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The Raiders took the field for the first time in 2011. Missing were key free agents Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller and Michael Huff and restricted free agents Michael Bush and Marcel Reece. Missing also were the slow tempo learning-intensive practices deployed by Hue Jackson’s predecessor Tom Cable.
Training Camp Report
Hue Jackson is taking a different approach. Jackson’s practice was high tempo and he wants it even faster.
With practices shortened an an abbreviated offseason, Jackson must install the playbook in significantly less time. Higher tempo means more learning in less amount of time. It’s simple, the Raiders should have high tempo practices to get as much done as possible before the season.
Stefen Wisniewski probably had the most interesting media session when he mentioned the new playbook. He mentioned how the Raiders are going to use a lot of misdirection and motion to utilize the Raiders excellent offensive speed. It’s something worth keeping your eye on.
-John Henderson left practice with an injury.
-Bruce Campbell, Darrius Heyward-Bey, & Trevor Scott are on the PUP list with injuries. Heyward-Bey should return soon.
Teams can begin signing free agents at 3 p.m. tomorrow and the Raiders have needs to address. When asked what his team weaknesses were Hue Jackson only mentioned the offensive line. Look for the Raiders to add offensive lineman tomorrow.
The Raiders have been silent so far and are taking a conservative approach to free agency. This is usually a good idea, but in this case the Raiders cap situation may be the major hindrance.
Kamerion Wimbley’s franchise tag number needs to be reduced, to do so the Raiders will need to sign him to an extension. The Raiders will probably redo a few deals in the next few days and potentially make a few cuts.
Reports of Cooper Carlisle and Chris Johnson proved untrue when they took the field today.
Asomugha’s suitors are seemingly down to three: The Jets, 49ers and the Raiders. Don’t be surprised if mystery team emerges as the favorites for Asomugha’s services tomorrow.
The market for Zach Miller has been unusually cool and he’s likely just waiting until the Raiders put their financial house in order to sign. There is an excellent chance he re-signs with the Raiders.
Market seems to be cool on Michael Huff as well. It will be interesting to see who signs him. At an affordable price I am sure the Raiders will be interested.
Michael Bush and Marcel Reece must wait until tomorrow to sign, but they will be in camp.
ESPN is at it again. People who work for ESPN can’t do anything on Twitter. They can tell you they are going to the bathroom or waking up in the morning, but anything sports related will have to go through ESPN approval process. Basically, all the ESPN peoples twitter feeds are nothing more than either A) Boring or B) tools of the empire.
Twelve NFL teams also ban Twitter among players and beat writers during camp. For most teams with open training camp, that means the fans can better use Twitter to communicate things than can the beat writer. The beat writer would have to sacrifice his access to players and coaches to tweet. Now fans will tweet incorrect information that the beat writer would otherwise would have cleared up before tweeting it. Such as why a player sat out a practice, etc.
Thankfully, our beat writers have kept the tweets rolling in from the “private” training camp in Napa. I won’t be too hard on these guys, but there seems to be a disproportionate amount of coverage on Heyward-Bey. Mitchell has probably gotten about much coverage as JaMarcus Russell.
Where are the updates about the defensive line? Where are the updates about the running backs. They seem to be few and far between. Aside from a few WR lower on the depth chart, what other players are on the bubble? This stuff better be forthcoming guys.
Now on the the updates they did provide.
DHB had hands of glue in the evening practice. For the first time he caught the ball consistently. Russell also was looking sharp. Unfortunately, both McFadden and Thomas Howard felt the practice was sub par. Interesting that the beat writers had a different take than those two. What are the coaches saying?
You have to feel good about Tyvon Branch and Mike Mitchell. Our prospects at Safety couldn’t be better.
Mario can separate himself from Barnes if Barnes misses a few practices with a sore knee and ankle. Gallery looks to be fine after his surgery and holding him out is precautionary. Center remains fluid it seems. RT could be Green’s to lose especially if Barnes isn’t receptive to a move to that side.
Thomas Howard admits he put on a couple pounds. Take that for what it is worth.
Kirk Morrison and Fabo (Ravens CB Fabian Washington) like Shark Week on Discovery channel.
I’ll have more…stay tuned.
Because the roster currently sits at 84, there will be four more players cut before camp. So who will they be?
1. Southwick was a camp arm
2. Walter may finally get his wish
3. Samie Parker is still on the Roster
4. There are a host of other players that could take this spot. Such as another WR or Lineman
People were upset with Sulak, Davis and Joseph. I wonder if any flags will be raised when Davis and Company releases four more players in the very near future.
What have we learned from our 2008-2009 Oakland Raiders this far?
Well, a lot has to be said of the mentality change. Russell is positive, Kiffin said that McFadden has a GREAT attitude. Overall, a lot to be happy about. It appears every area of the team has improved, except the offensive line.
The first few days have been pretty normal, but lets re-hash what has been said about each positional grouping.
