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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.”

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • blackdeath29

    i got a good vibe about mcfadden and schilens.the offense will be improved because because the line will be better.it`s only may so i don`t care how russell looks.i watch him at the end of last season that counts more than any practice.plus z.miller is russell favorite target and he was not available.these bay area media guys are just negative.

  • Dude

    Black,

    Do you want them to make stuff up and pretend Russell is throwing well? Besides the fact that they preface damn near every comment with “its only May” or “thats what mini camps are for”.

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    The Raiders have lost 72 games in 6 years, and people are whining about the media being negative. lol.

    BHP, you’re such a crybaby.

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    When you’ve lost 72 games in 6 seasons, WTF do you expect from the media?

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    When you’ve lost 72 games in 6 years, why don’t you take your complaints to Al Davis, instead of Jerry McDonald?

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    When you’ve lost 72 games in 6 years, you whine when Jerry doesn’t tell you a bedtime story.

  • Trolls 35 Raiders 0

    # KoolKell Says:
    May 10th, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    The Raiders have lost 72 games in 6 years, and people are whining about the media being negative. lol.

    BHP, you’re such a crybaby.

    buttholeprick :mrgreen: is the smartest man on Earth :roll: If you don’t believe it, just ask him :lol:

  • Chris in NY

    ” Early in the session, a hawk emerging from the field beyond the fence at the Oakland Airport flew through the air with a snake and landed on a nearby communications tower, where it came under the scrutiny of a few other birds who were diving at his prey.

    Some support staff and a few players were watching, until returning their gaze to the field when play resumed _ all except Shane Lechler, who never punted in the session and could afford to watch the show.”

    ————————–

    What the hell kind of an omen is that?

  • NoMoreFargas

    You guys can’t have both ways when we do good in mini-camp hooray we look great, when we look terrible aw it’s only mini-camp. Big al thought so much of mr.1 td that he drafted dmac at 4 and gave him a ton of money and he wouldn’t deal bush so step in al and toss farglass and let rankin make everyone say damn why wasn’t this cat playing sooner!

    GO RAIDERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • priesttj

    KK, I expect professionalism, I expect to get an objective viewpoint from the writer of this blog. Iexpect some insightful commentary on who’s competing and for what. Iexpect an and all upgrades. I expect to know when he sees things that are detrimental to the team. Who’s starting, who’s second string and so on. Iecpect t knw when there is a lineup change and a scheme change .

    I expect him to do his freakin job with some degree of competence and a little flare.

    I alreay know what the freakin record is for the last 6 years because your dumb ass keeps telling me. Now if al;l you want to talk about is the past record fine that’s you. But I require substance worth reading.

    Hell if it weren’t for the fans in here that actually know football I wouldn’t come in here.

    Especially with a nut like you repeating the same crap day in day out without realizing you’ve said the same thing over again about a thousand times. You freakin ALZ patient. Why are you here? you know the record for the last 6years and obviously that’s all that matters to you.

  • Infinite Raider

    Thanks Jerry. Please do a final/final wrap-up where you review your Thursday post and summarize questions that were/were not answered.

  • Crow

    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.”
    _______________________________________________________

    Man. That’s rough.

  • Crow

    jhill Says:
    May 10th, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    It’s pretty obvious to anyone with any football sense that this team is on the brink.
    _________________________________________________________

    Of another top 5-10 pick? I agree.

  • priesttj

    Incidentally I don’t think anyone is asking Jerry to sugarcoat what’s going on with Russell. But we all hear things from amny points of view and it’s just that Jerry’s are always negative.

    In the average practice session a QB will throw 50 -75 passes or more. They’re rotating in players constantly so that QB’s can throw to staters as well as backups. Until they get a depth chart that will continue. So far Russell has been very streaky so has Garcia. The emphasis on the reported has been on Russell’s misses ONLY he could’ve completed 15 passes in a row and you wont read it in here. There have been practices where he has lit it up. I don’t think you’ll read about it in here. Why is that?

