OXNARD, Calif. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Oakland Raiders training camp:
The temperature was warmer and the tensions just as high for the second of two joint practices with the Dallas Cowboys here at the Cowboys’ training camp home. Again, Raiders fans outnumbered Cowboys fans and there was an increased police presence on the Raiders fan side of the complex after Tuesday’s incident in which a fan swung a replica Raiders helmet at Cowboys cornerback B.W. Webb during a brawl. Three more skirmishes erupted Wednesday, though none involved fans. The atmosphere, Raiders coach Dennis Allen acknowledged, increased his team’s sense of urgency. “We got better the past few days.”
The first fight was between Raiders safety Larry Asante and Cowboys receiver Devin Street, with Oakland linebacker Kaluka Maiava playing a guest-starring role. (Maiava was all over the field making plays Wednesday.) Fight No. 2 was between Raiders center Jarrod Shaw and Cowboys safety Johnny Thomas while the third scuffle happened when Darren McFadden was taken down by Cowboys linebacker Cameron Lawrence. In two days of practices, five brawls big enough to stop practice occurred. And, yes, Allen said there have been preliminary discussions about the Cowboys coming to Napa next summer.
I mostly stayed on the side of the field where the Raiders' defense practiced against the Cowboys' offense (I watched the Raiders' offense on Tuesday). Impression No. 1: the Raiders' cornerbacks are going to have trouble with the bigger elite receivers in the league. They had no answer for Dez Bryant, who took turns beating Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown and Chance Casey. Still, the defense did have two interceptions, both on tipped passes. The first when Jonathan Dowling got a hand on a Tony Romo pass that Nick Roach picked off, and the second on a Ryan Robinson tip of a Brandon Weeden throw that Jeremy Deering intercepted.
Other highlights: Jack Crawford breaking through to block a Cowboys punt in the end zone; TJ Carrie breaking up a long bomb in the end zone on a pass from Romo to Terrance Williams; Kory Sheets showing open-field shiftiness in breaking off a true to-the-house untouched TD run from midfield; Denarius Moore closing out the practice with a pretty leaping catch in the back of the end zone from Matt Schaub to beat Ryan Smith. (To be fair, the Cowboys' offense also scored on the other field a few minutes earlier.)
Quote of the two days in Oxnard: “Hey, we kicked ass down here.” – Raiders right tackle Menelik Watson.
On a somber note, Allen said “preliminary” results showed second-year tight end Nick Kasa suffered an ACL injury in his left knee on Tuesday. In a one-one-one drill with Cowboys safety Ryan Smith, Kasa went down in a heap after trying to plant and cut. If it is indeed a torn ACL, that “probably means he’s done for the year,” Allen said. Which means the Raiders are officially in the market for another tight end, with no timetable set for presumptive starting tight end David Ausberry’s return from last week’s procedure on his left knee.
Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa (sore knee) started practice but did not finish. Meanwhile, the same injured players sat out: defensive tackle Justin Ellis (concussion), guard Lamar Mady (ankle), cornerback Neiko Thorpe (unknown) and Ausberry. Cornerback DJ Hayden (foot), safety Usama Young (quad) and guard Lucas Nix (knee) remain on the PUP list.
The Raiders are off Thursday and play their home exhibition opener Friday at 7 p.m. PT against the Detroit Lions.