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The silver lining

If you’re one of those people shaking their heads because three of Oakland’s first four draft picks ended up with sore hamstrings, watching their new teammates finish minicamp Sunday, just wait until next year.

That’s not to say it will be a year Darrius Heyward-Mike Mitchell and Louis Murphy won’t contribute anything. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not all that significant that they didn’t finish strong. Look at it as if they were thrown off the high-dive without knowing how to swim and their overprotective parents decided they’d be better off staying out of the pool on Sunday.

Meanwhile, players who were dog-paddling a year ago were making like Michael Phelps (minus the bong). Some of the best looking players at the three-day camp included running back Darren McFadden, wide receiver Chaz Schilens and defensive end Trevor Scott _ all rookies last season.

Tom Cable submitted Tyvon Branch, a first-team strong safety, as well, and he may well have been on film, athough nothing jumped out to my untrained eye.

Going back a year further, the Class of 2007 was well-represented with starting left tackle Mario Henderson, wide receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins and running back Michael Bush looking confident and effective, and that doesn’t even include the injured Zach Miller and what they hope and expect out of quarterback JaMarcus Russell.

“It’s good to see the guys in year two and year three starting to develop and make plays,” Cable said.

Defensive end Jay Richardson also flashed during the final two sessions with a pair of would-be sacks.

What that means is this _ through all the upheaval of his cat fight with Lane Kiffin that crippled the team on the field, Al Davis and Co. have picked and developed enough good young players over the past two years to serve as the core of something competitive.

That’s no small thing in a division which was won with a .500 record last year and a league which routinely sees dramatic turnarounds as Atlanta and Miami accomplished last year.

Schilens couldn’t help but think back to a year ago and his fish-out-of-water experience as a seventh-round draft pick out of San Diego State.

“I know what they feel like and they’re dealing with it well,” Schilens said. “They’re smart and they have a good knack for the game. They came out well prepared, and except for a little hamstring soreness I think they’re good. That’s something they’ll get used to.”

Watching Schilens operate over the weekend, aside from a dropped pass in the end zone, and the decision to take a pass on Michael Crabtree seems reasonable. Schilens is taller, was faster coming out of college, and looks comfortable on the deeper patterns the Raiders plan to run this season.

(They’re not necessarily connecting on a lot of them yet. Cable is promising that will come later).

Schilens said there is no real way to be prepared for the first weekend as a pro.

“You get thrown into it, you deal with it and adapt as bet you can,” Schilens said. “It’s a year later and I think I’m a better much better receiver mechanically.”

McFadden looked like the McFadden of training camp a year ago, consistently beating defenders to the corner even when it seemed to be strung out. He was as sure-handed as any receiver, and putting him in the slot, in motion or on swing passes out of the backfield make a touchdown-on-any-play capability.

It served as a reminder that McFadden, once the toe miseries began, was a shell of what he was in training camp.

“I’m eager to get going. I’ve got a steel toe in my shoe and I don’t even want to give that a chance to happen again,” McFadden said.

Like Schilens, McFadden, watched the rookie class struggle and had a flashback.

“You want to try and do everything perfect and you’re going to make mistakes,” McFadden said. “I’m sure not being able to go on the last day is going to play on their mind a little bit. You’ve got to let it roll off your shoulders.”

The way minicamp is set up, with no locker room, I never got a chance to talk to Scott, who spent a lot of time getting around offensive tackles and racing in to the backfield. If Scott has put on weight _ he played last year in the 240s _ visual evidence suggests he didn’t overdo it, and that’s a good thing.

MISCELLANEOUS

– No word as to whether Samie Parker and Drisan James were signed to contracts. Both wide receivers were in on a tryout basis. James appeared to have the better tryout, while there were reports Parker had actually agreed to terms on a contract.

UPDATE: Raiders.com confirms Parker has signed a contract.

Expect one or both to be added before the next OTA with Javon Walker recovering from knee surgery and Arman Shields still not healthy. Shields it appears, simply can’t get over the hump physically. He’s had no additional surgeries in the past year yet can’t string practices together.

– Defensive end Derrick Burgess, who watched practices with towels draped over his head with what the team was calling a “stomach virus” never made it to the field Sunday. Even when Burgess watched, it was away from the position group, standing apart from the crowd, rather than talking to younger players.

In fairness, it could be he or the medical staff considered himself contageous. But it’s a situation that bears watching.

– One thing I forgot to note _ Friday was the day the music died.

