Fights are a common occurrence in training camp, whether in a joint practice or just among the one team. Coaches always stress the importance of not crossing the line, but it’s bound to happen when players are constantly facing the same people each day for weeks on end.
That itch to cross the line and get in a fight broke out in the Cowboys’ practice on Wednesday, their final padded practice in Oxnard before the Seattle preseason game. In fact, a couple of fights broke out, as the intensity that’s been brewing for weeks in camp boiled over.
It started with a scuffle between Brock Hoffman and Sam Williams, which quickly escalated to a scrum of players. There had been some back-and-forth between Hoffman and Williams, and tempers flared when Williams tried charging at Hoffman. Tyler Biadasz, looking on from the distance, stepped in to bowl Williams over. Unsurprisingly, that cleared the proverbial benches.
On the final day of #Cowboys padded practice in Oxnard, the chippiness spilled over — Sam Williams and Brock Hoffman rep leading to full-on scrum.— Patrik [No C] Walker (@VoiceOfTheStar) August 16, 2023
Williams was upset at Hoffman on previous reps.
These guys are ready for the season. pic.twitter.com/byke0bGQ3F
Notably, the first defender to react was DeMarcus Lawrence, who ran over without a helmet and shoved Biadasz in retaliation. It doesn’t look like things got overly physical from there, with players mostly just getting in each other’s faces, but it was enough to get the adrenaline going.
That wouldn’t be the only scuffle of practice, though. And Biadasz was once again front and center for the next fight, which was a bit bigger. At the end of the play, Biadasz and Micah Parsons remain engaged with each other and probably exchange some words, too. Some shoving occurs and Parsons ends up taking a few swings at Biadasz.
Getting feisty today. Micah Parsons and Tyler Biadasz get into it with Sam Williams blindsiding Biadasz. Second incident of the day after a camp without a fight before today. pic.twitter.com/lYOifSpyUo— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) August 16, 2023
To nobody’s surprise, the throwing of punches incited another big scrum, which featured a lot more pushing, shoving, and shouting.
You can see Matt Farniok running over to wrap up Parsons and remove him from the situation, a savvy move that likely helped prevent things from escalating any further. Once Farniok got Parsons away from the action, Dak Prescott came up to talk things over with the star pass rusher.
Following the second scuffle of practice, Dak Prescott with some heavy words for Micah Parsons. Dak was the first to talk with Micah after it all started.— Kyle Youmans (@Kyle_Youmans) August 16, 2023
If you ever wanted clarification for “whose team is this?” Here’s your answer. #CowboysCamp pic.twitter.com/W5LIM0GKgg
Once things calmed down, the Cowboys resumed their practice without any further incidents. Fights certainly aren’t anything uncommon this time of year, and quite a few teams around the league have had a few scuffles in the past week as well. The Cowboys at least waited until the end of their time in Oxnard to get all the frustrations out like this.
Mike McCarthy has frequently talked about the ethics of practices in training camp, and he will assuredly have some words for the team over this. But the coach also has to at least slightly enjoy the competitive fire he’s seeing in his players right now. They’re more than ready for the season to get started.