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Old 07-24-2008, 11:58 PM    (permalink
doingthisinsteadofwork
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Default Training Camp

Training Camp




http://www.ibabuzz.com/raidersblog/

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/...entry_id=28512

Raiders training camp notebook (7/24/08)

By DeMarcus Davis • Jul 24th, 2008 • Category: Oakland Raiders News

NAPA, Calif. — On the second day of training camp for the Oakland Raiders, much more action was seen as many of the key players on this years roster got in on some action and looked to be in solid form in their preparations for the upcoming pre-season games.

* Greg Spires did not participate today because of a hamstring injury. He is expected to work out tomorrow (Friday).

* Grant Irons, who was looking to get back to his high-octane level of activity, aggravated a hamstring injury that took him out halfway through today’s practice.

* Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly was a “beast” inside. He routinely pushed whoever matched-up against him, tossing his counterpart routinely deep into the backfield causing all sorts of disruptions. Kelly also spoke to the media for the first time in several years. He opened up and gave some insight on a man that seems to have come full circle with the birth of his son on the day he got injured last year. The 27-year-old is a well grounded blue-collar workhorse that should be a one man wrecking crew now that he is focused at playing one position (three-technique tackle).

* Wide receiver Arman Shields is drawing attention early in camp with a lot of positives on the practice field. He has come a long way and has looked as advertised on his college game films.

* Wide receiver Todd Watkins continues to looked very polished and a viable candidate for third in the depth chart behind Javon Walker and Ronald Curry.

* Johnnie Lee Higgins has managed to hang on to the ball more consistently (unlike at the OTA’s where he was inconsistent).

* Marcel Reece, who played wide receiver at the University of Washington, was working out with the running backs today. It will be interesting to see if he can convert that explosive play-making ability at wideout to the backfield.

* Nnamdi Asomugha worked out with the team and even snatched an interception on an Andrew Walter pass or what would have been a simulated touchdown.

* Jake Grove was in pads and worked out with the team. He looked fit and was seen bouncing around and moving quickly between drill rotations.

* Chaz Schilens has cleaned up his fundamental mistakes that were noticed at the last OTA’s.

* Darren McFadden and Justin Fargas looked very good and fast against the defense, but what stood out to me was the hard running by Michael Bush. His power run game was impressive and looked like he wanted to bring the wood on several plays. I feel that he will have the better success individually compared to the others early on in camp.

* Rusher Louis Rankin also looked impressive. He is a shifty back with decent size.

* Michael Huff is making great breaks on the ball and is only inches away from making HUGE plays. He looks so much more comfortable at free safety.

* Gibril Wilson was seen chomping at the bit; wanting to lay some serious wood on some receivers.

* Trevor Scott completely owned Kwame Harris on a line drill. Scott has very good speed off the edge. On the flip side, it’s also a strike against Harris who came to this team with the dark cloud of pass protection woes hanging over his head.

* Derrick Burgess could NOT BE STOPPED regardless of who he was matched up against. He easily could have had several simulated sacks today.

* Kalimba Edwards was also a force on the edge.

* Kirk Morrison almost blew apart Higgins on a slant pass that the slender receiver wisely dropped as the captain peeled off to avoid the would-be snott bubbler!

Javon doesn't know what you're talking about

NAPA - Javon Walker talked about being robbed in Las Vegas last month.

Well, he didn't.

Those injuries in the police report (fractured jaw, orbital) were news to him.

"Ya'll telling me something new for the first time," Walker said. "... I haven't really seen nothing about it. I just let everybody go into speculations of what they heard and what they think they know, to when I get ready to come out and tell what really happened, I'll clear it up then."

Today was not the day to clear things up.

Walker practiced today and said he is about 15 pounds later than he was at the start of the offseason program.

He said his weight fluctuates, but he'll be fine now that camp has started.

And the notoriety that comes with this big contract and being a professional athlete that was a victim of violent crime doesn't bother Walker.

"I'm not afraid of the spotlight, the spotlight is always good depending on how you look at it," he said "People that already got a different spotlight of me is based on really what I've done in football. But if people want a real respect of light of me, just tell them to go look at my record. I don't have a record. I don't have a rap sheet.

"You don't hear about Javon Walker getting arrested. People's light of me is like, hmm, he just leaves different teams because he's not happy. Well, like any other American, that's my right if I don't like a job. That's people's perspective of me. But, outside the field, I mean, you talk to people anywhere around this country, they say I'm the nicest person off the field."

Believe it or not
Tommy Kelly has always been a nice guy.

He just hasn't been talkative.

So it was a bit shocking when Kelly consented to be interviewed by a group of reporters, admitting he had been told he "had" to finally talk.

It's part of the responsibility of being a leader, he admitted. And it also comes when you sign a seven-year deal worth up to $50.5 million.

"I understand a lot of things come with being a professional athlete,
but I just like to play," Kelly said. "I don't like to be bothered with all the other stuff. I'm not saying the media is a nuisance or anything. I just like to go to work and come home. Now you know you have to be a leader and everything, you got to take on stuff you probably don't want to do in the past but you have to do it."

More Kelly

He admitted he was "surprised" by the contract he received from the Raiders.

"It makes you feel like you're wanted," he said. "Somebody really wants you as a player and thinks a lot of you and that type of player you can become for them."

He'll be asked to fill at Warren Sapp's old spot. Kelly is glad to be playing one spot after moving around and said he prefers defensive tackle to defensive end.

Kelly said he's more of an aggressive player whereas Sapp was more about finesse.

"Me and Sapp, we cool," Kelly said. "I learned a lot from. He's got his way, but he's a legend in the game so you can't do nothing but learn from him."

And it turns out the day Kelly tore his ACL was one of the best days of his life.

His son, Jamison, was born at 8 a.m. that morning.

"It was disappointment," Kelly said of the injury. "It was 50-50 disappointed but I was happy I got a new baby."

Just like old times

Nnamdi Asomugha had one pass thrown his way today in practice.

He intercepted the pass from Andrew Walter intended for Walker.

"It was good to make the most of it and that's what we're hoping for this year," Asomugha said. "A few more passing and a few more plays made, on both ends."

Asomugha said he decided to report to camp Monday night and officially signed the one-year franchise tender for $9.765 million around midnight after arriving late yesterday.

He considered holding out in protest.

"I had a lot of people saying don't show up and I had enough people saying show it up so it helped me out," Asomugha said. "I sought out the counsel that was needed in this situation and I was able to come and be here."

Among those he spoke to was Charles Woodson.

It's obvious he didn't take Woodson's advice.

"I'm not going to tell you what he said, but you can probably figure it out," Asomugha said. "But yeah, I didn't speak to him as of late. He just said let him know what was going to happen and I spoke to him afterward."

In the end, Asomugha's desire to be with his teammates and try to win games outweighed sitting out part of camp, unhappy about being franchised.

Asomugha said he'd heard "apocryphal stories" of how bad negotiations were going, but said talks were never antagonistic.

He admitted he was initially taken aback by the amount of the money the Raiders spent in the offseason while he had no deal, but in the end decided to put everything behind him and join his teammates.

"It's actually signed so there's nothing you can say about it," Asomugha said. "You don't want to keep bringing it up. So it was like it's definitely over and done now."

Camp notes

*JaMarcus Russell said he weighed 269 points. He joked that he was 300 at the end of last season, but said he was really 276.

