For the Cowboys, 2012 was a repeat of 2011. And 2013 was a repeat of 2012. The Cowboys have finished 8-8 the last three years, losing de facto NFC East championship games in Week 17 the last three seasons.
Second-year center Travis Frederick's message for the beginning of training camp?
"It's truly work," Frederick said. "We're out here to work. We're out here to make our team better. I think that the team's done a really good job of doing things in the offseason. I can speak especially for the offensive line and tell you that our group has put in the work and we're ready to go. I know that we've seen that throughout the other (groups). We don't always get to work out with everybody else but every chance that I've seen guys are in here working, they're working extra and guys are excited and ready to go."
"The mindset is just to get better as a whole and as a defense specifically," Church said. "I'm part of the defensive side. When we go out there we just make sure everybody -- from top to bottom, either first string or fourth string -- knows their playbook front and back."
Optimism always reigns at training camp. Every team has hope. The Cowboys have hope, and Frederick noticed something on the flight out to Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu on Tuesday.
"I can tell there was a certain energy on the plane," Frederick said. "Guys are out here and they're ready to go."
"I think you can just feel it as your walking by, guys talking about where we think we're going," Frederick said, "and guys ready to work, excited to get to show off what they've done and the hard work they've put in."