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Training camp, Day 4 (P.M. practice)

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Sunday, July 27th, 2008 at 9:37 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Quick hits from Sunday night’s Raiders practice:

– Tackle Mark Wilson, a practice squad player signed to the active roster following the season, sustained a left leg injury, was taken off the field on a cart, and was sent to the hospital for X-rays.

– Left tackle Kwame Harris (lower back) returned to practice after missing the previous two sessions. He moved well and at one point fared well in a pass blocking opportunity against Kalimba Edwards.

– For the first time, no offensive or defensive lineman had to run laps for committing a false start or jumping offsides.

– Wide receiver Ronald Curry and center Jake Grove took the workout off, as scheduled. John Wade got the majority of the snaps with the first team offense in Grove’s absence. Defensive end Fred Wakefield, battling a stomach ailment, did not practice after practicing in the morning session. Safety Greg Wesley (back spasms), who returned to practice in the morning, missed the evening session. Grant Irons is still out with a hamstring pull.

– Al Davis made his first appearance at practice, watching from a golf cart between the two fields.

– During kickoff drills early in practice, running back Darren McFadden was deep and running kickoffs hard up the middle. Kiffin mentioned McFadden as a possibility for return duty on occasion.

Interesting McFadden would get his most work in that area in a practice Davis attended. Whether or not McFadden returns kickoffs will almost certainly be a decision made at the top. Davis resisted the idea of having Charles Woodson play offense or return punts, although part of that probably had to do with Woodson’s history of nagging injuries.

– Expect McFadden to be utilized only in crucial situations, in games where the Raiders need a strike at the end of a half or game, or when they are struggling on offense and need a momentum switch. To use him at all in that role in the preseason would be a questionable use of a major investment.

– McFadden had a much better practice catching the ball out of backfield than he did in the earlier session, when Kiffin expressed concern over his “hand placement.” Guess he figured out they had to be somewhere near the ball.

– Other players returning kickoffs were cornerback Chris Johnson, wide receiver Jonathan Holland and safety Tyvon Branch, who Kiffin said earlier in the day is the current leader for that role.

– Rookie wide receiver Chaz Schilens was taken to task by receivers coach James Lofton for not coming back hard enough to catch a pass.

– The offense spent one session running plays apart from the defense, meaning the opposing “defense” consisted of second- and third-line offensive players. McFadden, fortunately, looked to be a rock when it came to pass blocking against blitzing Ivy League quarterback Jeff Otis.

If the 49ers play their second-line offense as a defense against Oakland, the Raiders look to be in business.

– Johnnie Lee Higgins would seem to have a roster edge since he is the leader to be the punt return specialist, but in terms of catching the ball and making plays as a receiver, Holland appears to be staying right with him or even outplaying him.

– Nnamdi Asomugha perfectly diagnosed a JaMarcus Russell slant pass in a 7-on-7 drill, jumped the route and ran for a would-be touchdown.

– Linebackers Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard are so adept at pass coverage that the defense they refer to as the “dime” _ which in most cases utilizes one linebacker and six defensive backs _ has both men on the field. It is distinguished from the nickel by the positioning of the backs.

– Wide receiver Todd Watkins had one drop of a Russell pass over the middle and later a juggle which he managed to retrieve, but ended practice on a strong note, catching a deep out from Marques Tuiasosopo with an impressive leap and grab as three horns sounded to end the session.

– Following Watkins’ grab, the team met in the center of the field, but Kiffin dispatched Janikowski to attempt a 57-yard field goal. Usually in those instances, something is on the line _ extended curfew, reduced meeting time, etc.

Janikowski, who had nailed a pair of 43-yard kicks in an end-of-game drill earlier in practice, this time missed wide right.

– The Raiders practice once Monday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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  • SCRaid

    1st!

  • MHR

    1st?

  • MHR

    Damn you SCRaid!!

  • http://www.raiders.com AhhSheeit

    You guys that love to first on a blog are frickin’ retarded!

  • Gordon Simpkinson

    Go Raiders

  • 1st

    i’m an idiot

  • OaklandRaider4Life

    Sounds like o-line is making improvements

  • MHR

    Shut your face Sheeit Head!

  • http://www.raiders.com AhhSheeit

    MHR Says:
    July 27th, 2008 at 9:47 pm
    Shut your face Sheeit Head!

    MHR: How about adding something constructive to the comments section instead of acting like a child?

    Good write up, Jerry. All the adults who read your blog appreciate it.

  • Don Hate

    ASO is looking real good. Sound like we have one of if not the best secondaries in the league

  • MHR

    Sheeit Face: Constructive?? You mean like your post #4? Very constructive.

    Calling people retarted is very “adult” Sheeitforbrains!

  • Kirk

    Thanks, Jerry.

    I can hardly wait for preseason to start.

  • Raider Raul

    Nail the dam fieldgoal Seabass!!
    JLH better not ‘ole another punt. He’s on thin ice in my book.
    Kiffin better take it easy on McFadden before he hurts himself.

  • Blackholepriest

    For those that have the widely held belief that Big AL should die or remove himself fron any rganizational dealings. Think about this, Hall, Wilson and maybe Walker would not be here if he were to listen to the likes of KK and Dakota as well as several others who fancy themselves organizational overseers.

    It was Big Al who convinced Wilson to come here and Gibril Wilson had to convince Big Al to bring Hall. As a result we have what is widely held as the best secondary the game has to offer. Yes that 80 year old fool with a walker, has had tremenduos impact on the team you’l watch for the next 5-6 years. Eventhough COW, Koolkel and Dakota would lead you to believe he is useless.

    IMO this defenseive secondary is the best that Russell will see on any team, and he’ll see it every practice. Aso is playing his butt off and Russell can’t get away with a single mistake. This alone will make him great. He will see a defense that IMO has it really going on pass defense. Edwards has looked good so far and Dburg has been an absolute beast. He’ll be ready a lot sooner this way because few teams offer the same speed in their back 7.

  • http://oaklandtribune.com JMoney2

    on behind the shield kwame harris seemed pretty educated and bright. i really hope Cable knows what hes doing with this kid… i really hope it works out

  • Marcofromda510

    Cant wait for the preseason to start, blackholepriest, im behind you on your reference on Al

  • nfalls75

    Mark Wilson, eh? What an unfortunate name…

  • Marcofromda510

    Kwame had a decent practice from the sound of this evenings drills. Keep it up Kwame!

  • http://www.cosmicdanceband.com SilverNblack666

    BHP add me to the list of Kool Aid drinkers I have always believed that Al would sell his mothers soul for a great player.

  • John Elway’s Teeth

    nfalls75 Says:

    Mark Wilson, eh? What an unfortunate name…

    And thank God he’s not a Quarterback.

  • DH

    JMAC IS THE F’N MAN!

    The line about McFadden getting his hands near the ball, and the blitzing Ivy League QB are tasty. Well played.

    Love the insight- I remember back in the day when I couldn’t even get my hands on what the preseason schedule was, but now daily updates from training camp!!!

    Thanks man.

  • DH

    “Blackholepriest Says:
    July 27th, 2008 at 10:04 pm”

    Fine Post! (despite your usage of “beast”)
    :-)

  • Marcofromda510

    last 2 nites have been a bit slow here in the comment section…

  • Anthos

    we most definetly have the best secondary in the league hands down only who come close are denver dallas and baltimoe and GB and philley bur we are clearly better yhan them

  • http://www.raiders.com AhhSheeit

    MHR Says:
    July 27th, 2008 at 9:54 pm
    Sheeit Face: Constructive?? You mean like your post #4? Very constructive.

    Calling people retarted is very “adult” Sheeitforbrains!

    MHR – Thanks for proving my point. (It’s spelled retarDed)

    Does anyone have any recollection of where we were at this point during last year’s training camp? (Aside from the obvious absence of JRuss) I don’t think we heard much good news this early into the camp. At least we have a coach who has a system in place and a set started at QB. I think things will begin to look up in the coming weeks.

  • http://erikapodaca@yahoo.com Riverside Raiders Fan

    Jerry…thanks for another training camp update. We do appreciate all the little nuggets of gold you’re giving us. It appears you’re working overtime to fill us in on these happenings. Thanks again…Go Raiders!

  • SR Raider

    Six weeks until game 1. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr I want to kick some donkey butt.

    Thanks Jerry for the best camp updates out there.

  • Marcofromda510

    i can always look at jerrys archives marked july and august 2007 if anyone is really curious to know

  • Blackholepriest

    I think B4 years end we will be in the top 5 teams in pass defense. Our speed on defense is phenomenal. Our run defense may take a while to really be good but I think we have the potential to be good. GWilson will stop a lot of long runs and i think will change the mindset of our run defense and I think that will pay huge dividends.

    My earlier post was not meant to throw certain indivduals under the bus but to get fans to understand the huge asset Big Al really is to this organization.

    Kiffin has the team, it’s his but the biulding of that team takes mre than just knowing college talent. You have to know how to navigate this league to your benefit and that’s where Big Al is second to none.

    Dakota , COW and Koolkell I have respect for them as Raider fans but sometimes they let the media dictate to them a bit too much. JMHO

  • Cruzin

    Jerry – I take it you obviously stay in Napa? Are you at the Marriott? That would be one helluva commute…

  • Blackholepriest

    Ahhsheeit, brotha we are light years ahead of last year. I think we have a legit HC now. One that has real ability to be special, a running game that’s in the stratus sphere. A secondary that’s the best B4 we even touch the field. An offense that has confidence. A defense anxious to prove themselves.

    This team is totally different from last year. Last year I just wanted to see Russell ……….period. This year I can’t wait to see what damage we can do in this league.

  • Marcofromda510

    Juss a question, what makes a Head Coach good? Is it really the numbers in the Win/Lose category? I would like to think no, but then again I would be hard pressed to say other wise.

  • http://erikapodaca@yahoo.com Riverside Raiders Fan

    Hope this morning was the last of the missing practices for K Harris and his lower back pain. Enough is enough, he needs to be in every practice and he needs to practice
    and practice his pass blocking. I’m not impressed with one good block against Edwards. Harris needs to do it every down. Good to hear no penalties for off sides. That’s an area of deep concern. We’ll always among the top five teams, usually top 3, for most penalties. First and fifteen or first and twenty is a hard way to go and can stop a drive real quick.

    Sounds like Darren McFadden knows when to turn on the after burners and when to look extra sharp…”when Al Davis” is watching. Hey, the kid is smart, he’s only “20-freaking” years old. Can you imagine all the upside ahead for him if he can stay healthy…years and years…and all for Raider Glory. Nicely done Darren!

    Sounds like James Lofton is a big up grade at Wide Receivers coach. He’s getting on and staying on their butts when they slack off for even a second. Atta Boy!

    Seabass missed wide right…what’s new? Nothing! Ya, it was 57 yards, but no one was rushing, no one was in his face. He need to draft a kicker next year. Although, I
    hope Seabass “finally” starts to come through this year and makes some freaking kicks.

    Go Raiders.

  • http://none MR

    Blackholepriest Says:
    July 27th, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    “For those that have the widely held belief that Big AL should die or remove himself fron any rganizational dealings. Think about this, Hall, Wilson and maybe Walker would not be here …”

    …….

    How many wins have they brought us thus far?

  • http://none MR

    Blackholepriest Says:
    July 27th, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    “I think we have a legit HC now”

    ..,.

    I think so, too. But does Al Davis think so? Because if half of the stories the press has reported since last season are true, Al believes his wife could coach the team better than Kiffin.

  • http://erikapodaca@yahoo.com Riverside Raiders Fan

    BlackHolePriest…post 31:

    You just hit me with a sledge-hammer. Nice Going! You’re
    so right on…That’s basically what I wanted to see, Russell and his power arm. Win a few games and see what Kiffin could do. But you’re so right, now I want to see all those wins, but I also want to see the damage we can do defensively and offensively. It’s all forward from here on out…no more stepping back. Let the damage begin.

  • http://none MR

    # Anthos Says:
    July 27th, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    “we most definetly have the best secondary in the league hands down only who come close are denver dallas and baltimoe and GB and philley bur we are clearly better yhan them”

    …..

    That’s a pretty high ranking for them not yet having played one game together. And don’t leave out the Davis/Ryan 4 man rush, Cover 0 factor. Davis and Ryan can make a decent secondary look like the worst. And, some guys that have worn the silver and black have said the same thing.

  • H/D RAIDER FAN

    MR, thats funny, 75% of the stories are fictional

  • http://donprado@comcast.net los angeles raiders

    AL DAVIS IN THE CART WATCHING PRACTICE….WOW..

  • http://none MR

    H/D, which stories are fictional?

  • dick v

    Mr nobody beleives in Kiffin more than save maybe his dad monte. I thought kiffin got a little lippy last year, and he was too worried about life after ad. He has a smaller target this year. He just has to run the offense. he is still the youngest hc in the league. he will be until Pats oc josh mcdaniel gets the nod which based off of his inability to run and switch up the play calling against the giants, might be a mistake. Kiffin needs to grow. He ran his mouth and he might have put himself on the hot seat. by the way, he will be good hc either way. i really hope he is here the next 10 yrs or at least 4.

  • H/D RAIDER FAN

    Jruss is 3bills, Aso wont sign or show to camp, Walker has broken jaw and orbital socket, Al wrote up Kif’s resignation letter, Kif wants to coach college, shall I go on

  • http://www.raiders.com AhhSheeit

    I don’t think it is a good sign or does it lend to the HCs confidence when the boss (Big Al) hires replcements for you and a few of your staff before the season starts. I am in agreement with those who think Kiff is a slow start away from packing his bags and heading back to So. Cal. I think AD’s trigger finger is itching to let Kiff go.

  • http://erikapodaca@yahoo.com Riverside Raiders Fan

    Los Angeles Raiders:

    Ya, Al Davis misses nothing. He hears and see everything and he spends every waking minute studying charts and films and detailed notes. But, the best of all, by far, is his “willingness” to spend the money to improve the team. He’s the only owner who is more concerning in winning than in individual wealth.

  • dick v

    bhp, I can’t help to agree with you that this team is talented. The lines are still suspect, but if the Raiders see what they bet on in players like Kelly, Richardson, Sands, warren, Kwame, Henderson, the lines will be that much better for everyone that performs as expected.

  • H/D RAIDER FAN

    Not going to get into it with you, but its my belief that most if not all the unabstantiated stories are just rumor inuendo and bs. forgive my spelling

  • http://erikapodaca@yahoo.com Riverside Raiders Fan

    H/D RAIDER FAN

    You’re so right on about all the bull sh&t that comes our way. It’s never going to change. We’re a good team to hate, from our colors, our fans, our swagger and history of being the bad boys. We’ll take your out cast, your throw away, and we’ll turn him into a productive player, etc. etc. We’re also a good target for the media because many footballs fans out there want to believe anything negative about the Silver & Black / Raider Nation.

  • Blackholepriest

    Well I disagree, I think Big Al is pulling for his young coach. I’m of the belief to the contrary.

    Big Al will wont to see how this team responds to Kiffin when the going gets rough. If they fight for him or quit. That will be the determining factor.

  • CollegeMoney

    I like the fact that the players are being held accountable and being made to run laps instead of being fined. This team sorely needs some accountability after the previous 4 years. Lofton sounds like a good assistant coach. Hate to say it but Freddy B’s squads had been lacking in the discipline department. Lets hope we get some wins so Kiff can implement his systems and make some changes around here for the better.

  • http://donprado@comcast.net los angeles raiders

    KIFFIN WAS A BETTER COACH THAN WALSH..CALLAHAN..ART SHELL..NORV TURNER COMBINED