NAPA – The Raiders are still in early stages of training camp, a full week away from the preseason opener at Arizona.
That’s a perfect time to practice in pads. Thursday marked the fourth such session in five days and, as one would expect, intensity ratchets up with all that hitting.
It’s Raider-on-Raider crime these days, which can lead to competitive fervor and some extra shoving.
That was the case during an intense session that got a little chippy.
Left tackle Donald Penn tossed Ben Heeney to the ground, which got teammates Kelechi Osemele and Malcolm Smith involved. Keith McGill and Ross Burbank pushed each other around.
Then Jalen Richard and Damontre Moore locked horns, Richard lost his helmet and started throwing punches toward his teammate, covered in body armor.
Quarterback Derek Carr played peacemaker in these exchanges. While he likes the intensity, things can’t get out of hand.
“I like the chippiness, I love the competitiveness,” Carr said. “They’re not doing it just because they don’t like somebody. You know, they’re doing it because maybe someone got the best of somebody. Or maybe they played a little too hard and we don’t want to hurt anybody. There’s a fine line when you get professional athletes out here. A lot of guys are trying to make the team, a lot of guys are fighting for spots. There’s always going to be that fine line. Where do you draw it?”
Head coach Jack Del Rio prefers to avoid the scuffles, and keeps practice marching on to cut conflicts short. He isn’t a fan of extra circulars, and discussed the topic with his team during the offseason program.
Carr can see some good in playing with passion.
“It’s not about the fights and people getting hurt, which I don’t want,” he said. “If that happens during a game, that’s a penalty, that’s ejection, and we can’t lose one person. That’s why if I’m the peacemaker, absolutely, and I’ll take that role. Now, I’ll let them go to a certain extent, then tell them to get back in the huddle and go kick their butt. But, when it comes time where it’s 30 seconds on the clock, now there’s 20 seconds on the clock, because Coach Del Rio won’t stop the clock, he’s going to let it run and we have to get the play off. So, it trains us for the games, but if I’m ever in there yelling at people or trying to get them back in the huddle, that’s why. Because, I don’t ever want it to cost us something that we’ve worked hard for.”
Joseph, Walford miss practice: Rookie safety Karl Joseph and second-year tight end Clive Walford missed practice for undisclosed reasons. The Raiders did not update Joseph’s status after the workout. Head coach Jack Del Rio did not speak to the media on Thursday, but is scheduled to do so Friday afternoon.
Mack’s favorite QB is…: Derek Carr and Khalil Mack are good friends, and enjoy messing with the other person. Mack got Carr good on Thursday, when Carr was waiting for his press conference right after Mack. A zinger was set up perfectly, as someone asked Mack to identify his favorite quarterback.
“My favorite quarterback? That’s easy. It’s really Aaron Rodgers,” Mack said with a laugh.
Carr reacted quickly, saying, “Who is my favorite edge rusher? That’s easy. It’s Von (Miller).”
Catch of the day: Running back Jale Richard made this one slanting toward the back corner of the end zone. McGloin dropped a well-arched rainbow over Neiko Thorpe to the undrafted rookie, who completed a red-zone scoring drive.
Other notes from Raiders practice:
-- S Nate Allen took most of Karl Joseph’s first-team reps on Thursday, a session the rookie skipped for an unknown reason. Dewey McDonald also played some there, and has been a decent option at strong safety. Allen is comfortable playing both spots, but has had gotten beat deep a few times early in camp.
-- CB David Amerson continues making smart plays on the ball in coverage, including an excellent fingertip deflection while defending Michael Crabtree. Amerson set a franchise mark with 26 pass break-ups as a Raider last year.
-- CB Dexter McDonald also made some quality plays in coverage. Daren Bates and Korey Toomer have flashed from the linebacker spot.
-- According to an ESPN report, CB Neiko Thorpe has taken a pay cut. He was originally given a second-round tender worth $2.553 that wasn’t guaranteed. Now he’s slated to make $675,000 salary that can hit $1 million with incentives.
Daily transactions: None
Returned to practice: No one
Did not practice: S Karl Joseph, TE Clive Walford, RB Taiwan Jones, DL Leon Orr, TE Colton Underwood, CB SaQwan Edwards
Physically unable to perform list: DL Denico Autry
Next practice: The Raiders will practice on Friday morning, and aren’t expected to wear pads in a shortened session.