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Minicamp notebook, quotebook

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, May 8th, 2009 at 4:14 pm in Oakland Raiders.

More from Friday’s training camp session following interview sessions with selected players and coach Tom Cable:

That the media was unaware of all surgical procedures concerning Raiders players is nothing new. Zach Miller’s procedure, for a sports hernia, came as a surprise to reporters.

Javon Walker’s knee procedure came as a surprise to the Raiders.

Walker missed practice because of a knee surgery to “clean up” existing problems, with coach Tom Cable telling reporters he hadn’t heard anything about it until recently.

“We found out a couple days ago,” Cable said. “Yeah it is a little bit uncommon, but we’re aware of it now and it was probably the right thing to do and get it cleaned up.”

After having Nnamdi Asomugha break up a potential reception on an in route from quarterback JaMarcus Russell, Darrius Heyward-Bey said he thought to himself, “All right, I’m not in college anymore.”

Said Asomugha: “Well, I haven’t met the kid yet. I didn’t even know what his number was. I knew that he came off, and you know, he’s young. There’s some easy giveaways right now. I’ll talk to him about that stuff. I just jumped it, me and Kirk (Morrison) went after it.

“I saw his eyes. He can’t give it away with his eyes but this was his first practice. I wasn’t watching him so I don’t know how well he did. But he has speed and speed is always a threat.”

– Miller said he started to feel pain last November and when he didn’t improve, opted for sports hernia surgery. He’ll likely be out another month at least.

– Cable said the reason Heyward-Bey was instantly put in with the first team was to push him, and part of that was giving him the opportunity to play against Asomugha.

“You’re going to get a guy who’s going to mess with you a little bit,” Cable said. “He’s gonna play off and play up, and he’s play up and bail out of there or play off and jam you as you come off. He’s gonna get the full gamut. I think that’s really good for a young kid.”

–Heyward-Bey got a thumbs up from Russell for his first day’s work.

“He had good, sure hands today. I saw him catch a lot of balls with his hands . . . some new guys, young guys use their chest. But all of their guys used their hands pretty good today.”

– Russell said he has missed a week of offseason activities following the death of his uncle but otherwise has been at the facility. He politely responded to a question regarding his commitment.

“When you have pride that you see you work each and every day and give it your all,” Russell said. “People can have their opinion on what’s going on but those guys are not with you daily so they don’t really know.”

Cable has stayed solidly in the middle where Russell is concerned, praising his progress while at the same time stressing he has a long way to go.

“He has to learn how to accept that and embrace that responsibility. Where is he at with that? I think he’s somewhere in the middle. Do I think he’s there yet? No, not quite,” Cable said. “He has some more things to do some more things to prove but we keep pushing it for him to be there.”

– Cable’s assessment of Russell’s practice performance: “He threw some deeper balls, some digs and things like that. Some deep hooks, He was throwing them on time. He really lit it up that way. I like where he is at. He has some things going on right now, he is just going to be getting better and better and better.”

I’ll have to watch today’s evening practice a little closer, because I missed any of the Raiders quarterbacks lighting it up. It looked like a lot of training camp practices I’ve seen over the years (minus the contact), with the good thing being that it’s only a minicamp practice in May.

– In Russell’s favor was that he wasn’t the quarterback when there were mishandled snaps _ and there were six of them, by Cable’s count. Those were split between Jeff Garcia and Bruce Gradkowski.

– Derrick Burgess missed the morning practice with the stomach flu, while center Samson Satele is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Wide receiver Arman Shields is having problems with the same knee which was surgically repaired as a college senior _ before the Raiders picked him in the fourth round.

Cable said Shields was “day-to-day.”

As for Andrew Walter, a no-show in optional activities this offseason, Cable said, “He hasn’t been part of the offseason program, and those other guys have. And that’s why you didn’t see him really get any reps today, ’cause they’re all prepared and ready to do this. And there’s been some change in what we’re doing offensively and so forth, so he’s got some catching up to do.”

