Oxnard Camp Observations: Aug. 12, 2014

The Raiders broke camp from Napa on Monday to head down south for two joint practices with the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard, Calif.

The atmosphere was much different than what the Raiders had been dealing with in Napa, with Raider Nation filling the stands on one side of the two fields and Cowboy fans filling the other side.

Chants broke out early and often with "Cowboys Suck" and "Raiders Suck" coming from the opposing sides.

Fights broke out on three occasions, with Raiders guard Austin Howard starting things off during a blocking drill. After blocking Cowboys DT Davon Coleman in a blocking drill, Coleman and the Raiders guard got into some extra pushing before quickly being separated by fellow linemen.

But that was just the beginning of it. After resuming team drills, tight end Mychal Rivera made a nice catch in front of second-year cornerback Morris Claiborne who took him down hard to take out some frustration. Rivera jumped up and players from both sides game to their teammate's assistance to form a large scrum.

Another scrum broke out on the opposite field towards the end of practice, with players from both sides meeting in a large grouping on the sideline once again.

As for injuries, Justin Ellis remained out with his concussion, Chimdi Chekwa also missed practice again with his knee injury, while tight end Nick Kasa had to get carted off the field with a knee injury. Kasa's injury makes the Raiders tight end position even thinner than it was.

Practice was held on two fields, making it difficult to see everything that happened. I spent most of my day on the Raiders offensive field, and will spend more time on the defense tomorrow. With all of this said, there's still some more observations to check out so here they are:

  • Cowboys cornerback Claiborne was having a rough practice from the beginning which may have been part to do with him taking out his frustration on Rivera. To start, the second year cornerback got beat by Raiders wide receivers on three consecutive reps - Rod Streater beat him on a curl; Denarius Moore and Matt Schaub connected for a beautiful back-shoulder pass on him for a nice gain; and second-year wide receiver Brice Butler made a nice move to leave Claiborne on the ground for a wide-open touchdown reception.
  • It took a change of scenery for me to see the first drop by rookie wide receiver Seth Roberts. Roberts has caught everything thrown his way but did drop a ball on his hands today on a slant. On top of it, he took a hard hit from the Cowboys defender but just moved on to the next play.
  • Rivera had a nice practice finding himself get open on multiple occasions. Schaub found him once over the middle for a sizable gain and then continued to find space in the defense. The Raiders needed Rivera to develop quickly with the injury to Ausberry, but now they need him even more with Kasa possibly out for a long period of time.
  • The Raiders also found running room on the ground against the Cowboys defense. Darren McFadden bursted around the outside for a nice gain, while Kory Sheets was running hard all day and even lowered his shoulders to finish some runs.
  • The practice also brought the return of former first-round pick Rolando McClain to the same field as the Raiders. McClain did hit Latavius Murray hard on one play, and found himself tackling Sheets on another to a round of loud boos from the Raider Nation in attendance.
  • Brice Butler continued his strong camp in Napa as he came back to Southern California where he attended college. Butler made a nice move to get open in front of Sterling Moore for a long reception from Carr. Butler got up from the ground and looked at Raider Nation and waved his hands up to pump up the crowd.
  • All the Raiders quarterbacks finished the practice with no turnovers, which is always a plus. They did still have some bad incompletions but they certainly looked sharper than the game last Friday against the Vikings.

The Raiders return to the field to practice with the Cowboys one more time here in Oxnard. The last joint practice begins tomorrow at 10:30 a.m.

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