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Eatman: Less Talk, More Walk Seems To Be This Year’s Focus

Posted Jul 20, 2013


OXNARD, Calif. – There has been no practice as of yet out here at training camp.

Only two players – Jason Witten and Brandon Carr – have spoken to the media and it was short briefings by both.

The only substantial event that has occurred is the opening press conference from Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett, giving their annual introduction to training camp.

But although the contact has been minimal, the vibe out here seems pretty good. In fact, it seems rather appropriate for the situation at hand.

The Cowboys really aren’t saying anything. We’re not seeing any bold predictions this year. No talk about making the playoffs or the Super Bowl – although that remains the goal.

But in short, the Cowboys aren’t exactly talking the talk this year. The focus seems to be a lot more on walking the walk.

“What can you really say anymore?” Witten said. “It’s time to just play. There’s nothing to say when you finish the last two years 8-8. But it fires you up.”

Witten’s reference is to his comment before last year’s start to training camp when he said “it can’t be the same old story.” But as it turned out, the 2012 season was the same story with the same 8-8 finish as the season before.

This year, Witten once again was the player picked to chat with the media as he stepped off the bus. But he didn’t bother saying anything controversial or something that would follow him all year long and into next year.

He simply said: “This day couldn’t get here fast enough.” Witten also talked about executing better and focusing on finishing better at the end of games, and the end of the season.

Carr was no different, saying the Cowboys’ players know what happened last year and focus on having a “fresh start” to turn the corner in 2012.

OK, so that wasn’t exactly what the media was looking for. But surely, definitely, Jerry Jones would provide it on Saturday?

Well, not exactly.

Jerry Jones did make a few headlines by showing more support for Jason Garrett than most pundits expect. But overall, about this season, even Jones sounds like he’s ready to let his players do the talking on the field.

“This offseason has been filled with a lot of talk. It’s now time to get down to business though,” Jones said. “Some of the very things that have been talked about are some of the very things that we’ve executed on and put such an emphasis on the work that we’re going to be doing out there. Our extra time relative to last year, relative to other years, is precious to us, gives us a great chance to get a lot of the things we need to do relative to some of the things we’ve been talking about in the offseason.”

This offseason has been filled with storylines, starting mostly with Tony Romo and his new contract, his back injury and his role in the offense.

The draft had some head-scratching moments when the Cowboys decided to trade down and take center Travis Frederick. But free agency wasn’t too dramatic, as the Cowboys signed Justin Durant and Will Allen, along with placing the franchise tag on Anthony Spencer.

When Garrett took over the microphone Saturday, he obviously didn’t provide any double-take moments. His words were not only calculated, but he shared some comments he planned to give to his team in the meeting that followed the opening press conference.

“The only thing I have to say is it’s a real privilege to be here. It’s a hard room to get into,” Garrett said. “We have 90 guys on our football team. We have 20 or so coaches, we have staff members. It’s an honor and a privilege to be in the National Football League. It’s an honor and privilege to play and coach for the Dallas Cowboys. Day one of training camp is a great day. It’s a new beginning for really everybody, the 2013 version of the Dallas Cowboys is different from any collection we’ve had or ever will have.  We’re excited about the opportunity in front of us.

“We all have visions and aspirations of being part of a Super Bowl. I think if you ask head coaches, coaching staffs and players in 31 other NFL cities they’ll say the same thing. And if they don’t, they’re probably in the wrong business. But what we’re focused on is today, making Day One great. We’re excited about the opportunity to be here.”

Again, nothing too riveting here. But that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

The Cowboys have the glitz and glamour and the nickname of America’s Team. None of that has really changed.

But when you go 8-8 for two straight years, and haven’t made the playoffs since 2009 and only have that one playoff win since 1996, there’s no reason to beat your chest.

Just beat the opponents on the schedule – and preferably more than eight times this year.

So we’ll see how things transpire in the next few days, but if the first 24 hours in Oxnard are any indication, it appears these Cowboys might be more focused on the walk, than the talk.

Photos of the team arriving in Oxnard >>

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