*Darren McFadden's speed stood out in practice. If he was going half speed, his half speed is faster than most everyone's top speed. Kiffin praised McFadden for showing explosive-play ability.

*The first-team linebackers were Thomas Howard, Kirk Morrison and ... Ricky Brown today.

*Fred Wakefield worked at defensive end, but will still work at tight end, too.

*Backup tackle Mario Henderson played left and right tackle today.

*Jake Grove began the day as the starting center. The other centers, John Wade and Chris Morris, took a few snaps at right guard with the second team during practice.

*The starting defensive line was Kelly, and Gerard Warren at DT with Jay Richardson and Derrick Burgess at the end spots.

*Michael Huff's range is evident at free safety. He made what would have been a good play in a game on a lob pass by Russell for tight end Tony Stewart.

I joked with Huff about his picture with Vince Young that caused a stir (for Young) and he had a laugh about no one recognizing him.

"Nobody knew and I'm glad," he said.

*Rookie defensive end Trevor Scott showed some good pass rush skills in drills against the offense.

*Burgess was pretty much unblockable no matter who was against him. Kiffin said Burgess is about eight pounds heavier. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan wanted Burgess to add some weight.

*Defensive end Greg Spires (hamstring) didn't practice. LB Grant Irons (hamstring) left practice early.

--Jason Jones
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Old 07-25-2008, 03:54 AM    (permalink
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A lot of positives, especially the Bush part.
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:00 AM    (permalink
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How long is Grant Irons going to hang around the silver and black? I'm pretty excited about watching Arman Shields and Chaz Schilens this preseason.
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Old 07-25-2008, 01:11 PM    (permalink
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I like all the talk about the DL being dominant, especially if Kelly can live up to his contract. On the flip side it could mean our OL is awful.

Good to hear Bush is doing well. Him and McFadden could be a potent combo for a long time.
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Old 07-25-2008, 01:25 PM    (permalink
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Harris getting beat by a 6th rounder isnt very encouraging.
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Old 07-25-2008, 03:00 PM    (permalink
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Trevor Scott can fly for a DE so I'm not surprised, I'll bet he would run circles around Barry Sims as well. I believe our defense is going to be even better than it was two yrs ago, especially if we can stop the run and force the opponent to throw into the talons of our ballhawks. Plus, unlike two yrs ago, we are going to have a running game, remember all those games we basically lost because we had absolutely no offense?? Our defense would keep us in it all game, but Aaron Brooks couldnt handle a snap, and bed and breakfast would be calling seven step drop pass plays. At least this yr we will have an above average running game with three fresh bodies we can wear down the defense with. I dont expect many seven step drops either, the coaches know pass protection with kwame protecting the blind side will be very suspect.

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Old 07-25-2008, 03:44 PM    (permalink
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^^I would still be concerned about stopping the run, I don't think we addressed that problem at all as far as our front 7 personnel. Gibril should help a little and maybe Rob Ryan can come up with a better defensive plan, but I'll be worried about our run D until they prove they can stop it.
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Old 07-25-2008, 03:49 PM    (permalink
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Training camp, Day 2 (A.M. practice)
from Inside The Oakland Raiders by Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

Quick hits from Friday morning’s training camp practice:

– The defense had the offense frustrated for much of the padded session, putting the ball on the ground six times _ three times on the center exchange alone.

Two of the center-quarterback fumbles were with Jesse Boone at center and Marques Tuiasosopo at quarterback. The other fumble was by Andrew Walter, who, reminiscent of last year, didn’t go after the loose ball. He escaped the wrath of the coaching staff however.

Other fumbles were by wide receivers Jonathan Holland and Javon Walker, and running back Adimchinobe Echemandu.

– Strong safety Greg Wesley missed practice with back spasms. Those who didn’t practice also included Greg Spires (hamstring) and Grant Irons (hamstring). Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly took the practice off and worked on the cardio machines in the field house.

Wide receiver Ronald Curry was scheduled to take the practice off but came out on his own and practiced for a few sessions before removing his pads.

– Running backs were isolated in blocking drills against linebackers without an offensive lineman in front of them _ a drill which favors the defense. Running backs coach Tom Rathman watched closely as Darren McFadden allowed linebacker Malik Jackson to get past him after a quick engagement.

“Get your face on him on that pad, then strike and re-direct him,” Rathman said.

Jon Alston made a quick spin move during one turn to race past fullback Oren O’Neal, while Justin Fargas successfully slowed Sam Williams by taking the offensive and getting into his body. Echemandu successfully attempted the same tactic, with Williams escaping and Rathman urging the running back to “recover.”

– When Thomas Howard blew past running back Michael Bush, linebackers coach Don Martindale barked, “That’s what we’re going to bring this year.”

What, the Raiders are going to blitz?

At the drill’s conclusion, linebackers and running backs shook hands as if it were the end of a hockey game before moving on to a team session.

– Kiffin lauded the play of the defensive line, which made things difficult for JaMarcus Russell in terms of having time to throw the ball. Left tackle Kwame Harris, the free agent aquisition counted up on to start, had two false starts and some difficulty with end Kalimba Edwards.

– Tight end John Madsen has gained four more pounds. After seeing him drop a catchable ball from Russell on the sideline, you wonder if he could be another Randal Williams, the wide receiver who became a tight end and became to muscular to be a successful receiver.

– Holland made a nice diving catch of a low fastball by Russell for a big gain in a seven-on-seven drill. Jim Fassel, the former Giants head coach observing at the invitation of Kiffin, immediately asked his son John, “Who is that guy?”

Said John, a Raiders quality control coach: “Jon Holland. Second year, drafted him in the seventh round last year.”

– Who says the Raiders don’t know how to market? Players have been made available for interviews with a KTLA reporter _ an area the Raiders still consider to be their property.

– Sideline visitors included former Raider defensive tackle John Parrella, who brought some of his coaching staff and players from Valley Christian High School in Dublin. Valley will play a junior varsity schedule this year and add varsity next season.

Parrella is being assisted by former Raider end Josh Taves. Both men appear to have lost fifty-plus pounds since their playing days.

– Running back LaMont Jordan remained on the roster through the morning session but Kiffin said he expected a move to be made in the near future.

The Raiders practiced again with three quarterbacks, with punter Shane Lechler throwing a few passes to defensive backs in drills.


Oops, there goes the football
NAPA - A very familiar problem showed up during this morning's practice.

Turnovers were back in a big way. The offense had five fumbles, losing four.

Three of the fumbles were the result of bad snaps to the quarterback. Two came with Marques Tuiasosopo at quarterback, the other with Andrew Walter.

Receiver Javon Walker had the ball knocked free by Gibril Wilson after making a catch. Running back Adimchinobe Echemandu coughed up the ball on a running play.

"We came out today and two of them were on the ground right away within 10 plays," said coach Lane Kiffin. "... We're looking at different avenue to improve the penalty situation."

Players that commit penalties have to run a lap around the field. On bad snaps the center and quarterback come out.

LaMont update (sort of)

Kiffin said he expected to have some news regarding the status of LaMont Jordan sometime today.

The Raiders have to either trade or release Jordan or his agent, Alvin Keels, plans to file a grievance against the team for barring Jordan to report to camp.

