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Receivers still not catching on

Quick hits from Raiders practice Wednesday:

– After watching as footballs continue to litter the ground after glancing only temporarily off the hands of intended receivers, Lane Kiffin was asked whether the challenge he issued to his receivers to improve their play had been met.

“Unfortunately, I haven’t seen it,” Kiffin said. “I don’t how many (drops) today, probably seven, and a number of them with our frontline guys. So we’ll see. We’ll come out here tomorrow and the plan is for these guys to play a lot in the game and get some shots to produce.”

Running back Justin Fargas dropped a pair of easy swing pass opportunities from Russell. Russell moved on a reverse roll to his left and found Drew Carter, only to have the pass dropped.

Todd Watkins, one of the most reliable receivers in camp, mishandled an easy opportunity on a medium depth pass over the middle.

During one goal line drill, Javon Walker tried to make a difficult catch near the goal line but was unable to come up with it, a play that happened right in front of Al Davis, who was seated in a golf cart watching practice.

Walker gave Davis a quick wave, but got nothing in return. (The two talked after practice).

Moments later, Walker lined up in the left slot, only to be repositioned by Ronald Curry, who sent him to the other side of the field. Walker was able redeem himself in some measure by catching a short pass in the end zone in front of Darrick Brown, in the same corner where Davis was still watching.

Kiffin was asked if the dropped passes can be contageous.

“Definitely I think it can. I think it’s like anything, it can affect people around you no matter what it is,” Kiffin said. “Then all of a sudden that confidence in your group, one of your guys starts to lose it and it can start affecting guys if you don’t have an extremely confident group that’s done it for a long time.”

– Tight ends Zach Miller and John Madsen continued to secure the ball consistently, and were joined in that regard Wednesday by Tony Stewart, who returned from a toe injury.

– When the Raiders finally struck with a deep pass, it came from the unlikely combination of Marques Tuiasosopo to Drisan James on a 30-plus yard corner route. James appeared to catch the ball on a dive despite tight coverage from Nnamdi Asomugha and Michael Huff.

Touchdown?

Senior executive John Herrera, standing at the goal line, said yes.

Mark Davis, son of the Raiders owner, said no.

– Russell had a good sequence during a third-down drill in a team format from varying distances. He opened with a short completion to Miller which was short ot the first down, but followed with a first down strike to the right sideline to Chaz Schilens, a successful conversion on a slant pass to Walker, a third-and-4 conversion to Madsen and a third-and-9 conversion to Ronald Curry before Carter’s drop of a deep pass.

– More good work from Russell in a red zone drill _ a 22-yard TD strike to Carter over Brown and consecutive touchdown passes to Madsen and Stewart.

– The Raiders are working with Russell to get rid of the ball when things don’t open up, a problem which dogged Walter in the Art Shell-Tom Walsh era where the coaching staff held to the archaic strategy of waiting until a receiver broke free _ regardless of the length of time.

Kiffin conceded the coaches can talk all the want, but the real learning would only come on game day.

“It’s one of the hardest things that you do because it only happens on game day,” Kiffin said. “He doesn’t get hit in practice. That’s why veteran guys are better than young guys. That’s why when you have a rookie you have to be careful with what you do, in my opinion.

“Those things come with experience from the game. That’s the only way you can get it. You can’t do it in practice. You can say as much as you want: ‘Ball gone, ball gone’ when it’s got to be gone but it’s not the same as getting hit in the back of the head when you hold onto it too long. ”

“That’s why we’re playing him a lot in the preseason. That’s why we’re also at times going to be conservative with him.”

– Russell made a nice read on a Stanford Routt blitz, hitting Carter for a gain in the area Routt vacated to rush the passer.

– Louis Rankin broke into the clear on one run, with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan taking strong safety Gibril Wilson to task.

“That’s your fit, Gibril. Close that (bleeping) fit, Gibril,” Ryan said.

– Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly was called for offsides and proceeded to take another of his “laps” around the field. It took Kelly 1:40 to take approximately three-quarters of a lap at a walk-jog pace.

“That was disappointing because it was third down and it wasn’t even a hard count,” Kiffin said.

Kalimba Edwards was also sent running, and by comparison looked like Usain Bolt.

