OXNARD, Calif. – The Cowboys are returning home after a three-week training camp on the West Coast, where head coach Jason Garrett believes they "did an excellent job laying the foundation for our football team" in 2016.
The work will continue back in Texas.
The team's second of four preseason games is set for Friday night against the Dolphins at AT&T Stadium. The players and coaches will transition into their new world headquarters, The Star in Frisco. The roster must be trimmed from 90 to 75 players on Aug. 30 and from 75 to 53 on Sept. 3.
Everything points to the Sept. 11 season opener against the Giants. There's plenty of preparation time left for the players and evaluation time for Garrett and his staff. But the 21 days in Oxnard were a good start for quarterback Tony Romo and the team.
"You always want to be perfect," Romo said. "At the same time, there's a constant evolution about putting new plays in, constant thinking and challenging yourself but yet staying within the system and when it's time to go play you tighten everything up and you simplify it and you go out there and do it.
"From day to day that's always the mental part of it that you're trying to assess, but I'm excited about what we did here. I feel very confident going in. But words are meaningless. You've got to go prove it."
Injuries were a major factor in the Cowboys' 4-12 record last year, but the team is focused on how to finish games better. Tight end Jason Witten emphasized that 12 of their 16 games were one-score contests in the fourth quarter, and they lost nine.
"We have to execute better," Witten said. "The only way to do it is play out these situations (in practice), compete – they're trying to beat us, we're trying to beat them – and then collectively do it, and then when you get to these games you just stay together and all that plays itself out. I think that's just the winning formula."