Minicamp concludes


Notes and quotes following the Raiders fifth and final minicamp practice:

The Raiders spent three days layering in system changes to their offense and defense, with the learning process far outweighing anything they accomplished in terms of actually making plays.

JaMarcus Russell, despite a forced interception to Stanford Routt while looking in the direction of Johnnie Lee Higgins, had his best overall practice and most consistent day in terms of passing. The same could be said of Jeff Garcia and Bruce Gradkowski.

“Today was better. Like in 7-on-7, team pass, both of those drills were probably the best they’ve been in the five practices,” Cable said. “There’s some improvement there. Some of that is the newer, deeper concepts, the timing of what that is, how to get into a deeper route, how to let it go on time. But I like it. I like where we’re at.”

— The quick pass out of the backfield to a running back, one that Russell has struggled with at times, looked better Sunday, particularly one throw that hit Darren McFadden in stride. It’s a play that could get big yards for the Raiders this year with McFadden’s speed and the power of Michael Bush.

— Three of their top four draft picks _ wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, safety Mike Mitchell and wide receiver Louis Murphy _ couldn’t make it into the fifth practice, needing to rest sore hamstrings.

“Just tightened up, my legs are a little too tight,” Heyward-Bey said with a chuckle. “Running too fast.”

Coach Tom Cable was not concerned.

“It’s the toughest transition for the rookies with all the running we do,” Cable said. “You just want to be smart with them, its precautionary.”

— Cable’s assessment of the rookie class: “(I was) impressed by their work ethic, impressed by their ability to learn. The guys who are playmakers, Mitchell, Murphy, Heyward-bey, obviously, made plays, but you could see at times they struggled a little bit. You just have to kind of get them through that. Now they have had a taste of it, they will be better prepared coming into OTA.”

— We’ll see how it plays out during full contact, but Cable confirmed what visual evidence seemed to suggest _ defensive tackle Terdell Sands has dropped some pounds.

“He’s absolutely a lot lighter,” Cable said, without divulging the amount. “He proved a couple years ago, three years ago now, that he was a real fine player at a certain weight. That kind of got away from him a little bit and now he’s back where he was before

“For him, it’s significant in that he realizes it’s time to get back being the kind of player I want to be. And we need him to. With the changes we’ve made on defense and all that, we can’t have him too big.”

— Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly continued to find himself on the other side of the line of scrimmage _ although too often before the ball was snapped. By conservative estimate, Kelly jumped offsides at least a half-dozen times in five practices.

On the positive side, he looks fit and active.

— Linebacker Ricky Brown, who opened the season as the starter on the strong side, spent his third consecutive day backing up Kirk Morrison in the middle. Brown doesn’t know if the move was temporary or more long-term.

“For this camp they wanted to put me in the middle, because they told me, `We already know you can play SAM,’ ” Brown said.

Brown began to go into detail regarding his groin problems, describing how muscle had torn from the pubic bone, and then delving into the specifics of a sports hernia, when I did something I don’t think I’ve ever done before.

“OK, please, stop,” I said.

Brown laughed.

“I know more about the anatomy down there then I ever wanted to know,” he said.

— Interesting to watch Cable operate as a head coach without the added responsibility of also being the line coach. He spent most of the five practices roaming from unit to unit, remaining fairly quiet and observing each position group, as opposed to exhorting his linemen on with equal parts enthusiasm and anger.

“I have a plan on what I want to do,” Cable said. “Part of my responsibility is coaching the coaches and making sure that what we’re planning to be and trying to do gets done.

“Having had experience, not just as a line coach but in other areas, I can help in a lot of places so I think it’s important that I’m doing that. I’m involved in everything and I see everything. As we get closer to the season the responsibility of calling plays will probably follow me more into that.”

— Cable said the two most impressive undrafted free agents in camp where Boise State tight end Chris O’Neal and Brigham Young linebacker David Nixon, although he’ll further evaluate on film.

— Judging from a first-hand look at drill-work where linebackers essentially ran a figure-eight around two oversized hoops as a test for speed and agility, Frantz Joseph, who saw only occasional time as a third team middle linebacker, is a step or three slower than the rest of the crew.

If Ricky Brown’s shift to the middle is any indicaiton, Joseph, the Florida Atlantic product with a boatload of tackles and a remarkable personal story, will have a difficult time cracking the roster.

— Cable’s end-of-camp review with the team: “I think we accomplished everything. That’s what I just talked to them about. We had a plan, we talked about Friday in that first team meeting, and you walk the field today and say we got everything done. We got the new stuff done, we wanted to set a work tempo and get the new players involved. Those were the three goals and we got that done.”