– Players who Kiffin ruled out for the Arizona game Saturday night were cornerback John Bowie (knee), linebacker Grant Irons (back), wide receiver Arman Shelds (knee) and kickers Shane Lechler (quad) and Sebastian Janikowski (hamstring).

Safety Hiram Eugene (hip) did not practice but Kiffin was not ready to rule him out.

Kiffin said if Saturday were a regular-season game, Lechler probably would not be ready to kick but there was a possibility Janikowski would be ready. The Raiders have their first cutdown Tuesday and may have to keep both Aaron Elling and Glenn Pakulak if Lechler and Janikowski aren’t ready to resume practice or kick against Seattle in the preseason finale.

– With Davis in attendance for the first time at a practice session in Alameda, the session lasted more than two hours, although it was scheduled to be a more brief practice than Tuesday.

“Everything that didn’t go right we repeated, we didn’t let anything go by, (we) really kept ‘em out here for a long time and pushed ‘em through it,” Kiffin said. “It was good to see their reaction to it, and guys worked extremely hard.”

– Thanks to those who participated in the weekly on-line chat. We’ll probably have to adjust the time and later the day of the chat, as noon is running into practice and interview time and Wednesday during the regular season is the busiest day of the week with interview sessions and conference calls with opposing teams.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • GuamanianRaider

    All this talk about the wideouts and Lofton have me thinking…. All of our receivers except Watkins, perhaps McFoy, James, Holland, and Higgins are coming off injuries (the type that usually takes two years to get your legs back under you… Tim Brown, Eric Allen, etc.). They play a tad tentative. It’s good to hear that JaMarcus’s passes are bouncing off their hands… he hits their hands. We just have to play through this. AB from the Cards would be great to throw into our corps (and accept the retirement from Javon should he wiff, with an option to return after dealing his… jarring life experiences). I don’t think their bodies are quite back yet, and that is what we have to work with from X to Z. Higgins, pardon me, still plays tentative from fear, which is probably wise, really. Seems to mess with his orientation and judgment on the field… but I like his cartwheel and flip. I’d like to see that against Denver, and not only in the preseason. JaMarcus is not without his sure-handed weapons in Miller and our to be unveiled “rookie” runningbacks, and throw in Madsen for good measure.

    We would be a killer team should our wide outs make those chain-moving and deep strike catches. For now, I’m going to enjoy our average running game of 230 plus yards, and its ripple effect on the rest of our team. Bring out the Cards, and work out those kinks between Russell and the wideouts.

    Raider on,

    Guamanian Raider

  • Raider Raul 53

    I can understand Kiffin’s frustrations about Davis holding onto wasted roster spots.

    Here’s a list of players that need to be released…PRONTO:
    1. Darrick Brown, CB. This guy REALLY sucks.
    2. Grant Irons, LB. Dude, you’re NEVER “Game Ready”.
    3. John Bowie, CB. Uh…yeah. Let’s rid ourselves of the last remnant of Randy Moss.
    4. The 2 kickers.
    5. Sam Williams, LB. I’m sure we’ll keep him forever, just don’t pay him much. He’s OK at against the run, but horrible against the pass.
    6. Mario Henderson, OT. Another typical horrible Al Davis project pick. Ya gotta have talent Al!!
    7. Tony Stewart, TE. He’ll catch the pass, but NEVER get a single YAC.
    8. Adimchinobe Echemandu, RB. Sorry guy, but you had your best chance last year. The added weight (about 5-10lbs) did not help your cause either and slowed you down a bit. Good luck Joe.

  • v price

    great article on the silver N black,still need Bolton

  • CopenhagenFan

    Our passing game sucks…live with it…listen to BHP. It takes time to develop and we have a rookie QB and fringe WR’s with little experience or some guys who have never been studs and never will be studs.

    Jevon Walker is the only one who can make a real difference. Let’s see if he can.

  • CopenhagenFan

    Raider Raul 53 > get rid of the 2 kickers???!! A pro bowler and a no. 1 pick ? For who?

    What a maroon.

  • RaiderNationPA

    RIP Gene Upshaw. You’ll always be a Raider.

  • Cris

    Gene Upshaw passes away at 63. Talk about a bumber.

    http://www.profootballtalk.com/2008/08/21/report-gene-upshaw-dead-at-63/

  • La Milicia Negra

    RIP Gene thanks for your commitment, to the raiders and to the sport..

