OXNARD, Calif. -- When Jason Witten stepped off the plane last summer for the opening of training camp he came up with the unofficial season mantra that the Dallas Cowboys’ season can’t be the same old story.
By the end of last December, it was the same old story following a 28-18 loss to the Washington Redskins that left the Cowboys with an 8-8 record and out of the playoffs for the third straight season.
When Witten stepped off the bus Friday at the Cowboys’ headquarters here, the eight-time Pro Bowler offered no proclamations.
“It really isn’t worth saying,” Witten said. “I think it’s simply you’ve got to execute better. It’s not the sound bite it probably was before, but I really think you find yourself in the same situation and we weren’t able to win those games when we needed to. Focus on playing better in games, controlling games, being a better football team across the board.
“I think the details of what allows you to win games is what we focused on all offseason and hopefully it carries over to camp.”
Most of the players arrived on the team’s charter flight from Dallas, but a few were already in southern California, including quarterback Tony Romo.
The Cowboys will go through conditioning tests on Saturday, and their first on-field practice comes Sunday.
“I do think we’ve got a core group of guys that work hard and play well together and are some of the best at what they do, but that doesn’t mean anything different,” Witten said. “You’ve got to put the work in. I’m excited to get started, and obviously we’ve got a long way to go. People always say, though, it’s the journey, not the destination. I’m a firm believer in that.”
“Going into my 11th one,” he said, “I’m excited to see where our team can take us and this is why you play -- to get the opportunity to go to camp and put a team together and make a run at it. It’s the ultimate challenge to try to compete for a Super Bowl and we’ll see where we’re at.”