No more music during warmups before practice, another departure from something instituted by Kiffin. In that regard, the atmosphere was more businesslike, but it also made for more interaction between the players as they stretched and got loose, giving them the chance to talk and joke with each other rather than relax and listen to the tunes.

– Yeah, I know. I’m too hard on Russell. I realize he had three different play-callers last year and finished the season playing well in a run-oriented offense. He kept mistakes to a minimum. That’s all been duly noted here to anyone paying attention.

He had only one interception that I can recall during the minicamp, and is still smart about avoiding mistakes, checking down to tight ends on many occasions.

You’ve never heard me call him a bust, or anything close to it. He seems to have the kind of personality where he’s not going to be overly concerned without outside criticism, always a good thing for a quarterback.

What shouldn’t be happening is this _ misfiring on a lot of routine passes. There were too many short throws, some less than 10 yards, that landed at the feet of receivers or running backs, with the nose of the ball turned downward on arrival. He was inaccurate on some medium and deep throws as well, which Cable attributed in part to receivers getting comortable with deeper routes.

You can talk about the change in systems all you want, but Russell has been throwing with Raiders receivers throughout the offseason and the timing should be better. He still looks inconsistent as a passer.

Both Cable and Jeff Garcia said Russell is going to be held to a higher standard because of his status as the starting quarterback and as a No. 1 overall draft choice.

That standard exists year-round, but it’s a lot more important to meet it in July and August than it is in May.

STRANGE BROWN QUOTE

Not sure what to make of this statement by Tim Brown on a recent appearance on WCNN radio in Atlanta, sent courtesy of sportsradiointerviews.com . . .

On meeting Al Davis for the first time . . .

“Meeting Al (Davis) was pretty unique. I found out five or ten minutes after my first practice there that he hated African-American athletes from Notre Dame. And they literally told me that. They literally told me that because we’re known for using our education more than our athletic ability that he thought that I would be one of these guys that would basically take the money and run. I don’t know if that was a ploy to get me amped up, but it certainly worked.”

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • IndianaRaider

    SnB Defense Says:
    May 11th, 2009 at 7:56 pm
    If the Raiders are going to be a run 1st team…they have to dominate on the ground. Dominate like the Giants do on the ground….dominate like the Vikings or Falcons….that’s a running game.

    Just having guys go out and have 20 carries for 60 yards and with 1 carry for 20….is not dominating….

    That’s why I want to see more DMAC and Michael Bush. Those two have demonstrated on the field the capability of taking a game over.
    ===================================================

    I agree with you 100%, I was to see what our running game looks like with Bush leading the charge and McFadden splitting carries with Fargas on the bench if we need a 3rd.

  • 16yearsold16yearfan

    did anyone see nfln today and justin fargas was #7 on the list of top trojans in the nfl usc and steve smith was on the list usc players must not be doing too in the nfl right now lol

  • Rellik30

    So why did DHB sit out? I thought Cable was doing a press today?

  • 16yearsold16yearfan

    hamstring

  • 16yearsold16yearfan

    wow i just read something on raiders.com and the slowest time out of all our wr is 4.33

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    All the running rookies legs gave out.

  • raiderkoolaid

    If McFadden and Bush continue to improve there game and get better at picking up the pass rush then Fargas’s playing time will go down. Someone said earlier, “you mean Fargas is starting just because he pass blocks better.” Yes. There is no doubt Bush and McFadden are better running with the ball, but to a coach being able to pick up a block when needed is just as important. Last year McFadden was a rookie and Bush was in his first year of playing, and although they are great talents, they still have a lot to learn, although they are both gamers and I have no doubt they will learn. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them both being accomplished all around backs as soon as this year.

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    “During the offseason Russell has taken on the challenge of taking the next step as the Raiders starting quarterback. “It is a team sport so you have to be a team player. I have done everything that they have asked me to do to be a leader for my team, being a quarterback and knowing the ropes and what to do to bring everybody together,” said Russell.
    Russell sees this minicamp as another opportunity to improve and move forward with the benefit of coaching and teaching. “It’s the same I get out of every single practice, another day of work, having the chance to get out and get better at your profession,” added Russell.”
    ———————–
    Raiders.com

  • SnB Defense

    Raiderkoolaid,

    I am all for playing the best player. Justin Fargas can block…but can he catch? I think Fargas needs to step his game up if he’s going to start. Again, the key is a dominant running game like the K.C game and the Tampa game. Those are the kind of games that the running back needs to have.

    There are too many 20 carry 60 yard type games for my liking. A running game should generate at least 1 rushing TD per game. Not one every 5 or 6 games or more. The run game needs to be the difference. Right now the run game is “okay” but with the exception of two games (K.C and Tampa).