– Safety Mike Mitchell received a pre-practice lecture from Cable about his lust for contact and will likely get another before the pads go on at training camp.

“This is your football team, these are your teammates, your brothers and you’ve got to take care of them,” Cable said. “Me and him have kind of had that discussion a little bit, ‘It’s time to go now. Take care of these guys, take care of these others and they’ll take care of you.”

– Asomugha’s reaction to the Raiders’ first two draft picks: “Surprised isn’t the word. Those guys weren’t really on the radar for me as far as guys that I was looking at. Because I thought that they were gonna go with some of the bigger names. But knowing Al, you can’t get surprised with that stuff. He always wants to find the gem, or that guy that no one’s really looking at, and he wants to develop them and see how they work out. So I wasn’t surprised at all. I just . . . I was a little confused a little bit at first.”

– Fullback Lorenzo Neal gives the Raiders the opportunity to take their time with Oren O’Neal, who at best will be ready for training camp but could conceivably be put on the physically unable to perform list and be brought back later.

Neal said he had talked to other teams, but got a call from Al Davis about joining Oakland. To put it mildly, he’s excited to be here.

“You bring that confidence that says, ‘Look, man, believe in me. Just get on my hip and don’t dip. Let’s go.’ Before you know it, you just start feeding it, it becomes an attitude, it becomes, hey, even if you’re not as good, you start making these guys believe that you’re better than you are,” Neal said after being asked about what he’ll bring to the Raiders.

“That’s what it is. You get off to a hot start, you start fast, you finish strong, and you get guys believing. The talent’s here. It’s about the opportunity. It’s about guys rising up and saying, ‘You know what, I’m going to make the change.’ Coaches coach, players make plays. Players got to make plays. When you’re lined up in your position, you got to do what you need to do. I’m brought here to help the offense get going, for the veteran leadership. You got a good group of backs in Fargas and McFadden. So, you just go in here and you say, ‘Look, come on, boys, we can do this.’ Get them to believe. These guys are eager, they’re hungry, they just want to be led. I feel like I’m the man for the job.”

Neal will prevail upon younger players to watch a little more film, be a little more prepared.

“It’s not just what you bring on the field but what you bring off the field, the intangibles and say, ‘Hey, look, guys, I’m going to be here on Tuesday watching film on my off day.’ It’s getting in the weight room working out, showing the guys, this is what has allowed me to play 17 years,” Neal said. “Saying, ‘Hey, guys, let’s go to meetings, let’s watch a little extra film, let’s not watch extra film, let’s lift some weights.’ Let’s do the extra things instead of saying, ‘Hey, you know what? On Tuesday I’m not going to come in.’ You win the game on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday. That’s when the game’s won.

“The game is simple if you know what to do, if you know your assignment. That’s the easy part. The game is simple. It’s about the practice, it’s about the attention to detail. It’s very imperative that you get leadership and you lead by example. So, I’m excited about it.”

– If there’s anything you want to know about Danny Southwick, the quarterback in camp on a tryout basis, you can check out his Web site.

I’ll have a report following the second practice later this evening . . .

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  • 16yearsold16yearfan

    1st

  • BUSH29willtranscendDMAC20

    2nd

  • 16yearsold16yearfan

    wait so he wont show the full interview for anyone

  • vegas raider

    Neal is being pretty descriptive in how the Raiders need to improve, by working harder during the week. He must know through other ex-Raiders around the league who told him you can just screw around out there.

  • DMunoz26

    Good article now that is why Neal is the most important offseason acquisition for the offense.

  • http://justwinbaby! 909RaiderLifer

    Jerry Mac..

    Thanks for the FIX, good job.

    Having Lorenzo Neal, around all of the kids will be a very good thing. Have to give crazy ‘ol Al some props, for getting Neal to come to Alameda.

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    “Asomugha’s reaction to the Raiders’ first two draft picks: “surprised isn’t the word. Those guys weren’t really on the radar for me as far as guys that I was looking at. Because I thought that they were gonna go with some of the bigger names. But knowing Al, you can’t get surprised with that stuff. He always wants to find the gem, or that guy that no one’s really looking at, and he want to develop them and see how they work out. So I wasn’t surprised at all. I just . . . I was a little confused a little bit at first.”
    ———————
    That’s Al. More concerned with aggrandizing himself than anything else.

