Mike Pope is a bit of a legend when it comes to coaching the tight end position in the NFL. He was with the New York Giant for all four of their Super Bowl victories and worked for the team from 1983 to 1991 and again from 2000 to 2013 before he was let go. The rival Dallas Cowboys picked up the long-time G-Men position coach back in January and Pope has wasted no time getting to work in training camp this summer.
But when I say getting to work, you might imagine tight ends running sprints and catching balls on the go. I’m sure that’s happening, but what’s really interesting is some of the more unique drills that Pope is running with Jason Witten & Co. in Dallas, including one where he dumps ice water on the tight ends as they try to catch balls.
Take a look (fast-forward to 1:18):
As crazy as it looks, Pope’s approach actually makes a great deal of sense once you stop laughing at the freezing, shirtless tight ends being covered in ice water by a 72-year old man.
Here’s some more on Pope’s unique techniques from The Post Game:
“To be more realistic, you have to create distractions in order for them to build that in the game, heat of the battle technique to move their head and see the ball hit their hands.”
Other drills have included players trying to catch balls while having laundry bags over their heads and while laying on the ground.
“We don’t catch the ball in space very much at our position,” Pope said. “It’s always in traffic. So all these things are just to make them concentrate in that much more detail.”
One thing’s for sure: the Cowboys tight end unit is better prepared than anyone else in the NFL for a hail and sleet storm on Sunday.