SAN DIEGO - To say it got a little "chippy" in Tuesday's practice with the Chargers is underselling it in my opinion.
There was one good fight and three or four other plays where jawing and shoving occurred – all in a span of about 15 minutes.
After practice, coach Jason Garrett acknowledged the tension and said he was proud of the way his football team responded.
But honestly, there's a fine line there. Obviously you want to get some work done and a bunch of fights back and forth doesn't get that accomplished.
But there does come a time when enough is enough. In my opinion on Tuesday, I was kind of surprised the offensive players didn't stand up a little more against the Chargers, who weren't afraid to deliver a few cheap shots.
It all started when backup tight end Andrew Sczcerba and Chargers first-round pick Melvin Ingram got tangled up after a play. Sczcerba is fighting for a right spot, literally. He and Ingram kept going after the play with Ingram taking him to the ground and Sczcerba's coming off. Several players were right there in mix, although most of them had blue jerseys on. That'd be the Chargers' blue jerseys. The only Cowboys player I saw right in the mix was Kevin Ogletree, who was throwing his 195 pounds around.
Now to the credit of Lawrence Vickers, who doesn't seem to be the kind of guy who has ever run from a fight, and running back DeMarco Murray, they got themselves in the mix, too. Murray even got shoved in the back by Chargers safety Atari Bigby, who waited for Murray to walk away to get feisty. It was actually a shocker that Bigby and Murray didn't come to blows at some point in the day.
But after that first fight, Cowboys receiver Danny Coale took a shot in the head in a goal-line a drill, a drill that is supposed to be just light contact and no tackling. A few words were exchanged after that hit, but the big blow occurred just minutes later.
Chargers cornerback Quentin Jammer decided to waylay Dwayne Harris who made a catch over the middle.
"Never saw that coming," Harris said. "I wasn't prepared for a shot like that."
And why would he be? That's a "Jacked Up" type hit that would be a big in a game, much less a practice that is supposed to be two-hands touch at best.
So Harris is sprawled out and his helmet came off as well.
At that point, I was covnicned someone would come in there to fight. Enough was enough. But while a few players threw out some verbal jabs and all gravitated slowly towards each other, nothing was ever done about it.
Maybe it was because it was only Dwayne Harris. I bet if Dez got clocked like that, it might be a different story, although it should be that way.
One coach told me it was because this team is utterly spent. They're so tired and ready to go home that wasted energy to fight just wasn't in them.
Still, I think this offense needs a little killer instinct. If you remember back to 2008 or even watched the Hard Knocks episodes, the same thing was happening when they practiced against Denver, with the Broncos' guy laying a few pops on the offensive players. Finally, Flozell Adams got fed up and grabbed a player's helmet, ripped it off and then swung it at him.
Ok, I'm not saying it has to go to that extreme. But it was surprising that no player really stood up for Harris after that last shot. Actually, it sounds like Vickers wanted to. That's his reputation, but apparently, it sounds like he always wants to prove to his new coaches he can keep his cool.
"Well, I wanted to. I was teed off to the max," Vickers said. "But at the same time, I have to listen to my coaches. I have to let my coach know, in any situation, 'Vick' can keep his head. I wanted to lose my cool. I did, I'm not lying. Because that type of (expletive) is not tolerated. We're not going to tolerate that type of stuff. That's the mentality we got. That's the mentality we're going to have. That is not tolerated!"
It seemed to be rather tolerated on this day. Only time will tell if that changes as the season goes on.