IRVING, Texas – As the Cowboys focus on the offseason, training camp is still in sight.
Coming off two straight 8-8 seasons and three full seasons removed from the playoffs, the Cowboys have plenty of question marks surrounding them as they prepare for the 2013 season.
As we count down the days to camp, the writers of DallasCowboys.com will take a different question each day that is hovering over this team.
With two days until the Cowboys take the field in Oxnard, Calif., today's question centers on the Cowboys' success during their years in Oxnard:
2) Will Oxnard pave the way for the Cowboys' playoff success?
On Friday afternoon, the Cowboys will hop aboard a flight bound for Oxnard, Calif., for their eighth iteration of west coast training camp. The end goal of the month abroad will be to reach the playoffs for just the second time since the team started making these trips.
The trip west began in 2001, during the tenure of Dave Campo. This was the season following Troy Aikman's retirement, and it ended in a woeful 5-11 record. The Cowboys wouldn't make another trip to Oxnard for three years.
The next trip came in 2004, in the second year of Bill Parcells' term, and it didn't produce much better results – the Cowboys finished the season at 6-10. But 2004 was the first of three straight trips to Oxnard, two of which produced winning records.
The Cowboys came out of 2005 training camp and built to a 7-3 record after a slow start, but the wheels fell off after Thanksgiving and the team missed the playoffs despite a 9-7 record. The breakthrough came in 2006, when the team went undefeated during their preseason in Oxnard, and this time a 9-7 mark was enough to earn a wildcard.
Two years later, the Cowboys went west for a fifth time – noteworthy for the team's role on the fourth season of HBO's *Hard Knocks *series. The Cowboys once again managed 9-7, and once again had the bad fortune of missing the playoffs despite a winning record.
The team went back to Oxnard in 2010 – the year that saw Jason Garrett claim the head coaching job after a disastrous 1-7 start – and 2012, neither of which produced winning records.
With all that in mind, it's safe to say the west coast has yet to produce a memorable campaign. The Cowboys' two best seasons of the past decade, 2007 and 2009, came after training camps spent in San Antonio's Alamodome. [embedded_ad]
It might be a bit strong to argue that the location of training camp has that big of an impact on a team's season – recent Super Bowl champions have spent their preseason in a variety of places. But that doesn't change the fact that Dallas is still looking for its biggest success since these trips to California began.
Maybe 2013 will be the year.
Sticking with our numerical journey to training camp, let's take a closer look at the number two:
- NFL rules prohibited him from wearing it in games, but Deion Sanders practiced in No. 2 – his college number – for the Cowboys.
- The second playoff win in Cowboys' history was a 52-14 romp of Cleveland in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 24, 1967. The Cowboys would go on to lose the famous Ice Bowl to Green Bay the next week.
- Rookie punter Spencer Benton will wear No. 2 in training camp. Four players in Cowboys history have sported No. 4 – three of them were kickers. Quarterback Anthony Wright wore the number for two seasons.
- Cowboys great and Hall of Fame defensive lineman Randy White was taken No. 2 overall from Maryland in the 1975 NFL Draft.]
- Two has been a good spot for the Cowboys in the draft, on the rare occasion they've held such a high pick. Two years after they took White No. 2 overall, they drafted Tony Dorsett in the same spot.