In an NFL preseason already littered with fights, now the Cowboys welcome another team to their training camp in Oxnard. Hide the women and children, this could more brutal than a Ronda Rousey fight.
Or, if head coach Jason Garrett gets his wish, the two days of practices with the St. Louis Rams will be more about football and less about Dez Bryant fighting cornerbacks or locker-room sucker punches or – like when the Raiders invaded last year – wild melees that climaxed with fans swinging helmets at players.
“The biggest thing we want to do is make sure it's about football,” Garrett told reporters over the weekend. “Sometimes you get into these situations and a lot of other stuff starts to happen, and it's a great challenge for your team to stay focused. Sometimes when you're working against each other, your own team, it gets a little chippy and everyone realizes we're teammates. Sometimes these things get escalated in these kinds of practices, and I think it's important for us as coaches, players and as a football team to handle it the right way, stay focused on what's most important – and that's getting better as a team.”
Bryant won’t practice because of a hamstring injury. And Doug Free (foot) and Tyron Smith (biceps) are expected to be held out, negating the clash of titans between one of the NFL’s best offensive and defensive lines. Still, the grind of camp combined with increased intensity of new opponents is sure to prompt at least one scuffle.
“You talk to the other staff about the parameters and the tempo and how you want to go about it,” Garrett said. “Hopefully each side understands the rate that we're going at and what we want from each drill and we handle it the right way. Communication is a huge part of life. It's certainly a big part of football. We emphasize that every day. I think it's really important when you work in these kinds of situations to be clear as to what each side wants out of this thing, get on the same page, and then if you're not getting it, make sure you get it within the drill. We'll try to do that. We have great respect for their team and their coaching staff, so I anticipate it being two really good days of work.”
As long as it doesn’t escalate ...
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.