Combined practices are a regular part of the preseason, something to break up the monotony of training camp and an opportunity to work on various things (red-zone offense, third-down defense, etc.) against new faces but outside a game setting. Also common: fights. Partly because football is a physical sport played by some of the most competitive people on the planet, but also due to the fact that training camp is a grind. It's a necessary evil, for sure, but it also shortens fuses making it a lot more likely that otherwise sane folks will snap at the slightest provocation.
And that brings us to the Cowboys and Chargers. During their joint practice, Dallas tight end Andrew Szczerba got tangled up with San Diego linebacker Melvin Ingram, the rookie first-rounder who thought he was being held on the play. Both players came to blows and ended up on the turf sans helmets.
Szczerba said afterwards (via the Star-Telegram.com) that “That was my mistake. In a real game, that would have hurt my team,” Szczerba said. “So I won't do that again.”
And he kept his word -- but it wasn't the end of it. A short time later, Chargers cornerback Quentin Jammer lit up Cowboys wide receiver Dwayne Harris near the goal line. If it had been a game it would've been a fantastic hit. In practice, however, tackling is frowned up -- especially for a beleaguered Dallas wide receiver corps that can't seem to stay healthy.
”You don't want guys getting tackled," Dallas coach Jason Garret said afterwards. "You don't want guys going to the ground. But again, you want guys competing at the ball. You want contested catches. So there's a fine line there.”
Harris, for his part, didn't have any issue with Jammer.
“It was a good hit. He caught me right in the chin,” he said. "Face still hurts a little bit. But you know, I'll get a little ice on it. I'll be OK. … I don't blame him for it. He's a competitor. It's football. You're going to take hits. You need to get up, go to the next play.”
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.