  • Twocents

    Way to go Al! Lorenzo is a perfect fit.

  • DMunoz26

    Al also surprised everyone when he took Asomugha in the 1st round and the commissioner couldn’t even pronounce his name. I’d say that one has worked out pretty well for us. Let’s just hope it happens again for us.

  • raider christian

    this is our year raiders for afc west winners

  • raider christian

    i like the neal pickup

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    Hey Jerry

    How did Russell’s waistline look?

  • DMunoz26

    #

    # raider christian Says:
    May 8th, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    this is our year raiders for afc west winners
    __________

    Bold statement not sure I would go that far yet, would be nice but let’s just show some improvement and go from there, This team needs to stop picking in the top 10 year after year. We are tying too much money into unproven players that don’t seem to work out. Let Al gamble on lower salaried mid-late round guys lol

  • http://justwinbaby! 909RaiderLifer

    KoolKell…

    Check out, D. White’s SFGATE site for some Russell “weight” reporting.

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    Lorenzo Neal sounds like a good fit.

  • DMunoz26

    Lorenzo Neal is going to have a much larger impact on this team than his presence on the field. He reminds me a lot of Gannon/Rice/Brown leading by example putting in the extra work. I stand by the statement that he is the key acquisition for the offense this season.

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    909RaiderLifer Says:
    May 8th, 2009 at 4:42 pm
    KoolKell…

    Check out, D. White’s SFGATE site for some Russell “weight” reporting.
    ———————-
    I didn’t see anything, 909

  • DMunoz26

    From what I read it said it was hard to tell on his weight Kell cause he wears baggy clothes

  • BUSH29willtranscendDMAC20

    christ where can find all these interviews i c pics of all the dudes and the cable guy on the podium wtf

  • DMunoz26

    David Whites twitter is up and going again

  • vegas raider

    Lorenzo Neal is going to come here and smash people in goalline and short distance situations. D-Mac with Neal in front of him should really help our short-yardage percentages.

  • DMunoz26

    # vegas raider Says:
    May 8th, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Lorenzo Neal is going to come here and smash people in goalline and short distance situations. D-Mac with Neal in front of him should really help our short-yardage percentages.
    ____________

    Sounds good, but short yardage Bush and Neal sounds even better. Those are two big boys.

  • ChasMalloy

    Great first day coverage, Neal is saying the right things early and I hope often during this season!!!
    Dave White’s twitter is great, Jerry are you on the twitter yet???

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  • 16yearsold16yearfan

    Chaz catching everything in sight

  • http://atm Raider O

    According to twitter, Chaz is catching everything in sight.

    Cut Yavone!!

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    Let’s all pray he stays healthy.

  • 16yearsold16yearfan

    O your late lol im just playin

  • http://atm Raider O

    Twitter!! Where have you been?!

  • DMunoz26

    I hope Chaz just becomes an absolute beast this year.

  • 16yearsold16yearfan

    I just wish Dude could see this

  • http://atm Raider O

    16,

    I’m always late!!! lol

  • Raider Dell

    Raiders.com has up the Mike Mitchell interview or snipets of questions right now. Let me add, I have a good feeling about this kid. I don’t get those very often.

    Talk is cheap, action is great, for that young man the two shall blend.

  • blackdeath29

    RUNNING BACK DARREN McFadden looked like the best star-in-the-making player Friday in the Raiders’ first offseason minicamp.as long as he stays healthy he will have a monster year.glad to here dhb and mitchell are doing good.but what about the rest of the draft picks.

