Chargers and Cowboys Joint Practice Preview: What Players, Coaches are Aiming to Achieve Over the Next Two Days

Previewing the two-day joint practice between the Chargers and Cowboys.

COSTA MESA – The Chargers will play host to the Cowboys for a two-day joint practice on Wednesday and Thursday at 11:15 am PT at Jack R. Hammett Sports Complex.

While many of the starters and veteran players won’t play in any of the three preseason contests, these joint practices will allow the team’s prominent players – such as the first-team offense and defense – to get live reps at full speed against an opponent.

“It’s good. You see a different scheme,” linebacker Kyle Van Noy said on the value of having joint practices. “You get to see a quality team like the Cowboys that come in and have a system under [offensive coordinator] Kellen Moore for a while … we just have to do everything we can to learn from our mistakes. When you are able to get a bunch of good, quality reps during this time, it’s very valuable, and you kind of try to treat it just as much as a game as you can because they are, too.

“They don’t want to get shown up. We don’t want to get shown up. Just respect the grind and try to learn those little things that you may not have seen going against your own offense, seeing a different offense. Trying to put your tools and a different thinking cap on for that is really good.”

A reality of joint practices feature fights and scuffles that tend to breakout among the players of different teams. Head coach Brandon Staley said he felt that he had a good plan in place last year when they held a joint practice with the 49ers and for this year’s go-around, they’ve had strong communication with the Cowboys’ brass to ensure they’re each on the same page.

“My view of it is that it takes up both organizations in order to have two quality days of practice,” Staley said. “It’s the responsibility for everybody in the organization, not just the coaches, not just the team leaders, but it’s everybody that, at the end of the two practices, you want to say that your team is closer to being the team that it can become. 

“A lot of it is how it’s organized. Then, a lot of it’s just the respect factor, just knowing that we respect them, they respect us and that we’re trying to become better football teams, better football players and coaches. We’ve had great conversations with [Cowboys head coach] Mike McCarthy and his staff, and between the Jones’ and the Spanos’, and we’re looking forward to two really good days of work.”

Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi signaled his excitement for seeing his starting offense let the bullets fly against an actual opponent that isn’t the Chargers’ first-team defense.

“They’re going to get new faces in front of them. The unfamiliarity of their opponent kind of comes into play a little bit,” Lombardi said. “I think we’ll get some good evaluation and see how they both perform. You get used to seeing the same faces over and over again. You get to know how these guys rush and their tactics and tendencies. Now they have to face new blood. So, I think it will be a real good evaluation.”

Following the two-day joint practice, the Chargers and Cowboys will face off in Week 2 of the preseason schedule on Saturday at 7 p.m. PT at SoFi Stadium.

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Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.

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