The Raiders only have three quarterbacks so releasing Jordan would allow the team to bring back Sam Keller or Jeff Otis. Both were cut before the start of camp.

Safety concerns

Wilson just might take someone's head off.

He throws his shoulder pads into every play. Kiffin likes it but admits Wilson's play "borderlines right now on the safety of our other players" but wants Wilson's style to ru b off on the rest of the defense.

Wilson said when he signed with the Raiders he asked to play strong safety because he wanted to be near the ball.

"I like to be physical," Wilson said. "I don't like to have guys get extra yards or anything like that. I'm a very physical guy and the other team knows it."

Extra work

Ronald Curry was supposed to take the morning practice off as one of the Raiders that is recovering from offseason surgery.

But Curry chose to join the wide receivers in drills for the first half of practice.

Almost a pick

With the offense being careless with ball, the defense didn't manage to pick off any of the Raider quarterbacks' passes.

Rookie safety Tyvon Branch came close but the ball bounced off his pads. Hiram Eugene tried to snag the ball, but it fell to the grass.

Defensive end Derrick Burgess had an interesting take on the play.

"If those were some dice you would have caught those (expletives)," Burgess yelled.

Camp notes

*Tackle Mario Henderson continues to work at left and right tackle during practice.

*Today's first-team linebackers were Thomas Howard, Kirk Morrison and Robert Thomas. Ricky Brown joined Morrison and Howard on Thursday.

*Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly had the morning practice off and was replaced by Josh Shaw with the first team.

Defensive end Greg Spires (hamstring) is expected to practice tonight, as is Kelly.

*Safety Greg Wesley (back spasms) didn't practice this morning.

*Tight end/defensive end Fred Wakefield left practice early with an undisclosed injury.

*Former Raider Jon Parella was on the sidelines at practice. He's a high school football coach in the Bay Area and had players with him.

*The defensive line was dominant in practice. Kiffin called the group "phenomenal."

*The linebackers got the best of the running backs in the one-on-one drill that focused on blitz pickups. Kiffin conceded it is a drill that favors the defense.

--Jason Jones
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:06 PM    (permalink
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The addition of Gibril Wilson and the departure of Sapp/moving of Kelly to 3-technique should significantly improve our run D. I also think it will be an area that is focused on in training camp and preseason, especially since our pass D/perceived soft run D will encourage teams to try to attack on the ground.

The centers and QB's that fumble the snap should also run a lap!!

"Wilson just might take someone's head off.

He throws his shoulder pads into every play. Kiffin likes it but admits Wilson's play "borderlines right now on the safety of our other players" but wants Wilson's style to ru b off on the rest of the defense."

hahah love it! I just hope we don't get reprimanded from the league like we did last yr.
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Old 07-25-2008, 05:56 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
Left tackle Kwame Harris, the free agent aquisition counted up on to start, had two false starts and some difficulty with end Kalimba Edwards.
it has begun...
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Old 07-25-2008, 06:40 PM    (permalink
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I am getting scared of the bad play of the offensive line...
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Old 07-28-2008, 01:45 PM    (permalink
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Training camp, Day 3
By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Saturday, July 26th, 2008 at 7:00 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Quick hits from the Raiders’ lone practice Saturday:

– It was probably to be expected after the aerial display featuring JaMarcus Russell the previous evening, but the Raiders came back to earth Saturday afternoon in a snappy practice that was wrapped up in under an hour and 40 minutes.

Things were much more difficult for the near-rookie, as Russell mixed in some nice balls with several that were broken up and nearly intercepted, as well as one badly thrown pass late over the middle that free safety Michael Huff read perfectly and snared on a dive.

Coach Lane Kiffin said he was more interested in watching Russell convert the routine plays than the sort of Star Wars show he put on Friday night.

“We’re not going to coach those special throws that he makes where he’s running over there and he throws back and makes those great throws. That’s who he is and very few people can do that,” Kiffin said. “But those happen one time a game, maybe two times. We’ve got to get him to do everything right, the little things, the little completions and the timing of everything.

“That’s all the stuff that wows the fans and people watching but that’s not what makes you a good quarterback. A good quarterback plays with great discipline, he takes care of the ball and he throws things on time. We’re going to have to get that going with him. He’s continuing to improve on it. We’re giving him a lot of reps. We’re wearing him out on purpose for conditioning, not just his arm but his body.”

Said Russell about what was important: “The small detail things. When you pay close attention to that, then things will be better for you instead of being Superman all the time.”

– During one seven-on-seven sequence, Russell was nearly intercepted by DeAngelo Hall while looking for Johnnie Lee Higgins along the sideline _ a pass that could have been a defensive touchdown. His next pass, intended for tight end Tony Stewart, was tipped in the air and nearly intercepted by Sam Williams.

– Two plays later, Marques Tuiasosopo, who also threw well Friday night, was intercepted by linebacker Robert Thomas on a pass intended for Jonathan Holland.

– In a team sequence, Russell fared better when on back-to-back throws. Drew Carter made a difficult, physical catch with Chris Johnson draped all over him on a 12-yard out, and Russell followed it up with a touch lob for 20-plus yards to tight end John Madsen in stride.

– Early in practice, with the running backs breaking out of one drill and heading toward another at the horn, Kiffin threw a high pass which nearly caught an unsuspecting Darren McFadden right in the face guard, with McFadden reaching up at the last second to knock down.

At the conclusion of practice, Kiffin was talking to an assistant coach only to be nearly struck by a Shane Lechler skyscraper. It was caught by Rashad Baker.

“Was that Shane or the JUGS machine?,” Kiffin asked as he went to the podium to speak to reporters. When told it was Lechler, Kiffin said, “Don’t think he didn’t do that on purpose.”

– Rookie receiver Arman Shields, who has had some impressive moments through the early sessions, incurred the wrath of offensive coordinator Greg Knapp for a half-speed route.

“C’mon rook. Break on it,” Knapp barked. “When you break on it, you might want to go toward the ball and not off the field. You’ve got to focus when you’re tired.”

– Running backs coach Tom Rathman was instructing running backs how to stop in their tracks in the middle of a zone then break outside to get open underneath. He used Justin Griffith to demonstrate how it was done before turning to second-year fullback Oren O’Neal and McFadden.

O’Neal ran the route well enough, but didn’t look up in time and Russell’s pass glanced off his hands.

“Gotta have it, `O,’ ” Rathman said.

Next was McFadden, who ran into the middle and then peeled off without stopping first.

“No, sit first. You’ve got to sit first,” Rathman said.

– Left tackle Kwame Harris missed practice with a sore lower back and is expected back Sunday morning. In his place, Paul McQuistan, who has been seeing time at left guard, moved outside to tackle. Also playing left tackle were Seth Wand and Mario Henderson, who is competing with Cornell Green on the right side.

Raiders tackles have had difficulty slowing the charge of Derrick Burgess (almost always on the left side, a few snaps on the right) and Kalimba Edwards from the outside. Kiffin conceded it is that area where Harris will need to get up to speed.

“He’s been a better run player for us so far,” Kiffin said. “We got some things in the pass protection going back to the left side — he hasn’t been there for a while — that we’ve got to work out, that (Tom) Cable’s working on with him. We got a lot of hopes for him, and we’re going to need him.”

– The Raiders appear to be running the ball well and crisply with Justin Fargas, McFadden and Michael Bush, although until they face a team in a different uniform, it will be tough to tell how good they really are.

