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Offseason Program Begins With 'New Goals' 


FRISCO, Texas – While football season doesn't officially start for another four months, the first step of the process occurred on Monday at The Star.

The Cowboys began the first day of the team's voluntary offseason conditioning program with several players from both sides of the ball on the field working with strength coaches for the first time.

Cowboys All-Pro guard Zack Martin, one of the team's established leaders, said while the Cowboys are looking to build from last year's success, it's still a new campaign every season.

"This year, like any other year, is a new year – that's the most important thing," Martin said. "Whatever we did or didn't do is behind us. That was the message. This is a new team and a new season with a new set of goals."

Martin commented on the Cowboys' playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams, but focused more on the second half of the season that led to seven wins in the last eight games, plus a playoff victory over Seattle.

"Obviously, the end of last year was tough. We kind of made a push there at the end of the year to be in that situation," Martin said. "The goal for this year is definitely to start the season better than we did last year. Take it one week at a time, as we like to say around here, hopefully string some wins together and make another push next year."

And it all started Monday, which is Phase 1 in a three-part schedule for the players that will last over the course of the summer. Before Monday, the players were allowed to only work out together, without a ball and with no coaches on the field.

The offseason program is generally the first official setting to mix in some of the new faces to last year's team. In the last month, the Cowboys signed free agents such as Randall Cobb, Christian Covington and George Iloka, and added Robert Quinn in a trade with the Miami Dolphins. Let's not forget, it's the second go-round for veteran Jason Witten, who is back from retirement. This year's program also saw the participation of center Travis Frederick, who missed all of last year.

Over the next couple of months, the program will evolve into on-field teaching sessions with the coaches, and then later to the OTA (Organized Team Activity) practices and the three-day minicamp in June.

The Cowboys are expected to report for training camp in Oxnard, Calif., during the final week of July.