SAN DIEGO –Both Jason Garrett and Norv Turner bragged about the focused mentality of their teams in Monday's joint practice, two days after a preseason game, but things got a little more heated on Tuesday.
Particularly in the matchup between the Cowboys offense and the Chargers defense, the action was physical. The scrappiness began when rookie tight end Andrew Szczerba got locked up with San Diego's first-round linebacker, Melvin Ingram, the two trading shoves and wrestling one another to the ground before finally being separated.
When the units began a no-tackling red zone drill, the Chargers started laying the wood to Cowboys receivers. Safety Atari Bigby got a clean shot on rookie Danny Coale, then cornerback Quentin Jammer de-cleated Dwayne Harris at the goal line, knocking off his helmet.
"He caught me right in the chin. My face still hurts a little bit. But I'll get a little ice on it. I'll be OK," Harris said after the practice. "I definitely think it was a cheap shot. I wasn't looking. I turned my head and gott a helmet to the chin. But he's a competitor. He's trying to make a play, just like I was and everybody else was out there. I don't blame him for it. He's a competitor. It's football. You take hits and get up and go to the next play."
The big hit drew the two units together in a shouting match, with fullback Lawrence Vickers and running back DeMarco Murray particularly vocal for the Cowboys.
"It was expected," Vickers said. "We tried to come and get some good work in. when you're competing against another team, even against your own guys, you get a little chippy. That's football. It's comes with the territory. … I was teed off to the max, 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 (stuff) is not tolerated. We're not going to tolerate that type of stuff. That's the mentality we've got. That's the mentality we're going to have. That is not tolerated."
After the jawing that ensued following the hit on Harris, things settled back down, leaving head coach Jason Garrett to complement his team's mental toughness.
"We as coaches, when we looked at practice, you could tell guys were getting close to the end," Garrett said. "That's the nature of these last training camp practices, but I was proud of how we fought through some things."