    Unlike what some particular retard thinks I’m not complaining about the media being negative. I’m complaining about ONE bias reporter. who wants us to think that our QB isn’t willing to put the work in.

    Now from everything I’ve read that is not the case and what hear that is not the case. So why do people in here believe otherwise? Because you’re being led to believe that. I don’tr blame the readers I blame the writer because he rarely gives a accurate picture of what’s happening in practice. This retard (KK)who’s entire focus is on the owner only wants to blame Al for everything including dropped passes and missed assignments.

    There are many things of which the writers can choose to focus on but he seem sto pick out everything negative and post them. When if you really look at this team. There are several positives taking place but for some reason they don’t reach us through this writer. Mayb he and the retard(KK) can nly see things one way.

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    priest, we’re super bowl bound, right? You can just see it by watching the mini camps, right? Hell yeh!!! Hell yeh!!!!!

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    priest, if this blog fails to meet your expectations, why are you here?

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    Kell, Dude, and the other voices of reason in here, stop wasting your time. It’s a cult to people like priest. There are disturbing similarities between the Davis loyal and the Jim Jones followers. I wish I were joking. I’d be willing to bet you that if Al Davis told some of these guys to drink poison, they would. From a marketing standpoint, that’s pretty much what he does anyway.

  • priesttj

    Another thing I found very encouraging is the stated confidence Mario Henderson is showing. I like everyone else was very concerned about the OT’s on the team. The comments Cable made about Mario were very reassuring. I personally think Mario is going to be a great player now the rest is up to Cable securing the other tackle. Lo Neal as everyone has said was a huge get. What I’ve heard about Garcia from a very reliable source has already had an impact on Russell. This is another very good get. Russell’s uncle that died was significant for more reason’s than you think and Garcia coming here was in part to fill that void.

    Remember Russell is a very young man, a kid really and his uncle was here for that reason. When he died the Raiders needed to do something quick. And I think it has helped. Russell will struggle away from the field even more than on it until he’s in the league for a while. You don’t want him reaching out to the wrong people.

    Also it appears that one of the rookies has caught the coaches eye at SLB thus the try out Rickey Brown at MLB which he did play as a rookie. Who that rookie is let’s let Jerry fill you in. Or better yet maybe KK.

  • priesttj

    I like talking Raider football to astute Raider fans and some in here are very astute Raider football fans unlike YOU.

    Also Jerry has his good points there just not as good as they could be.

    MR why are you here since you don’t know squat about football period.

  • priesttj

    Come on KK quote our record over the last 6 years again it’s almost been an hour since the last post. Give us your insight.

  • alisgod

    Why are you guys panicking about Russell? it’s freakin early in the offseason practice. If we are in mid August and he still struggles then fine panick…I’ll be there with you. You all should learn not to read 100% of what Jerry writes in here. As a guy who watched every single one of Kitten and Cable’s presser, i can tell you that Jerry twist your emotion based on how he feels at the moment he writes the schytt. Most of the time, Jerry is usually 70% correct. Unfortunately we dont get to see the practice so we are stuck with reading his blog.

    For example, RAiderbeat.com trashed Russell today but Jerry said he didn’t do too bad. That just means when we the fans can’t watch any film we have to rely on the subjectivity of the person writing the schytt.

  • priesttj

    Alisgod, for some reason it’s hard for people to believe in here. They think Jerry is some kind of Saint or conduit of facts in all things Raiders. All this stuff is subjective. I tend to agree with your 70% assesment of right and wrong. But I tend to think of it as Jerry’s persuasion of the readers.

    Jerry’s not stupid he knows what works and gets the most hits………. CONTRAVERSY ..and he dupes these guy’s whenever he chooses to.

  • priesttj

    Adios!

  • BabySlash

    Jezus!

    JaMarcus has had ONE year at the helm. Give the guy a break. It is however clear that he will make or break our season.

  • 4evaRaider

    Good Morning Nation!!!

