The Dallas Cowboys will begin the 2012 NFL season on an unusual note in the league’s season-opening game against the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants on a Wednesday night game in primetime. Because of that earlier and bizarre start, Dallas has petitioned the NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) to request an early start to training camp, two days to be exact.
The Cowboys’ training camp is currently scheduled to start on July 30 in Oxnard, Calif., 15 days before the team’s first preseason game against the Oakland Raiders on Aug. 13. League rules mandate that 15-day period, but New York’s first preseason game is three days earlier, so the Giants’ training camp will start earlier than the Cowboys’.
With so many new players on the Cowboys’ roster, Dallas is wise to see if it can receive and earlier start to training camp. The timing for a special request to the league by America’s Team isn’t exactly perfect; an appeal for the Cowboys’ $10 million cap penalty was denied last month, so Dallas isn’t in the league’s favor at the moment.
An early start to training camp would be fantastic for a team like Dallas that’s drastically underachieved for two straight seasons. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett knows he must get his rookies, free agent signees and veterans all on the same page before the opener in New York. The Cowboys lost twice to the Giants last season, including the season finale that decided the NFC East title, so Garrett knows his team must be ready, regardless of New York’s schedule.
“What we have to focus on is what our situation is,” Garrett said. “We can’t worry about what the Giants’ situation is or any of our opponents. We know when we’re going to play our first preseason game and first regular-season game. That’s all pretty much outlined for us, so we just have to understand what the situation is and as a coach and coaching staff we have to make sure we organize things the right way to get ourselves prepared as we go through camp.”