The Raiders ended the training camp portion of their preseason Wednesday, getting out of a two hour and 10 minute joint session with the Dallas Cowboys in relative good health and a sense of confidence about the direction they’re headed with the scene shifting to the club facility in Alameda.
With 15 days of practice sessions, 12 of them in pads, there has been only one serious injury. Tight end Nick Kasa, injured in Tuesday’s practice, has what coach Dennis Allen believes is an ACL tear, which would end his season.
There were a few more scuffles during the Wednesday sessions, but both Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie thought the Raiders got enough out of it to do it again next year.
The joint sessions helped break the monotony of working against teammates every day.
“Number one, you’re tired of it. Number two, you’re trying to come together as a team and you don’t want to beat them up too bad. (Against Dallas) it doesn’t matter. We want to beat them up.’’
There is no score in practice, but it was clear the Raiders offense got the better of the Cowboys defense. Starting quarterback Matt Schaub was sharp both days.
Running backs Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden, Latavius Murray and Kory Sheets all had good gains. Allen believes the Raiders are forging an identity.
“I like the direction our run game is headed. I think we have to make some strides in the passing game in time,’’ Allen said. “There are a lot of new pieces in that part of our offense. I think defensively, I’ve been impressed with our ability to rush the passer. Those are some signs that this team’s getting better.
– Brian Leonhardt, who spent last season on the practice squad, has been taking first-team reps at tight end along with Mychal Rivera. With Asuberry and Kasa out, Allen said the Raiders could be looking to add another tight end to the roster.
– Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa was on the field to start practice after missing the previous day, but didn’t finish because of a sore knee. Wide receiver Juron Criner was out with what Allen called a “hip or groin’’ injury.
– Wide receiver Denarius Moore got caught a pair of touchdown passes during the team sessions. Wide receiver Greg Little had a conspicuous drop during drills on a perfect fade throw from Schaub in the end zone.
– The Raiders first team defense forced three incompletions and had an deflected interception by linebacker Nick Roach against Cowboys starting quarterback Tony Romo during one sequence.
— Middle linebacker Rolando McClain, looking noticeably thinner in the face than when he was a first-round bust with the Raiders, has impressed the Cowboys and could up being a starting middle lineabacker.
McClain said he still has a lot of friends on the team and interacted with Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver.
“Me and D.A. said what’s up. JT and I walked off together,’’ McClain said. “It was two years ago, two-and-a-half years ago. It’s all in the past. I wish them nothing but the best.’’
– Practicing against the Raiders brought back memories for Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, who played for Dallas under Jimmy Johnson. The Raiders would have joint practices with the Cowboys in Austin, Texas.
“They had Ronnie Lott, Eric Dickerson the greatest players to ever play their position ended their careers with the Raiders,’’ Garrett said. “Quarterbacks were taking 11 step drops and throwing 42-yard comeback routes. It was like, `Where the hell are we right now?’ Jimmy Johnson would have smoke coming out of his years and Al Davis would be in his white sweat suit in 110 degrees.’’