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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

  • Sith Lord Davis

    I know what it was about and when you brought Art Shell into the conversation it turned ugly for you.

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

    Raider Raul …post 452

    Read my earlier post 402, 440 and 450 and you’ll see that I don’t have a high value on fat a&s Seabass, but I would keep him this year and bring competition next year or cut him out right if he loses us another game this year.

    Shane Lechler is a pro-bowler, get real, you “couldn’t” cut him if you wanted to…he’s one solid rock in our special teams game. He’s awesome.

    Mario Henderson needs big time work, but we lack so much depth, we’re forced to keep him and he’s still a project for Cable…give him the benefit of the doubt and keep him through the year and through mini-camp and training camp next year as well. By then, if he’s not playing at a high caliber level, you cut him…but I would bring in much offensive line competition. Not only for him but for Grove, Wade, Paul, etc.

  • bldslvrnblk

    davis don’t want to pay out the million dollar door prize dumb azz. Just like the money he owed shannarat when he canned him. When either Kiff has enough or the end of this season when his contract expires,bank on lofton as being the next in line,.

  • La Milicia Negra

    sith thingy..

    apparently you don’t because that was the beginning of the conversation between bldslvrnblk and me..

    Shell is the worst HC the game ever saw, if Lofton became HC he would take that title and run with it..

  • bldslvrnblk

    Just remember bleedsilverandblack bldslvrnblk

  • La Milicia Negra

    “Shane Lechler is a pro-bowler, get real, you “couldn’t” cut him if you wanted to…he’s one solid rock in our special teams game. He’s awesome.”
    ____________________________________________

    best punter the game has had since Ray Guy, nothing more, nothing less..

  • La Milicia Negra

    bldslvrnblk..

    yeah okay, but still a vowel would help me a lot, LOL =)

  • bldslvrnblk

    If this new punter closes the preseason strong, I say we keep him. I’m running lean on loyalty and the team is low on talant in skill positions. Trade Lechler for Boldin and a pick. We have a younger strong legged punter for less cap and an upgrade at a position in dire need.

  • bldslvrnblk

    a e i o u and sometimes y

  • Raider4life

    #63 will be missed. One of the all-time great Raiders.

  • Sith Lord Davis

    Another assumption about Scapegoat Al. He goes on a record spending spree to turn this team around and help Kiffin win, yet he won’t make a small payout to get rid of a coach he doesn’t like? Scapegoat Al worshippers in full force today. Until someone does worse than Art Shell as a Raiders coach in the modern era any new HC is a notch above Shell until proven otherwise, no matter who it is.

  • http://CJ CJ Legend 34

    I think james Lofton should suit up for the game.

  • La Milicia Negra

    who and what are you talking about, who doesn’t Al want to fire, because it costs to much?

  • La Milicia Negra

    some of your soccer ladies, looks quite good =)

  • bldslvrnblk

    You can’t argue with ignorance. I will agree with you in that until a raider HC shows worse then shell he is the worst. However if you excercised the muscle between your ears, with luck it would enable the thought process to envision just how bad it could be with lofto in the position. al would love it. He’d have another subordinate with his nose buried firmly between his arse cheeks.

  • Sith Lord Davis

    Scroll up and read your fellow Scapegoat Al worshippers to find out.

  • Ryan

    Seattle hired a OL coach this year and feel the guy is one of the best in the league. If Seattle wins their division again, I don’t think Mora is going to pull any assistant coaches in until he shows what he’s worth.

    On another Seattle note, if they cut Justin Forsette – RB/PR/KR – the Raiders need to pick this kid up. The kid was electrifying against the Bears. He is currently on the bubble and needs to have good games the next two preseason games. If he doesn’t, he’s cut. That could solve the Raiders return problems very quickly.

  • Sith Lord Davis

    If Al wanted Lofton he would have hired him long ago. Your pulling your own strings now. Al wants Kiffin unless he starts loosing and I just don’t see that happening. Like I said the starters would have passed all over the Titans if they had played a real game, but the run defense still looks very suspect because the linebackers still have trouble shedding blocks. They will be blizting on running plays if it does not improve, which is not a good thing.

  • La Milicia Negra

    well I guess its just really hard to answer a simple question..

    I can’t see if you are talking about Kiffin or lofton or somebody else..

    I know that Lofton can be fired asap, and it won’t cost much.. Al has never been afraid to fire staff members, but he has always been afraid to let go of players..

    Most of the raiders staff are hired as consultants, wich means they can go whenever they want to, and Al can fire them whenever he wants to.. we are about the only franchise who conduct their staff that way..

  • La Milicia Negra

    “Until someone does worse than Art Shell as a Raiders coach in the modern era any new HC is a notch above Shell until proven otherwise, no matter who it is.”

    that sounds like someone covering his ass.. nice try though =)

  • JediRaider

    R.I.P. Gene Upshaw.

  • Sith Lord Davis

    And he can fire Kiffin anytime he wants. 4 million is a drop in the bucket now with two new investors. But he hasn’t and from the looks of it has overhauled the roster to fit Kiffins needs, even without the desired depth yet.

  • Sith Lord Davis

    All the old school owners run the show the same way, Bud Adams can hires and fires at will just like Davis.

  • http://CJ CJ Legend 34

    Does anyone think we should pull another old vetern receiver like Joe Horn into the mix? We could get him on the cheap and he may be able to school some of the young receivers. Also insurnace not if but when Curry gets hurt.