– Linemen who false start have been told to take laps around the field, with McQuistan and Brandon Robb among those to make the circuit Saturday.

– Rookie end Trevor Scott has had some difficulty disengaging and making his presence felt a pass rusher. A converted tight end, Scott is listed at 6-foot-5, 255 pounds and actually looks smaller out of uniform.

One one play, with Louis Rankin breaking free, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan yelled, “C’mon Trevor, you’ve got to hold that edge!”

“It’s definitely something that takes getting used to,” Scott said. “Coming from college to the NFL, there’s really no comparison. Guys are just phenomenal, and the O-linemen have great feet, and that’s where coach (Keith) Millard is really telling me to hone in on my techniques and trust my technique and have my technique beat theirs. Use agility and quickness and try to get around them.”

– Huff, sometimes invisible while lost in among the bigger players at strong safety, has been conspicuous not only with his playmaking, but his enthusiasm for playing free safety.

“I’m out there running around, having fun, make Gibril (Wilson) take on all the tackles and guards and fullbacks and all that,” Huff said. “I can stay back there and make plays.”

Huff is doing a good job reading the offense, but is having a hard time figuring out his weight pattern. He said he tried to bulk up to last year and finished the season at a skeletal 193 pounds. Now that he’s a free safety, he is up to 205.

“I know it’s strange, but I feel quick out there, real fast,” Huff said.

– If Tommy Kelly is as good as the Raiders seem to think he is, that $18.125 million guaranteed won’t seem so bad after the $22 million guaranteed Glenn Dorsey got from the Kansas City Chiefs.

It was just a day or two ago that Chiefs exec Carl Peterson was spouting his usual nonsense about Dorsey’s contract demands, only to cave in and pay what the market demanded he pay.

– Kelly has been putting in overtime on the cardio machines after practice, working on getting his weight down. He has been one of the last players to leave the field house.

– Safety Greg Wesley (back spasms) and linebacker Grant Irons (hamstring) missed practice and are day-to-day. Defensive end Fred Wakefield (flu-like symptoms) was back at practice and even played a few snaps inside at defensive tackle.

– If Al Davis is the kind of guy who worries about these things, he hates the idea of LaMont Jordan joining New England, where he could join Randy Moss and show up the Raiders by putting up big numbers, and even warned his agent to make sure he went somewhere else.

More logically, Davis is pleased to see Jordan wind up in a place where he is buried behind Lawrence Maroney and Kevin Faulk, putting him only one rung above the Fargas-McFadden-Bush mountain he faced in Oakland.

– The Raiders have a double session today with the first practice at 9 a.m. and the second at 7 p.m.
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Training camp, Day 4 (A.M. practice)

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Sunday, July 27th, 2008 at 12:55 pm in Oakland Raiders
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Quick hits from Sunday morning’s Raiders practice:

– Defensive end Derrick Burgess continues to be perhaps the most impressive player in camp, and not just as a pass rusher. He blew up a running play, getting Darren McFadden in the backfield.

– Lap runners for false starts or offsides Sunday morning included tackle/guard Paul McQuistan, tackle Mario Henderson and defensive end Fred Wakefield.

– Running back Michael Bush found himself stacked up on a short-yardage play by linebackers Edgerton Hartwell and Jon Alston, along with defensive end Greyson Gunheim.

Bush has shown promise as a runner and receiver, but it remains to be seen if he will be an effective short-yardage back. Bush has prototype size at 250-pounds, but his pad level is often high, which allows defenders stop him in tight quarters.

Zack Crockett, utilized as the Raiders short-yardage back when they Raiders were three-time winners of the AFC West, looked for a crack and got low to gain the necessary yards.

– JaMarcus Russell and Andrew Walter both had fumbled snaps with John Wade as the center.

– Strong safety Greg Wesley (back spasms) returned to practice and had a nice stop of Adimchinobe Echemandu on a running play.

– Not sure how much it’s going to help against the 49ers Aug. 8, but defensive coordinator Rob Ryan attempted a pass to linebackers coach Don Martindale amidst several defenders before one drill. Amazingly, Ryan’s wobbler found its target. Martindale couldn’t hold it.

– Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly and wide receiver Javon Walker were out of practice as scheduled and were to return for the evening session. Left tackle Kwame Harris missed his second straight practice with a sore lower back and said he hoped to return in the evening. Grant Irons is still out with a hamstring pull.

– Tackles Seth Wand and Mario Henderson continued to get work on both the left and right sides.

– Todd Watkins made a nice snag of a Russell bullet on a slant pattern during a team session.

– During one team session, the Raiders were blitzing the offensive on every play, simulating what the team is likely to face as opponents go after Russell.

Russell made some nice hot reads during the session, with one of the best going for naught when tight end Darrell Strong dropped a pass with Tyvon Branch in coverage.

– McFadden had his second consecutive practice where he didn’t look sure of himself as a receiver, seeming surprised as the ball arrived.

“He’s had some inaccurate hand placement on some catches, which is a surprise because we didn’t see much of that in the camp before,” Kiffin said. “He’s got so much going on right now and so much pressure on him and so many different plays so we’re going to keep pushing him and then there will come a time when we pull back. His attitude’s phenomenal.”

“Inaccurate hand placement” is Kiffinese for not being ready to catch the ball.

– Stanford Routt had an interception of a Russell pass intended for Drew Carter in a 7-on-7 drill.

– Defensive tackle Terdell Sands, after some pre-play urging from Kiffin, pushed through the middle of the offensive line and and ruined an offensive play, drawing praise from his defensive teammates when he came off.

– Russell, who was forced to pull down the ball and run several times the previous evening, had fewer instances where in game situations he would be putting himself at risk. Kiffin has made it clear he wants Russell to err on the side of caution in running situations and get down.

If Russell knows how to slide, he hasn’t shown it yet in practice, instead realizing defenders aren’t going to bring him to the ground.

– Another tough day for punter Shane Lechler and place kicker Sebastian Janikowski. They headed back to the field house at 9:16 a.m. and didn’t return until 10:36. Return specialists practicing at the end of the workout were using a machine.

– Return specialists were attempting to field two kicks shot a few seconds apart from an apparatus like a pitching machine at the close of practice. They would catch one ball, toss it aside, then try and catch the second if they could reach it.

Among those fielding kicks were Chris Johnson, Rashad Baker, Johnnie Lee Higgins, Michael Waddell, Drisan James and Branch.

Kiffin placed Higgins in the lead to return punts, Branch for kickoffs.

– The most hotly contested position might be strongside linebacker, where Sam Williams, Robert Thomas and Ricky Brown are getting a look. Irons was also in the mix but a hamstring pull put him behind the field.

Williams has the ideal size at 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, but has been beset by injuries since Al Davis traded up to get him out of Fresno State in 2003.

He started well last year but was sidelined by a stinger, and never reclaimed the job from Thomas. Rather than bemoan his bad luck and get a fresh start somewhere else, Williams re-signed with the Raiders instead of becoming a free agent.

“I know what I can do. They know what I can do, and I’m going to have this be my year where I show the world what I can do, so it wasn’t a mistake getting me,” Williams said.

“We love everything about him, the way that he goes about special teams, the way he prepares,” Kiffin said. “We just need him to stay healthy, and he was playing well at the beginning of the year last year before he got hurt, and we just need to continue to build on that.”