  • DarthPirate

    I think that happens often with rookies. I’ve never heard of it with receivers so much, but I doubt these guys are being lazy. Especially Louis Murphy, and DHB doesn’t seem to be the type to sit around just because he can.
    ——————–
    KoolKell Says:
    May 11th, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    All the running rookies legs gave out.

  • DarthPirate

    And Tim Brown’s quote really is weird.

  • raidersince87

    Fargas is a hard runner through the line who always gives 110% but he has no second gear, explosion, or good moves once he gets into the secondary, hes third string at best with the other backs we have, they’ll learn to pass block as soon as they get the oppertunities in real game situations, 1st- dmac, 2nd bush, 3rd fargas

  • raidersince87

    that tim brown quote was weird

  • SnB Defense

    It was Al Davis that drafted DMAC 4th overall and drafted Michael Bush in the 4th round…knowing that Bush was underrated. I guess my point is that the Raiders expected DMAC and Bush to become great backs.

    They could have got away with only drafting one of the two…but Davis drafted both of them. Therefore the story on how they feel about Fargas is pretty clear. They don’t see him as the game breaker.

    Also, the Raiders received offers for Bush and kept him…while they tried to trade FArgas and got no decent offers…

    Gotta play the best players…

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    So, OTA’s start next Tues? Same format? Media availability?

  • r8rpaver

    KoolKell Says:
    May 11th, 2009 at 8:56 pm
    So, OTA’s start next Tues? Same format? Media availability?
    ======================================================= hopefully a more positive spin by the media coverage tho

  • Brien the General 510

    Farglass?Lol people defend him as if he is good. You guys wants to lose I see.

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    Holy f’n fudge…..

    For those of you who love to espouse on Al Davis being a supposed pioneer in race equality, give this a read. This is current, folks, from Tim Brown’s mouth. No rumor. And it’s pretty disturbing.

    “Meeting Al (Davis) was pretty unique. I found out five or ten minutes after my first practice there that he hated African-American athletes from Notre Dame. And they literally told me that. They literally told me that because we’re known for using our education more than our athletic ability that he thought that I would be one of these guys that would basically take the money and run. I don’t know if that was a ploy to get me amped up, but it certainly worked.”

    My goodness. If this is true, and of course it is, because Tim Brown could be hit for libel big time if it weren’t, not only is Al Davis a racist but Tim Brown is a spineless f’n sellout, too. What would it take for Al to offend you, Timmy? For him to tattoo “Property of Davis Family” on your butt and put a huge ring in your nose?

    http://sportsradiointerviews.com/2009/05/11/tim-brown-elected-to-college-football-hall-of-fame-nfl-hall-of-fame-not-far-behind/

  • Trolls 35 Raiders 0

    That would be the silver lining :twisted:

  • r8rpaver

    Trolls: LMAO i have to give it to you … you dont let up do you..man i dont want you on my bad side LMAO

  • CantstandtheHaters

    I cant believe P King ranked the Donkys in front of us… whats he smokin??? were gonna own, DO-MI-nATE!!!STEAMROLL!!!GUT!!! the AFC W.

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    Who wants to bet when I wake up tomorrow Al Davis’s mug will be on SportsCenter? This story aint going away.

  • r8rpaver

    MR i think your right but WHY now ???? TB wanted to come back and help AL get the team going in the right direction..why say that now???i dont get it

  • JT52

    whut up late night nation?

  • JT52

    I dont see the tim brown comment as all that bad

    Davis simply expressed concern over Notre Dame athletes being finely educated and questioned their true will and desire for the game. That how I see it I dont know about the whole ”Al doesnt like black athletes from notre dame” quote but it sound more like a concern for heart and love of the game than a race issue to me

  • r8rpaver

    JT i hope its just a USC vs ND thing being AD’s love for USC… man i just cant see it being a race deal..it just doesnt make sence…A owner of an nfl team raceist….i dont think so its a USC vs ND thing

  • r8rpaver

    AD may do some dumb things ( dont we all ) but hes not stupid enough to think… or say things like that..i just cant beleive it..TB said he heard it…ive heard lots of things in the work place that are BS..i think this is one of those things

  • http://atm Raider O

    What’s up R8, how are you?

  • http://atm Raider O

    What did Tim Brown say? I cant find it!!

