Cowboys’ Prep? It’s All About The Giants
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have played at Miami, Oakland and Arizona so far in the preseason, with visits from Cincinnati and Houston still on the exhibition agenda.
But there has been only the slightest game-plan preparation for those opponents, with almost every bit of that focus constantly turning toward the regular-season opener against the archrival Giants at AT&T Stadium that remains almost three weeks away.
“We’ve had to install a lot of new things along the way throughout training camp,” defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin told FOXSportsSouthwest. “But it’s all with an eye on that first game. That’s how it’s got to be.”
The Giants have won six of the last eight meetings with Dallas, and all four games at the new stadium in Arlington. As the teams prepared to meet last October in a game in Arlington that the visitors would win (again), Cowboys coach Jason Garrett addressed the rivalry.
“It’s the Giants,” he said. “They’re the world champs. They’re our next opponent. We have great respect for them. Cowboys Stadium, MetLife Stadium, the Meadowlands, the parking lot or on the moon, we’ve just got to go play our best football.”
And whether at camp in Oxnard, Calif., or Miami, in Oakland in Arizona or in Arlington for two more preseason games – or the parking lot or the moon – the game-planning is about Week 1.
This week will serve as the Cowboys’ dress-rehearsal game, with the starters possibly playing into the third quarter. Part of the preparation is contingency experimentation at guard (where Dallas is so thin that tackle Doug Free has taken snaps there) and cornerback (where starter Mo Claiborne and his backup Orlando Scandrick are both nursing injuries.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys also gave “veteran-day-off” to a handful of players, including Miles Austin and Jason Witten.
“I gotta do what the boss man (Garrett) says,” Witten told FOXSportsSouthwest, noting that he hadn’t accepted such a break in at least six years. “It’s not exactly my style.”
Physically, all of this would seem to lead to this week’s opponent, the Bengals.
Mentally, all of this actually leads to the opponent that is the Giants.
The practice schedule has remained close to the same the Cowboys featured in Oxnard.
Said Garrett: “We’ll take the same preseason mentality where we’re trying to develop our team and we’re trying to get for the regular season.”
And they’re trying to get ready for the Giants.