– The Raiders practice again tonight at 7 p.m.
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Training camp, Day 4 (P.M. practice)

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Sunday, July 27th, 2008 at 9:37 pm in Oakland Raiders
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Quick hits from Sunday night’s Raiders practice:

– Tackle Mark Wilson, a practice squad player signed to the active roster following the season, sustained a left leg injury, was taken off the field on a cart, and was sent to the hospital for X-rays.

– Left tackle Kwame Harris (lower back) returned to practice after missing the previous two sessions. He moved well and at one point fared well in a pass blocking opportunity against Kalimba Edwards.

– For the first time, no offensive or defensive lineman had to run laps for committing a false start or jumping offsides.

– Wide receiver Ronald Curry and center Jake Grove took the workout off, as scheduled. John Wade got the majority of the snaps with the first team offense in Grove’s absence. Defensive end Fred Wakefield, battling a stomach ailment, did not practice after practicing in the morning session. Safety Greg Wesley (back spasms), who returned to practice in the morning, missed the evening session. Grant Irons is still out with a hamstring pull.

– Al Davis made his first appearance at practice, watching from a golf cart between the two fields.

– During kickoff drills early in practice, running back Darren McFadden was deep and running kickoffs hard up the middle. Kiffin mentioned McFadden as a possibility for return duty on occasion.

Interesting McFadden would get his most work in that area in a practice Davis attended. Whether or not McFadden returns kickoffs will almost certainly be a decision made at the top. Davis resisted the idea of having Charles Woodson play offense or return punts, although part of that probably had to do with Woodson’s history of nagging injuries.

– Expect McFadden to be utilized only in crucial situations, in games where the Raiders need a strike at the end of a half or game, or when they are struggling on offense and need a momentum switch. To use him at all in that role in the preseason would be a questionable use of a major investment.

– McFadden had a much better practice catching the ball out of backfield than he did in the earlier session, when Kiffin expressed concern over his “hand placement.” Guess he figured out they had to be somewhere near the ball.

– Other players returning kickoffs were cornerback Chris Johnson, wide receiver Jonathan Holland and safety Tyvon Branch, who Kiffin said earlier in the day is the current leader for that role.

– Rookie wide receiver Chaz Schilens was taken to task by receivers coach James Lofton for not coming back hard enough to catch a pass.

– The offense spent one session running plays apart from the defense, meaning the opposing “defense” consisted of second- and third-line offensive players. McFadden, fortunately looked to be a rock when it came to pass blocking against blitzing Ivy League quarterback Jeff Otis.

If the 49ers play their second-line offense as a defense against Oakland, the Raiders look to be in business.

– Johnnie Lee Higgins would seem to have a roster edge since he is the leader to be the punt return specialist, but in terms of catching the ball and making plays as a receiver, Holland appears to be staying right with him or even outplaying him.

– Nnamdi Asomugha perfectly diagnosed a JaMarcus Russell slant pass in a 7-on-7 drill, jumped the route and ran for a would-be touchdown.

– Linebackers Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard are so adept at pass coverage that the defense they refer to as the “dime” _ which in most cases utilizes one linebacker and six defensive backs _ has both men on the field. It is distinguished from the nickel by the positioning of the backs.

– Wide receiver Todd Watkins had one drop of a Russell pass over the middle and later a juggle which he managed to retrieve, but ended practice on a strong note, catching a deep out from Marques Tuiasosopo with an impressive leap and grab as three horns sounded to end the session.

– Following Watkins’ grab, the team met in the center of the field, but Kiffin dispatched Janikowski to attempt a 57-yard field goal. Usually in those instances, something is on the line _ extended curfew, reduced meeting time, etc.

Janikowski, who had nailed a pair of 43-yard kicks in an end-of-game drill earlier in practice, this time missed wide right.

– The Raiders practice once Monday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
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Training camp, Day 5

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, July 28th, 2008 at 6:49 pm in Oakland Raiders
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Quick hits from Monday’s Raiders’ practice:

– A few Napa Valley restaurants cashed in Monday night thanks to Sebastian Janikowski.

Janikowski nailed a 43-yard field goal at the end of practice, giving the players a one-night respite from the healthy diet instituted in camp this year by coach Lane Kiffin and strength and conditioning coach Brad Roll.

“That just made their coaches have to buy them dinner,” Kiffin said. “We kind of changed the menu a lot. It’s wearing on them. It’s extremely healthy, whole wheat pasta, and they’re getting a little worn out by it.

“Myself and Brad Roll sat down and put a menu together with the chefs here. It’s really good. It’s helped our guys and we’re the best shape we’ve ever been in. And we’ve changed our food at the facility, too. But they needed a little break and we’re hoping he could make it.”

Defensive end Jay Richardson promised to research the most expensive restaurant available. Guard Robert Gallery was dubious as to whether Tom Cable would splurge.

The previous evening, again with a potential fat-laden meal on the line, Janikowski missed from 57 yards.

“They had to eat whole wheat again,” Kiffin said.

– Mark Wilson, who had played both guard and tackle, sustained a broken left leg and Kiffin said he was probably “done.”

Fred Wakefield, who came to the Raiders as a blocking tight end who could play offensive line in a pinch, only to be moved to defensive end, found himself playing right guard. He even got in a few snaps with the first team.

Three seasons ago, Wakefield started four games at guard and three at tackle for the Arizona Cardinals. Wakefield said changing positions as well as position coaches is not too much of a strain.

“Once you’ve been in a system, you kind of know how it all works, what the concepts are and how things are supposed to go,” Wakefield said. “It’s just a matter of learning terminology more than anything.”

Kiffin conceded that in the NFL, it’s unlikely a player would make a 53-man roster on the basis of playing on both lines given the time devoted to each. Wakefield doesn’t look at the constant shifting as a curse.

“I’m one of those people, I really enjoy coming out here, I really enjoy being around these guys . . . but as long as I get a chance to play and do something, I’m not really too concerned how it shakes out,” Wakefield said. “Coach Kiffin this morning, he pretty much asked me if I could do it. He said, ‘I know that you will, I want to know if you can.’ I’m like, ‘It’s not a problem.”

– Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha missed practice to attend a funeral in the Bay Area and is expected to be back for Tuesday’s double session at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Safety Greg Wesley (back spasms), and linebacker Grant Irons (hamstring) did not practice.

– An inconsistent day for quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Included among a handful of excellent throws was an overthrow intended for John Madsen which was stolen by safety Rashad Baker.

During a seven-on-seven drill, Russell failed to notice strong side linebacker Ricky Brown dropping into coverage and threw the ball directly to him for another pick.

– During one sloppy exchange from beginning to end, Russell bobbled a center snap, then managed to get a shaky handoff to Louis Rankin, who was immediately met by Thomas Howard and Gibril Wilson in the backfield and somehow managed not to fumble.

Russell gave way to Andrew Walter and was seen flexing and shaking his left hand. He returned later and seemed fine.

– Brown, competing with Sam Williams and Robert Thomas, is making a case for himself as the starting strong side linebacker. He also stopped Michael Bush in his tracks on an inside run.

– Cornerback Michael Waddell, victimized regularly since the start of camp, actually grabbed the shirt of Johnnie Lee Higgins so the receiver couldn’t get away, with the ball sailing incomplete.