QB: Russell can make some insane throws and appears committed to learning the smaller things. He has a ways to go, but I can’t help but feel that those one or two plays a game where he is superman might be the difference between having just a QB that does the small things and one that can bring you back when you need him to. Tui looks poised to take the backup role, and Walter might finally get his wish out of town provided all the QBs stay healthy.
RB: Bush has a ways to go to be the short-yardage guy, and honestly I am not sure that is the best role for him, because he is a bit more nimble than he is a power runner. I was thinking change of pace, because of his size being so much different than Fargas or McFadden. McFadden looks as advertised, but he is struggling to catch balls as a WR, which might be normal for a rookie. Fargas is Fargas and runs hard when given the chance.
WR: Drew Carter appears to be fitting in nicely and I don’t see any reason Curry will disappoint. Walker might have a lot left to prove, but with the rookie and the veterans we should have a healthy mix of WR.
FB: Griffith and Oneal are probably the best two-headed FB duo in the league.
OL: This is where we have some issues. There are 3 out of 5 positions on the line that are a huge question marks. Starting with our new LT, to Center and on to the right tackle spot. Typically it is the OG spots that are easy to revolve mediocre players into, but in our case we are doing the reverse. I think center will be fine as Grove is a nice center for this scheme and Wade a capable backup. It doesn’t appear we have anything ironed out as far as Tackles. Cable knows what he is doing, and although it is tough to criticize the guy after what he did last season, I’ve more than once pointed out Cable’s ability to produce run blocking lines but fairly middle of the road pass blocking teams. Hopefully he can prove me wrong.
Secondary: Asomugha and Hall are unarguably the best CB duo in the league. Hall was an interesting trade to me, because I thought Routt was starting to come into his own, but perhaps he lacks the instincts to ever be a lockdown corner and gets by on his athletic ability too much. Or perhaps we just made the trade viewing it as a bargain. Either way we have a strong CB group with Gabril and Michael right behind them. I think Huff is really going to blossom under the tutelage of Wilson with the ability to make plays as the Free Safety. He did better than most poeple thought at SS, he tackled pretty well for his size too, he just had problems with LT and sometimes LJ, but he was really undersized and those guys abuse plenty of linebackers which are much bigger than Huff. Gabril should be the missing link and plenty of people underestimate a good safety. Bob Sanders makes the entire Colts defense better, and I expect Gabril to do the same for us as wel as move Huff to a better postion. Finally we have two nice safeties!
LB: Howard and Morrison are another awesome duo we have, they do need some work in run coverage, but ultimately the LBs shouldn’t have to shed blocks from two offensive lineman, they need to be able to make plays. I think they will. The three-pronged battled at SLB looks to be a good one, in the end I think all will play some and no real starter will emerge. I think Sam Williams to be the most capable if healthy, but Robert Thomas is highly versatile, but a bit undersized do play SLB.
DL: By most accounts of our camp Jay Richardson continues to look strong and there is a chance he could become an every-down player. If he doesn’t K. Edwards figures to fill the shoes of Chris Clemons. Hopefully just as successfully. Burgess is near unblockable in camp and he looks healthy and ready for a strong year to force the Raiders hand at a contact extension. Kelly has been easing into the practices, but reports put him as the last guy done in the workout room as he works to take off the extra weight. The improvement Kelly gives us at the 3-technique spot is largely underestimated. Sapp said it, and even Bill Belicheat knows it. Sands might eventually prove that he can play up to the level we are paying him, until then Warren needs to play like we all know he can. Hopefully a successful team will pave the way for that.
Side Note: Anyone think the Pats pay abnormally close attention to our roster? Gabriel, Moss, Jordan, etc…hmmm
In the end, there are a lot of things that need to go right for us to have a nice season, but weirder things have happened (Browns last year?). I believe we lack true depth overall, so injuries might be key for us. We took some gambles this year, but if just half of the pay off we are in much better shape than a year ago.
Camp is finally here. I guess there were a lot of positives today, because even Ol’ McDonald was upbeat. I guess when there is hardly anything negative to report, its tough to be negative, even for middle-aged sports reporters.
-Javon Walker doesn’t have any significant injuries and is in fact in better shape than he was during mini-camp when Kiffin said he wished Walker was in better shape. I find this to be a good thing because of the NFL Conduct Policy enforcement the media has been too quick to judge, when in fact Walker was just a victim. He could have been smarter, but we all make mistakes.
- Kelly actually talked to the media because he was told he had to. I like that he is willing to admit that he has no personal vendetta against the media, simply put he just likes to got to work and go home. I respect his finally coming out and talking to the media, even though he doesn’t really like to. I hope the media plays it cool with Kelly, because he still could change his mind and its nice to hear your $50 million players talk.
- Russell looked sharp
- McFadden looked as fast as advertised
- Asomugha cares more about winning than money, like I expected.
- Kiffin is not un-naturally forcing himself to be crazy enthusiastic this camp.
I feel really good about the season and opening camp was no exception. Even Turd Sands passed the conditioning test. That is almost as rare as Bill Belicheat passing a lie detector test.