Training camp is not real NFL football, but that doesn't make it any less exciting to see those silver helmets out there when you've been jonesing hard for anything Raiders these last seven months. Little, insignificant things take on greater magnitude and create disproportionately huge thrills for fans.
On that note, is it a bad thing to find it completely exciting that Wednesday's afternoon practice featured the first fight of Raiders training camp 2009? Linebacker Jon Alston came to blows with Darren McFadden, and it didn't take long for a couple more Raiders to jump into the fray.
Chris Shellcroft of Just Blog Baby has a delightful eyewitness account of the skirmish. "McFadden took a shot from Alston but continued to fight for yards," Shellcroft writes, "RUN-DMC tossed the ball at the linebacker after Alston ripped his helmet off. Naturally shoving ensued with Justin Fargas rushing in to give Kirk Morrison a push."
"Naturally shoving ensued." That's Raider football, baby!
McFadden spoke with The Examiner's Patrick Patterson after practice and said, "Yeah, I think it just got a little intense, you know going out there guys competing and you know, and it just get a little heated, so it's something that happens in practice." McFadden takes the intensity as a positive. "They came out there, they was ready to play ball and I feel like they brought us up to the level that they were playing today."
Sure, there's a concern that this could indicate that Cable's Raiders lack discipline. Recall that the Lane Kiffin Raiders were nailed for five personal fouls in one game against Denver. That has never happened with Tom Cable as head coach.
So if it's just training camp, this author doesn't mind just letting them go at it. Just make sure to save some of that for the Dallas Cowboys in the preseason opener next Thursday.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who feels there is no such thing as "unnecessary roughness" in pro football.