In actuality, the three practice sessions that took place this past week between the Houston Texans and the Washington Redskins weren't even supposed to happen. If you recall, the Texans' joint practice partner was supposed to be the New Orleans Saints during the week in advance of their game on August 30. However, as soon as the league and NFL Films announced that the Texans would be the subject team on HBO's Hard Knocks, Saints head coach Sean Payton
So it was that the Texans and Redskins sessions this weekend came to be, and with no game at the end of the weekend's festivities, both teams thought that they would maximize their minutes by going in pads all three days. As a result, things got really chippy by the time Saturday (Day Three) rolled around, and in the end, the happiest people had to be the producers of Hard Knocks, who now have hours worth of bruising teaser video for this coming Tuesday's opening episode.
The Day Three play on the field, between snaps, started innocently enough, with the Texans' new nose tackle Vince Wilfork making the biggest statement with this bulldozing of a Redskins offensive lineman:
Shortly after this play, though, like a split second later, a Redskin came in late on Texans inside linebacker Max Bullough, and that's when all hell broke loose….
I'm going to do my best to mini-Zapruder this fight footage:
0:12 — Good to see Vince Wilfork turning around to crack some skulls, and I suppose if there were any points in the standings for winning training-camp brawls, it was good to see J.J. Watt make his way over toward the fracas. That said, there are no points given for winning said brawls, so I'd rather Watt make his way over to the sidelines and steer clear of fifth-string Redskins trying to make a name by chop-blocking him into a dogpile.
0:35 — Okay, fight number two starts, and it's hard to tell what started this one. I just know that I see J.J. Watt standing way far back from the scrum, which I have no problem with. In fact, being near D.C. and all, couldn't we have like four or five Secret Service swoop in and form a wall around J.J.? Is that too much to ask?
0:46 — Look to the far left — that's basically what the Redskins are doing with RG3. Hell, with all the negative pub Griffin's been getting up in our nation's capital, I'm surprised that there aren't Redskins coaches tossing him back into the pile, like in a WWE lumberjack match.
0:52 — If you listen carefully, you can hear the beginning of a take from one of the ESPN announcers lamenting the two teams burning up practice time with this chicanery. Hot take there. Even better is the take not captured in this video when Louis Riddick of ESPN basically implies that you'd never see a team like the Packers or the Seahawks doing this because they would be there to "get their work in." Like somehow these fights are the sign of a bad team. Look, there are plenty of reasons the Redskins and Texans might be bad teams, but fighting in training camp isn't one of them. Bad take, Lou.
1:00 — This third fight is the best one. Kenny Hilliard trucks some poor Redskins defensive back, and the Redskins get their panties in a wad. In comes Texans tackle Aaron Adams with the clean-up hit on someone and all hell breaks loose. There's even a Texans assistant who gets involved. He had dreadlocks and was in street clothes, so like 98 percent of the non-Texans Internet assumed it was Jadeveon Clowney. Hilarious, and a little uncomfortable.
For what it's worth, both coaches had thoughts on the peccadilloes from Saturday morning. I'll put the quotes below leaving names out for the moment. You decide which of these two coaches you'd like coaching your team based on their assessments of the fights and the fallout:
COACH NUMBER ONE:
“I do wish we had that practice. We had some red zone, some two-minute, some great situational work we were going to do today. Unfortunately, we didn’t get it done. I think three days in a row is probably too much. These guys get a little...The third day in shorts, there is no way they can really fight ’cause there is no contact...I know [the opponents] are sick about what happened today, as we are, but that happened and we just have got to move on.”
COACH NUMBER TWO:
“It’s training camp, you know? It’s intense out there. It’s too bad, but that’s just what happens with two competitive teams. We both got work done. We just separated the practice. It’s a good couple days, I guess two and a half. It was good. Absolutely. Other than having to separate today, we still got work done. But the two days that we were together there, we got a lot of situational work. It was good to work against them."
ANSWER: If you're from Houston, you want Coach Number Two. And thankfully, you have Coach Number Two.
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Personally, I think Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins summed up the happenings of the day the best….
Sorry bout the violence @ESPNNFL but we don't take shit!— Deandre Hopkins (@Nukdabomb) August 8, 2015
Hey, if this means we need to see 16 street fights to be in the mix for a playoff spot, let's get the brass knuckles out, baby! Actual preseason football next Saturday! And Hard Knocks this Tuesday. Sweet.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast.