I mean, you can’t do enough to help protect this game in practice. Once you start hitting it needs adjustments because you haven’t been hitting from last season.
“When you start hitting, your head has to adjust a little bit,” he continued. “You’re going to make contact on the side of your facemask and your helmet, no matter what. I’m not saying you should run around and shove your head with a horrifying blow, but you’re going to make contact.” Huh.
“I mean, it helps with that.”
Catch David Moore with the Musers on The Ticket (KTCK-AM 1310 & 96.7 FM) every morning at 9:35 and Hardline at 4:30 PM several times a week during Cowboys Training Camp.
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