OXNARD, Calif. -- After Tuesday afternoon's practice, Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware spent some time talking to the media.
One word kept coming up: Identity.
Ware used that word five times in the first three-and-a-half minutes of the interview. And the identity he's seen from the Cowboys in training camp is a good one.
Piecing together a couple of Ware's sound bites, here's how he sees the Cowboys identity: "Guys coming in strong, really motivated and ready to play ... being fundamentally sound, going through the logistics every day, knowing exactly what you have to do, and not having any mental errors."
If it sounds familiar, it should. And the fact that it does is evidence that Jason Garrett's message is getting through to his players.
Joe Trahan will have a story later in the week on this subject. It begins with something Jason Garrett said during his press conference Monday.
"You know one of the things I've used with our players a lot, and I believe it: if someone came up here, say from Germany and Japan, and maybe as a guy from Mars, and came and watched our team play, and they've never seen football before, they should know what we're all about.
"They should know that we play together," he continued. "That we value the football, that we're tough, that we're physical, that we're competitive, that we're relentless, that we know what we're doing, and we execute and then ultimately, we finish."
As Joe talked to different players, they echoed Garrett.
Ware was doing it before Joe even asked him about someone from Mars watching a Cowboy practice (Ware had a lot of fun with his answer, and Joe will have that in his story).
Victor Butler said it well: "[Garrett] wants guys in here that are going to do things the Cowboy way. And the Cowboy way is the right way. You're on time, and not only are you on time, but when you come on time, you're prepared. And when you're prepared, you're prepared to do your job."
Maybe this is why it was so important for Garrett to have a full off-season to work with his players, unlike last year when the players were locked out until training camp. Once the season starts, there's not much time for a team to find its identity -- that has to come earlier.
And that foundation is built in the off-season and into training camp.