Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is now the most tenured player on the roster as he enters his 10th pro season. Only Tony Romo has been there as long, but no player has played more games with the club than Witten. Not only does he have the experience and leadership, but the Cowboys are still looking for him to a focal part of the offense in 2012.
Can you believe you're already reached your 10th season?
Witten: Yeah, it's hard to believe it sometimes. It goes fast. It's been a heck of a run. I'll be damned if I let this opportunity slip and not come away with a championship. It's time we grab it. It goes really for all of us, the core group of us. That's what Coach Garrett has talked about, this group trying to do it. And I think we have the right group of guys to get it done. You really just have to put that work in to give yourself a chance. There's no other way. That's what every other team is trying to do. That's the focus we're trying to have here.
You said last week this can't be “the same old story” anymore. Can you clarify?
Witten: I think the question was about the window and I was simply saying we can't have the same old story. Eight and eight is not good enough. I believe in the men that we have and I believe we work the right way. Ultimately, we didn't make the playoffs last year and that's all I was trying to say. We have to go earn it; nobody's going to give us anything.
What were your thoughts about getting the pads on?
Witten: It's a lot easier to evaluate things when you get into more football situations. It's hard to see that sometimes in shorts and shells. I thought it went well. But it's the first one. We've got to keep it consistent and keep the same intensity as we get further into camp.
Overall what are your impressions of camp so far?
Witten: It's still real early. Everybody's working hard with great intensity and a tremendous amount of focus. We've said it all off-season; it's time for this team to get it done. We've had a great approach so far. Coach Garrett has given us great leadership. The guys are coming out and putting the work in every day.
It seems like there has been more focus on conditioning this year. How much could that help on the field?
Witten: We saw it firsthand last year. We didn't finish enough games. We had a chance to win ball games and we let them slip. These are long practices with a lot of running, but you have to gut it out. That's what the fourth quarter of games is going to be like. I think it's a great approach for us. A lot of it is physical, but it's also mental. Hopefully it will pay off for us.
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