Part of the Bay Area News Group

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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  • blackdeath29

    SnB Defense ,
    j.richardson got hurt last ota and watch from the sideline.that might be the reason he was not there.

  • http://Raiders.com RaiderTW

    The French way, huh, Dakota?

  • http://Raiders.com RaiderTW
  • http://atm Raider O

    Dogg,

    LMAO,

    Dakota,

    You are a sick puppy!!

  • HayesDaze37

    The young receivers need to work harder on their route-running and playbooks than anything else right now. They don’t “need” to learn by being shut-down every play at a VOLUNTARY camp right now. They’ll have plenty of time to see Nnamdi in action — and maybe they’ll be better prepared for it when he gets here.

  • RaiderRockstar

    At least Michael Huff was at camp. Because in my eyes, the performances of that D-Line have been equally as disappointing.

    Huff must not be good at politicking

    ***

    say what you want about Huff, but he is a hard worker. He shows up for everything. good locker room guy. just keeps his mouth shut and does his job. not his fault Ryan/Davis put him at SS for 2 years and benched him after only 5 starts at FS …

  • r8rpaver

    http://www.kumah.org/uploaded_images/HangMan-750932.jpg
    ===========================================
    This would work also Dakota

  • http://atm Raider O

    Time to go play with the little princess.
    Have a great day Gents, later Nation.

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

    r8rpaver,

    I tried accessing that link but is said forbidden! Must be a good one!

  • RaiderRockstar

    guillotine is cheaper than a bullet …

    WAY cheaper than an injection or the electric chair!

    I’m ok with torture too if the crime fits the punishment

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

    Dogg,

    Thanks for your work with Odom…stay on him for the next two weeks.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Time to go play with the little princess.

    ***

    who names their wang “little princess” ???

  • RaiderRockstar

    HayesDaze37: and whats your response to the first 2/3 of post #49 ?

  • r8rpaver
  • SnB Defense

    Rockstar,

    Point well taken on Asomugha. I don’t even understand why these typs of things are voluntary at all. The only reason there was a long offseason in the past was because the players back then had to take on other jobs in the offseason to suppliment their incomes.

    Not the case today. I can see taking the time off between January and Apri (4 months for non-playoff teams) but these guys need to take a doggone half year off.

    Its sort of like the summer off for school. It was originally established because kids had to have time off to help plant and harvest crops or work with the family business. Now its archaic since less than 5% of the population works in agriculture.

    Those OTAs should be mandatory….Good grief, they only last a couple of hours and only last 3days a week….

  • r8rpaver

    The other one was $adam

  • http://Raiders.com RaiderTW

    Well, I gotta go play with HUMONGUS!lol

  • RaiderRockstar

    LOL @ TW …

  • blackdeath29

    Kelly, according to coach Tom Cable has “personal issues.” McFadden’s “got some responsibilities that he committed to before.

  • SnB Defense

    HayesDaze37 Says:
    June 3rd, 2009 at 2:10 pm
    They don’t “need” to learn by being shut-down every play at a VOLUNTARY camp right now. They’ll have plenty of time to see Nnamdi in action — and maybe they’ll be better prepared for it when he gets here.
    =======================================================
    Nice….

  • lefty12

    RR-you love Huff because”he is a hard worker.he shows up for everything.good locker room guy.just keeps his mouth shut and does his job”.yet you hate and can’t wait to get rid of Fargas who has produced and helped the team,which Huff hasn’t.why the double standard?

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

    r8rpaver,

    I’m sure they had it coming. Were those toilet paper ropes?

  • http://justwinbaby! 909RaiderLifer

    “The Raiders are back. Commitment to dedication and excellence. Everybody follow thw Raiders, we’re coming this year.”—Lorenzo Neal.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Wow, it sure didn’t take long for Al to get Lo Neal hooked on the silver & black Kool-Aid.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Those OTAs should be mandatory….Good grief, they only last a couple of hours and only last 3days a week….

    ***

    exactly my point. plus they are non-contact!

    It’s not like Nnamdi has to worry about getting trucked by Neal or Bush …

  • http://sportmag.us/images/Lester_Hayes_November_1981.jpg RaiderDogg

    Dakota Says:
    June 3rd, 2009 at 2:14 pm
    Dogg,

    Thanks for your work with Odom…stay on him for the next two weeks.”

    It’s really up to him at this point. The good thing is that he saw positive results almost immediately, which should inspire him to stick with the program.

    Now if he would just quit asking me to give him a prescription for medical marijuana we would be on to something.

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

    blackdeath29 Says:
    June 3rd, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    …McFadden’s “got some responsibilities that he committed to before.
    _________________________

    Don’t tell me he was the donor for Octomom!

  • lefty12

    S&B-don’t forget,these guys have to stay in shape and work out year round in todays game.in the old days offseason camps and training camps were used to get in shape.if you don’t stay in shape now you’ll be gone before you know it.Cable has said these otas were for learning more than anything else.who has more to learn than the new,young guys.

