The Cowboys and Chargers wrapped up their first practice with each other Thursday morning, with Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and counterpart Norv Turner both happy to give their players the experience of working against a different opponent.
The teams will hold a scrimmage-like practice at Cowboys Stadium on Friday, and play a preseason game Sunday. It marks the third time in four years the Cowboys and Chargers have scheduled a game against one another during the exhibition season, but this is the first time the teams have held joint practices.
Would alternating home-and-home practices and preseason dates in coming years make sense for both parties? The Cowboys have attempted to keep a foothold in Southern California, holding training camp in the farming community of Oxnard six times in the last decade.
"The fact we played this weekend made it possible, so it just worked out perfectly," Turner said. "This year was important for me because obviously we missed out on a lot of work for the young guys with the lockout, so we'll evaluate it on a year to year basis."
There is also a bond between the Cowboys and Chargers within the front office and coaching staffs. Garrett is something of a protégé of Turner, having played for him in the early '90s when Turner was the Cowboys' offensive coordinator for two Super Bowls, and Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan worked for Turner in Oakland.
"I haven't been on this field since 1994," Turner said while standing on the grass at Valley Ranch. "You walk out and it brings back some great memories. ... I think the relationship our organization has with the Cowboys, it starts there. Both our owners have got a great relationship, and then obviously it helps that Jason and I have a relationship."