IRVING — The Cowboys' first day of practice to get ready for their pivotal season finale against the Redskins began with a trip to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Wednesday.
"Yeah, we just can't be on our field," said Dallas head coach Jason Garrett. "It's all ice. We don't have all the necessary equipment to thaw it out to the point where we're able to practice, so we've got to go to the stadium."
Garrett said his first choice would have been to work out in weather similar to what the team will face in Washington on Sunday night, but he said the Valley Ranch facility wasn't functional.
"I didn't miss it at all," said Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears. "I was so happy we went inside. It was cold out there this morning. You know, Brian Schaefering came from Cleveland, and he was talking about how it doesn't get cold. He changed his mind."
That means preparations for the team's biggest game of the year began without a taste of the cold temperatures outside.
Dallas last faced the Redskins just five weeks ago on Thanksgiving Day, a game Washington won 38-31. The Redskins have won four more since then to extend their winning streak to six in a row.
"I don't know that we learned anything in particular," said Garrett. "They're awfully good. There is no question about that and again, they have really good players. They have a really good quarterback, they have good runners, they have good receivers and they use them well. It'll be a real challenge for our defense."
The Cowboys know all too well what it means to have a chance to make the playoffs in the final game of the year and then miss that opportunity. It happened last year against the Giants.
"We've been in this position plenty of times," said Cowboys linebacker Antony Spencer."We know what it feels like to lose these games. We've got players that were in here last year felt that and definitely don't want to feel it again, so everyone is working. We're focused right now."
"You know just hearing from some of the guys who were here last year and hearing about their feelings," said Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne. "Me personally, I don't want to have that feeling, and I don't want those guys to have that type of feeling again, so we just have to do in and do what we have to do. We have to capitalize on plays, make plays and be around the ball."