In typical Dallas Cowboys fanfare, the 2005 edition of the team landed at Naval Air Station Point Mugu on Thursday, where owner Jerry Jones was ready and waiting.
"This is America's team," Jones said, "and where better to land it then on America's air base, right here in Oxnard." One by one, the players stepped off the plane, an entered training camp territory. Most of the team was wisked away to camp, but a few players stuck around to sign autographs for the military families. There were a few veterans, like Terence Newman.
"All this golfing and stuff I've been doing is just getting tired," joked Newman. "I mean, I'm ready to play some football."
There were a few free agents, like Jason Ferguson.
"Just happy to be out here," said Ferguson. "Want to see what we're going to put together."
And not surprisingly, there were a lot of rookies, like first round pick Marcus Spears.
"It's going to be exciting," said Spears. "I know it's going to be a lot of competing out there and that's what I love to do."
The first Bill Parcells sighting didn't come until Friday, when the trimmed-down coach arrived for the opening press conference. And when Jerry and Stephen Jones joined him, camp was officially under way.
"This is an exciting time for our organization," said Jones. "It's an exciting time for our team and our fans, one of the reasons it was without hesitation in the off-season that we made some of the commitments that we made."
While both Jones and Parcells have said, this is the best group of players they've had since Parcells has been coach, they were quick to curb the enthusiasm and great expectations that surround the team.
"I just hope I am a lot better than we did last year," said Parcells. "I really do. But, I don't know what's going to happen between now and [the first regular season game in San Diego]."
Parcells has tweaked everything, including practice schedules, film sessions, and meeting times, all in an effort to better prepare this years team. But he says, he hasn't yet tweaked his demeanor.
"I'm going to have to get a sense of where the players think they are," Parcells said, "and if they're in a different place then I think they should be, then there'll be a change in the demeanor."
And while Parcells may seem more focused and determined then ever, he showed he still hasn't lost his sense of humor when talking about new quarterback Drew Bledsoe.
"He says his arm and his legs are ready to go," Parcells said. "I said I hope you've got your brain with you."