  • SnB Defense

    JHill,

    See, this is the stance Al Davis wants out of the linebacking corps….Back 7

    http://www.raiders.com/Common/Article.aspx?id=63112

  • IndianaRaider

    “It’s not just what you bring on the field but what you bring off the field, the intangibles and say, ‘Hey, look, guys, I’m going to be here on Tuesday watching film on my off day.’ It’s getting in the weight room working out, showing the guys, this is what has allowed me to play 17 years,” Neal said. “Saying, ‘Hey, guys, let’s go to meetings, let’s watch a little extra film, let’s not watch extra film, let’s lift some weights.’ Let’s do the extra things instead of saying, ‘Hey, you know what? On Tuesday I’m not going to come in.’ You win the game on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday. That’s when the game’s won.

    =============================================

    When is the last time an attitude like this has been used with the Raiders? This has been needed for god only knows how long and I stand by my comments that if Neal can stay healthy this year, there is no reason we can’t be in the top 5, if not the top 3 in rushing this year.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Team drills just started.

  • 16yearsold16yearfan

    Bush is a deisel running up the middle that’s what I like to hear

  • 16yearsold16yearfan

    If anyone starts calling for garcia I’ll have to remind them of all the dropped snaps

  • DMunoz26

    # IndianaRaider Says:
    May 8th, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    “It’s not just what you bring on the field but what you bring off the field, the intangibles and say, ‘Hey, look, guys, I’m going to be here on Tuesday watching film on my off day.’ It’s getting in the weight room working out, showing the guys, this is what has allowed me to play 17 years,” Neal said. “Saying, ‘Hey, guys, let’s go to meetings, let’s watch a little extra film, let’s not watch extra film, let’s lift some weights.’ Let’s do the extra things instead of saying, ‘Hey, you know what? On Tuesday I’m not going to come in.’ You win the game on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday. That’s when the game’s won.

    =============================================

    When is the last time an attitude like this has been used with the Raiders? This has been needed for god only knows how long and I stand by my comments that if Neal can stay healthy this year, there is no reason we can’t be in the top 5, if not the top 3 in rushing this year.
    _______________

    Last time was 99-02 when we had Gannon/Rice/Brown

  • DMunoz26

    # 16yearsold16yearfan Says:
    May 8th, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Bush is a deisel running up the middle that’s what I like to hear
    ________________

    Hell yah it is, definitely will sound even better when they start playing for real.

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    Veteran linebackers Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard are anxious to get back on the gridiron and continue the progress that was made at the end of the 2008 season. They are also eager to meet their new teammates.
    “It’s good to have all the teamates, especially the new guys that we brought in from the Draft, and see the nucleus of the team get together to get us on the right track going into [this] year,” Morrison said.
    Howard added, “It’s going to be good to have everybody back on the team all together. With a few new faces here I want to check them out, from the draft picks and some new free agents too. It is going to be fun to get out there with the fellas and run around and have some good tempo practices and see what is going on.”
    ——————-
    It’s really good Nnamdi is back. Sounds like good comraderie

  • http://atm Raider O

    JR doesn’t look sharp.

    It’s too early!!!

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  • ottocrat

    JR isn’t sharp, eh? Maybe someone should promise to make a burger run if he completes five in a row. I’m sure Cable wouldn’t mind either.

  • http://atm Raider O

    DHB has to learn how to help his QB. That’s easy to fix, and it seems his killing DBs with his speed.

  • Twocents

    Raider Dell,

    I agree. Both DHB and MM are impressive young guys and it appears that they have cool heads.

    Could Al have finally hit the jackpot?

  • IndianaRaider

    ottocrat Says:
    May 8th, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    JR isn’t sharp, eh? Maybe someone should promise to make a burger run if he completes five in a row. I’m sure Cable wouldn’t mind either.
    =================================================

    Be carefull, you’ll wake Turdell Sands and you won’t like him when he’s hungry, no one will.

  • IndianaRaider

    Raider O Says:
    May 8th, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    DHB has to learn how to help his QB. That’s easy to fix, and it seems his killing DBs with his speed.
    ==================================================

    Didn’t DHB spend the last 3 years at Maryland helping his 4 different QB’s?

  • SnB Defense

    IndianaRaider,

    Didn’t you hear….that’s the Raider run-defense strategy