SAN DIEGO –While staying behind after Saturday's preseason matchup with the Chargers wasn't the normal or ideal means of practicing against the AFC West team, the Cowboys came away from the first of two sessions happy, according to their head coach.
"We've spent so much time working against each other, all throughout the offseason and all throughout training camp, kind of banging heads against guys who are your teammates," Jason Garrett said. "We as coaches try every day to create competitive situations for our guys, whether it's one-on-one, two-on-two, seven-on-seven, 11-on-11, put them in a game situation, we're always trying to do that, and that's an important part of growing as an individual player and as a team.
"I think that happens really naturally when you're working against other teams. We have a real similar value system, the Cowboys and the Chargers."
Garrett said that the Cowboys got "great work" in their joint practices with San Diego last preseason, and that the team was "dying" to work with the Chargers again.
The teams went through individual drills separately on Monday, then combined for the competitive portions of the session, with San Diego's offense taking on the Cowboys defense on one of the two practice fields at Chargers Park, and vice versa on the other field.
"Throughout the practice, the run periods, the blitz periods, the one-on-ones, they were competitive, but I think everybody understood there was a healthy respect for each other," Garrett said. "The tempo is right. I think both teams are getting a lot out of it."
Despite playing a physical, 60-minute game on Saturday, the teams went toe to toe again Monday without any scraps or incidents.
"We both talked to our teams," Chargers coach Norv Turner said. "We don't want to come out here and have scuffles or fights. We just want to work. I think the players were very respectful in terms of making sure that we took care of each other and still competed, but got something out of the work we did today."
The teams will do more situational work on Tuesday, including two-minute drills and red zone practice. The Cowboys will then return to Texas after three and a half weeks in California on Wednesday.