OXNARD, Calif. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Oakland Raiders training camp:
The tension was palpable as the Raiders played the role of unruly, but thankful guest for the first of two joint practices at the Dallas Cowboys’ facility. Raiders fans were on one side of the two-field complex; Cowboys fans on the other. And yes, Raiders fans outnumbered Cowboys fans. Per the Cowboys, attendance was 8,326. “What a hell of an atmosphere to practice football in,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “That’s what Raider Nation is really all about, man. That was awesome to see those (fans) come out and support us like that. It almost felt like, at times, that I had to quiet the crowd down just so we could get some plays off. It was a great atmosphere.” Raiders owner Mark Davis agreed. “The Raider Nation is big,” Davis said. “I didn’t expect it. I’m kind of surprised it was 3-to-1 Raider fans to Cowboy fans ... good stuff. Good for the team.”
A pair of brawls erupted, the first after Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne took a late shot at Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera and fullback Marcel Reece came to the rescue. Both the Raiders’ offense and the Cowboys’ defense jumped into the fray, in which a camera captured a fan swinging a Raiders helmet at a Cowboys player. Later, on the other field, a scrum between Raiders linebacker Justin Cole and Cowboys backup fullback J.C. Copeland erupted, with Copeland losing his helmet in the fracas. Before that, there was a mini-skirmish between Raiders right guard Austin Howard and Cowboys defensive tackle Davon Coleman. “I’m proud of every one of my guys,” Reece said. “It’s not about fighting; it’s about us having each other’s backs, taking care of each other, playing the game the right way.”
The Raiders suffered a pretty big loss early in practice when second-year tight end Nick Kasa went down in a heap in a one-on-one drill against safety Ryan Smith. Kasa immediately grabbed his left knee and screamed in pain. Allen did not have an update, simply saying, “It didn’t look good.”
I stayed on the side of the field where the Raiders offense practiced against the Cowboys defense all day (I’ll watch the Raiders defense on Wednesday), so the prettiest play of the day came when Kory Sheets treated Oxnard like some CFL wasteland and broke off a long run to the house off right tackle. The most almost-there play? Greg Little blowing through the Dallas secondary and not having anyone with 10 yards of him ... before strong-armed Derek Carr overthrew him.
Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa sat out the proceedings with a sore knee, but Allen said he hoped Chekwa would suit up on Wednesday. Defensive tackle Justin Ellis (concussion), guard Lamar Mady (ankle), cornerback Neiko Thorpe (unknown) and tight end David Ausberry (knee) sat out practice with cornerback DJ Hayden (foot), safety Usama Young (quad) and guard Lucas Nix (knee) still on the PUP list. Ausberry had his left knee wrapped, rather than wearing a cumbersome brace. So that’s a good sign, no.
The Raiders’ second of two joint practices with the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard starts Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. PT.