— Besides the three rookies, also missing practice were TE Zach Miller (sports hernia), DT Gerard Warren (pectoral muscle), DE Derrick Burgess (stomach virus), FB Oren O’Neal (knee), WR Javon Walker (knee), WR Arman Shields (knee), LG Robert Gallery (calf strain) and G Paul McQuistan (knee).

— I’ll have more on this as the date approaches, but Gallery is running a fundraiser called “Cruisin’ For Our Community” with all the proceeds going to to the children of four Oakland police officers killed in the line of duty on April 21.

The event will be held June 6, beginning in Dublin and ending in Livermore and will include a live auction, a silent auction, and possibily autograph sessions for donations with Raiders players at the ending point of the cruise at Los Vaqueros Restaurant at 1000 N. Vasco Road in Livermore.

Gallery, a car enthusiast (pre-1970 American made), had been planning on doing a benefit cruise for some time, and when he learned of the Oakland police fatalities, pulled out the card of an officer he had become friendly with at concerts and after Raiders games.

Gallery said his wife told him he’d better check to make sure the officer wasn’t one of the victims.

“It was Mark Dunekin, one of the bike cops that got killed,” Gallery said. “That was like a kick in the gut. I saw him all the time, talked to him after games. It hit home that much more.”


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • 4evaRaider

    Because its slow here is more

    By Paul Wexler

    RaiderBeat.com Staff Reporter

    After watching the first few practices of mini-camp this weekend, coach Tom Cable called starting quarterback JaMarcus Russell “kind of streaky” and “a little erratic.” Numerous other reports weren’t as kind.
    Russell struggled hitting the mark in drills, even though there wasn’t any pressure or players in pads.
    The San Francisco Chronicle’s David White reported Russell threw multiple “bounce-passes” at receivers’ feet.
    The game gets much harder when the defensive lines from the NFC East start bearing down on you.
    If Russell is struggling with his accuracy in favorable conditions, it doesn’t bode well for the near future. All the arm strength in the world is meaningless if you aren’t accurate.
    And and all excuses falls on deaf ears. With Russell, you just don’t ever get the feeling that he gives it everything he has.
    Right or wrong, if he gave more of himself to the fans and to his team, he would receive the benefit of the doubt.
    But Russell does just enough to get by, and it shows.
    Working with new receivers doesn’t cause “bounce passes.” Passes behind or in front of the intended target would be the more likely result.
    On any other team, after this weekend’s performance the quarterback position would be an open competition, at the very least.
    Many people no doubt are thinking it’s a matter of when and not if Cable will turn over the reins to Jeff Garcia.
    However, managing general partner Al Davis’ opinion is the only one that counts. Davis won’t be swayed by anyone else’s opinion. So, barring an injury or a change of heart, this team is going to be handicapped by its quarterback play. Coach Cable and his staff will have to win with sound defense and a strong running game.
    Undrafted free agent tight end Chris O’Neill has made some great plays at mini-camp.
    Cable singled out O’Neill as one of the undrafted free agents who caught his eye, along with linebacker David Nixon.
    They are the only undrafted free agents who distinguished themselves as position players.
    The rest of the undrafted free agents, including the much-publicized linebacker Frantz Joseph, spent most of their time with special teams.
    O’Neill, 6-fo ot-3 and 243 pounds, caught only 21 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns in two collegiate seasons at Boise State, but he has displayed great hands and the ability to make plays in traffic.
    O’Neill is one to watch as the organized team activities and training camp rolls around.
    Wide receiver Javon Walker wants us to believe that he was in so much pain that he wanted to retire last season.
    He played at “65 percent” in the eight games he played last season. We’re supposed to believe that the team knew about his pain and that he was just “trying to push through it” and play.
    But why, then, did the team doctors fail to deal with the cause of the pain when he had ankle surgery last season? And how did he pass a physical when the Raiders signed him?
    Why did he have secret surgery last month? Why didn’t he retire after last season? Would the Raiders have made a safer pick at receiver or signed an established free agent if they had known the truth about Walker’s health? Or was he even in the team’s plans for 2009?
    Second-year player Chaz Schilens continues to impress. Blocking, catching, running routes, Schilens is doing it all. He has the look of a reliable No. 2 receiver.
    Davis selected Schilens in the seventh round with the 226th pick. Now he has earned a starting position.
    In the same draft, Davis too k a chance on converted tight end Trevor Scott, who now is a solid defensive end. Scott figures to be an integral part of the defensive line rotation this season.
    The Raiders had five picks in the 2008 NFL Draft. Four of the players selected earned significant playing time as rookies.
    Fourth-round pick Arman Shields missed the 2008 season with a knee injury, so he can’t be evaluated just yet.
    Defensive end Derrick Burgess spent the first two days of the mini camp with a towel draped over his head and watching from the sidelines.
    Cable said Burgess awoke Friday with the flu. No word on whether some of Burgess’ symptoms included punter Shane Lechler receiving a new contract, disappointment at not being traded before and diarrhea

