Training camp, Day 18


News and notes, sights and sounds from the Raiders practice Monday afternoon:

— With coach Lane Kiffin in the hospital for observation with a viral infection, according to a club spokesman, the Raiders went through a routine, if quieter practice session.

“You know, we really didn’t miss him,” said quarterback Josh McCown, failing to hold a straight face. “Nah, we noticed, because he’s always yelling and upbeat. He’s real fiery. After the first five minutes of practice you’re thinking, `Where’s coach Kiff? You miss him yelling, moving around, being high energy and getting guys going like he does. We wish him the best and hopes he gets back out here soon.”

— No word on how long Kiffin will be out, although there was some speculation it could be a few days. Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp had no specifics regarding Kiffin’s medical condition, but said Kiffin told him Sunday night, “Hey Greg, why don’t you plan out the next three days here of training camp before we get in preparation for the San Francisco game.”

— Knapp said his understanding is “It’s something he’s been fighting the last two or three days. I had a little bit of a sinus infection myself, so it’s one of those things, I think that just passed through camp.”

— Practice went as usual with Knapp running the offense, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan the defense and Brian Schneider handling special teams. Knapp and Schneider spoke to the team in the final huddle before practice ended.

“Once you get going you forget about it, but we’ll razz him when he gets back out here,” left guard Robert Gallery said. “You’ve got to be pretty sick to miss practice. It’s a little different, but that’s what assistant coaches are for.”

Said cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha: “I don’t know what’;s going on. I think he’s a little sick, or maybe he got happy with his first win and he didn’t want to show up. I don’t know.”

— Team spokesman John Herrera told reporters after practice, “It’s a viral infection. He had a temperature and went to the hospital for observation. We’re waiting to hear back when he’s a go.”

— The local hospital where Kiffin was resting would not release any information regarding his condition.

— Running back LaMont Jordan returned to practice, took some handoffs with the third team offense to get back in the groove and went through all drills with his position group, looking more lively after several days off with a sore back.

Following practice, running backs coach Tom Rathman greeted owner Al Davis in his golf cart. Davis said something to Rathman about Jordan, who was nearby and smiling.

“He’s ready to go now, turn him loose,” Rathman said. “He’s got those fresh legs.”

— During one point during Monday’s practice, Ryan appeard to shatter the record for continuous profanities previously set unofficially by Jon Gruden. If taped by NFL Network, the sound would be the same solid beep heard on a television test partern.

— Cornerback John Bowie, attempting to make up for lost time after missing practices with sore Achilles, at one point threw an elbow at veteran wide receiver Jerry Porter, who said “Hey rook” and gave him a hard stare while going back to the huddle.

— Safety Hiram Eugene punched a completed pass to Ronald Curry loose with a mighty spike. Linebacker Kurt Campbell did the same thing to Dominic Rhodes in an earlier session.

— Fullback Oren O’Neil has begun struggling with his pass receiving after catching the ball well early in camp.

— Sebastian Janikowski badly missed a 57-yard field goal attempt low and to the right.

— No noticeable shift in practice reps based on the preseason win over Arizona. Josh McCown and Andrew Walter equally split reps with the first team, with Daunte Culpepper doing most of his work with the third team. Culpepper, in 7-on-7 sessions, did get an opportunity with first-team personnel.

During a two-minute drill against a prevent defense with no timeouts, Walter failied to move the club, with Culpepper coming in to complete 5 of 6 passes, hitting Johnnie Lee Higgins for a juggling 6-yard score.

The play that set up the score came on a nice piece of improvisation. Culpepepper drifted to his left, then motioned for Johnnie Morant to break off his pattern and run down the left sideline. Asomugha managed to get a fingertip on the pass, but it went to Morant anyway for the completion to the 6.

— McCown, during his two-minute series, threw an interception to Fabian Washington on his second throw which Washington for what would have been a sure touchdown.

— Knapp said the Raiders have made no decisions regarding the quarterback rotation for Saturday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.

— O.J. Santiago continues to drop nearly as many balls as he catches during team sessions.

“You look like you might as well have been blocking,” said Ryan after a drop Monday.

— Warren Sapp went into an impromptu breakdance before a snap during one drill.

— Those who didn’t practice Monday included CB Stanford Routt (knee), RB Michael Bush (leg-PUP), C Jeremy Newberry (knee-rest), G Ben Claxton (knee) , T Chad Slaughter (ankle), DT Josh Shaw (knee) and CB Duane Starks (hamstring).


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer