Head coach Jason Garrett is all about sticking to the routine whenever possible, but he's also made the statement several times since he's been the head coach on how his team needs to be focused, whether they're playing "at home, on the road, in the parking lot or on the moon."
Somewhere in between all of that is London, England. And that's where the Cowboys are headed as their plane departed Monday night, setting them up for the club's first-ever regular season game outside of the U.S.
It's certainly against the routine, yet Garrett said the goal will be to keep his players on the closest schedule as possible, considering the more than nine-hour flight Monday evening, coupled with a six-hour time difference.
"I think the biggest thing is you just try to maintain the routine," said Garrett, who was a player with the Cowboys during several international games during the preseason. "Obviously, it's different. We'll get over there and we'll land and do a little bit of a walkthrough, jog through-type thing. There's going to be a community event, a Play60 event, that our players are going to be involved in, and it'll feel like a regular Tuesday for them. They've got to get themselves acclimated, and when we wake up on Wednesday we're going to make it feel like a Wednesday."
The Cowboys will face the Jaguars on Sunday at 6 p.m. in London, which will be a Noon (CST) kickoff back in Dallas. Dallas and Jacksonville will play the third regular-season game at Wembley Stadium this season as the NFL continues its efforts to grow the game internationally.
In terms of logistics and figuring out the proper schedule, Garrett said the Cowboys have asked around for advice.
"We talked to a lot of different teams that have gone over there," he said. "'When do you want to go over?' that's the first question we had to answer, and we wanted to go over as early in the week as possible so we can get guys acclimated, not let the time or the jet lag be an issue for us. So that's what tomorrow will be about once we get there. Get some blood flowing through their body, and hopefully just get them acclimated and get their feet underneath them a little bit and then get into the normal week.
"We talked to other teams about where they stayed, where they practiced, all those kinds of things. And everyone kind of gave us similar advice and we're following it. We've been in these games a lot in the past in the preseason. We've never done this in the regular season, so that's where the difference lies."
[embeddedad0]Garrett acknowledged the fact that the team will be bussed to and from the practice facility every day, but even that is something the team has had to experience at times.
"One difference is we'll be traveling to practice on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, no different than us traveling to our stadium in bad weather here," he said. "So you just have to kind of deal with that stuff and understand that's what this trip is all about, and not allow that to be an excuse. The other team is going through the same kind of thing, so we have to deal with what the situation is and be our best regardless."
Obviously, the Cowboys aren't coming off their two best performances, as they take a two-game losing streak overseas. The Cowboys are still one of the top teams in the NFC with a 6-3 record and will square off against a Jacksonville team that has a 1-8 mark, including a 33-23 loss at Cincinnati on Sunday.