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Cowboys to use virtual reality to help players in film study

IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys have introduced a drone to film part of their practices this offseason and they will also use virtual reality to help their players improve in 2015.

A source confirmed the Cowboys have struck a deal with StriVR Labs, a virtual-reality company with software that allows players a 3-D look at live action from practice.

Former Stanford kicker Derek Belch developed the program that was used at his former school as well as major programs, like Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson and Vanderbilt in the last year. Tech blog re/Code first wrote about the agreement with the Cowboys.

The Cowboys have added a new room for the system at their Valley Ranch facility. During the last two weeks the Cowboys have had a stationary camera behind the line of scrimmage to give a 360-degree view of the plays, complete with sound.

Quarterbacks, as well as linebackers or safeties, will wear a virtual-reality headset that will adjust the video in the room to what the player is looking at and allow the coaches to see if they are making the proper reads or checks during each play. It will also help the backups get views of plays they would not have experienced.

As of now the Cowboys are the only NFL team using StriVR but other teams, like the Atlanta Falcons, are considering adding the system.

After seeing SMU coach Chad Morris use drones during spring practices, the Cowboys have incorporated the device into their practices as well. So far the drones have been used only during the special teams' portions of practice.

"It's interesting because it gives you the chance from behind to see all 11 guys on offense and all 11 guys on defense but from a closer angle," Garrett said earlier this offseason. "Oftentimes you have to kind of pull yourself away to get the all-22 shot. This allows you to get a little closer so you can coach better. You can see hand placement. You see where they have their feet, where they have their eyes. I think that's important. You can look at that and coach them better being that much closer to the action."

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ESPN Cowboys reporter Todd Archer breaks down how Dallas plans to benefit by using a combination of drones and virtual reality to help analyze practice.

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