For the first time in seven months, the Raiders players suited up in pads for a contact practice. Most of them are eager to get some hitting in after so many practices in helmets and shorts. Things got chippie very early on too.
On the second play from scrimmage, we already had our first fight. It looked to be Jason Hunter and Khalif Barnes who got into it first. It appeared Hunter brought Darren McFadden to the ground on a run play and Barnes took issue with it. They began to scuffle and Lamarr Houston got in on the action and all players had to be separated.
"It happens," said Dennis Allen. "It's football. At the end of the day, we got to understand that we can't hurt our team. We need everybody out there. But you have to practice football. You have to practice it tough, you have to practice it physical and you're never going to be able to run the ball if you don't come off the ball and try to knock the heck out of people. That's what we did. First day of practice, you get pads on, everybody's a little jacked up and it got a little feisty in there. But that's all right. . . guys are competing. They want to win. That's not a bad thing. What we do have to understand is all the stuff after the play at the end of the day hurts our football team. We have to stay away from that, make sure we don't hurt our football team but be as competitive as we can be from snap to whistle."
"That happens every day. We always fight," said Vance Walker. "I would imagine somebody tackled somebody and coach told us we're not supposed to be bringing people down to the ground today. They just got into it that way an offensive lineman will try to protect their guy and we try to protect ours and we just go from there.
"There was a lot of tension and that was nine on seven so first day of pads, we get to take it out on somebody else so for them and for us, there was a lot of tension going on and I think that was the culmination of it."
There are a lot of guys on this team with something to prove. Jason Hunter is among them along with much of this rebuilt defense. In that regard, it makes sense that as soon as they were allowed to do some hitting, that these players would be trying to make a statement from the jump. Quite frankly, I'm surprised there was only one fight.
No word yet if pads will be on again tomorrow or when they will be having the next contact practice. I would expect more of the same when that happens.