Two days into padded practices in training camp and the edgy Dallas Cowboys are already losing patience with each other.
There were three scrums, nearly leading to a melee, during one-on-one passing drills between the offensive and defensive lines.
Rookie defensive tackle Lewis Neal and back up center Joe Looney got things started with a little pushing after a play.
Then defensive end Damontre Moore and backup guard Ruben Carter got in a couple of extra shoves after a play.
But the biggest scrum was between veteran defensive end Tyrone Crawford and Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin.
Both lines got involved, backing up their respective player before cooler heads prevailed.
Owner Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett liked the spirited play. They don’t believe it went too far.
“What I saw was competitiveness,” Jones said. “It didn’t undermine our team concepts. I liked it.”
Said coach Jason Garrett: “It was a little spirited, particularly over there in the pass-rush drill, and you like that. You’d rather have to dial it back than constantly having to light a fire under these guys. Your guys are very passionate about football. They love to play and they love to work at it. Sometimes you get across the line, though. You’ve got to make sure they dial it back and focus on what they need to focus on, which is the next play.”
Crawford was on edge all day with trash talk during the first two skirmishes before getting into a fight of his own.
He apologized and said he went too far, himself.
“It’s on me,” Crawford said. “I took responsibility for the entire D-line. We can’t do that. We need the reps. We need to get better. At the end of the day, we’re all family.
“I just came in, maybe a little too much energy today, and started stuff I shouldn’t have started. Those are my brothers, just like everybody else on the team is my brother. I can’t do that stuff.”
The players squashed it between each other after practice.
It likely won’t be the last scuffle of camp.
“We’ve been going at each other since OTAs, so when you go against the same guy for months at a time, stuff builds up,” Martin said. “We’ve got some great competition between the offensive and defensive line and we’re making each other better.”