  • Ryan

    RIP Gene Upshaw. You will be missed.

  • http://CJ CJ Legend 34

    I think the whole Al Davis -vs- Kiffin situation is way out of proportion. I think the media has nothing else to talk about during the preseason so every little thing Kiff says to get his team fired up we look at it as a blow to management. Our team sucked Raider nation for the last three years. Everyone should be talked about including management, coaches and players. Winning takes care of all these issues. The whole NY Giants team from coaches to players were put on the chopping block until the won the superbowl. I can’t wait until the season gets started.I am ready to watch the Raiders make up for some ugly years of football by knocking the Broncos right on their @$$ in the first game of the season. Go Raiders!!!!!

  • Steveo

    Can we trade Walker, Carter and Shields for Boldin? Or Walker and a First round pick?

  • La Milicia Negra

    # Sith Lord Davis Says:
    August 21st, 2008 at 7:43 am

    And he can fire Kiffin anytime he wants. 4 million is a drop in the bucket now with two new investors. But he hasn’t and from the looks of it has overhauled the roster to fit Kiffins needs, even without the desired depth yet.
    ____________________________________________

    true.. 4m isn’t much when the avg franchise is worth 700M-1000M..

  • LosT

    RIP #63 – Say hi to Run-Run…

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

    R.I.P. Gene Upshaw:

    Those of us around to see your awesome play on the left side of the line with Art Shell next to you were really blessed. Probably one of the best left guard, left tackle combinations in the NFL history, and both ended up in the Hall of Fame. Run left behind Upshaw and Shell was always a positive gain, especially in the red-zone when we needed those six-big ones. You’ll be missed Gene Upshaw.

    I’m sure that Al Davis will have some parting words regarding your greatness as a player and your numerous contribution as President of the Players Union. Best of
    everything to your family in their hours of need.

  • http://none FIRE KIFFIN

    RIP Mean Gene.

    Just Win Baby.

  • M

    Highway 63.

    peace.

  • Raider Raul 53

    Fellas, c’mon…Jano is about to become the all-time leading FG kicker for the Raiders this season. No matter how much we all complain about Seabass, he’s not going ANYWHERE for a LONG TIME. Lechler is the best NFL punter of all-time…even better stats than Guy. Have some respect for these guys, use your brain before typing, and stop making BAD ASSumtions.

  • LosT

    Why is everyone always dogging Art Shell? He was let go before he could finish his plan…He needed to get an influx of talent…

    How to do that? Well you start by losing so you get good draft picks…His prize pick??? Jamarcus Russell…Shell had this kid pegged long before anyone else…Pure Genius!

    Al is lucky that Shell’s plan panned out; Of course Al will take credit for drafting Russell – Although it was Shell who saw the future…

  • LosT

    O and I forgot to mention,,,This is why Shell did NOT pick Leinert and of course Al bashed him…I bet Al is not bashing him now!!!

  • http://raidersdaily.com/countdown.aspx RaiderMight

    Rest in Peace Gene. Thank you for all the great years.

  • La Milicia Negra

    oh yeah… that reminds me.. cant remember who used it as an argument, HeyesDAZE or BHP, just when I left last night….

    to be all time leading kicker for the raiders, isn’t the same as being a great kicker..

  • La Milicia Negra

    New Thread… guys

  • Sith Lord Davis

    So Shell planned a 2-14 season to get Russell? lmfao

  • Batman

    I like seabass, and he could kick it a mile, except for a win, he shanks it right. lol I know that was cruel, but hey he does kick 60 yard feild goals in warm ups, lol

  • GuamanianRaider

    Damn…

    Upshaw died at his number! What an era his play was for us. Rest in peace you old advocate.

    Raider on,

    Guamanian Raider

  • Thec

    Oh boy…. If justin forsett is available he should all ready be in alameda for practice today. I wanted us to pick him up after the draft see above post

    This would be a score he can run back kicks pr/kr and play a little). Get this guy into camp now.

  • RaiderKC

    Joe Horn is looking at MIAMI as a possible team. Al needs to give his agent a call to see if he wants to become a #1 WR and let JRuss throw it to him. After the game Sat, Al needs to sit down with AZ GM to see if he can’t work a deal to trade Fargas and a late round pick from ’09 for Boldin. Be trading big contracts for proven players. Al should have let Walker go when the window opened up last month. What a mistake!!! I hope the

  • davidon

    No receivers who can catch + no line that can block + predictable defense = long year yet again. Can not watch this team until Davis steps down

  • Dr. ECO

    We do not know what we have. Old die hards like me know we have hope. But, what happens in Sept. will justify or dash such optimistic discussions like, ‘Playoffs, playoffs, what? playoffs…’
    Dr. ECO

  • Dr. ECO

    I just heard about Upshaw. Oh, that is bad news. I saw him play life so many times. He was the real thing. As an off the field person he is football’s Jimmy Carter. He went on to demonstrate greatness as a businessman and family man beyond the number 63.
    Dr. ECO

  • SPORTSMAN

    Get rid of walker and go after joe horn. He is available. Dam sure he is 1000 times better then walker. We are in for another embarrassing season. Horrible offense(recievers & o-line). JR will be seeing alot of blue skys on Sundays due to him being on his back most of the time.

  • SeatteRaiderFan

    Trade for Boldin!

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