Additonal notes and quotes from interviews gathered following the Raiders organized team activity Wednesday:
— Here was how Tom Cable described JaMarcus Russell’s struggles:
“Just being accurate and understanding where to throw the football and when,” Cable said.
The good news? Cable likes his footwork.
Cable stressed that it was a learning “OTA” heavy in situational play, and that the objective was to have the players comfortbale with the system changes in July so they’d be ready to compete.
— Here’s how Cable responded to reports of Burgess being traded:
“I do expect to go in with him here. But we get inquiries all the time about players and this football team. That one was kind of a surprise. There was some talk during the draft obviously but we get, people inquire about players on this team all the time. So we listen to everything.”
— Burgess is left end Trevor Scott is a right end, but if Burgess is moved Scott could end up a starter since Jay Richardson flopped sides last year.
Scott is keeping the Burgess issue at arm’s length.
“As far as Derrick goes, he’s a great inspiration, he’s a great leader when he’s on the field,” Scott said. “I haven’t really been paying attention to what’s going on,” Burgess said. “I heard a bunch of hearsay but that’s all it is right now. It’s just speculation. Only Derrick really knows what’s going on. I try to stay away from that and let him figure things out.”
Scott, who played last season at under 250 pounds, said he is nearing 260.
“I came back about 258 now,” Scott said. “My strength’s through the roof. I feel great, I feel explosive out there. A lot of the run game, though, as coach Board’s been teaching us, is all about technique and stuff. I just need to keep my hands in and just fight pressure with pressure.”
— Jeff Garcia shrugged off inquries regarding his desire to start a few days after hinting in a Los Angeles radio interview he would be ready to be a starter if called upon.
“I don’t really know or think that there’s a competition there,” Garcia said. “That is something that has already been determined. I’m just here to show that I’m very capable, if needed, to lead the position and to help the position get better and get stronger and to get more confident. That means helping JaMarcus become a better player himself and as much as he expects out of himself, that means me trying to help him expect more and to push him and to be able to show, through my experience on the field, what has been successful for me and how I’ve been able to make it work.
“And I think that’s the main thing as far as just helping the position to get better. He’s got a great attitude. He’s working hard and I just want to help him just continue that path.”
— Garcia’s father Bob, wearing a baseball camp with his son’s initials on it, was a practice observer.
— Cable said the club hasn’t given any thought to trying Michael Huff at cornerback.
— Safety Tyvon Branch, lost to shoulder surgery early in his rookie season, said he is completely healed and looking forward to putting on the pads in July.
Together with rookie Mike Mitchell, if all goes according to play, the Raiders will pair two rising star safeties with a taste for contact.
“People are going to expect us to lay the wood,” Branch said. “When I get my chance, I will.”
Branch said he counts on being part of the solution to shoring up the run defense, and believes coordinator John Marshall’s attention to detail will help in that regard.
“We’re going to be a lot more disciplined in what we do,” Branch said. “that’s one thing he harps on is being in the right spot at the right times. He’s a stickler on that stuff. He counts mental errors every day after practice.”
— Marcel Reece, who made the biggest offensive play by catching a pass in the seam from Garcia, later caught a swing pass and threw an elbow into the face mask of cornerback Justin Miller.
— The OTA format is not conducive to gathering interview material. Locker rooms are closed and players can be approached coming off the practice field. Once they get in the locker room, they’re off limits, and the whole availability period lasts about 10 minutes until Cable addressed the media. By the time he’s done, it’s all over.