Competitive juices were flowing as the Dallas Cowboys ended their offseason on Thursday.
The highlight of the final minicamp practice saw veteran tight end Jason Witten and safety Byron Jones get into a shoving match midway through. It happened following a running play in team drills.
“Just having a little fun, competitive, you know?” Witten said. “It’s been chippy all offseason between the offense and defense. Just making each other better. He’s turning into this player and I’m constantly challenging Byron that I think he can play at that level. I think he can be one of those guys. It’s good to have those competitions and get him fired up a little bit. Great stage to do it.”
Coach Jason Garrett was pleased with the intensity and spirit his team brought throughout minicamp. He had no issues with Witten and Jones getting into it a little bit, calling them great competitors.
Jones and Witten have lined up against each other a countless number of times since Jones joined the Cowboys as a first-round pick in 2015. Jones has made a name for himself early on as being able to defend some of the top tight ends in the game.
“We were just having fun. Just a little fun out there,” Jones said. “One more day to compete, so why not make it good?”
Jones said he and Witten didn’t discuss the incident afterward, saying: “Nothing to be said. He’s the ultimate competitor.”
Jones flashed his competitive side throughout the day with an impressive practice. He broke up passes to Witten and Brice Butler, and was in tight coverage on an incompletion from Dak Prescott to Butler.
“As a team, I think the defense dominated,” Jones said with a grin. “We like to get in the offense’s mind. They talk some smack to us and we get back at them. It’s always a back and forth between us guys. I think we did pretty well today. Guys were going after it.”
That’s exactly what Garrett and the coaching staff hoped to get out of minicamp.
“I thought it was really good,” Garrett said. “The last three days we did a lot of situational work, all the different situations that come up in games. We didn’t script a lot of stuff in practice and I think the guys responded the right way to it. It’s competitive.
“You’re working hard to beat your guy, but you’re also understanding that that guy you’re going against is your teammate. I think our guys understand what that balance is and I think we all got better as a result.”