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Early bye helps Cowboys, but only to a point

IRVING, Texas -- In a perfect world, the Dallas Cowboys would have liked their bye to be later in the season.

But in a perfect world they would not be without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant either.

“It always comes at the right time,” coach Jason Garrett said. “It really does. I think if you ask the players and coaches around this league, they’ll always say that. Typically there are some guys banged up and need to heal up a little bit. That’s the case for our team just like it would be for anybody in the league. We’re going to use it as an opportunity to evaluate everything we’re doing, scheme, and personnel. Use it as an opportunity to kind of hit the reset button and have a good couple of days of work with our players and get back to work getting ready for the Giants next week.”

The last time the Cowboys had a bye this early was in 2012, when it came in week 5. The Cowboys were 2-2 and on their way to a second straight 8-8 finish, their playoff chances undone by an 0-2 finish to the season.

Teams like to have a bye later in the season because of the soreness that builds up over time. In the last two seasons it came in Week 11.

“Rest up, watch this film (of the loss to the New England Patriots) and get everything concentrated and focused,” defensive end Jeremy Mincey said. “Make everything right.”

The misnomer about a bye week, however, is that many changes can be made. The players were off Monday and are off again today.

They will practice Wednesday and Thursday, but they will be shorter sessions and without pads. The players will be off through the weekend.

Garrett said the practice plan has not been set.

“Oftentimes you work on kind of going back to the basics; you focus on technique and spend a little more time on that and spend more time on letting the younger players who don’t get as many reps, you give them an opportunity to get some work,” Garrett said. “You heal some of the other guys up. But we’ll sit down and have some discussions about how we want to structure those practices here in the next day or so.”