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OTA notebook

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 at 1:12 pm in Oakland Raiders.

News and notes from Wednesday’s organized team actiivty session open to the media:

– Those who were panic-stricken over JaMarcus Russell’s uneven performances through the mandatory minicamp and first organized activity session open to the media can come in off the ledge.

Russell was better Wednesday. There were few, if any, of the real deep strikes coach Tom Cable said will be part of the offense this year in the limited amount of snaps where there was a lot of field to work with. However, the simple, fundamental throws Russell had struggled with earlier came much easier.

Russell continued to work the tight end position, hitting Tony Stewart with a slant on his opening 7-on-7 throw and then throwing short of rookie free agent Chris O’Neill.

He rallied with a throw to Stewart in the right flat and a dumpoff to Gary Russell, passes which Russell often missed in prevoius public practices.

During a red zone session, Russell threw a hot-read wobbler to Todd Watkins for a short completion, a dumpoff to Louis Rankin for a short gain (quickly diagnosed by linebacker Jon Alston), then was late on a pass to Stewart with Thomas Howard covering.

Justin Fargas gathered in a short pass with a one-handed grab to which Isaiah Ekejiuba reacted with astonishment, given Fargas’ below-average pass-catching skills.

– For what it’s worth, Cable said afterward Russell had upgraded his performance from 2-for-32 to 11-for-32 in the red zone from the last OTA to Wednesday’s session.

(I’ll be honest _ I’m not sure what that means. As poor as Russell was, he completed more than two passes last time. And he sure didn’t appear to have 11 touchdown passes Wednesday. Didn’t get a chance to ask Cable about it because I was involved in another interview at the beginning of the coach’s session. Eleven positive plays, perhaps? Or properly executed plays or reads? If I remember, I’ll try and clear that up next week).

“We’ve got tomorrow and then two more weeks so I hope we can make a good amount of progress as we get ready for camp,” Cable said.

– Among those players who did not attend the voluntary workout or were out because of injuries included backup quarterback Jeff Garcia, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, defensive tackle Gerard Warren (pectoral), defensive end Derrick Burgess, running back Darren McFadden, defensive end Jay Richardson, guard-tackle Mark Wilson, fullback Oren O’Neal (knee) and wide receivers Arman Shields (knee) and Javon Walker (knee).

Tight end Zach Miller, who had sports hernia surgery, was in uniform and on the field but did not participate in team sessions. He said he could be on the field next week.

Burgess does not attend voluntary sessions. Kelly and McFadden had other business to attend to, and Cable said he expects Kelly next week. Garcia practiced Tuesday, according to one team source.

Cable said he didn’t know when Asomugha would be here before camp.

“I don’t know that. I’m hoping he’ll be here the last two,” Cable said. “If not the last two, the last one.”

– Cornerback Chris Johnson, who did not attend the last OTA, was present and worked with the starters.

– Pass protection seemed to be an issue, with Russell spinning into a certain sack from rookie end Stryker Sulak and unloading another throw incomplete in the face of a Kirk Morrison blitz.

– With Garcia not around, Bruce Gradkowski got additional work and had a solid day after previously struggling with most passes which went beyond 15 yards.

Gradkowski had two of the day’s bigger gains on a deep out to Samie Parker and a perfect sideline pass to Marcel Reece. He also found Florida rookie Louis Murphy all alone behind Jason Horton _ except Murphy let the ball hit him in the stomach and drop to the ground.

“Yesterday I caught one the same way. Today, I guess I lost my focus on it,” Murphy said. “That’s what I’m here for.

– Gradkowski threw the day’s only interception, a deflection gathered in by rookie free agent Frantz Joseph.

– No depth chart changes evident from the previous minicamp, although there were some changes because of absences. The first team defensive line was Trevor Scott, Terdell Sands (for Warren), William Joseph (for Kelly) and Greyson Gunheim. Linebackers were Thomas Howard, Morrison and Alston.

Cornerbacks were Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson, with Hiram Eugene (free) and Tyvon Branch (strong).

– Mario Henderson continued to take first-team reps at left tackle, and often also worked with the second team as Khalif Barnes got less work.