  • JT52

    good point r8, davis was not directly quoted saying that it was just a heard it to the grape vine type of deal. All motivational it seems anyway

  • http://atm Raider O

    Do you guys know about TH’s web site? Mr.53.com.
    He has his own blog too!! lol

  • Mistabrown

    “The experience he brings can help mold those young fullbacks in there,” Raiders coach Tom Cable said after seeing Neal for the first time on the opening day of Oakland’s three-day minicamp. “That guy has proven over time that he probably can run any run scheme in the NFL because he has been in them all, and been very good.

    -Tom Cable

    # Oakglenn Says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Lo plays a different style of FB than we play here. He would not fit the scheme. Unfortunately.

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    JT, were you dropped on your head at some point in your life? If Al specifically said black athletes at Notre Dame, it is a flat out racist comment, no matter how you cut it. And I love how you then latch on to a comment suggesting Al didn’t say it. Make up your mind. If there was nothing wrong with what he said, why would you go to denial mode? Your logic is just twisted. Go to any black person at your job tomorrow and tell them that black athletes at Notre Dame just take the money and run, and say it in those exact words, and see what happens.

    Raider O, the link is in my comment above. I couldn’t find it on google news, either. The site has a transcript to an interview. And, the article is dated today. If it’s some sort of hoax, then good. I’d hate to think that Al Davis harbored such sick views. If this is true, and Tim Brown stands by it, it will ruin Al Davis’s legacy of being a pioneer in sports racial issues. In fact, the NFL may finally have an avenue to run him out of the league.

  • Mistabrown

    I guess T Brown wont be offered a job with the Oakland Raiders anytime soon.

  • r8rpaver

    O look at post 368

  • JT52

    sorry maddenraider AKA Spock I have not watched the new star trek movie yet so I guess my logic is a little off LOL

    either way the article said tim brown was told that al davis didnt like black athletes from notre dame. Al Davis himself did not say this to tim brown so who even knows if it is true. I was just stating my opinion on the quote as being one that questions heart and desire for the game black or white or green.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Thank you MR.

  • Mistabrown

    Walker wont be ready for the start of training camp.
    The end.

    Arman Shields, who has never seen the field yet gets mad props from OakGlenn and Priest may NEVER see the field if he doesnt get past his knee problems.

    -SHILLENS
    -HIGGINS
    -BEY
    -?
    -?

  • SharkCatcher

    -SHILLENS
    -HIGGINS
    -BEY
    -harrison
    -?holland

  • http://atm Raider O

    I don’t know MR.
    Al hired Tom Flores and Art Shell. Also, players like Upshaw (RIP) loved him. Upshaw was a smart man, he wouldn’t have loved a Racist so much. IMHO

  • Mistabrown

    Drew Carter’s career is over ?

  • Mistabrown

    Tim said “they” who is they ?

    AL has been called many things but racist has never been one of them.

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    JT, you just stated your opinion, and your opinion was about the dumbest thing I’d ever heard. Al Davis tells Tim Brown that he doesn’t like black athletes from Notre Dame, and you say that isn’t racist. Then you say it never happened. That’s not an opinion. That’s a monumental flip flop. If you think Al didn’t say it, then what would be the point of explaining the statement? If you think the statement was not racist, and perfectly acceptable, then why would you jump to the conclusion that he didn’t really say it as soon as someone else brought up the scenario? Because you know it’s racist. Go to bed, JT. This conversation is far above your intellect. That’s obvious.

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    Raider O, I don’t care of Al hired the Wu Tang Clan. That is a racist comment, no matter how you cut it. Art Shell and Tom Flores should wonder what Al must have thought of them if Al evidently doesn’t like smart minorities…

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    I don’t care IF Al hired the Wu Tang Clan, not “of”.

  • http://atm Raider O

    MR,

    What I was trying to say, I don’t think Al said that. My reason is listed above. Again, IMHO.

  • http://atm Raider O

    MR,

    I agree it’s a Racist Comment, but I don’t think Al could say such things!!

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    He says “they”, but then says “Al”. He’s talking about Al. Even if he’s not, Al’s responsible. If LoCosalle or one of those goons said it? Same thing. But he says Al so if he’s telling the truth, he’s definitely talking about Al. Hey, I hope this is a hoax as much as you do. But if it’s not, Al’s finished, man. It would ruin his legacy as a pioneer for racial equality. He basically said he likes his black athletes stupid, so they won’t know how to negotiate a contract. Bye, Al. If Tim stands by this, the NFL will run Al out of the league. My prediction though is that Tim retracts the statement. If he doesn’t, Al’s gone. That’s over the top.

  • http://atm Raider O

    If it’s true, then yes it will ruin his legacy.

  • SharkCatcher

    ” I love black people”