IRVING, Texas — Mike Pope has a few tricks up his sleeve when it comes to preparing the Dallas Cowboys tight ends for the upcoming season.
The team’s new tight ends coach unveiled his latest method on Wednesday when he had his group catching passes while wearing swim goggles.
"You kind of can’t see out of the corner of your eyes, so it keeps you focused on [having your head] take you to the ball," Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said. "Today was our first day of doing it, so we’ll see how it goes. I did pretty good today, but it’s a work in progress."
Pope, 72, joined the Cowboys in January. He’s been an NFL assistant for the last 31 seasons. The previous 14 were spent with the New York Giants.
His unorthodox style has also led to the tight ends incorporating blocking sleds and medicine balls into their practice routine.
"He’s the guru of tight ends," Witten said. "It’s pretty neat to be around a guy like that that’s had so much experience. He’s got all the tricks. I’m just excited to work with him."
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett smiled when saying that the tight ends embraced the goggle drill "tentatively."
"Coach Pope has a lot of great techniques to help players get better as blockers, as receivers catching the football," Garrett said. "I think our guys have all really embraced him and the different things that he has showed them that they haven’t seen before."