– Satele, acquired from the Miami Dolphins in the offseason and expected to replace Jake Grove as the starting center, went through warmups and drills for the first time but did not particpate in team sessions.

“The training staff they have is unbelievable,” Satele said. “Like I said, they did everything and anything to get me out here early. So I’m out here. Which I’m not supposed to, but they got me ready, so I’m ready to practice.”

Satele is eager to prove he can be a zone blocking center after two years as a man blocker in Miami.

“It fits me. I can run and be athletic,” Satele said. “And the guys around me, like Robert (Gallery) and Cooper (Carlisle), they’re made for this system. They can run, and I’m just trying to catch up to them.”

– The Raiders continue to play it safe with Heyward-Bey and his “sore” right hamstring. He hasn’t been on the field in a team setting since the second day of the mandatory minicamp. However he was running patterns following practice at what he said was “95 percent.”

It has robbed the rookie of the chance to lay the groundwork of a pass-catch relationship with Russell, although Heyward-Bey believes he can make up for lost time.

“You want to be out there with the quarterback all the time,” Heyward-Bey said. “But you’ve got to understand, we’ve got two more weeks of OTAs, we got training camp, we got preseason, it’s a lot of time but you don’t want to be too relaxed. You would like to be out there with your quarterback.”

– Heyward-Bey said he is not aware of any negotiations going on for a contract, which isn’t unusual since the starting point for rookies is usually around July 4. Last year was the exception, as McFadden signed June 6.

– A strong day for strong side linebacker Jon Alston, who said he finished last season at 214 pounds and has bulked up as high as 235 and is now 232. Judging from the way Alston is defending the pass and moving on the field, he hasn’t lost any quickness.

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  • http://Raiders.com RaiderTW

    At least stabler didn’t look like this
    http://www.drinkatwork.com/barfly.jpg

  • http://Raiders.com RaiderTW
  • RaiderRockstar

    i’m outta here. you guys have a great night

  • RaiderRockstar

    i’m gonna go play with Dumbo

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    TW,

    Was that the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man’s wife, or lovechild maybe?

  • raideredoutL.A.

    #102, yikes!

  • http://justwinbaby! 909RaiderLifer

    TW…..#102…

    Yikes!

  • http://Raiders.com RaiderTW

    No amount of alcohol…..

  • http://Raiders.com RaiderTW

    RR, watch out for the sneeze…

  • http://Raiders.com RaiderTW

    Dakota, do you believe they’re making another Ghostbuster? She could be in the MOVIES!!!!

  • Pingback: The RaiderCast | OTA notebook

  • http://atm Raider O

    R8,

    64 Great post!! Would you like to see something like that, but with American Soldiers instead. I’m sure I can find some. Dude!!! You are better than that!

  • http://atm Raider O

    RR,

    Is that all you think about??? Wangs!!! You really need to grow up!!
    Later!!

  • beeecham

    What happened to Bo the Big Douche? He’s one of my favorite new characters on here – don’t worry Krappy, you’ll always be #1.

    We really were missing the mindless drooling oaf, and now we’ve got one!

    Think about it folks – what blogger has ever been ragged on by ol Krappy and actually lost? If I had suffered that kind of embarrassment I’d sell all my belongings and move to Riverside.

    That way no one would ever find me.

  • SnB Defense

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/raiders/detail?&entry_id=41123

    ** Very little deep passing, but the receivers often ran long routes to draw away a cornerback and safety to create space underneath — a snapshot of what the passing game will be like next season.

    That’s another way of saying the tight ends and running backs will probably catch more balls underneath than the receivers for a second straight year. There will be more opportunity for deep strikes, but they’ll pick and choose their shots.

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    I can see Mac & Bush attacking those zones catching passes out of the backfield.

    Safeties come up, and and get burned deep.

  • blackdeath29

    Defensive tackle Gerard Warren, offensive lineman Paul McQuistan, wide receiver Javon Walker, defensive end Jay Richardson, wide receiver Arman Shields, and fullback Oren O’Neal missed practice because of previous injuries.