  • RuffRaider

    If the Turd plays to his ’06 season, and Kelly plays to anything close to his contract we should be MUCH improved with the Run D. Especially if MM turns out to be a player.

    I’d be happy if we reach middle of the pack at this point. Even Top 20 or so might get us to 8-8 this year. But I sure like the new blitz schemes Marshall seems to be putting in. I want to see 11 guys flying to the ball and I know it’s very early, but I get the feeling the D is playing with a lot more energy. Hopefully they will gain momentum from the weekends work.

  • BabySlash

    If we’re counting on TURD and Kelly, we’re doomed

  • 4evaRaider

    well I’m more than willing 2 give everyone a pass because of last years fiasco’s.But we really need 2 produce on both sides of the ball.Lots of optimism about the D tho

  • RuffRaider

    What’s the deal with Gerard Warren right now? We need him to show up big this year too.

    I don’t know if we’re necessarily doomed with Turd and Kelly, but I can’t really argue with it either. At least Kelly is 100% healthy and Turd appears to be in much better shape. I would liked to have seen another big body added in the off season and after the draft I thought Cable said that adding a DT was still a high priority. Hopefully they have something brewing.

  • MaddenRaiderisadouchebag

    Preist, I enjoy your feedback as well. Of course, you’ll always deal with maddenpu$$y’s comments which never have anything to do with what you state. You see, he can’t debate intelligently, so he has to come up with a snide one sentence to boost his ego. He is, was, and forever will be a giant douchebag.

  • CJ Legend 34

    Why do peole keep saying JaMarcus Russell is not putting in the work? How do they really know that? For crying out loud it is the first practice of the year.

    I gues we should have drafted Matt Lienart and we would have been in the superbowl this year. Oh my bad, I forgot Warner was playing at the time. HAAAAAA!!!!!

  • RaiderRockstar

    Guard Cooper Carlisle found himself on the ground during the no-contact drills courtesy of Tommy Kelly two times in a span of three plays.


    time for a new RG?

    or is Tommy Kelly a healthy beast?

  • RaiderRockstar

    –After TE Chris O’Neill went to the ground on a pass pattern near the sideline following contact from second-round pick Mike Mitchell,
    defensive coordinator John Marshall said, “Mike, stay off him!”

    – 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.


    LOL. get ready Antonio Gates!

  • RaiderRockstar

    – Judging from a first-hand look at drill-work where linebackers essentially ran a figure-eight around two oversized hoops as a test for speed and agility, Frantz Joseph, who saw only occasional time as a third team middle linebacker, is a step or three slower than the rest of the crew.

    If Ricky Brown’s shift to the middle is any indicaiton, Joseph, the Florida Atlantic product with a boatload of tackles and a remarkable personal story, will have a difficult time cracking the roster.


    yikes! I was hoping this kid would at least make the practice squad. maybe even that is a pipe dream?

  • Alright, glad we signed Neal because our running game is what will make or break us this season on the offensive side of the ball.

  • RaiderRockstar

    I have just got caught up reading all the weekend camp blogs from Jerry Mac. there seems to be a recurring theme.

    1. Russell still can’t hit the broad side of a barn
    2. DHB has speed, but no hands
    3. all the speedy track stars we drafted (DHB, Murphy, Mitchell) have injuries now. they are hamstrung. they haven’t even had contact yet!
    4. Lorenzo Neal is by far the best offseason acquisition thus far
    5. Walker has a passion for the game and is happy to be a Raider, but he’s injury prone and will likely be a non factor again this year

  • I was just about to write that in looking at some of the picture of Russell he didn’t seem in that bad of shap, then I saw picture 44 of 51 on the follwing link and man, Russell has a huge gut:


  • I was just about to write that in looking at some of the picture of Russell he didn’t seem in that bad of shape, then I saw picture 44 of 51 on the follwing link and man, Russell has a huge gut:


  • I’ll just keep telling myself, “It’s only May!!!!!”

  • NoMoreFargas

    # 2sense Says:
    May 11th, 2009 at 6:36 am

    This is the best character this team has had for as long as I can remember.

