A couple of weeks ago it was reported that the Dallas Cowboys were going to have inter-squad scrimmages to prepare for the 2022 season. This normally is not news as almost every year the team practices with another NFL team sometime during training camp, many times in close proximity to a preseason game. What was unusual about this announcement is the fact the Cowboys are going to have two scrimmages with two different teams.
The Cowboys will scrimmage with the Denver Broncos on August 11th, a Thursday, before playing a preseason game against the Broncos that Saturday. They will do the process over again versus the Los Angeles Chargers, but will add an extra scrimmage on August 17th and 18th before their preseason game on the 20th.
Mike McCarthy recently told the press that he has never done something like this before. (Transcriptions from our own Mark Lane).
“Never done this. This is a bit of a leap for me personally, but obviously I think we’re doing it for the right reasons. I think it’s an opportunity to work against two AFC teams. You’re on grass. All of those things. I look at all of those factors; always have. It’s an opportunity go to Denver before. It’s really risk assessment, a lot of it, to work certain players in practice environment as opposed to playing them in a game. So, that’s the driving force for me in talking with the other two head coaches who have done this lot.”
It’s an interesting point that he can use the practices as a way of getting some players reps against an opposing team without using them in a preseason game. He may want to look at certain players in a different role than the one they normally play, or he may want to get some veterans reps in a controlled environment as opposed to a preseason game. McCarthy said as much for that last point.
“I think there’s value in all of that, but most importantly it gives us a chance for our ones to really practice against each other and just lower the risk of playing in the games.”
McCarthy is looking at this as more than just getting work for his players, it’s also a bonding exercise and a chance for the team to grow tighter to one another. McCarthy even goes as far as saying that talent is important, but team chemistry can really be the deciding factor.
But I think it definitely is something different. I think it’s good for you as a team. We talk so much about the connection of our team. We talked about collection of talent. I think talent is a dirty word. I think every team has talent. Some have more than others. It’s going to take a lot more than talent to win the championship. I think these opportunities that you have a little bit of the unknown, a little bit more of the travel, maybe a train ride down to Irvine, those types of things.
The Cowboys certainly decided they could do with less talent on their roster when they got rid of Amari Cooper, La’el Collins and Connor Williams, among a few other starters and rotational guys. There is a theory called ‘addition by subtraction’. It usually has to do with chemistry and behind-the-scenes things that are hard to discern.
It looks like the Cowboys may be trying something a little different this year.