  • blackdeath29

    “Our decision’s made,” Cable said. “JaMarcus is our quarterback. There’s no issue there, there’s no decisions needed to be made there. What we have to do is get to camp and have that compeittion you’re talking about. This is a learning time. The competition will really get rolling when we get to Napa.”

    thank you tom cable

  • SnB Defense

    KoolKell,

    DMAC/Bush and Miller in single coverage can be exploited all game long. All game long…

    Also will help keep defenses from too many blitzes as well.

    Schilens and DHB outside will force defenses to gamble. If you don’t bring in safety help…this kind of thing can happen:

    http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/09000d5d80bfbbd6/Chaz-Schilens-Highlight-WK-08-vs-Ravens-2008

  • los raiders de don rober

    bydavidwhite “passing game looks like this: wr goes deep, qb dumps underneath to te or rb. Every time”…bed & breakfast baby, all season long!

  • Dude

    Curious SnB, you make all these claims about DMAC/Bush and Miller “exploiting defenses all game long”. Is this just wishfull thinking? Cause unless I am crazy im pretty sure they all played last year and I dont recall a single defense that got “exploited all game long.”

  • SnB Defense

    los raiders de don rober Says:
    June 3rd, 2009 at 4:14 pm
    bydavidwhite “passing game looks like this: wr goes deep, qb dumps underneath to te or rb. Every time”…bed & breakfast baby, all season long!
    =======================================================
    Nope…the bed & breakfast rarely threw to the running backs. Very rarely. In the Bed & Breakfast the only passes were to those deep receivers…take 7 step drops and just wait for that deep receiver.

    Under this system, take the deep shot if you’ve got one-on-one coverage…otherwise checkdown to the RBs.

    Not the same

  • Dude

    SnB,

    Why do you pretend to know ANYTHING about this offense?? You havent been at practice and they havent played a game. You dont have a clue what your talking about.

  • SnB Defense

    Dude Says:
    June 3rd, 2009 at 4:19 pm
    Curious SnB, you make all these claims about DMAC/Bush and Miller “exploiting defenses all game long”. Is this just wishfull thinking? Cause unless I am crazy im pretty sure they all played last year and I dont recall a single defense that got “exploited all game long.”
    =======================================================
    Look, I admit there is a little bit of kool-aid flavor…but there is also some good hearty meat to this too.

    Last year, the Raiders had Lelie, Curry and a 60% Javon Walker as the guys on the edge. No deep threats at all there. Tom Cable’s “decision making” kept DMAC/Bush off the field for most of the year….

    Bush caught some 7 balls against San Diego last year. DMAC…they just were clueless on how to exploit him last year. This year I “think/hope” there is more emphasis on getting DMAC in space. Think Bryant Westbrook

  • SnB Defense

    Dude,

    The Raiders also will use more two tight end sets with a single back in the backfield. You could envision sending the edge receivers deep and having Miller, now freed from having to stay in and block and DMAC coming out of the backfield.

  • SnB Defense

    Dude,

    But for you the season is already pre-determined. So what’s the point then. For you to watch would be a waste of time seeing how you don’t believe this team is capable of doing much this year.

  • Dude

    BIG TIME kool-aid flavor. Teams are not going to give a rats arse about the recievers and DMAC is going to get the extra attention. You are WAY, WAAAAAAY overating this recieving core. You seem like a halfway smart cat, but bro, the way you yodel on about this offense and its playmaking prowess makes me wonder. Miller is the only guy who is anything more than an average player right now.

  • Dude

    That doesnt answer the question. How do you pretend to know anything about the 2009 Raider offense??

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    SnB #120

    That pass is one he supposedly has trouble with. But he dropped that one in there perfectly.

  • blackdeath29

    Dude ,
    i hope your right and defense`s don`t care about dmac,bush,schilens and jlh because they are going to pay for it.

  • DMunoz 26

    The Raider offense is going to be scorching defenses this season. Jamarcus is going be on fire and smoking some poles out there.

  • DMunoz 26

    Finally, it looks like the Ochocinco for Bush trade has finally gone down, just like I have been reporting!!!

    Matt Aug – AHN Sports Editor
    Los Angeles, CA (AHN) – Former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco expects a better season for himself in 2009. A season in which he will start with a new outlook and a new team, pending league approval of a trade that will send Oakland Raiders’ running back Michael Bush to Cincinnati.

