LONDON -- Besides the great weather and the ability for celebrities to show up unannounced, one of the reasons why the Dallas Cowboys like going to Oxnard, California, for training camp is the ability to build a team.
For 25 or so days the players follow the same routine, building camaraderie with each other for a full season.
Coming off two straight losses, the Cowboys are looking at their week in London as another chance to build the camaraderie before they play the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
“It just brings the team closer together, knowing that we don’t know anybody else out here,” safety Barry Church said.
Back home, players call it a day late in the afternoon and spend time with their families or by themselves. Church said the defensive backs were scheduled to go to a dinner on Wednesday night. Dez Bryant was getting together with the receivers to celebrate his birthday earlier in the week. Jeremy Mincey said he hung around with 12 teammates on Tuesday night.
“It has been neat, and as the week goes on it will continue to be that way,” tight end Jason Witten said. “This is our job, and I think a lot of the time, we handle it that way. When you are with each other, it is almost like training camp mode. You’re spending time eating lunch and going to dinner with each other. What an opportunity football has provided us to come to this venue on this stage with the fan base. For all of us, it will be a lot of fun as we look forward to the next two months when what we hope for, it’s a great time to reflect on that and focus, spend time together. A lot of special memories and bonds formed through camp and trips like this.”
Jason Garrett has been pleased with how his team has handled some of the logistics created by this trip: overnight flight from Dallas, a Play 60 event upon arrival, busing to and from practice, staying in a hotel.
“We do spend a lot of time together and I think it’s about embracing that too,” Garrett said. “Three weeks together in training camp, I think anyone that’s a part of it understands that’s a privilege to be together. I think you can bond there and certainly on a trip like this it’s a great bonding opportunity and opportunity for us to be a part of something that’s special.”
Perhaps it is good the Cowboys got away after losing two straight games. They were rolling when they won six straight, but now they have hit some adversity. Being thousands of miles from home can make them think about what matters most on the field.
“Guys are starting to get the picture that we have a bright future if we just stay on the course and stay focused,” Mincey said.