A breakdown of Cowboys training camp

When the Cowboys released the training camp schedule on Friday there was a noticable absence: off days. There is the perception that Wade Phillips doesn't run hard practices, or at least as difficult as previous coach Bill Parcells.

That's not true if you talk to the players. Parcells grinded the players hard mentally and physically, but he had more off-days during training camp than Phillips.

Case in point: This year's training camp schedule, which has no days off during both stretches of camp in San Antonio and Oxnard, Calif.

In San Antonio, the Cowboys have 21 consecutive practices with two sets of two-a-day practices on back-to-back days. There is a Friday walkthrough -- bascially no helmets and players don't even tape their ankles -- before the team travels to Canton, Ohio, for the Hall of Fame game.

After the first preseason game with the Bengals, the Cowboys come home for three days, August 9-11, to prepare for a Thursday night game against the Raiders at Cowboys Stadium. We assume the Cowboys will have one practice this week, possibly at Cowboys Stadium.

Following the Raiders game, the Cowboys hop on a plane to Oxnard. Just two days removed from the Raiders game, the Cowboys will have a two-a-day practice to welcome them to the West Coast.

The Cowboys will have nine straight practices, no days off, in Oxnard, ending with a walkthrough practice on Aug. 20. The team faces the Chargers the next night in San Diego. It's not yet known whether the team will take a train ride to San Diego, as they did in 2007.

But after the Chargers game, the Cowboys don't come home. They go back to Oxnard for seven consecutive practices before leaving for their third preseason game, Aug. 28 at Houston.

Now sometimes that second practice is a special teams practice, and other times you won't see veterans such as Keith Brooking, Terence Newman or Marc Colombo. Perhaps some players are coming off an injury and opt to take some time off or miss a practice here or there just to rest the body.

The interesting thing is all the practices give young players an opportunity to prove themselves, and with several position battles on the team such as fourth cornerback, No. 3 and No. 4 wide receiver, safety and left tackle possibly, it gives the coaches plenty of tape to review.