The Cowboys will begin the 2015 preseason with a game Thursday night in San Diego against the Chargers. Here are three things to watch the day before and day of the game.
No. 1 -- The Cowboys will take a train to San Diego. It has almost become an annual tradition, with tight end Jason Witten joking, "the boss likes the train, apparently."
The team rides the train from Oxnard, California to Oceanside, California down the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Head coach Jason Garrett described activities like this as "bonding" opportunities. Witten later admitted that he likes the train ride, saying that he had never ridden a train like the one the team takes by the beach.
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No. 2 -- When the Cowboys arrive in Oceanside, they will not travel to San Diego. Instead, they will travel about five miles north to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, where players and coaches are expected to spend two to three hours on-site with members of the military. The previous two seasons, the Cowboys had visited Naval Base Coronado. Camp Pendleton stretches over 125,000 acres along the coast in California, making it the Marine Corps’ biggest training facility on the west coast.
Jason Garrett said experiences like a trip to a military base are about putting excellence around the team. Running backs coach Gary Brown said he loves trips like this, but joked, “that is, as long as I don’t have to do anything too physical."
No. 3 -- When it is time to kick the ball off Thursday night in San Diego, do not expect the Cowboys starters to play much, or at all. Game one of the preseason is about giving young players a chance to show coaches what they can do in a game-like situation. Rookie defensive end Randy Gregory imagined what the moment will be like, saying he "definitely will have butterflies."
Veteran Jason Witten described the first preseason game of an NFL player’s career as "something you never forget." The Cowboys and Chargers kickoff Thursday night at 9 p.m. Central.