For the most part it was as mundane as practices can be but when that changed when the scrimmages began. Though the field where Oakland's offense took on San Francisco's defense didn't offer much in the way of excitement, the Raiders' defense seemed to light up when taking on the 49ers' offense.
Defensive end Derrick Burgess got things started early when he thudded San Francisco running back DeShaun Foster a hard thud. Rookie defensive end Tyler Scott got into the act with a good tackle on Foster.
Linebacker Jon Alston, who had his best workout of camp so far, led the charge for the second defense, making solid tackles on three straight plays. But it was veteran linebacker Edgerton Hartwell who provided the most entertaining moment when he and San Francisco fullback Moran Norris got into an altercation that ended with both teams swarming the field.
"He came across the middle," Hartwell explained afterward. "I'm a hard-thud guy, I wasn't trying to take him to the ground. It was just that when I hit him it kind of lifted him up. I guess it was kind of too hard for him. I didn't really hit him that hard but he got kind of upset. I can understand that if you don't like contact."
Hartwell, who signed with Oakland in the offseason, had to be pulled away by 49ers head coach Mike Nolan, who coached Hartwell when both men were with Baltimore.
"We were just talking," Hartwell laughed. "Mike was like, ‘Come on Ed' and I said, ‘Come on Mike, you know how we do it. We were in Baltimore together, you know how we thud up.' He knows in practice back in Baltimore that's how we do it. You catch the ball across the middle we give you a nice tap just letting you know we're there."
During the same play Raiders safety Jarrod Cooper and Foster got locked up and exchanged some heated words before order was restored and practice resumed. Oakland's Gibril Wilson also got involved in the exchange between the two teams.
"To be on different fields and (for) our guys to go against somebody else just picked up the tempo and intensity," Oakland head coach Lane Kiffin said. "There was one issue on our defensive field, an altercation, other than that it was a real clean day and I look forward to coming back this afternoon and getting after it again.
"I think you see guys' competitive nature show up. Nobody wants to be embarrassed, so it's good to see. We didn't give any pep talks or anything like that. All we talked about was this is a normal practice, it's not a scrimmage format. We want you to come out like you do every day in practice and come out with the same tempo and it was just interesting to see our guys respond, and get competitive in different environments. I can't speak for them but I thought we pretty much practiced like we usually do."
· Raiders owner Al Davis made an earlier-than-normal appearance, taking the opportunity to watch the 49ers for a portion of the practice before turning his attention to his own players. Historically Davis doesn't show up until late in the morning practice but wanted to take in the full workout Monday.
· The two teams conducted a running backs vs. linebackers drill Oakland has used throughout camp, but it was the 49ers who initially got the upper hand. Rookie Darren McFadden had his struggles on two attempts, though he held his own against San Francisco phenom Patrick Willis. Fullbacks Justin Griffith and Oren O'Neal, along with running back Louis Rankin, all got beat pretty handily in their first go-round but Griffith and O'Neal came back to win their second tries. Justin Fargas was also up-and-down in the drill. The surprise for Oakland was the work of Michael Bush, who has gotten better as a pass blocker as camp as progressed and shut down San Francisco's Brandon Moore and Jay Moore.
· Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha missed the morning workout after waking up ill. Oakland's other starting corner, DeAngelo Hall, made an interception during the team scrimmage.
· Raiders' quarterback JaMarcus Russell also had an up-and-down workout. He made some nice throws during 7-on-7 drills but struggled to move the offense early in the team session and sailed some of his throws off target. Later he found wide receiver Javon Walker for a 15-yard gain then made a long completion down the right sideline to Todd Watkins.
Though he was in and out of the lineup as the Raiders consistently changed personnel, Russell was pleased with the way things went.
"It was a lot of fun, just having some different guys on the other side of the defense," Russell said. "You see the guys bring it up just a step. That gives a lot of fun to the guys that was banging with the other guys, to be banging with someone different besides our own players."
· Rookie wide receiver Chaz Schilens had two more dropped passes, these coming in position drills. Although he's made a few good plays in camp Schilens hasn't been as consistent in camp as the Raiders had hoped and isn't helping himself by letting balls clank off his hands.
· Wilson showed he's more than just a big hitter as he raced over to break up a pass from San Francisco third-string quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan that was intended for wide receiver Ashley Lelie.
· Oakland's backup offensive line fared very well against San Francisco's backups. At one point the 49ers came with a heavy blitz and the Raiders picked it up perfectly, allowing Marques Tuiasosopo to connect with tight end Zach Miller down the middle for a big gain.
· San Francisco rookie Chilo Rachal manhandled Oakland's Terdell Sands and tossed him to the ground during a team scrimmage.
· Defensive tackle Gerard Warren returned to practice after sitting out the past few workouts with a thigh injury. Greg Wesley, Grant Irons and John Bowie were all held out with various ailments.
Training camp notebook, Aug. 4
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