Raiders, Cowboys conclude joint practices
OXNARD, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys concluded their two days of joint practices Wednesday with another intense session that included a number of small scrums and had both teams excited to possibly repeat this again next season.
While the first session Tuesday was marred by a brawl that nearly spilled into the stands and featured a Raiders fan swinging a replica helmet at a Cowboys player and cornerback B.W. Webb swinging back at the fan, the action on day two was all between the lines.
There were a handful of smaller fights with players from both sides taking offense to hard hits and trash talk but nothing got out of hand.
“Today we handled it a little bit better than we did yesterday,” Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant said. “I think the intensity level was sky high yesterday, that’s why a lot of fights broke out. But I think today a lot of the veteran guys on both sides of the ball did a great job of handling all the potential fights. We did a good job today.”
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett called the first day of the practices the most electric atmosphere he had ever seen on a practice field. He said the two days of work were invaluable because of the chance to try different schemes and different techniques that will likely come up again during the season.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen said he believes the intensity from these past two days will translate to the field on Friday night when Oakland hosts Detroit in an exhibition game.
“Anytime you get into this competitive environment, it creates a sense of urgency with your football team,” Allen said. “We got better over these last couple days.”
There was an increased police presence Wednesday, with extra officers near the sideline with Raiders fans where the incident with Webb happened the previous day.
Garrett said he talked with Webb about how he handled the situation and said no punishment would be needed.
“At some point you have to as a player defend your teammate, get yourself in there and make sure he’s going to be OK,” Garrett said. “Always have your guy’s back. That’s an important part of building a football team. At the same time poise in that situation is important. I felt we demonstrated both and you kind of move on.”
Former Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain almost got into it with his former teammates after tackling Darren McFadden. McClain, Oakland’s first-round pick in 2010, never lived up to expectations with the Raiders. He clashed with Allen and was suspended for two games for conduct detrimental to the team in 2012. The Raiders released him in April 2013 and he stepped away from football for a season before joining the Cowboys this offseason.
McClain said there was no ill will toward the Raiders and he had pleasant exchanges with some former teammates, Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver.
“I had three years there, it is what it is,” McClain said. “I made some great relationships, I still have those relationships, and I’m proud of it. That’s what you do. You live and learn. I wish them nothing but the best.”
The one big negative from the two days of practice for the Raiders was a serious left knee injury to tight end Nick Kasa. Kasa got hurt during a drill Tuesday and the initial diagnosis is a torn ACL, which would end his season.
Kasa is the second Oakland tight end with an injured left knee, joining David Ausberry. That leaves Mychal Rivera as the only healthy tight end on the roster who has ever played in the NFL. Ausberry was walking around this week with a wrap on his left knee after having surgery. His return date is undetermined.
NOTES: Raiders CB Chimdi Chekwa (knee) returned after missing practice Tuesday but was unable to make it through the whole session. ... Oakland WR Juron Criner sat out with a lower-body injury.
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