OXNARD, Calif. – Given the firepower on the Cowboys' offense, training camp isn't typically easy on their defense.
As their 2016 visit to California wound to a close on Wednesday evening, Dez Bryant was honest about that fact. He was also being honest when he said that, this time around, that hasn't been the case.
"To be honest – normally it'd be one-sided. This year, it's been both sides," he said. "We're jawing, we all jawing back and forth, and at the end of the day we're hugging each other, we've got our arms around each other – just congratulating one another, talking about 'Hell of a job. Let's come out here and do the same thing.'"
Tuesday night's practice was highlighted by that kind of intensity and chippiness, as Bryant and Morris Claiborne nearly came to blows after several heated battles. More importantly for the Cowboys, none of that seems to have carried over, as the two players wore each other's jerseys to walkthrough the next day – Bryant in Claiborne's No. 24, and Claiborne in Bryant's No. 88.
Bryant said it's that kind of intensity, but also that kind of camaraderie that's going to help the Cowboys as they continue to work toward the start of the regular season.
"It's always been respect. When we're in between these lines, the only way that we can build a championship team is by competing the way that me and him and Brandon compete daily – not only us, but the DBs and the receivers," he said.
"You've got to have great competition. It can't be just one side winning all the time. When we beat them or when they beat us, we've got something new coming at them. I think it's done justice to our team, and we're just going to see where it takes us."
For the time being, that's going to take them back to Dallas, where they'll gear up for three more preseason games and two rounds of roster cuts. But echoing the words of his coach, Jason Garrett, Bryant said he's been encouraged by the tenacity he's seen to this point.
"Like I've said, we can be as good as we want to be," he said. That's up to us, and so far we're doing a hell of a job."