  • TEOFILO DIMAANO

    once again… boldin is out there?? …..any takers?? boldin in silver and black!!!!!!!!!!!

  • silver and black chef

    Gene Upshaw,
    Highly controversial, left on an island, outcast in his own office, misfit in the league office, envied by peers, took no sh@! and always gave it his all.

    TRUE RAIDER,
    REST IN PEACE

  • SOULPATROL2

    WHO CARES IF WIDEOUTS AINT “CATCHIN THE BALL ” , THEYLL COME AROUND !!!!! WHAT WE GOT NOW IS A SHOT AT HISTORY !! RUNNING THE BALL WE CAN HAVE 2 1000 YARD GUYS FARGAS/BUSH / MCAFDDEN OR ANYONE ELSE KNAPP PUTS BACK THERE !!OAK NEEDS TO KEEP KIFFI AWAY FROM THE PLAYCALLING IN THE RED ZONE THIS YEAR , LOOK @ 07 EVERYTIME HE ‘”" FUMBLED THE BALL IN THIS CATEGORY”
    & SURE ENUUF HE ALREADY STARTED THIS YEAR BY RUNNING ONEAL DOWN NEAR GOAL LINE VS TENNY TO “ICE THE GAME ” INSTEAD HE RUNS THE WRONG GUY @ WRONG TIME !!! & WE LOOSE!!! NO MORE TIME OR PATIENCE FOR THIS GUY COSTING US WINS THIS YEAR !! LAST YEAR HE WAS THE REASON WHY WE WENT 0-2 VS LIONS & DENVER !!! 1ST STARTING MCOWN & NOT DANTE ( 12-0 VS LIONS ) VS DETROIT !!& PULLING LAMONT OUT VS DENVER IN OT & PINNING HIS HOPES ON ROAD FOR A WIN WITH A 59 YD FG ??? U KNOW YOU ALL ARE ON HIS SIDE WITH HIS ” I CANT BRING IN ANY NEW PLAYERS ” CRAP !!! WELL LOOK AT HIS TRAK RECORD 07& 08 EVERY MOVE HE MADE HAS & DID NOT WORK !!!!PERIOD !!!!
    HE IS A “MENTALLY IMPOTENT” & AL KNOWS IT !!!!
    ALL THEY GOTTA DO IN 08 , @ IST SNAP VS DENVER IS “POUND THE BALL ” 25 ATTS IN 1ST HALF !!!& WE WIN !!!IF THIS TEAM JUST SIMPLY RUNS THE BALL 45 TIMES ( WHICH IS A UNUSUAL AMOUNT ) THERE IS NO TEAM THAT STOP THEM !!!!! ” NO ONE “!!!!!!JMARC SHOULD NOT NEED TO HOIST UP THE BALL MORE THEN 17 ATTS GAME !!! WHO CARES ABOUT WIDEOUTS WHEN WE GOT THE BEST RUNNING GAME IN THE NFL !!!!! IN ORDER TO MAKE THE RUN GAME THE DIFFERNCE U ACTUALLY HAVE TO COMMIT TO RUNNING THE BALL!!!! IT IS THAT SIMPLE

    WE GOT GALLERY READY FOR THE PROBOWL ( WATCH HIM, HE WILL BLOCK 2-4 GUYS EVERY RUN PLAY) BRING ON DORSEY IF HE CAN PLAY, GALLERY WILL BURY HIM ON THE FIRST TO THE LAST PLAY OF THEIR FIRST GAME YOULL SEE!!
    OH PS THE BOX SCORE SHOULD READ 48 ATTS @4.5YDS CARRY FOR OVER 200 YDS EVERY GAME !!!! WHY NOT ???
    OH I AM SURE THERE ARE FEW OF U LOOSERS THAT THINK !!” WELL HOW DO U RUN WHEN THE DEF PUTS 8 OR 9 IN
    ” THE BOX ” !!
    WELL DO U REALLY THINK THE D WANTS TO PUT 8 OR 9 IN THERE ???? ANY D WILL USE THAT AS A THREAT OR A PROP !!!! A “REAL D” WILL WANT TO DEFEND THE RUN ON THE WAY TO THE SACKING THE QB !!!!
    OK SO WHO CARES ABOUT THE ” PASSING GAME “

  • Finzel

    I’m wearing my #63 jersey today. RIP Upshaw.

  • La Milicia Negra

    Hahaha SOULPATROL 2

    you and your caps.. pathetic =)

  • bldslvrnblk

    .02 worth. Get used to lofton. If Kiff caves and ejects or at the end of the year davis will be poised to make the move he wanted to make after last season. lofton as HC. Talk about dark day’s. I pray not,however the big man upstairs doesn’t seem to listen to raider fans anymore. Although he did put one raider great out of his misery.
    RIP Gene. You were a true raider.

  • La Milicia Negra

    if Lofton ever becomes a HC, Art Shell would look like a genius compared to…

  • Exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    R.I.P. Gene Upshaw.
    Thanks for your service to the NFL and for being a Raider.

  • bldslvrnblk

    Agreed. 100% al has alway’s had lofton as a reserve HC choice but has not up to now has refrained. When Kiff is gone there will be nobody else that will take the job.

  • bldslvrnblk

    And they will be very dark day’s.

  • La Milicia Negra

    yup

  • Sith Lord Davis

    Saying Art Shell will look like a genius compared to anyone is one of the most ignorant comments I have ever read in these blogs lmfao.

  • http://raiders.com RaiderTW

    In 1979 I moved to an NFL city for the 1st time & the team there aquired a QB that had the same problem with his receivers dropping the ball. The real problem is he threw it so hard the receivers weren’t used to it because his arm was so strong. The coach made them adjust to the QB because the corners couldn’t reach the WRs on time. This QB was BIG too & could run. He only missed 2 games because he couldn’t be hit hard enough by the lineman.
    JaMarcus looks exactly like this type of QB & I hope he develops into a better QB than this one.
    I’m talking about John Elway. His receivers couldn’t adjust to him until about 5 games into the season. Reeves wanted a running team but would ALWAYS get behind because of it & tell Elway to just do what he does. This is why Elway holds the record of most comebacks because they were losing in the 4th quarter to teams they should have never been behind to at least half of those comebacks. I look forward to JaMarcus putting Elway to shame in the NFL.

    RIP
    Gene Upshaw

  • La Milicia Negra

    Art shell has at least some experience..

    All Lofton is, a WR coach and a former player.. nothing more..

    To think he by default will be good HC is ludicrous to me..

  • La Milicia Negra

    RaiderTW..

    “The real problem is he threw it so hard the receivers weren’t used to it because his arm was so strong.”

    I said the exact same thing last night, just about Driver and Favre.. Driver broke his fingers because Favre hit him so hard..

  • La Milicia Negra

    Dammit! the 49′er rulings isn’t over yet, they take it to CAS, and try to win it by the desk.. pathetic, why not just admit the best won the race..typically these warmblooded Mediterranean guys, logic isn’t their strong suit.. oh well I’m sure we will win by the desk too, come saturday..

  • Exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    JaMarcus because of his arm strength can put the ball in places that only the receiver can get to. But he also has to develop his short game with touch. Jay Schroeder could throw the deep ball with the best of them but threw too hard on the short patterns.

  • Sith Lord Davis

    If Lofton was so bad of a coach in San Diego why did they do so well? Matt Simon got fired at the same time after making LT a superstar. Turner will regret both moves. Oh I forgot about to mention Martyball versus Shell, but we won’t go there. Marty is the one that landed Lofton btw. Turner lost the big game yet again and had to find someone to take the fall, lucky for the Raiders it was the chokers two best offensive coaches.

  • bldslvrnblk

    Look at the short,medium and long game JR developed at LSU. If he had a competent WR corp. there would be no worries. But we have a group of beotches. Period. WAH. my hands hurt. WAH I can’t see the ball.

  • Sith Lord Davis

    They may not be able to catch Russell’s fast balls yet but they can run block.

  • bldslvrnblk

    If you remember the receivers in dolt land where constantly being ridiculed for under achieving. Look at the numbers.

  • La Milicia Negra

    sith thingy..

    if you think SD is so great then I will advise you to become a SD fan..

    Lofton kicked out of SD, the reason he stayed there under Norw was that he was under contract.. not like he is for the raiders, they can kick him out whenever the feel..

    Lofton was in SD for 6 season.. just the last 1½-2 seasons their receiver were good.. I don’t think you can credit Lofton that.. definitely not all..