  • 4evaRaider

    the picture I saw of Jmac Tollner and Garcia,Jmac looks like the Michelin Man,complete with “tire” rolls.No offseason work-outs 4 Jmac.Just more of the same ole,same ole,imo

  • 4evaRaider

    well maybe it was Tollner,I’m not sure but it definitely Jmac and Garcia

  • 4evaRaider

    But on a positine note Turdell Sands looks like he’s in shape and Tommy Kelly is chomping at the bit.Plus these good draft picks and maybe our D will strike fear in opposing O’s.

  • 4evaRaider

    positive,sorry

  • DIRT-LOT FOOTBALL

    GOOD MORNING SPORT’S FAN’S , 4EVA,

  • 4evaRaider

    Morning Dirt-Lot thought I was all awone!!!

  • 4evaRaider

    Jmac completing short and intermediate passes 2 Fargas of all people,imagine that!!!There is hope enough 4 all,imo

  • DIRT-LOT FOOTBALL

    HOW ARE THING’S IN FLA. THIS FINE DAY ?

  • 4evaRaider

    A little cloudy,all the windows are open but I usually shut them around noon.And you???

  • DIRT-LOT FOOTBALL

    THIS TEAM WILL NEED HELP FROM ENTIRE ROSTER TO BECOME RELAVENT AGAIN,JUSTIN FARGAS IS A CRUCIAL MEMBER OF THIS TEAM..

  • DIRT-LOT FOOTBALL

    WILL BE IN “90′S” IN CENTRAL CALIF 2DAY

  • OAKlifer

    Morning Nation!!!

    Nice debut sounds like!!!

    WORK ETHIC…

    good words to hear coming out of mini camp..

    Lighter, looks fit and active…..

    looked better Sunday…….

    Again good words….

  • OAKlifer

    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.
    *****************************
    Heard this all last week!!

    Still really like the kid as a BIG run stuffing backup MLB… but brown over there sounds no good….

    Morning D-L F, 4eva

  • 4evaRaider

    Dirt-Lot you on the east side or the west side of the,lets see ,the San Gabriels???

  • 4evaRaider

    Biekert,Singletary,Butkus,Nitzhke none of them were “fast”.Many in here feel MLB is a position all of it self and you dont have 2B fast,just a nose 4 the ball and MEAN.I hope they stick with Joseph,he looks waay strong against bigger linemen.throw out the drills when it comes 2 MLB,imo

  • DIRT-LOT FOOTBALL

    I AM IN THE CENTRAL VALLEY 4EVA. ‘BOUT 75-80 MILES S-E OF THE OAKLAND COLISEUM, WHICH IS THE CENTER OF THE KNOWN UNIVERSE, IF I AM NOT MISTAKEN !!!!!

  • 4evaRaider

    I forgot 2 add Lambert in my last comment

  • 4evaRaider

    :=) thankx Dirt-Lot

  • 4evaRaider

    and you are NOT mistaken,imo

  • 2sense

    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.

  • Kirk

    HB drops three passes in a row with no one covering him.

    WTF?

  • OAKlifer

    NO ONE IS MISTAKEN!!!!!!!

    GO Character

    Go Coaches

    Go winning season!!!!!!

  • 4evaRaider

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!

