clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2015 Training Camp: For Cowboys, It Is A New Year In Many Ways

The tone during the opening press conference of the 2015 training camp in Oxnard was unlike any year in memory.

The weather was nicer, but the big three for the Cowboys were still on the same page in Oxnard.
The weather was nicer, but the big three for the Cowboys were still on the same page in Oxnard.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It is official. Dallas Cowboys training camp in Oxnard is under way. The players (with one exception) are all in place. The first practice is Thursday, but the traditional first event, the opening press conference with Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones and Jason Garrett, took place on Wednesday. (You can watch it at It was just a bit of talk from the leadership triumvirate of the franchise, but each year it is a good way to get a feel for the atmosphere of the team.

In seasons past, Jerry Jones was prone to talk about the Super Bowl as not only the ultimate goal, but as one he thought was within range. In retrospect, that was probably not the best way to go. In 2014, his mood was much more restrained coming off the three 8-8 seasons  And ironically, that circumspect approach was followed by the first playoff appearance in years. More importantly, the Cowboys were tantalizingly close to making it all the way. We all know about the heart-breaking loss to the Green Bay Packers, but the most important thing was that the team clearly had much more talent than everyone had expected going into the season, particularly on offense.

Now, after an offseason where beefing up the defense was a priority, the owner specifically stated that he was not going to talk about the Super Bowl this year. Part of that is possibly due to superstition, but it also is another example of how his attitude towards the game and the team is so close now to that of his head coach. Garrett's big message was how this was not about building on last year. He discussed how each year, you start over. You have a lot of the same pieces, but it all has to be put together fresh. Nothing is assumed, and he made a definite point about there being no sense of entitlement in the locker room.

When you put all the things together that were talked about in the almost hour long conference, the sense is that this edition of the team is confident, but not at all cocky. Garrett has been pounding his "stack one good day on top of another" ever since his first day as the interim head coach, and all signs are that it has really taken hold.

That includes at the top. It was fairly evident that there is a belief that Joseph Randle can be an effective starter at running back, even though the plan is not to have anyone carry the kind of load DeMarco Murray did. While the option of going out and getting another back if needed is still there, the people at the top aren't second guessing themselves.

There was one surprise for the start of camp, the holdout of Jeremy Mincey. Stephen Jones took a rather hard line, stating that there would be no discussion of an extension or more money while Mincey was not at camp. Some of his resolve seemed to flow out of how the team had cleaned up all the major questions before camp, most notably getting Dez Bryant signed to his five-year deal. Mincey has no real leverage, and this year there is much more depth along the defensive line. While the team would like to have Mincey in the mix, they are not going to be pressured by him. If he gets himself to Oxnard, then there may be some money for him, but things are going to be done on the team's terms.

There were a lot of other interesting moments, like Jerry's strong statement of support for Roger Goodell in the Tom Brady issue, which included a little karmic dig at Robert Kraft. And it was so typical when Garrett took the question about the first female coach in the NFL and segued effortlessly into once again using it to illustrate his own philosophy. But the tenor of the conference was very encouraging. No braggadocio. If anything, the optimism was toned way down, but it was still underlying everything. Given the returning players and the added talent, there is a firm foundation to believe that this Dallas team can accomplish something this year. And keeping the rhetoric subdued sets a very good tone for the team to follow.

It was a great start to camp and the preseason. The men at the top of the pyramid are quietly sure of what they are doing, and that is going to permeate everything, barring some unforeseen setbacks. And the team looks to be better structured to weather some misfortune than in recent years. Now we will begin to see what happens on the field. It should be a very interesting and hopefully entertaining journey.

Follow me @TomRyleBTB

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Blogging The Boys Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Dallas Cowboys news from Blogging The Boys