Dallas Cowboys running back Lance Dunbar (25) is stopped on a run by Philadelphia Eagles' Fletcher Cox (91), Trent Cole (58), Malcolm Jenkins (27) and Casey Matthews (50) during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014, in Arlingto
Tim Sharp
December 01, 2014

IRVING, Texas (AP) DeMarco Murray paused when a reporter asked him what day it was.

''Thursday,'' he finally said, breaking into a broad grin.

The NFL rushing leader nailed the answer - even though it was really Monday.

Such has been life the past month for the Dallas Cowboys. A crazy schedule that started the day they took a Monday flight to London will wrap up with a rare Thursday-to-Thursday double when they visit Chicago this week.

''It certainly has been crazy,'' center Travis Frederick said. ''That's kind of the fun of it, too, being able to adjust to it. Some people don't like it. Some people like it. Some people think it's not healthy. Some people say it's good for TV. Whatever it is, it's interesting to me and it's fun for me to have to adjust to that.''

To review, the Cowboys flew to London Nov. 3, the day after losing at home to Arizona so they could shake off the jet lag and try to keep the schedule as normal as possible.

After beating the Jaguars, they took a couple of days off, then had a pair of light practices before taking their bye weekend off.

After a regular week of work before beating the New York Giants on a Sunday night, Dallas had about 90 hours of turnaround time before a Thanksgiving loss to Philadelphia.

Instead of the usual extended break following Thanksgiving, the Cowboys get the Bears on Thursday night. That meant Saturday was Tuesday, a light walkthrough day after meetings. And Sunday was Wednesday. And so on.

If football players are creatures of habit the same way, say, starting pitchers are in baseball, November wasn't their month in Dallas.

''It's certainly a very routine sport,'' said coach Jason Garrett, who since Friday has reminded reporters what day it actually was at Valley Ranch headquarters.

''When you have differing schedules we try to recreate that routine as much as we can so there's a comfort level. But it's not always going to be perfect.''

Tony Romo, coming off back surgery last December and yet another back injury sustained on a sack in October, appeared to be the one most affected on the field by the quick turnaround in the 33-10 loss to Eagles. He took sacks rather than try to scramble on a couple of plays, misfired on several throws and lacked some zip on his passes at times.

Romo was back in the practice routine he's followed all season, skipping the equivalent of the Wednesday workout on Sunday and returning a day later.

''In general as athletes playing in the National Football League, you know what you're doing every time on a Monday, a Tuesday, you can pretty much write that in a book before the season starts,'' Romo said. ''But as far as that Thursday, we've also had some success on Thursday games. We just didn't play well in that game last week.''

The post-Thanksgiving break the Cowboys normally get will come after the trip to Chicago. And after that extra bit of time off, Dallas will actually play three consecutive Sundays.

One of those is yet another night game, but Frederick points out that the Cowboys get more of those since they tend to draw strong TV ratings.

''Your habit becomes switching the week to whatever it is,'' he said. ''Today's Sunday but for me in my mind it really is Wednesday, which really messes me up when I'm trying to call home or anything like that.''

Murray didn't mess up on his pop quiz.

NOTES: LT Tyron Smith returned to practice after missing Sunday with a stomach virus. ... LB Will Smith and WR Chris Boyd were signed to the practice squad. WR Kerry Taylor was released from the practice squad.

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