NAPA, Calif. — Johnathan Abram was introduced arriving at Raiders training camp in a black Mercedes sedan. He unloaded a trunkful of boxes and bags, including hundreds of dollars in snacks, he told NFL Films. He then set up a 115-can beverage cooler in his hotel room.
During an early camp practice, the safety popped opposing receivers. The heavy contact, in shorts without pads, prompted reprimand from coach Jon Gruden.
“That’s just me,” Abram said Wednesday. “I’m a kid off the field (and) a man on the field. … I like to have fun.”
“Hard Knocks” made its season premiere Tuesday, and as expected, Abram played a central role. The episode showed the No. 27 overall draft pick unpacking sweets, riding horses and debating with quarterback Derek Carr the pronunciation of “salmon.”
The morning after the premiere was a reminder to Abram’s other side, the reason he’s here.
With Abram roaming the secondary, the first-team defense held its own during the first of two joint practices against the Los Angeles Rams on Wednesday. There certainly were teachable moments, and only so much weight should be placed on one scrimmage day. But the matchup certainly did not reflect the 2018 stat sheet.
The Rams ranked No. 2 in the NFL with 32.9 points scored per game.
The Raiders ranked last, allowing 29.2 points per game.
Wednesday’s scrimmage showed “pretty much that we can play with anybody,” Abram said. “That’s one thing I’ll say. We can play with anybody. You know, if we can go up against one of the best offenses in the league and go out there and compete the way we did, then we can go against anybody.”
Abram was among the Raiders players whose physicality throughout the session was noticeable. Tensions often rose to the brim of a full altercation before reducing as cooler heads prevailed. There were several shoving incidents.
At one point, Raiders cornerback Nevin Lawson swung at Rams cornerback Ramon Richards, smacking him in the helmet during a punt period. No counterpunch was thrown. Gruden and Rams coach Sean McVay instructed their players to avoid fighting.
Joint practices conclude Thursday.
The teams are expected to rest starters when they meet in their preseason opener Saturday in Oakland.
■ One day after exiting practice with an apparent lower back or hip issue, defensive tackle P.J. Hall gave it a go Wednesday. He was unable to finish the session, limping off the field.
■ Wide receiver Ryan Grant also exited midway into practice. His ailment is not believed to require an extensive absence.
■ Former Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch attended the joint practice. He watched in the bleachers with fans, having requested to them no photographs be taken.