“Nice coverage,” defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said.

– Quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo found Chris McFoy for a 17-yard touchdown in a seven-on-seven drill between an apparently blown bracket, with neither cornerback DeAngelo Hall nor free safety Michael Huff getting to the play on time.

– Walter rolled to his right on one play and ended up throwing the ball out of bounds, but was given time to throw the pass when fullback Oren O’Neal buried defensive end Greg Spires, riding him to the ground with a block.

– Marcel Reece, the undrafted free agent from Washington with intriguing size (6-foot-3, 240 pounds), lined up at fullback for a few plays and has been working with the running backs on occasion during drills, possibly to see if he can be an H-back.

– Although he has virtually no chance to make the 53-man roster if Justin Fargas, Bush and McFadden remain healthy, undrafted Washington free agent Louis Rankin has had a solid camp and could end up on the practice squad or perhaps be claimed by another team with a strong preseason performance.

– What might have been the best catch of training camp so far came from undrafted rookie free agent tight end Darrell Strong from Tuiasosopo. Running across the middle from right to left, Strong reached back and pulled the ball in with his left hand, transferring it to his right, before falling to the ground and holding on.

– Raiders receivers were running a drill in which they ran under a metal archway less than 6-feet tall, caught a quick pass, then maneuvered through a series of cones. Rookie Chaz Schillens struck the bar with his helmet the first time and dropped a pass. The second time he made under and dropped it again.

Both times, the response from receivers coach James Lofton was the same: “It’s a catch drill, 84.”

– Rookie defensive end Trevor Scott is still having trouble getting free from offensive lineman, getting manhandled on one rush by right tackle Mario Henderson.

– It is conceivable that none of the 30 or over veterans brought in this offseason _ linebacker Edgerton Hartwell, Spires, Wesley and Wade _ will make the team based on how the first seven practices have played out.

Hartwell and Spires have made few plays to speak of, Wesley has missed considerable time with back spasms, and the Raiders appear to be giving Jake Grove every chance to win the starting job at center. Chris Morris would be the more likely choice as the backup because he can also play guard, while Wade is strictly a center.

– No chance Grady Jackson returns to the Raiders. He decided to go back and play in Atlanta. Probably wouldn’t have liked the “healthy” diet in Napa, anyway.

– Kiffin came to the post practice press briefing to discover a new podium.

“And they said we were out of money,” Kiffin said.
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A FREE SAFETY IN DISGUISE

Oakland's Huff jumps at his chance to make impact in the open field

David White, Chronicle Staff Writer

(07-28) 20:09 PDT -- Raiders safety Michael Huff recently was spotted wearing a black-and-silver T-shirt with a Transformers logo in the middle. The mid-'80s cartoon was canceled when Huff was 4 years old, but he still digs the "old school" theme.

After two uneventful seasons, Huff will be the one doing the transforming, from an ordinary strong safety into a playmaking free safety worthy of his No. 7 overall selection in the 2006 draft.

His mission: bring an end to the broken tackles, open-field whiffs and botched assignments that have become trademarks of the Raiders' last line of defense since Rod Woodson was released four years ago.

"They brought me here to make plays," said Huff, who admits he couldn't much tell an Autobot (good guys) from a Decepticon (boo) before the movie was released in 2007.

"I'm playing a position I want to play, so it's making me strive harder to prove to everybody that he's right by making me switch to free safety."

"He" would be Raiders coach Lane Kiffin, who wanted to make the "switch" last year when he first got to Oakland.

He knew that Huff was misdiagnosed as an NFL strong safety. The position is geared toward muscle-bound bruisers. Huff weighed but 193 pounds at the end of last season. He hasn't reached his listed playing weight of 205 pounds.

Problem was, Kiffin had no better options at the time. Year 2 for Huff was doomed to be as impact-free as Year 1.

"He was doing the best he could," Kiffin said. "Was he out of position? Sure, he was out of position. But it was something that, there weren't other people at that position so he played there.

"I think whenever you have a passion for something, you're going to be better at it. (Free safety) is where he always wanted to be, where his body is best fit to be, and you can see it by his body language."

Huff is happy, all right. His cleats have springs, his shoulders lack slump, and he talks more fun-oriented trash at practice than ever before.

The desired results came Saturday. Huff dropped deep in pass coverage, read JaMarcus Russell's eyes and broke for the ball just in time for his first camp interception.

No longer is his speed being wasted covering tight ends twice his size. Gone are the days of being voided at the line of scrimmage by unshakeable guards and fullbacks. When Huff said he was "frustrated about stuff," he was talking about that stuff.

"I think he just wanted to help the team out and do what the team wanted him to do," said cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, a first-round pick in 2003 who flourished after the Raiders moved him from free safety to cornerback early in his career.

"It wasn't truly where his heart was. His heart was back there at free. Being able to make those type of plays, especially with his size."

First, the Raiders needed to find a suitable replacement at strong safety. Kiffin promised Huff he'd look for one in the offseason. By March, he delivered San Jose native Gibril Wilson, the physical helmet hunter from the world-champ Giants.

Huff didn't get a follow-up call saying free safety was his. He didn't need one.

"As soon as we picked up Gibril, I kind of knew it was on," Huff said. "I'm out there running around, having fun. Make Gibril take on all the tackles, guards and fullbacks and all that. I can stay back there and make plays.

"I have no excuses now, so it's on me."
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Originally Posted by doingthisinsteadofwork View Post
Lap runners for false starts or offsides Sunday morning included tackle/guard Paul McQuistan, tackle Mario Henderson and defensive end Fred Wakefield.
Quote:
Defensive end Fred Wakefield, battling a stomach ailment, did not practice after practicing in the morning session.
Did we move Wakefield from TE to DE or did the writer just make the same mistake twice?
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^^Nevermind, I found this later in the article
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Originally Posted by doingthisinsteadofwork
Fred Wakefield, who came to the Raiders as a blocking tight end who could play offensive line in a pinch, only to be moved to defensive end, found himself playing right guard. He even got in a few snaps with the first team.

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Old 07-29-2008, 05:11 PM    (permalink
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By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 at 1:33 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Quick hits from Raiders practice Tuesday morning:

– The morning after players went on a calorie binge with the blessing of coach Lane Kiffin, the Raiders had their most physical practice of training camp. By Kiffin’s count, there were 85 plays in the full team sessions, easily the most since camp opened.

“I thought they responded well and were very physical,” Kiffin said. “It was great to see (Oren) O’Neal show up in short-yardage and really go after our linebackers today.”

The Raiders have high hopes for O’Neal as a lead blocker, and he had once nice catch of a swing pass which gained yardage.

Don’t bother asking him about it, though.

“He doesn’t say a word. He’s never going to say a speech. He’s never going to talk to the guys. Sometimes he doesn’t talk the whole day,” Kiffin said. “He lets his play do the talking and he’s valuable to us on special teams as well as fullback.”

Kiffin conceded on Day 1 his demeanor has changed a little with a program in place, but he can still bring a little intensity when warranted. Very early in practice, during a kick coverage drill, Kiffin barked, “ Trevor Scott is offsides! Do things right. Practice the way you’re going to play.”

Then Kiffin spiked the kicking tee.

