Practice 15: Raiders leave joint practices a stronger unit

Practice 15: Raiders leave joint practices a stronger unit
August 13, 2014, 3:45 pm
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We’re all brothers here, and you learn that when things get competitive like they were the past couple days. We were all fired up, and we had each other’s back every step of the way. You need that support throughout the course of a season.
Mychal Rivera

OXNARD – Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera ran across the back of the end zone late in Wednesday’s joint practice with the Dallas Cowboys, and caught a perfect strike from Matt Schaub.

Rivera’s leaping catch came at a cost.

Cowboys safety Barry Church leveled Rivera with a hard shoulder probably more egregious than what started a full-fledged brawl the day before.

This time, teammates rushed over to celebrate.

“In an environment this intense, you have to bring your best,” Rivera said. “We were fired up again today, and it was nice to have moments like that. It’s just another sign that we’re getting better.”

Whether it was fight or a good play, the Raiders seemed to support their teammates at every turn.

While the teams avoided a major brawl, several minor skirmishes broke out during the second and final joint practice.

Most notable centered around running back Darren McFadden, who was brought to the ground by linebacker Cameron Lawrence. The Raiders came to McFadden’s aid and the scrum quickly broke up.

The Raiders left Oxnard a closer-knit unit than they were coming in, which should help them in the long run.

“We’re all brothers here, and you learn that when things get competitive like they were the past couple days,” Rivera said. “We were all fired up, and we had each other’s back every step of the way. You need that support throughout the course of a season.”

Some other notes from Raiders camp:

-- Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa returned to practice Wednesday after missing two sessions with a knee injury, but could not finish.

-- Rookie cornerback TJ Carrie filled in for Chekwa with the first-team nickel package at outside cornerback and fared well against tough Dallas receivers.

-- Second-year pro Brice Butler, fighting for a roster spot among a tight group of receivers, had another solid day and seemed to thrive off the fans’ energy.

-- Running back Kory Sheets showed some elusiveness in the open field, making many Cowboys miss – there was also excellent downfield blocking from Tony Bergstrom – en route to a long touchdown run.

--- The Raiders defense struggled to cover Cowboys tight end Jason Witten and receiver Dez Bryant, but they snagged two interceptions off of tipped passes.

-- Tight end Jake Murphy had his best practice yet, with a few clutch catches in the passing game.

-- Receiver Denarius Moore continued a solid string of practices with several catches, including a touchdown grab to end Wednesday’s practice.

-- The Raiders are off Thursday, the eve of Friday’s home exhibition against the Detroit Lions.

Participation report:
Returned to practice:
CB Chimdi Chekwa (knee) -- did not finish
Did not practice: WR Juron Criner (groin/hip), TE Nick Kasa (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)