In what happens quite a lot when two teams have a shared preseason practice, the Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams turned their time together into a massive brawl at some point, resulting in the Cowboys eventually practicing on their own while the Rams ended their session early.
The first fight broke out between the Cowboys defense and the Rams offense. The two involved as the trigger were Cowboys linebacker Andrew Gachkar and Rams center Demetrius Rhaney. That led to Cowboys’ Randy Gregory, Jeff Heath, Tyler Patmon and the Rams’ Jared Cook, Tre Mason, Tavon Austin making a big effort to get involved, while defensive end Eugene Sims ran across the field and leveled Cowboys defensive end Ben Gardner.
— Pat Doney (@PatDoneyNBC5) August 19, 2015
The second fight was on the next play and lasted a few minutes. It led to Dez Bryant, without his helmet, getting punched by Imoan Claiborne while Todd Gurley, who is still recovering from his ACL tear, also got involved.
But while this isn’t something new to both these specific teams or in this preseason (Texans vs Redskins), no one is really happy about it. Because of the injury risks involved with the players going at it, and also the risk of punishment. The league has made it a point of emphasis to stop or prevent as much as possible on-field fighting during the season, but for now the preseason rumbles aren’t something they are too worried about.
I can’t imagine that we can’t continue to have joint practices and get this right just like we do a lot of things. But we’re going to have to continue to emphasize that stuff is not what we want. It should not be a part of our game. It’s not good for either team. Obviously, there are huge injury risks. We’ve just got to learn from it. I’d hate to think two teams can’t get together. When you see the energy level out here with the fans, they enjoy it, watching the teams play. I do think we can continue to do this. I just think we have to emphasize we don’t want this in our game. There are no right answers. If there were right answers we would address it and get it fixed. It is a point of emphasis. At the end of the day it comes down to fines and sitting people down for games. Certainly, it’s easier to do in a game. How we handle this situation out here, as a competition committee, as a league, as the Dallas Cowboys, Jason, Jerry Jones and I have to huddle up and say how we’re going to prevent this in the future.
That’s the executive (Stephen Jones, Cowboys VP) angle of this story. Players? They usually feel good about these moments, and about showing their fight and having each other’s back. Maybe if someone would have gotten injured we would be hearing a different tune from them as well.