    It’s nice to look at the roster and not see the names of hoodlum football players littering it. No Charles Woodson, James Trapp, Jerry Porter, Randy Moss, Jeff George, DeAngelo Hall, etc, etc, etc. There always seems to be that one piece of garbage that pouts, chokes or gives up when it counts the most. I don’t see that this year. It’s kind of refreshing.

    Al has always put together a talented roster on the top end. Kiffin was on to something when he addressed the mid roster issues that the Raiders have had. The talent was there. It was the role players that were non existent. For some reason that’s too often overlooked.

    I think Cable’s persuasion to bring in some scrap will be the difference maker. I also am pretty sure that I will be in front of my TV in week 17 watching the team with pride rather than anger and embarrassment regardless of record. I have a pretty good feeling about this team leaving it out there every week. As long as there is a solid core of scrap coupled with direction from the coaching staff, this team will develop into something special.

    Only game day will tell us when.
    Charles woodson was the man and last time I checked we where awesome with him so take you’re good character but we lose bs to another teams this is the Raiders “JUST WIN BABY”!

  • NoMoreFargas

    What you’re happy to have javon walker,tommy kelly,turd sands yeah real quality guys!

  • jhill

    LOL Dakota …

    What about #50?

    There’s should be a nice roll there under that big ole #2, but there isnt

  • It’s only May!!!!!

  • Jhill,

    Maybe he just needs to work on his posture? lol

  • Mad Road Dog

    Look….getting to the playoffs is not as hard as it seems until you start talking contracts,the way they are structured and then consistent coaching with consistent schemes. Contracts and coaching aside aside, the war is first won in the trenches.

    Our guys on the lines have to push their guys around more then they do us. That has not happened in the past thus six straight years of losing badly. The schemes remain the same with a few twists and the coaching is in place. Next the quality linemen are have to be in place before you go after the skill positions. Does anyone feel like the Raider linemen on board are good enough to consistently push around their counterparts? Can the guys we have push the Steelers or Eagles around more then they would us? I am convinced they cannot and we will find out soon enough.

    The point is that Monroe and Brace would have been far better picks than Bey and Mitchell because they are bigger needs. Dominant lines take the heat off the skill positions.

    My point is that the Raider Nation has to get behind this principle to ever have any impact on the quality of linemen that Al brings in.

  • RaiderRockstar

    New defensive coordinator Jim Marshall rolled out more blitz packages Sunday, with middle linebacker Ricky Brown getting two “sacks” up the middle, rookie Slade Norris breaking through once, and so on.

    Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly continues to be more visible than anyone else in the front-four.

    Man, cornerback Chris Johnson looks good.

    One one play, he deflected a pass after taking over coverage from Kirk Morrison in zone. The very next play, he outangled tall receiver Chaz Schilens on a deep ball for an incomplete pass.


    let’s go DEFENSE!!!

  • M Lonetree

    Do some of you guys rag on your grandmothers for not putting the correct garnish on the potato salad at family picnics? It is May 11.
    Of course I suppose it does matter whether one sees the Raider glass as half Fargas or half Nnamdi.


    is Shane Battier now your favorite Bballer?

  • RaiderRockstar

    I hope the Rockets dominate the series now that Yao is out

    2-2, come on Houston!

  • RaiderRockstar

    Do some of you guys rag on your grandmothers for not putting the correct garnish on the potato salad at family picnics? It is May 11


    M: did you just compare Al Davis to your grandma?

    I feel sorry for you bro. Those family functions must be rough! haha

  • M,

    Lakers have no heart. Very sad.

  • jhill

    Really Dakota, all he needs to do is keep hanging with Cable like he is in 41, lol!

    He looks like Mr Olympia in that one.

  • Crow

    Priest, in all seriousness, if you want to read good news, you’re following the wrong team. You can’t blame Jerry for this team being a laughing stock, or for the lazy QB, or for the bad drafting, or for the overall lack of talent…

  • jhill

    Don’t get it twisted, still pulling for my purple and gold ..

    But I told U this team won’t win SHYT with Gasoft in the middle. Nada! Euro BBall if ever I saw it.

    And the thing I can’t understand is PJ not sending a message by putting Mbenga in the game. Hayes and Landry? 5’10 brooks getting to the rack with EASE?


  • Jhill,

    I was on the road so I just saw the highlights (I erased my DRV of the debacle before watching it) so it is hard for me to tell, but from the box score it looked like Gasoft was the only one that came to play yesterday. Didn’t he have 30 points?

