Despite not being division rivals, the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Rams don’t appear to like each other very much. The two teams just spent two days sharing the practice field ahead of their Saturday preseason game. During the practices, there were several fights that escalated to the level of a brawl.
During Thursday’s practice, things got really chippy during special teams drills. Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was so upset that he called off the practice and sent his team to the busses. After the practice, Gruden directed his anger to players from both teams.
“That’s enough of that crap,” Gruden said about an hour later at the team hotel, via ESPN. “That’s not good for football, that’s not good for anything, so that’s the end of that practice session.”
Gruden then revealed that he didn’t send a message to his team as they should already know that fighting in practices is a no-go.
“There’s no message,” he said. “They know. They know better. Everybody knows better. And again, it wasn’t everybody fighting – it will be on TV, you’ll see a bunch of guys screaming and yelling – but it was two guys in the special teams period. And then it was a lot of trash-talking that escalated. Just sickening, really, it’s just stupidity. I’m done with that. It’s just child’s play to me.”
Fortunately, no players were hurt during any of the several fights between the Raiders and Rams during their joint practices.
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Sean McVay Disappointed to End Practice Early
These joint practices are the best work that both teams will get before the regular season starts. However, Gruden clearly didn’t see a benefit to continuing the practice after tempers kept flaring. Rams head coach Sean McVay was disappointed to see practice end before it was finished.
“We only had a little bit left, so felt like the best decision, just based on the temperature of the situation, was bag the last eight plays in the team period that we had,” McVay said. “I did not see it, I just kind of had heard what had happened. But other than me seeing it, I can’t speak for anybody else, but I’m glad that nobody got injured. … It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get to finish it up, but I’ll leave it at that.”
There’s no point in risking player injuries during a practice session so it was likely the best call to cut things before they got out of hand. The Rams and Raiders will have another shot at each other on Saturday.
Derek Carr Addresses the Fights
Fighting isn’t anything new to football. When two teams line up against each other, there’s always a possibility for a fight. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr believes he knows why many fights happen on special teams.
“Well, there’s a reason a lot of the fights came on special teams – they’re fighting for a job,” Carr said Wednesday. “Literally.
While the coaches weren’t happy about the fighting, the players clearly enjoyed it.
“I love the fighting. … I think it’s good for your team to fight a little bit. Everyone’s tired at this point of camp. … It doesn’t bother me, as long as no one gets hurt.
“When that stuff carries on to the next play and the next play and you’re getting cheap shots, that’s when it’s pointless. But I think there is a good respect for both sides.”