  • 4evaRaider

    drunk-out l8er NATION

  • RaiderRockstar

    RR-you love Huff because”he is a hard worker.he shows up for everything.good locker room guy.just keeps his mouth shut and does his job”.yet you hate and can’t wait to get rid of Fargas who has produced and helped the team,which Huff hasn’t.why the double standard?

    ***

    good question Lefty. Branch & Mitchell are still unproven at this point. I suppose one could argue that McFadden & Bush are too, but I think we’ve seen potential. Huff was out of position for 2 years and had a horrible DC for 3 years. I just want to see what he can do. that’s all. He’s not on a Rockstar scholarship. I think he’s better than Hiram Eugene and we’ve made a HUGE investment in him. The kid should be playing centerfield and helping cover WR’s and TE’s. not down in the box. not interchangable safeties. He’s a cover DB – not a hammer like Mitchell. so why not use him that way?

    I don’t hate Fargas. I just don’t want him starting. I think McFadden/Bush/Fargas (in that order) gives us the best chance to score points and win games. It’s not like Fargas played FB the last 2 years under Tom Walsh’s system. He played in the zbs ran by Greg Knapp. Even Jordan, Rhodes & Echemandu excelled in this system when given the chance!

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

    Lefty,

    Everyone might do that…except our QB.

  • http://justwinbaby! 909RaiderLifer

    Freddie B’s tourney:

    http://bit.ly/evl3s

    Doesn’t Stabler look like one of the bar flys, down at the local dive?

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota
  • r8rpaver

    Late eva

  • SnB Defense

    Lefty,

    Working out is what it is. But look at baseball. Not as taxing physically…but those guys play until October….then have to be back in training camp in February….maybe 3.5 months off all year….football players get January to June off…with one mandatory 3 day no contact mini-camp thrown in.

    Good work if you can get it

  • http://sportmag.us/images/Lester_Hayes_November_1981.jpg RaiderDogg

    Orton is clearly chasing those titties. Best footwork of his career, very fundamentally sound.

  • lefty12

    RR-fair enough.however,i have read more than once that Huff doesn’t have the speed to play cover corner.as far as the RBs go,i agree,especially about the part that Bush and Mac are unproven.plus Mac has to prove he can stay healthy so he can get the 25-30 touches everyone wants to see him get-including Cable.

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

    Orton clearly bit on the fake titties…but if they are in your face you gotta play with them even if they are plastic right Dogg?

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    Without contact, I really don’t it’s that important for Kelly/Warren to be there. Imo.

    This kind of stuff would seem to be more important to the passing game. Timing, feel, chemistry.

  • http://justwinbaby! 909RaiderLifer

    crap! try this one:

    http://www.raiders.com/Common/Article.aspx?=64160

    pics & vid from the Freddie B. tourney.

  • http://sportmag.us/images/Lester_Hayes_November_1981.jpg RaiderDogg

    lmao

    bit on the fake

    She is clearly lined up in the Nipple Defense

    Ok that was bad.

  • lefty12

    S&B,you know as well as i do that you can’t compare the work football players have to do compared to baseball players.baseball players will tell you they don’t touch a bat or ball for a few months.football players must run and lift all offseason.big difference.

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

    Dogg,

    She is clearly running the gold-digger offense, with a little dirty sanchez option offense thrown in for good measure.

  • blackdeath29

    guys let`s not forget this is june.some people have brothers ,sisters and other family members graduating this time of year.i myself have a 2 son`s graduating this week and next one from high school one from 8 grade.

  • http://sportmag.us/images/Lester_Hayes_November_1981.jpg RaiderDogg

    lmfao

  • RaiderRockstar

    i have read more than once that Huff doesn’t have the speed to play cover corner.

    ***

    Cable said they hadn’t even thought about using Huff as a corner. Jerry Mac is the one who said Huff wasn’t fast enough. His 40 time was 4.34 …

    isn’t that considered “Raider speed” ?

  • RaiderRockstar

    i myself have a 2 son`s graduating this week

    ***

    congrats bd29!

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

    I thought Huff couldn’t play CB because his hips are way to stiff to make the corrections necessary to cover WRs one on one…can’t change direction fast enough.

  • RaiderRockstar

    I thought Huff couldn’t play CB because his hips are way to stiff to make the corrections necessary to cover WRs one on one…can’t change direction fast enough

    ***

    never heard that before, but you might be right. maybe that is why Jerry Mac says “he’s always a step late”

  • lefty12

    Jerry isn’t the only one who has said it.i have read many times from different writers that the Raiders don’t believe Huff has the skills to play cover corner.this isn’t coming from me,but from writers who cover the team.besides,being fast doesn’t necessarily mean one is quick.

  • RaiderRockstar

    well, I wasn’t trying to argue that Huff should start over CJ anyways. I don’t care if he’s at CB or FS …

    I just said he’s better than Eugene and he deserves another shot. thats all. if you don’t agree – fine

    just my opinion