    He is currently working hard in L.A. practicing running routes and getting into top physical shape before joining the Oakland Raiders in late June for mandatory minicamp.

    Humility has not always been a trait one would pair with the receiver formerly known as Chad Johnson, yet it is precisely what he considers himself.

    “Last year was very humbling for me; it was an embarrassment,” Ochocinco told the NFL Network. “It’s not just for myself, but for the city of Oakland and the team. So before I go, I want to be in just unbelievable form before I even touch the green grass.”

    The Bengals were unbelievable in a bad way last season and are looking to improve by dumping the often disgruntled receiver.

    Ochocinco also had a flat campaign, nabbing just 53 passes for 540 yards.

    Although Ochocinco missed three games last season, he caught 40 fewer passes for 900 fewer yards than 2007.

    With five straight seasons of 87-plus catches before 2008, Ocho deserves the benefit of the doubt that he can turn things around.

    But another poor season, and people will wonder if Ochocinco’s number is up. Ochocinco responded to the trade in his usual humble manner when he said, “I hope Mr. Davis lives another twenty years because I’m going to be sitting right next to him and Jim Otto in that luxury box after my hall of fame induction.”

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    Can you provide a link, phony?

  • DMunoz 26
  • http://justwinbaby! 909RaiderLifer

    Chuckie, giving his two cents on Russell and Garcia:

    http://raiderbeat.com/?p=2587

  • ottocrat

    He is currently working hard in L.A. practicing running routes and getting into top physical shape before joining the Oakland Raiders in late June for mandatory minicamp

    —————————————————–

    We don’t have any “Mandatory minicamps” this month. Do we?

  • ottocrat

    Somebody was taking some poetic license:

    USA TODAY:

    Chad Ochocinco: Last year was ‘humbling … an embarrassment’
    Buzz up!Like this story? Share it with Yahoo! Buzz
    Chad Ochocinco has emerged from isolation and wants to make amends for a bad 2008 campaign, his worst output since his rookie year in 2001.

    The receiver hasn’t participated in the Bengals’ offseason workouts, but told the NFL Network he’s ready to join the team for its mandatory minicamp June 18.

    “Last year was very humbling for me,” Ochocinco told the NFLN. “It was an embarrassment not just for myself but the rest of the team. Before I go back I want to be in just unbelievable form before I touch the green grass.”

    Ochocinco, a Pro Bowler fro 2003-2007, caught 53 passes for 540 yards and four TDs last season.

    “I have to go back to square one,” Ochocinco said to the NFLN. “From 1997-99, I was hungry. Since then it got a little too easy for me. I wouldn’t say I stopped working hard but that hunger wasn’t like it used to be. Right now it’s back. It’s back 10 times worse than what it was before I got to the league.”

    Bengals coach Marvin Lewis told reporters Tuesday that he spoke with Ochocinco recently. “I think the biggest thing, I told Chad this the other day is that a lot of the new things that we’re doing he’s going to have to play catch up on,” Lewis said. “When he gets here Chad learns football very quickly and he’ll get out here and get his feet on the ground.”

    Ochocinco got a vote of confidence from Bengals QB Carson Palmer last week. He qualified earlier comments that offered lukewarm (at best) support for the receiver by saying the Bengals want and need Ochocinco back.

    Ochocinco said he has been at the OTA practices “in spirit” and said he’ll be at the team’s minicamp. “Of course, why not go and show off the product?” he said.

    “Why not leave my coaches mouths wide open?”
    Hat tip: Cincinnati Enquirer

  • DMunoz 26

    Goodnight everyone, I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see Russel and Ochocinco tearing it up and smoking poles this season!

  • 24

    I’m Alive. Thats all I can say.

  • DKnight007

    Hey! A little optimisim in here for once from Jerry and the mutts in here!

    Can’t believe it….

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    FYI

    DMunoz 26 is a troll
    DMunoz26 is the real deal.

    He screwed himself trying to register someone else’s name.

  • DMunoz 26

    DMunoz 26 is the real deal.
    DMunoz26 is dead.

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    I see the real one in here time to time.

  • DMunoz 26

    New post Kell!

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