  • M Lonetree


    my last grandmother died when Al Davis was AFL commissioner. Maybe there is a connection. lol.


    it is actually heartwarming to me that the Lakers showed none. 🙂

  • I’ll bet it is M…which team do you follow in the NBA? Warriors?

  • M Lonetree


    yep. long ago I liked the Bradley – Debusschere – Reed – Earl the Pearl – Clyde gang, but it has been all Warriors ever since. Too bad for me, huh? It was pleasant the other night to hear Kenny the Jet say that the greatest first round series he had ever seen was when the Warriors knocked off the Mavs.

  • RaiderRockstar

    I was only 9 months old when the Raiders won their last Super Bowl.

    on January 22, 1984 they stomped the Redskins 38–9 in Super Bowl XVIII

    I’m ready to win! I’m hungry!

  • Sorry to hear that M. Looks like your best shot at a title is with the Raiders, lol.

  • Saw the new Star Trek movie last night…pretty good flick.

  • Saw the trailers for Transformers, GI Joe and Terminator movies…I thought it was 1987 for a minute there.

  • 4evaRaider

    I had 30 people over 4 that Super Bowl RRS.They were all Redskins fans.I bet everybody $10.00 apiece.Man was that a FUN SUPER BOWL!!!

  • M Lonetree


    from that viewpoint, and from many others of your generation it is a true testament to your being Silver and Black bleeding Raider fans. Having no championship teams in your memory to hang your hat on does try the patience.

  • M Lonetree


    a truly wretched state of affairs. But, I do believe that barring significant injuries the Raiders are ready this year to bring some pain to fans of other NFL teams instead of torturing our own psyches as they have recently.

  • M,

    Hang in there and keep your hopes up. Ongoing advancements in the medical fields may make it possible for you and other “old school” Raiders’ fans to live long enough to see us win another Super Bowl.

    The mapping of the human genome may make it possible for all of us.

  • new post up

  • M Lonetree


    perhaps, but it better be quick, ain’t a lot of time left for anyone on this oblate spheroid hurtling through the fringes of the Via Lactea. As the Vedas say, it is all a dream of Parambrahma, albeit a 5 billion year long dream, and one day Parambrahma will wake up.

  • fggcisco

    27. Oakland Pre season rank.(From Peter KIng)
    “In every story about the Raiders’ prospects this offseason, there’s been some reference to the attitude/work ethic/study habits of JaMarcus Russell needing improvement. That’s not good. The quarterback of your team has to know enough to be the hardest worker and the leader, and it sounds like Russell is neither. He’s still young enough in his career to become that worker bee, but you’ve got to have your doubts as of now. I just don’t think it’s enough to get a team with questionable skill players and a mediocre defense over the top.” Another 4-12 season.
    The Raiders will be great in 1-2 gams as spoilers.
    This another year all the wrong draft choices will come home to roost. Al ruined this team.

  • fggcisco

    What about them Nuggets, the new raiders, intimidators.

  • CJ Legend 34

    ****GET OFF OF RUSSELL’S BACK*******

    I really don’t get the assumption that Russell does not work hard at Quarterback. I keep hearing all of these articles talking about his commitment to getting better and his weight, etc, etc, etc…. I think it is a lot like leading up to the draft. Most of these so called Analysts just get their content from other analysts comments rather than accurate sources. Fans do the same thing. I get so tired of seeing the same comments on Jerry’s Blog such as “what is Russells weight? Did Russell miss a pass? For crying put loud it is the first camp man. Plus, I bet you it is the fat group Raider Nation fans that comment on Russells weight.

    Cable’s comments months ago were him challenging a young QB to get better. That is what he is supose to do as a head coach motivating a young QB to take more of a leadership role. I guess we should have taken Cutler? Now there is a team player and leader or how about Lienart? Now that guy has an accurate arm. Give me a break! Well what about Young? He was a skinny fast dude that was available in the draft and a pian in the @$$ with a bad attitude. Russell has an amazing upside and he never had a veteran like Kurt Warner or a Brett Farve like Aaron Rodgers did sitting on the sideline.

    Look Russell is a big man from the south who is soft spoken. He played as a big guy at LSU and he can move for a big man he is not flat footed. Just let the guy develop and get off his back.

    For the last time Russell does not lack confidence on the field it is in front of the cameras because public speaking is not one of his strong points if you have not noticed. Neither was it for the great Farve from the south when he first came into the league.

    Lets wait and see.

  • Dont be creul bloggers…

    To the Mod/Troll when she is on her period she will boot you from this blog.

    That angry little gal needs some love….who wants to pork a fat chick