NAPA — The Oakland Raiders broke training camp Monday and prepared to head south for a pair of joint practices with the Dallas Cowboys.
Two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Justin Tuck isn’t sure what to expect.
The last time Tuck practiced against another team during the preseason it was marred by a brawl on the first play of the joint workout. That came in 2005 during Tuck’s rookie season with the New York Giants when they went up against the New York Jets and wound up in an all-out melee.
Tuck shook his head and smiled at the memory.
“The one time we did it we went over the top, so I’m not sure I’ve got the right answer,” Tuck said following the morning practice. “We’ll find out tomorrow. I don’t know.”
The Raiders held 13 training camp practices in Napa before closing up shop. The team has traditionally stayed in camp through the second preseason game but altered plans this year to accommodate the trip to Oxnard.
Oakland and Dallas will practice together Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. The Raiders will then fly back to the Bay Area for Friday’s preseason game against the Detroit Lions.
“The message is that we have to treat it like a game and go out there and compete,” Oakland coach Dennis Allen said. “There won’t be tackling live to the ground or anything like that. We’re going there to compete and try to get better as a football team.”
Tuck, the veteran defensive lineman who signed a $10 million, two-year contract with the Raiders in March, knows there’s a delicate line teams toe when practicing against one another.
A rookie back in 2005, Tuck was settling in for the workout with the Jets when the fight broke out. There were two sideline-clearing brawls in all, several other minor scuffles and a heated argument between Giants coach Tom Coughlin and then-Jets defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson.
Even with that memory, Tuck says he’s looking forward to practicing against the Cowboys.
“It’s good to go and face some people that don’t wear the same color as you and see different schemes,” Tuck said. “Dallas has a really good offensive line, so it will be a good challenge for us.”
Allen doesn’t sound too concerned about any potential problems.
“I think that will be great for our football team, get a chance to go against somebody else for a change,” Allen said. “We’ve gotten a lot accomplished. We still have a lot of things that we have to get better at but I like the direction we’re headed.”
Darren McFadden is looking forward to practicing against the Cowboys if for no other reason than it signals the end of the team’s nearly three-week stay in the heart of wine country.
“Camp is camp,” McFadden said. “I feel like we had a decent camp. There’s some things we still have to go out there and correct and get better at, but, overall, I feel like we got better as a team.”
Notes: The team held a light workout before packing up. Rookie quarterback Derek Carr’s deep touchdown throw to Juron Criner highlighted the practice. McFadden also had a pair of long runs. … Fourth-round pick Keith McGill took reps with the first-team nickel in place of cornerback Chimdi Chekwa. Chekwa has been practicing with the starters while 2013 first-round draft pick D.J. Hayden recovers from offseason foot surgery.