OXNARD – A whopping 8,326 fans surrounded two practice fields in Oxnard, with bleachers and walkways packed to capacity.
Most of them wore silver and black.
The first joint-practice between the Raiders and Dallas Cowboys was a dramatic affair, with intensity, plenty of big hits and a full-scale brawl.
Owner Mark Davis was there. So was Magic Johnson and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
The real action was fueled by fans, who screamed for their Raiders at every turn.
“It’s a reality check for all the new guys who thought they knew what the Raider nation was all about,” fullback Marcel Reece said. “They’d heard the stories and put on the jersey one time for a preseason game, but they had no idea what was all about until today. They come here, to another team’s training camp, and Raider Nation out-shows their fans. The Cowboys have been here for years and years, and they’re going to be here for years and years, and we come down here one time and we out-show them. It’s about loyalty. What you saw here is what we were about.”
Even head coach Dennis Allen, typically calm in front of the press, got caught up in the atmosphere.
“That was awesome to see so many fans come out and support us like that,” he said. “It felt like, at times, I had to quiet the crowd down so we could get some plays off. It was a great atmosphere. It was great work against these guys. There was a lot going on so it’s hard to pay attention to what’s happening on both fields, but what I saw were some guys out here competing. We did some good things.”
Allen highlighted efforts in the rushing attack and the pass rush, two phases shaping up to be team strengths.
While he was upset about the brawl that took place, he believes seeing the fan support and going against an enemy can strengthen the bond of a team with several new pieces.
“There’s a bit of an ‘us vs. them’ mentality when you come into these environments,” Allen said. “It gives our guys a chance to bond and compete together. We spend a lot of time together over the next few days, and I’m sure we’ll spend some time discussing what happened during the practice today.”
Some other notes from Raiders camp:
-- Outside linebacker Khalil Mack had an excellent practice. He was at his best in a 1-on-1 drill with Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith. He sped right past Smith to the inside, which aggravated Cowboys coaches to an extent that they made the pair go again. Mack blew by him again, something the Cowboys reporters said hasn’t happened often in this camp.
-- Tight end David Ausberry was seen for the first time since having surgery on his knee last week. He had a wrap around his left knee, as opposed to using crutches or a brace.
-- Receiver Denarius Moore had his best practice of camp. He caught several passes from Derek Carr and should shifty moves after the catch.
Returned to practice: None
Did not practice: CB Chimdi Chekwa (knee) DE Justin Ellis (concussion), G Lamar Mady (ankle), TE David Ausberry (knee), CB Nieko Thorpe (undisclosed)
Physically unable to perform: DJ Hayden (foot), G Lucas Nix (knee), S Usama Young (quad)