At 5:32 p.m. Wednesday, cornerback DeAngelo Hall stepped in front of a JaMarcus Russell pass intended for Johnnie Lee Higgins and ran the other way with an interception.
Not earthshaking news, but a rarity in that it was the first time I’d seen a defender step make a play on the ball and make a clean interception without help from a deflection off the hands of an intended receiver during all the allotted media availability time through rookie minicamp, two organized team activities and three practices at the mandatory minicamp.
Thirteen minutes later, it happened again. This time it was Andrew Walter throwing into double coverage, withThomas Howard stealing the pass. He considered a lateral to Michael Huff, thought better of it, and kept the ball.
More quick hits from the evening session:
— Al Davis made his first appearance on the field at the minicamp.
— Visitors included former Raiders defensive tackle Chester McGlockton, who had a very brief exchange with Davis. McGlockton is working as an assistant coach with Hayward’s Chabot College and was accompanied by a few other members of the Chabot staff.
— JaMarcus Russell made jaw-dropping throw on a broken play, rolling to his right and flicking a pass that traveled 60 yards in the air to Drew Carter, who got behind Michael Huff for a big gain.
— Neither Fred Wakefield (knee) nor Javon Walker participated in the second practice. Neither did fullback Oren O’Neal, who sustained a knee injury in the morning session. That meant a busy practice for the only other fullback on the roster, veteran Justin Griffith.
Arman Shields (hamstring) missed his third straight practice, watching Todd Watkins and Chaz Schilens get plenty of work and have some positive moments.
— Practice ended with coach Lane Kiffin calling for a two-minute drill, putting 2:28 on the clock, giving the offense two timeouts and the ball at the 31-yard line.
The first team defense responded with Gerard Warren dropping Russell for a 10-yard “sack” on first down. On second down, Russell found Johnnie Lee Higgins for 9 yards to the 30.
Blitz fans will be pleased to note cornerback Stanford Routt got to Russell for a five-yard loss on third down, with Zach Miller failing to hold a short pass far short of the first down marker on fourth-and-long, with Russell under pressure by Kalimba Edwards.
The second team offense fared somewhat better against the second team defense. Andrew Walter hit Griffith against a blitz for a 12-yard gain on first down, with Will Buchanon dropping a Walter pass on second down.
That prompted a rebuke from offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, who barked, “That’s three drops today! Let’s go!”
The offense moved past midfield on another pass from Walter to Griffith. Walter had an an opportunity for a deep strike to Drisam James for a score, but Hiram Eugene made up enough ground to deflect a slightly underthrown pass.
An offsides penalty by Jay Richardson and a completion from Walter to Schilens got Sebastian Janikowski in range for a 46-yard field goal attempt. Janikowski missed slightly to the left, then converted when he got another chance, ending practice.
— Defensive tackle Terdell Sands, who has been playing both at the nose and three-technique and been working behind Josh Shaw, drew the eye of at least one sideline observer for playing with fire and emotion.
— Darren McFadden was one of several players working at fielding balls from a JUGS machine to simulate kickoffs.
— Wide receiver James Lofton throws his own passes during drills and was instructing his charges to “see the ball, feel the sidelines,” and was making one perfect pass after another on out patterns.
— The Raiders complete the minicamp with one practice today starting at 12:30 p.m.