‘Learning Intensive’ Practices Delay Assessment

The Raider Nation must wait until Monday to begin assessing the team behind the leadership of new starter Jason Campbell. Thanks to Tom Cable’s ‘learning intensive’ practices, the Raiders will not put on pads until Monday.

The offense could put the defense to shame in non-contact drills, and with little risk of getting hit or tackled, the offensive players have an advantage. Equally, a poor offensive performance in non-contact drills doesn’t mean much. The coaches could be testing things out and the players are adjusting timing.

Enjoy the weekend for what it is, a non-contact, buzz generating walk-through. Sad to say, the Raiders have deprived the fans the opportunity to assess their favorite team for the first four days of camp.

Hopefully Cable is right and the learning intensive practices make for fewer mistakes and fewer soft tissue injuries for the rest of camp.

Monday is when the assessment can truly begin and questions can be answered.

1) Can the linebackers cover? – This can be gauged without pads, but a hit and tackle from the linebackers will change the way the backs and receivers run through the middle.

2) Can Mario Henderson be an above average left tackle? – We need Lamarr Houston and Matt Shaughnessy pushing him around with pads.

3) How many scraps will Lamarr Houston get into? – One already and he doesn’t have pads on yet.

4) Who wins the starting running back job? – Can Bush show burst and run aggressively? Will McFadden secure the ball?

5) Is Darrius Heyward-Bey really improved? – All signs point to yes, but we don’t really know until Nnamdi can play him with pads.

6) Can Chaz Schilens stay healthy? – Already a spectator. What happens when the team starts hitting.

7) Do the Raiders have enough depth in the secondary? – Routt becoming a drama queen and rookies are the other primary backups.

8) Is the offensive line strong enough to protect the QB? – Khalif Barnes? Langston Walker? Samson Satele? Mario Henderson? Far from an all-pro offensive line.

*If there is any silver lining to learning intensive practices, it is that I am going camping this weekend. I’ll be checking in as cell service permits on Twitter and the blog should any significant news break.

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