Raiders owner Mark Davis stepped onto the practice field it Oxnard for the Raiders joint practices with the Cowboys on familiar territory. This same field was training camp home to the Raiders for 13 years from 1982 to 1994 while they were the Los Angeles Raiders.
"I was telling somebody I just think back to '83," said Davis. "That was the last time we had any real success in my mind. We were able to put together a championship team. So, that's the one thing I think back to. I was saying also when we were here we didn't have all these tents. No fans either. So, it was a little different but this is great."
The tents and fans are a Cowboys thing. Their camp is free and open to the public. They have tents set up selling concessions and merchandise. No shroud of secrecy here.
It was pretty clear that most of these fans did not travel from Northern California. Most of them are from around here. They are Southern Californians. And they would love to see their Raiders be back for more than just a couple joint practices or a scrimmage.
The fan presence was strong; almost exclusively Raiders fans. They were loud and hyped up with several chants breaking out including "Cowboys suck!", "Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!" and "Rai-der Na-tion (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)." But the one that tells you what you need to know about the origin of this crowd was their chant of "Bring them back! Bring them back! Bring them back!"
Mark Davis likes the turnout and what he heard from the fans today.
"The Raider Nation's big." said Davis. "I didn't expect anything but when I saw it I was pretty surprised. Not surprised there were that many but surprised there were probably 3 to 1 Raiders fans to Cowboy fans. That was good."
He went on to say of the Southern California fans "All part of the same Nation."
Dennis Allen was impressed with the fan turnout and intensity.
"What a hell of an atmosphere to practice football in," said Allen. "That's what Raider Nation is really all about, man. That was awesome to see those guys come out and support us like that. It almost felt like, at times, that I had to quiet the crowd down just so we could get some plays off. It was a great atmosphere."
Matt Schaub was impressed as well.
"It's fantastic, the support, the fans that showed up and showed up in a big way for us," said Schaub. "It's just a testament to the rich tradition of the Raider Nation and the following. It was fantastic to have that type of support today."
The Raiders return tomorrow for the second and final day of joint practices. Tomorrow will be an actual scrimmage. Today was intense and the crowd was into it. I asked Matt Schaub what he expects tomorrow, to which he responded "More of the same."