    Lets hope our D gets that nasty reputation again

  • 4evaRaider

    4 those at work enjoy

    Compiled by RaiderBeat.com

    As promised, RaiderBeat.com took to the road for a first-hand look at the 2009 Raiders and in search of answers to some of the questions that lingered at season’s end or cropped up during the offseason.
    The extensive look at the players assembled by coach Tom Cable and his staff shed some much-needed light on numerous issues and provided insight into what you can expect from this year’s team.
    On Friday, we proffered five players on the dreaded hot seat and promised updates based on the latest information.
    So, here’s an in-depth look at what we gleaned from watching five practices over three days in Alameda, Calif., as the Raiders kicked off the on-field portion of their 50th season:
    Michael Huff. Hiram Eugene once again is working at free safety with the starting defense. That isn’t surprising, given Cable benched Huff one game into his tenure as the replacement for Lane Kiffin.
    What is surprising is Huff’s inability to harness his speed, athleticism and intelligence and make more of a push for a starting job.
    Eugene didn’t do much to stand out during the mini camp, but he didn’t have to, either. Huff comes off as just one of the guys taking up a roster spot, happy to be there in whatever capacity.
    Most teams would cast aside a player in Huff’s position. The Raiders aren’t most teams, and managing general partner Al Davis is unlike any other owner.
    Davis is slow to part ways with players he invested in so heavily. Huff was the No. 7 pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. In other words, Huff isn’t going anywhere for now.
    Terdell Sands. He made big news over the weekend by unveiling a new look. Sands has lost considerable weight, at Cable’s insistence, and is hopeful of regaining the form he displayed in 2006 and earned him a decent-sized contract.
    Sands was listed at 335 pounds last season. He probably still weighs more than that but at least he showed the commitment to do something about something Cable deemed a problem.
    Now it’s a matter of Sands showing that he didn’t lose any strength along with the weight. If so, his improved condition and stamina could play a huge role in the Raiders improving their stock against the run.
    For the record, Sands didn’t do much over the weekend that validated his newfound physique or left viewers optimistic that his production will be better this season. But it’s a start.
    Javon Walker. The Raiders paid him a ton of money so he could catch bombs from quarterback JaMarcus Russell. He has shown that he is more adept at dropping bombs.
    Case in point. He informed the Raiders last week that he underwent surgery on his balky right knee … without consulting Cable or anyone else with the Raiders beforehand.
    Wow! Cable dismissed the protocol breach as a non-issue and said it was something Walker needed to do. Walker said he played at 65 percent or so last season and now is pain-free for the first time since he first injured the knee in 2005.
    Walker is out of action until training camp starts. The Raiders don’t have much choice but to wait and see if Walker’s latest surgery – at least his fifth since he joined the NFL – did any good. He is guaranteed $4.6 million in base salaries for this season and next.
    Jay Richardson. The Raiders showed their lack of confidence in Richardson as a reliable pass-rush threat by selecting three defensive ends in the NFL Draft last month – Slade Norris since has converted to linebacker.
    Stryker Sulak and Matt Shaughnessy received plenty of playing time during the mini camp and showed that they are hungry for a roster spot and playing time right away.
    Richardson worked with the first-team defense and has a hold on the job for now. However, he still is being watched closely to see if he has plateaued as an NFL player or if he still has room for improvement.
    He didn’t fare any better than Sulak or Shaughnessy during the practices, for those keeping score.
    Derrick Burgess. The two-time Pro Bowler spent Friday and Saturday watching practices from the sideline, with a towel draped over his head.
    Cable said Burgess awoke Friday with the flu. Perhaps most disappointing to the Raiders was Burgess’ lack of interaction with players such as Sulak and Shaughnessy.
    If you’re healthy enough to walk out to the field, you’re healthy enough to mentor the younger players. On the bright side, Burgess’ work ethic isn’t in question. He appeared ripped as ever and ready to play.
    Justin Fargas. Read into it what you will, but second-year player Darren McFadden was at running back with the first-team offense more than Fargas, including the very first play.
    The Raiders know that McFadden has the ability to change the complexion of a game every time he touches the ball. They also know that he needs more than a few touches per game for Oakland’s offense to be more potent.
    McFadden turned in the play of the camp when he made a sensational catch of a long pass from backup quarterback Jeff Garcia.
    The catch down the right sideline transpired right in front of Davis, who no doubt took note and passed on his approval to Cable.
    McFadden ran well, made sharp cuts and showed no signs of lingering issues from the turf-toe and shoulder injuries that dogged him the final 14 games last season.

  • 4evaRaider

    not 2 change the subject but…We got a president who says Wazz-Up!!!