– Drew Carter, working much of the day with the No. 1 unit at wide receiver along with Javon Walker, continued to impress. He did draw the criticism from offensive coordinator Greg Knapp during one drill for not being decisive enough following a reception.

“You’re dancing with the stars,” Knapp said.

One of Carter’s better plays was a tough catch for a touchdown on a Russell pass in tight quarters against DeAngelo Hall and Michael Huff.

– Tight end Zach Miller, who made a bobbling catch in the end zone while he was unguarded, also heard it from Knapp.

“One catch per ball. Let’s go,” Knapp said.

– Miller worked the middle seam for several nice catches during the course of the day and has gone from a rookie to taken for granted in one year. Kiffin believes Miller would have caught more than 44 passes last season (the highest total for any tight end among NFL rookies) had he not had to pass block so much.

With the Raiders’ situation at tackle, it remains to be seen whether Miller will be freed up any more this year.

– Walker is not making the kind of plays one might expect considering the amount of money the Raiders paid to get him. On one pass, when quarterback JaMarcus Russell threw behind Walker, receivers coach James Lofton criticized Walker for being four yards off on his pattern.

“We continue to try to put him in situations,” Kiffin said. “We’re working on a lot of press coverage versus him. We told our corners to get up and press him to really challenge him. We need him and JaMarcus to understand when guys are pressed out there we have to go at them. We need it to be a mentality we develop and those two develop.”

– Kiffin said Andrew Walter and Marques Tuiasosopo are in competition to become the backup quarterback to Russell, with fewer turnovers likely the deciding factor. Neither turned the ball over Tuesday morning, but Walter had the better day passing. He was particularly adept at finding John Madsen and Miller on touch routes 15 to 20 yards down field.

Madsen made a diving grab which was the session’s best reception, drawing applause from a Raiders booster club which was invited to the closed session.

– The Raiders are experimenting with defensive end Derrick Burgess, using him on occasion on the right side. They even had him working with linebackers during seven-on-seven sessions for a brief time Monday.

“You’ve seen Derrick out there on both sides, and we’re looking at a number of different things keeping him on the open edge, keep him away from tight ends and be able to rush the passer more and play on the split end side,” Kiffin said.

Said defensive end Jay Richardson: “Last year teams slid protections to him, double-teamed him, chipped him with backs and he still got eight (sacks).”

A grand idea, but what about the seven-on-seven drills?

“He went to seven-on-seven because we’re standing (him) up a little bit, looking at some open things where he’s dropping so we’ve got to see how well he can do that,” Kiffin said.

Burgess in pass coverage instead of rushing the passer? Perhaps they shouldn’t overthink this one.

– Jarrod Cooper unloaded on Madsen on one play over the middle, nearly a helmet-to-helmet blow that Kiffin seemed to think it was OK because it was a high hit. A second hit, low against tight end Darrell Strong, had Kiffin and defensive backs coach Darren Perry both talking to Cooper about being more careful.

“I probably shouldn’t have tackled the rookie, but first of all, he’s a rookie so I’m not worried about him,” Cooper said.

A good line, but not one he would have used had the rookie been named Darren McFadden.

– Adimchinobe Echemandu, who earned a roster spot last year because of his training camp performance, is having a rough go of it this time around. He fell and fumbled on one carry, and it isn’t the first time he has gotten his feet tangled and gone down without contact.

– Johnnie Lee Higgins made the sort of leaping catch against Stanford Routt that Raiders coaches want to see more of.

– Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha made two perfectly-timed breakups, including one in which he raced back on a play-action pass and broke up a Russell post intended for Walker. Walker appeared to have a step on Asomugha, and for one of the few times in camp, Russell’s pass wobbled and allowed Asomugha the chance to make up the difference.

– Linebacker Jon Alston closed off a draw play to Justin Fargas and stopped the running back in his tracks, drawing praise from Rob Ryan. Alston has also assumed Stuart Schweigert’s role as the personal protector for Shane Lechler on punts _ an indication he has a good chance of making the team again.

– A double-standard for lap runners? After a false start by Kwame Harris, Seth Wand was dispatched to take his place at left tackle but never took the field as Harris stayed in. When Paul McQuistan did the same thing, he was off and running. McQuistan has been the Raiders’ most frequent jogger for false starts.

– Speaking of double standards, it seems the defensive line got the best end of the deal Monday night after Sebastian Janikowski’s 43-yard field goal freed them from their healthy Napa diets.

The defensive line dined at Cole’s Chop House, a high-end, expensive steak house. Running backs went Italian in downtown Napa. Defensive backs went to a popular restraurant in Yountville.

There was some good natured grumbling among the offensive linemen and linebackers, who went to a Cantina-style Mexican restaurant down the road from the hotel.

“My stomach is still feeling it,” one lineman said. “Defensive linemen were telling me what they got last night and I said, `I don’t want to hear it.’ ”

Linebackers coach Don Martindale was unapologetic.

“The defensive coordinator and the linebackers coach love Mexican food,” Martindale said. “Can’t you tell?”

– A second practice is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:54 PM    (permalink
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Lane Kiffin believes it could take all of training camp for the Oakland Raiders to settle on a starting center. Jake Grove disagrees.

"I plan on starting," Grove said. "We'll see what happens. But I feel if I can go out there and do what I can do, it won't be a problem."

Grove was the Raiders' full-time starter two years ago but played in only seven games in 2007, most of them as a backup to Jeremy Newberry. He's also coming off knee surgery that forced him to miss all of Oakland's offseason workouts.

The Raiders signed veteran John Wade in late March; the team used Wade and Chris Morris, a seventh-round draft pick in '06, at center during the team's June minicamp.

But through the first week of training camp, Grove has taken the bulk of reps with Oakland's starting offense while Wade has acted as the backup. Morris, meanwhile, is getting work at right guard as a backup to Cooper Carlisle.

"It's wide open," Kiffin declared earlier in the week. "They'll decide who plays there by the way they practice and the way they play in the preseason. All three of them will get a shot."

Oakland's offense struggled last season while Daunte Culpepper, Josh McCown and — eventually — JaMarcus Russell rotated at quarterback. It didn't help that Newberry, the starting center who beat out Grove for the job in training camp a year ago, was playing on cranky knees that prevented him from practicing much during the week.

The outcome was predictable and painful. The Raiders botched numerous snaps that resulted in fumbles, and the offense sputtered the entire year.

With Russell now firmly entrenched as the starting quarterback, Kiffin is hopeful the team can find him a permanent center to work with.

"The sooner we get the center thing figured out the better," Kiffin said. "As soon as we can get the same center with the same quarterback going together, definitely that's going to help. I'm not going to put a date on it and then make the wrong decision. That's going to be them showing it to us, and we're obviously not going to know that until we get into the preseason."

Grove, a second-round pick in 2004 who started eight games at right guard as a rookie, doesn't think it will take that long. Though he was only recently cleared to return to practice after rehabbing his knee in the offseason, Grove has looked strong in practice and has shown no lingering effects from the surgery.

"Probably the last month I really started feeling good," Grove said. "I didn't get any vacation over this last month. I've been working every day. It's good to finally get back to practicing."

