When NFL teams go to training camp, there is always one certainty - after weeks of beating on their own teammates, they are very ready to see a different team. Sometimes they have to wait until a preseason game, the Cowboys did just that when they played the Steelers in the Hall of Fame game on Thursday. Or it can come in the form of a joint practice, which is what the Cowboys held on Saturday versus the Rams.
Joint practices tend to end up with one defining element - fights. As mentioned, players get really tired of taking reps against the same teammates over and over and are ready to try out their skills on an opponent. With all that pent up aggression, it invariably turns “chippy” and the Cowboys practice against the Rams was no exception.
The most notable dustup occurred between Cowboys offensive lineman Connor Williams and Rams superstar defensive tackle Aaron Donald. There were a few reps where Williams held his own versus Donald, eventually leading up to some physical actions just a bit outside the rules.
Here is the play with the altercation.
Two points to Williams for the take down.
Here is some video of Williams handling Donald in 1-on1 action.
Aaron Donald vs. Connor Williams. pic.twitter.com/dgYr36gazv— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 7, 2021
Word was that Williams handled Donald on back-to-back reps. Maybe this wasn’t sitting to well with Donald who is used to dominating opponents. Much like he did to Connor McGovern in this clip.
Rams DT Aaron Donald giving Cowboys O-line quality work. Uses swim move vs LG Connor McGovern for TFL. pic.twitter.com/QFNllYhUIh— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 7, 2021
Overall it was reported the Rams defense had a good day against the Cowboys offense that was missing its main man, Dak Prescott. But it does look like it was a spirited practice and one where the Cowboys players were ready to meet the intensity challenge. Unlike many joint practices, this one seemed to be appreciated for the amount of work that got done.
Honestly? That felt like the most productive one of these joint practices ive seen for the Cowboys— Killin' Moore (@McCoolBCB) August 7, 2021
Production and intensity at a practice is always a good thing. But the Cowboys attitude of not backing down is also a positive thing to hear. Zack Martin put it this way.
Cowboys RG Zack Martin on Connor Williams-Aaron Donald skirmish: "Listen, we're not out there trying to start fights, but we're also not going to sit there and get pushed around. My understanding is something happened, and we're not going to take it. It's one of those things."— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 8, 2021
That’s a healthy attitude for a football team. And the offensive line weren’t the only guys who weren’t taking any guff from the opposition. Tony Pollard sums up their attitude on the day in this clip.
Good for the Cowboys.