Programming note: For complete coverage of the Raiders joint practices with the Cowboys in Oxnard, watch SportsNet Central tonight at 6:00, 10:30 & midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
OXNARD – Justin Tuck participated in a joint training camp practice once in his nine seasons in New York. His Giants went up against the rival Jets circa 2005 in Albany, NY, and a brawl broke out two plays in.
That can happen when alpha males clash, especially after weeks of demanding training camp work. Scuffles sap effectiveness out of these joint sessions, which are designed to add an intense change of pace to preseason prep.
The Raiders will participate in two days of joint practices with the Dallas Cowboys starting Tuesday afternoon at their facility in Oxnard.
These practices work best, when focus remains on football. That can be easier said than done.
“The one time I did it, we went over the top,” Tuck said. “I think it’s good to go and face some people that don’t wear the same color as you, and see different schemes. Dallas, especially in their o-line, they have a really, really good o-line and it’s going to be a good challenge for us. I’m looking forward to it.”
Head coach Dennis Allen approached the Cowboys about holding joint practices, something the Raiders hadn’t done in two previous training camps under his care.
The Raiders haven’t held a joint practice since 2009. That session against the 49ers had an element of hostility. It was the last between the crosstown teams.
Allen wants his team to increase intensity without stepping over the line.
“We have to treat it like a game and we have to go out there and compete,” Allen said. “There won’t be tackling live to the ground or anything like that, but we’re going there to compete and try to get better as a football team.”
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he and Allen discussed pushing these practices “to the brink of competitiveness.”
“I’ve been on practice fields a lot in my life in these kinds of situations,” Garrett said, via the team’s official website, “and they turned into six, seven, eight fights a practice – and that’s certainly not what we want.”
Opposing coordinators hashed out a practice plan over the last few days. Allen said there will be plenty of situational work, but working against different players and a different scheme will be the primary goal.
“At this point in training camp, anything you can do to change up the schedule a little bit to get the guys a little bit of energy, I think is a positive,” he said. “I’m looking for our guys to go down there and compete for two days against a good football team.”
There aren’t many strong connections between the sides, but having former first round pick Rolando McClain in another uniform could be an interesting sideshow. The troubled player got into an argument with Allen in 2012, was suspended and eventually released to end a troubled tenure with the Raiders. He has bounced around, retired and is attempting a comeback with the Cowboys.