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Practice Notebook: On-Field Skirmishes Provide Teachable Moments For Head Coach Jack Del Rio


Defensive End Khalil Mack

With approximately 80 players going about their business, an on-field skirmish between several teammates is nothing to raise an eyebrow at – it's part of the game—but that doesn't mean it's something that Head Coach Jack Del Rio particularly cares for or endorses.

During the Oakland Raiders' fourth Organized Team Activity [OTA] Tuesday, the temperature wasn't the only thing rising during the team's work as tempers flared, resulting in several extracurricular spats between members of the offense and defense as the practice session wore on.

"I guess they enjoyed that long weekend," Del Rio joked during his post-practice press conference. "Maybe they're fired up watching the way the Warriors closed it out last night. I don't know."

There were at least three dustups during Tuesday's session, with one ending in punches being thrown, and while Del Rio wasn't pleased with the activity after the whistle, the skirmishes did provide a teachable moment for some of the newest members of the Silver and Black.

"I think there was a great opportunity to teach for us today with some of the spats that were going on," Del Rio explained.  "They're really not part of what we do. You guys watched us all last year in camp, it's not a big part of what happens with the way we work, and the way we have respect for each other. In just about every case it was a new guy – I pretty much take in on myself. I say, 'Okay, these guys have not been told, now is a great opportunity', so I laid it out for them, what it looks like here, how we treat each other, what the Raider way looks like. Hopefully we won't waste our time doing things like that. Raiders want to take care of Raiders."

Quarterback Derek Carr echoed Del Rio's sentiments, and while he also took it upon himself to discourage the fighting between teammates, he understands that tensions do run high on the field.

"Obviously, that's not what we're about," said Carr. "That's not what we want to be about. You never want to see those kinds of things happen because it can cause injuries or things like that. You never want to see guys fighting, but at the same time, everyone's competitive. Everyone's gotten to that point. It happens, man. That's everywhere, but you just have to stay away from that kind of stuff when we're on the practice field. We have to take care of each other, and we know that, guys are just getting competitive. There's a lot of guys competing to make teams. There's a lot of guys competing to secure a spot, things like that. "

Fighting aside, Tuesday's execution at practice wasn't up to Del Rio's standards, but his team will have a chance to right the ship tomorrow when they return to the field for their fifth OTA.

"I thought we were a little sloppy today, but it wasn't for a lack of desire," Del Rio said. "Things like that are kind of indicative of how the day went, in my estimation. Hey, we'll be better tomorrow."


-First-round draft pick safety Karl Joseph didn't participate in the team's on-field work again Tuesday, but did stretch and warm up with the team before heading to a side field to work with members of the Raiders' training staff.

-During one of the team's 11-on-11 sessions, cornerback David Amerson made an impressive pass breakup, as wide receiver Andre Holmes tried to haul in a pass from Carr, but was immediately met by the rangy cornerback, resulting in an incomplete pass.

-It wasn't all positive for Amerson though, as undrafted free agent wide receiver Joe Hansley slipped through his grasp at the line of scrimmage, catching a pass from Carr and turning upfield, leaving Amerson in his wake. For what it's worth, after the play Amerson pleaded with officials asking for a penalty flag that never came.

-In the team's final 11-on-11 session of the afternoon, wide receiver K.J. Brent created space and acrobatically hauled in a pass from quarterback Matt McGloin along the sideline, managing to get both his feet in bounds before tumbling to the ground.

-Rookie defensive lineman Jihad Ward has continued to impress, and after crashing through the offensive line for a would-be sack, both Khalil Mack and Justin Ellis praised Ward's work rate, congratulating him on blowing up the play.

You Can Say That Again:

"How about our Warriors, huh? Man, Steph Curry, my goodness. I guess that's why he's the MVP" – quarterback Derek Carr.

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