Goodbye Oxnard, but not training camp

OXNARD, Calif. – The Cowboys will hop a train bound for San Diego at lunchtime, officially ending their time in Oxnard but not necessarily breaking camp.

The Cowboys play the San Diego Chargers on Saturday and, after an off day, will practice against Norv Turner’s team on Monday and Tuesday before returning to Dallas on Wednesday night. The team will hold a night practice at Cowboys Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 23 before its third preseason game on Saturday, Aug 25 vs. the St. Louis Rams.

This will be the second year in a row that the Cowboys have practiced with San Diego.

“We did it last year prior to our game with them and you’d prefer to do it before you play them, but because we played Monday (in Oakland) and play Saturday, it was just hard to get to San Diego and pull that off,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We didn’t want to lose the opportunity. It’s a great opportunity to not hit your own guys, play against another team. I think the competition level increase when you play guys on the other side.”

While the third preseason game is treated most like a regular-season game, Garrett said the game planning entering the Rams’ game will not be extensive.

“You still like them to be in training camp mode -- coming out, working hard and doing the work physically and mentally,” Garrett said. “We don’t want to get into in-season mode too early, so we’ll prepare them a little bit more, but those practice days against the Chargers will be important as will the practice back at Cowboys Stadium.”

This was the seventh time the Cowboys have spent at least part of training camp in Oxnard since 2002, and Garrett had nothing bad to say about the set up.

“We really like everything about it,” Garrett said. “Obviously the weather is something everybody talks about. That’s a good thing because allow you to get more work in and the players are more focused on what you’re asking them to do instead of the Gatorade or water behind them. We’ve all practiced in those really hot Texas days where it’s not really competing against each other. It’s ‘Where’s the trainer? Where’s the water? Give me a cold towel.’ All that stuff. This gets you away from that mindset and lets you go to work. We’ve got a lot of football plays run every single day out here.”