    And to say that merits him to be a better HC than Shell is ludicrous.. Shell was one of worst HC the game ever had, but Lofton would take that title and run with it if he ever became a HC..

  • Sith Lord Davis

    Yeah two recievers with 90+ yards recieving in the playoffs, whens the last time the Raiders did that?

  • Raider Raul 53

    hey Copenhagen…YOU’RE the dumbass. The 2 kickers i’m referring to are obviously Elling and that other guy who’s punting for Lechler right now. You’re pretty stupid, dude.

  • Sith Lord Davis

    I never said anything about Lofton becoming a head coach lol, please no more manipulating to prove your point. When Lofton arrived the Chargers were the doormat, now look at them. You guys are way out there. Go back and watch Lofton’s receivers rip up Oakland week after week over the last few years, no wonder Kiffin snatched him up so quickly. Now the Chargers have a bed and breakfast offensive style receivers coach in Joiner.

  • Sith Lord Davis

    Turner starts dismantling a 14-2 coaching staff, brilliant!

  • bldslvrnblk

    When we had a HC that had an O-line, that had a running game,a QB that had a clue. It’s before 3rd stage dementia kicked in on old al.

  • Batman

    Have little more faith in our team. Lets wait until AZ game to see what the hell is up. Look on the bright side, at least our receivers are getting open. As far as replacing Kiffin with Lofton, I would think it would be a better move to replace him with Cable or Knapp, and then make the other the OC. At least we would could keep both of them on our team, I still believe those two are the real reason were having any success at all. I myself think Kiffin is a good coach but still is young. Lets remember, this is his first job in the nfl, not to mention,its a head coach job, and hes working for Uncle Al, which is never a easy thing, even under good circumstances.

  • RaiderHarv

    R.I.P. Gene Upshaw

  • bldslvrnblk

    An d if you think Kiff hired lofton you really are clueless. How many times did lofton interview for our HC job?
    I need say no more. That comment on Kiff hiring lofton has got me pissing I’m laughing so hard.

  • bldslvrnblk

    Knapp and Cable will be joining Mora JR. in Seattle next season.

  • bldslvrnblk

    I like Kiff. I just wish he had an owner and a GM that had a clue.

  • Sith Lord Davis

    lol you guys are so funny, Scapegoat Al worshippers. Lofton had one year on his contract when he got fired and Kiffin hired him after the interview.

    http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2008/01/28/oakland-raiders-coach-lane-kiffin-to-interview-assistant-james-l/

  • La Milicia Negra

    # Raider Raul 53 Says:
    August 21st, 2008 at 6:41 am

    hey Copenhagen…YOU’RE the dumbass. The 2 kickers i’m referring to are obviously Elling and that other guy who’s punting for Lechler right now. You’re pretty stupid, dude.
    ___________________________________________

    well your post wasn’t that obvious.. so try again

  • bldslvrnblk

    There is nothing more pathetic then someone that needs the media to do their thinking for them. Welcome to the new world order. You hear they found bigfoot last week?

  • Sith Lord Davis

    Where are all the Lofton will be HC by the preseason preachers now? Kiffin’s job has never been in question and you guys just keep the media ball rolling.

  • Rellik30

    RIP Gene.

  • La Milicia Negra

    Sith thingy…

    Sith Lord Davis Says:
    August 21st, 2008 at 6:43 am

    I never said anything about Lofton becoming a head coach lol,

    _________________________________________

    # Sith Lord Davis Says:
    August 21st, 2008 at 6:03 am

    Saying Art Shell will look like a genius compared to anyone is one of the most ignorant comments I have ever read in these blogs lmfao.
    ___________________________________________

    Well we were talking about Lofton as HC was Idiotic..

    Then you came and said your piece about Lofton.. so why join the conversation, without knowing what the conversation was about??

  • KANSASBLACK

    Can we just wait until after the first reg. season game to start bashing on how bad our team sucks? Lets just wait and see, with all our first team in they just might surprise some people.

  • RaiderSide951

    R.I.P GENE UPSHAW

  • La Milicia Negra

    bldslvrnblk..

    post 493.. LOL good one =) your nick is hard to write and remember :/

  • bldslvrnblk

    BTW, As morbid,selfish and vindictive as this might sound, I truly wish the news about Upshaw had been about al.