___

EXTRA POINTS: The Raiders announced that backup guard Mark Wilson has suffered a broken leg and is likely done for the season. ... Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was excused from practice to attend a funeral.
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Old 07-30-2008, 11:52 AM    (permalink
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Training camp, Day 6 (P.M. practice)

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 at 9:52 pm in Oakland Raiders
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Quick hits from Tuesday night’s Raiders practice:

– The absence of JaMarcus Russell with a sore elbow meant plenty of work for Andrew Walter and Marques Tuiasosopo. Walter had another excellent practice, finishing his best passing day of camp.

– The Raiders hired officials for the first time this training camp, and pre-snap penalties continued to be a problem.

Tuesday night joggers included Kwame Harris (false start), Cornell Green (false start), Trevor Scott (lining up in the neutral zone), Robert Thomas (offsides) and Darrell Strong (false start).

During one sequence, with the loud music playing to simulate crowd nose, there were three flags in four plays.

– One of Walter’s big plays was a completion to Chaz Schilens in which Nnamdi Asomugha was in position to make the play and even lost his shoe on his leap, only to have Schilens catch a deflection. Late in practice, he dropped a perfect deep throw along the left sidelines into the hands of Drew Carter.

– Defensive end Jay Richardson, a decent run defender last year, stopped McFadden in the backfield.

– Cornerback DeAngelo Hall has had a habit of jumping routes in hopes of getting interceptions going for touchdowns but arriving late and giving up the completion. It happened against Carter in a team session and against Oren O’Neal in a seven-on-seven. On the latter, defensive Rob Ryan was imploring Hall to “make a house call.”

Later, Hall was a fraction late on a pass from Walter to Drisan James.

Hall was also beaten on a deep out by Johnnie Lee Higgins.

– Wide receiver Todd Watkins ran a streak into the end zone that appeared to be broken up by the oft-torched Michael Waddell on a pass from Tuiasosopo, only to catch the ball Waddell thought he had batted away.

– When it was suggested by a teammate that Jarrod Cooper could have made a play on a pass, Cooper responded, “Hey, I don’t catch the ball, I knock (expletive) down, OK?”

– When H-back Marcel Reece shifted out of his position in the backfield and moved toward the line, Kiffin screamed, “This is got nothing to do with you. Get back in the I.” Reece dutifully moved back into position.

– Cornerback John Bowie, who injured a knee in the morning practice, missed the evening session and Kiffin doesn’t expect him to practice Wednesday afternoon. Safety Greg Wesley missed another practice with back spams, and wide receiver Javon Walker, center Jake Grove and guard-tackle Fred Wakefield also sat out the session as scheduled.

Defensive end Derrick Burgess and running back Justin Fargas did some work in individual drills but were rested in the team sessions. John Madsen, who took a blow to the head from Cooper in the morning, watched in a baseball cap in the evening.

– The Raiders went through drills at a fairly leisurely pace for more than an hour before picking up the intensity for the second hour.
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Old 07-30-2008, 01:41 PM    (permalink
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Thumbs up

Thanks for the updates man.
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They said I couldn't be a high school QB. They said I couldn't get a D1 scholarship. BeerBaron said I couldn't beat the Bears. - Tebow

Proving the doubters wrong.
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Old 07-30-2008, 11:39 PM    (permalink
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Training camp, Day 7

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, July 30th, 2008 at 7:01 pm in Oakland Raiders
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Quick hits from Wednesday’s training camp practice:

– The Raiders spent the latter part of practice in teams sessions working on specific situations.

Two that were included: offense is down by two points with 1:19 left and one time out, trying to work for a field goal from its own 36. Offense gets one play from the 12-yard-line. Score or lose.

The drills were largely dominated by the defense, although a medium-deep pass from Marques Tuiasosopo to Zach Miller set up a 54-yard field goal attempt, which Sebastian Janikowski hammered dead center at least halfway up the uprights.

In a later drill, Janikowski connected from 37 yards to the south end zone _ one that struck a pine tree and bounced back onto the grounds of Redwood Middle School when it looked as if it would travel over a senior center and on to Redwood Road.

Janikowski missed wide right from 48 yards after Walter connected on three consecutive passes to McFadden, bringing the offense from its own 32 to the 33 of the defense. The completions came after a McFadden drop, with the rookie starting to run before securing the ball.

– DeAngelo Hall intercepted an Andrew Walter pass intended for Tony Stewart during a drill which the offense had no time outs and needed to throw to the sideline, which was followed in close order by Gibril Wilson’s interception off Walter.

– McFadden and Derrick Burgess are getting double duty. McFadden worked during some seven-on-seven drills as a receiver, Burgess in pass coverage as a linebacker.

With McFadden, it is all part of the crash course he is getting in as many areas of the offense as possible.

“That’s probably close to unheard of for a guy to be at two different positions in individual that’s a rookie, to go to running back individual, then receiver individual and go back to running back.,” Kiffin said. “He’s handling it great.”

Burgess said he is fine with flopping sides and working as a linebacker on occasion if it can reduce the amont of double-team and chip blocking he receivers rushing the passer. Playing without his hand down is more of an adjustment.

“That (bleep) makes me tired man,” Burgess said. “No, it’s cool. The only thing different about that is it’s all these different sets and everything. But it’s cool. It’s nothing. I’m an athlete man. ‘

– Steve Wisniewski ran a marathon once. Paul McQuistan may be next, or so it seems. He was forced to run another lap for a false star, something that seems to happen at least once every practice.

– During one drill with the offense inside the 20 and out of time outs, Tuiasosopo threw to Chaz Schilens, who stayed inbounds rather than immediately step out, drawing a swift rebuke from the quarterback.

Schilens later jumped offsides and was sent running by Kiffin. Schilens took it upon himself to run around both fields, rather than just one.

– Some rough moments for Ronald Curry and Javon Walker during a routine drill with James Lofton throwing passes into the corner of the end zone from 30 yards away.

Curry dropped two balls, while Walker dropped one, then turned the wrong way and whiffed an other. Lofton by the way, throws a nice ball.

– Drew Carter came down with a difficult catch along the sideline in which he tumbled to the ground with Nnamdi Asomugha. Carter briefly went to the sideline to be checked but was fine; Asomugha came out briefly and returned.

– Jake Grove continues to take reps as the starting center, and has taken to being the first to arrive, leading the rest of the linemen, when the unit moves from their drill area to the team area.

– Ricky Brown continues to work with the first team at strong side linebacker, and even stayed fairly even with McFadden on one pass that fell incomplete, moments after Sam Williams failed to turn around in pass coverage in a play which would have resulted in pass interference.

– Wide receiver Arman Shields missed practice with a sore knee.

“We probably could’ve pushed him, but he’s been working really hard,” Kiffin said. “He goes through all the special teams stuff, too, and it’s just wearing him down a little bit.”

– Cornerback John Bowie, who injured a knee Tuesday night, missed practice and Kiffin termed him “day-to-day.” Safety Greg Wesley (back) and linebacker Grant Irons (hamstring) missed practice.

– Word is the defensive line ran up a bill of more than $2,500 on dinner and drinks at a local steak house Monday night when freed for an evening from the “healthy” diet instituted by Kiffin and strength coach Brad Roll.
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Old 07-31-2008, 01:09 AM    (permalink
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Props for the updates. I really like the idea of trying McFadden and Burgess out at two different positions in camp. More opportunities to utilize our team's biggest playmakers can only be seen as a plus.
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Old 07-31-2008, 02:26 AM    (permalink
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I wanna see Ricky Brown play.Hopefully he can shed blocks well.
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