Training camp, Day 19 (A.M.)


News and notes, sights and sounds from Tuesday morning’s practice:

— Lane Kiffin remained in the hospital with a viral infection and missed his second straight practice.

“He’s undergoing further tests and he hopes to be back soon,” a Raiders spokesman said.

The spokesman described it as a “short-term and not a long-term deal” and was holding out hope Kiffin could return as soon as Tuesday night.

— The Raiders are a little confused with regard to public relations with the head coach out. Moments after a team spokesman said no coach would be speaking with the media, offensive coordinator Greg Knapp talked to a handful of reporters.

Knapp, who said he had not talked to Kiffin since Sunday, spoke to the team in a group after practice, with special teams coordinator Brian Schneider updating players on special teams sessions.

“Training camp is really structured from the get go,” Knapp said. “We plan it out before we get here quite a bit. We will tweak it as time goes on. There’s a good plan in place so you don’t have to have a lot of adjustments right now. And even these first couple of preseason games we’re still in training camp mode not in game plan mode. It’s planned out pretty well ahead of time with Lane.”

— Running back LaMont Jordan practiced for the second consecutive day, running the ball effectively and catching everything that was thrown his way.

During one 7-on-7 drill in the red zone, Jordan circled out of the backfield and caught a wheel route for a touchdown from Josh McCown.

“Good job, LaMont, and good job selling (the route),” running backs coach Tom Rathman said.

Jordan knows his two seasons in Oakland after signing a lucrative free agent contract have not met expectations.

“There’s a lot of people questioning whether I’m the guy for the job. And of course at some point pride’s going to get in the way, and at some point you’re going to want want to make a statement. But it’s not something I talk about. Right now the AFC West, I’m clearly the back that’s not even in this hemisphere,” Jordan said. “When you look at Travis Henry, Larry Johnson and LaDainian, I’m not even mentioned on the same page as those guys. That’s something that I would like to change. I have to do my part, the offensive line has to do their part, us as a team, we have to do our part.”

— Josh McCown and Daunte Culpepper were going through a drill where they were taking turns throwing corner routes against no defenders near the front pylon of the end zone, McCown to his left and Culpepper to his right.

McCown left some of his passes to the back of the receiver, where a defender could in theory get a hand on the ball. Culpepper’s passes consistently either hit the receiver or went out of bounds.

— During a goal line drill in a team session, Culpepper inexplicably forced a pass toward the left corner to Travis Taylor. Chris Carr had perfect position and made the interception in the end zone.

— During one team session, Adimchiobe Echemandu circled out of the backfield uncovered, with a defender uttering an audible “damn” before McCown even saw the opening. McCown hit Echemandu for what would have been a 50-yard plus play, with Thomas Howard and Stuart Schweigert arriving late for the defense.

— Andrew Walter, who a year ago was the quarterback of the future, has steadily gone about his business as the Raiders have drafted JaMarcus Russell and signed Josh McCown and Daunte Culpepper.

He is choosing his words carefully when questioners expressed some surprise at his preseason performance against Arizona.

“Football is a team game. It’s never all just one player,” Walter said. “When everything is working it looks good. That’s not a surprise to me or anybody in the locker room. But apparently it is a surprise to people outside and that’s fine.”

— Wide receiver Mike Williams has snagged a first-down reception under tight coverage from Fabian Washington, who was draped all over Williams at the time of the catch.

It’s been a scene replayed several times during camp. On one hand, Williams has been able to make catches under duress. On the minus side, Williams doesn’t often gain the separation you’d want, meaning passes are more at risk to be intercepted.

— RB Michael Bush said he hopes to be activated from the physically unable to perform list and said he has not been told he will be placed on injured reserve this season.

“I’m not even close to thinking about I.R.,” Bush said. “If you’re out here you see the stuff they put me through, running-wise, and you think, why is he not out there? But, I feel good every day, though.”

Bush said at the NFL scouting combine and during minicamps and OTAs he expected to be ready for training camp. However, Bush discovered once he started running and pushing himself he would need more time.

Bush’s leg, broken last year in the opener at Louisville, has a visible lump. Bush said the strength of the bone is not a problem.

“That’s where I broke it. You look at X-rays, it’s all nothing but bone,” Bush said. “It’s solid. That part of my leg is probably the strongest part of my leg. And I’ve still got the rod in it so I know it’s not going anywhere.”

There are some within the organization who believe Bush will eventually be placed on injured reserve and won’t play for the Raiders this season.

— Defensive end Chris Clemons, who has seen time with the first nickel defense, missed practice with a hamstring pull and said he hopes to be able to face San Francisco. Others who missed practice included CB Duane Starks (hamstring), CB Stanford Routt (knee), T Chad Slaughter (ankle) and DT Josh Shaw (knee).

— G Ben Claxton, battling a knee injury and relegated to riding a stationary bike for most of camp, was waived.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer