Part of the Bay Area News Group

Training camp, Day 8 (A.M. practice)

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, July 31st, 2008 at 1:29 pm in Oakland Raiders, Preseason (2005), Raiders features.

Quick hits from Thursday morning’s practice:

– He may not have had his best fastball, but JaMarcus Russell was felt good enough to rejoin practice and make due with off-speed stuff, choosing to simply flick his wrist rather than unleash the full power of his $60 million right arm.

In his first team session, Russell completed two of five passes, one a short pass to Johnnie Lee Higgins and a dump-off to fullback Oren O’Neal. Michael Huff broke up a sideline pass intended for tight end Darrell Strong, a screen to Louis Rankin fell incomplete and Derrick Burgess pressured him into an incomplete pass.

In Russell’s second team session, there were two more short completions.

During seven-on-seven drills, Russell was the victim of a perfectly-played pick by Nnamdi Asomugha, who stole a pass intended for Arman Shields in stride and ran the other for what would have been a touchdown.

“You can see a little bit of a velocity issue with him right now, different from normal,” Kiffin said. “I think that will go away here pretty soon.”

Kiffin said the staff watched Russell closely and that trainer Rod Martin gave the go-ahead to continue.

Russell acknowledged he wasn’t 100 percent but wasn’t comfortable watching from the sidelines.

“I just wanted to get out here today just so I could get back in practice,” Russell said. “I don’t really like sitting out and watching guys bust their behinds when I can be out there doing something. Just anything out there I can help.”

– Right guard Cooper Carlisle and right tackle Cornell Green were given the morning session off, with the Raiders reshuffling their line to accomodate the absence of two starters. Seth Wand got some work at right tackle, Chris Morris at right guard, and Mario Henderson has been working on both sides.

– Speaking of Henderson, it sounds as if Kiffin’s patience has about run out on the first of three third-round picks in the 2007 draft. During the offseason, Kiffin said the Raiders were working on Henderson’s lack of aggression and his passion for football.

It sounds like Kiffin and line coach Tom Cable haven’t made much headway. Rather than shift into coach-speak when asked if Henderson was challenging Green at right tackle, Kiffin was blunt and to the point.

“No, he’s not pushing him. We’ll continue to move Mario around to both sides,” Kiffin said. “Mario is not improving the way we’d like him to so we’ll just continue to push him. But it’s not close right now.”

When asked if Henderson needed to shore up a particular area, Kiffin said, “No, it’s everything right now. Unfortunately.”

– Sounds like Javon Walker, the free agent aquisition whose salary suggests he is the No. 1 receiver but whose practice play has been so-so, will begin getting some extra work starting Monday.

Kiffin said Walker and Fred Wakefield, rehabbing from a knee injury, would begin working twice per day Sunday when the 49ers visit Napa.

When asked if Walker was making progress, Kiffin said, “There’s progress being made. I wouldn’t say as much as I’d like at this point so we’re going to continue to push them. I think pushing him back into two-a-days will help him.”

– Defensive tackle Gerard Warren missed with a thigh injury sustained Wednesday night. Kiffin said he didn’t think the injury was as serious as one that hampered Warren last year and said he was day-to-day. Tommy Kelly sat out as scheduled and should practice tonight. Cornerback John Bowie (knee) did not practice.

Safety Greg Wesley (back spasms) was back at practice but did little of note.

– Defensive tackle Terdell Sands, who has avoided speaking with reporters for the first week of camp for reasons that ranged from a team meal to a team meeting to a doctor’s visit, stopped and chatted for a few minutes.

He conceded to being in better condition this year and was affected last season by the death of his mother.

“I lost my mother last year, so that was very big,” Sands said. “You lose anything like that, some things take tolls on you. You lose things that are aspects of life right there. That’s behind me. I’ve got to push on this year.”

Sands said he takes responsibility for the Raiders’ run defense in 2008.

“I take it all, because they look for me to be a big part of it,” Sands said. “And like I say, I wasn’t mentally in it, so I did some gap responsibility and all my true effort wasn’t out there. I thought I was. But when I watch film, it really wasn’t like I was the year before. So I take responsibility and put it on myself.”

Sands declined to specify how much he weighed last year and how much he weighs now.

– Kiffin has taken to visiting with members of the Raiders’ personnel department occasionally during practice sessions. Wednesday it was Bruce Kebric, Thursday it was Kent McCloughan.

– Defensive tackle William Joseph was worked over by Chris Morris and Jesse Boone on consecutive plays during a blocking drill. Kwame Harris buried Kalimba Edwards on another.

– McFadden was fielding kickoffs along with Hiram Eugene, Rankin, Adimchinobe Echemandu and Tyvon Branch, prompting Kiffin to be asked whether the Raiders’ biggest off-season investment might be utilized on that role.

“He’s such an explosive player that it’s something we have to look at,” Kiffin said. “Part of that will be determined by how the other returners do. Let’s say Branch in preseason is returning great. Then it’s not worth it. If you have a great return situation to put Darren out there that may not be worth it. If we’re struggling, then it becomes more valuable to us.”

Said McFadden, who has been in camp eight days and has had a sunny and agreeable disposition for every one of them: “I don’t know if they’re going to use me back there or not but I’m always prepared for it.”

– Practice joggers for pre-snap violations included Harris, Robert Gallery, tight end Chris Wagner and defensive end Greyson Gunheim.

Gunheim, an undrafted free agent from Washington, actually protested his lap, telling Kiffin that Henderson had first moved his leg, drawing him offsides. Gunheim was right, by the way.

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  • Brien

    swim class? that was dry

  • Brien

    at least be funny in your futile attempts please. be a worthy opponent

  • http://raiders.com 408RAIDER

    RRF
    you know what Im talkin bout!! Jerry’s been taking like 1 1/2 to 3 hours to give us our fix l8ly!! Freaking guy LOL

  • silverandblackchef

    OK OK play nice, although the thought of infield dirt not hampering Jano kicks is not to bad

  • TheSurgeon

    The kc chiefs are full of holes and the donkeys have cut everyone that might have been an influence. kcs’ training camp sounds like ours during the Shell days. and the donkeys are all talk even on their own website. It was so hard for me to read all the biased news that those tools had to write. but after reading I am so much more confident the silver and black! I think Kiffens tough regiment will do us alot of good compared to all those other rebuild posers!

  • http://raiders.com 408RAIDER

    yo b

    let freakmont slide on this 1 its all bay!! east bay 4 that matter altho freakmont gets no respect kinda like milpitas in the 408 ya dig

  • Brien

    milpitas is worth my time over fremont. fremont is on edge of the east bay…….you can take them in the 408

  • Brien

    im telling you guys SD is in much peril these days. the media dont want to report it

  • http://raiders.com 408RAIDER

    new thread

  • TheSurgeon

    what peril do you speak of Brien?

  • silverandblackchef

    Surgeon,
    I could be wrong but i think the difference between Kiff is he understands players, thats why he installed lights to split practices and preserve players, Thats why they play hard for him. We lost alot of close ones but were always in it because the team never gave in.

  • Brien

    rivers knee is not healthy and wont be in 08…….gates is hurt……..lofton gone hurts that WR unit……..jamal williams is old and done…….you cant be serious with norv. LT got bout 2 years left his body is worn

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

    Jerry, please Tell us that Kiffin was only trying to motivate Henderson and that it worked. That he showed sand and grit in the pm practice, that some of Gibril’s
    “just kick ass and punish” attitude rubbed off on Mario and he had an excellent pm practice. We can’t afford to hear about another “bust” draft pick, especially in his second year, and more importantly, because it concerns our weakest position on offensive.

    Al, quick, pickup someone, pay the bucks and just do it!

  • TheSurgeon

    SandBchef,
    I tried to go back and look at last years camp notes and nothing as fluid as this year. It is hard for me to say but I am very excited about this year. I hope I don’t get burned like the Turner years! O line thats it. with a such a good secondary i don’t have to worry about the run d so much. the o line is very scary

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

    The Surgeon

    Monday we’ll get our first look, though small and not game like in situation, at least against another team where we can smack a few faces around. Can’t wait for the first pre-season, just to see the indicators of who will make the 53 man cut.

  • fremont raider

    BREIN,i just dont see you able to finish swim class,after all,65% DONT! Maybe you cant see,or reason,period!nite to ya all(trolls inc)

  • CorpRaiderNYC

    Tks 909, El Dirty..

  • Law

    Thanks from all the military serving overseas. This is the only site that I can get on to find out how our soon to be World Champion Raiders are doing in training camp. McFadden = MVP.

  • Lowdown in Beijing

    How does McQ end up a back up on the left side and Green starts?

    Stop the insanity train…

    Keep bringing it Coop.

    Law Firm of Morrison, Howard and Brown.

  • Vinous

    SilverNBlk, -DAVIS senile? I don’t see it…unless you qualify normal aging declines as senile…I do not think that qualifies as senility by anyone that has been around older people. In other words, Davis’ analytical skills are still sharp. He may forget mundane things, those are quite unimportant to decision making, which requires experience and ability to draw from such as well as the ability to analyze and compare competing alternatives.

    To me Davis has more ability to make good decisions than those surrounding him in the past few years, including Kiffin. So where we would be this season had Davis not stepped in this off-season and taken control?

  • sportsman

    fellow raider fans, we are going to have another horrible season. I can’t believe kiffin is bagging on mario. How about gallery? he has been a pathetic player since day one. How come they haven’t cut this idiot? He caused alot of false starts, holding, and sacks. They need to get rid of this bum! Our defense line is a joke…Kelly and Sands? the two worst DT in the league. I can’t believe they didn’t bring anyone in to compete for the job. We need some fat run stoppers. These two guys get pushed around like little bitches. Coach ryan needs to get kicked out of oakland.

  • jRick

    Everything seems to improving a little except what many of us have been concerned about..Which is
    Harris,Gallery, Center?, Carlisle, and Green. How long can Kiffin wait until he attempts to work on the problem. This could get real ugly if they go with the current starters.Harris,Gallery and Green still jumping. = lack of self-discipline.

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