Wednesday OTA notes


Notes and quotes from Wednesday’s OTA and interview sessions:

— Quarterback JaMarcus Russell had his best day of practice, or at least his best day in the presence of reporters.

In another day heavy with red zone drills, Russell at one point threw four consecutive touchdown passes, including one on a play in the back of the end zone when he broke to his right and found a leaping Marcel Reece against Tyvon Branch in the back of the end zone.

He also had a strike for a touchdown in what the Raiders expect to be a familiar sight, finding Zach Miller in a seam before the defense could react.

“I think earlier coach kind of emphasized giving the guys a chance,” Russell said. “If they give you a chance to put it in the end zone as far as pass rush, you’ve got to put somewhere in that location where they can catch it. Just give them a chance. We can run the ball all day. Once you get inside the 20, we’re going to take shots at the end zone and that’s what we were lacking.

“We’d get down there sometimes and try to run the ball all three downs and had to kick a field goal. If you don’t take a chance at the end zone, how are you going to get there?”

— A cynic would suggest not to read too much into it _ Michael Huff was playing free safety while Hiram Eugene sat out with a back injury. Eugene joined the team on the field late, then after being stretched extensively by the training staff, did not return for team sessions.

— Flashbacks from 2008 training camp _ wide receiver Todd Watkins making some impressive catches, including one touchdown from Russell in a red zone drill.

— Once again the Raiders did very little in terms of throwing the ball downfield, something coach Tom Cable promises will be a big part of the offense. To be fair, the media days seem to be heavy in the red zone, where there are few deep opportunities.

— Overheard from defensive coordinator John Marshall . . . ‘

“Get the hell out of our drill,” Marshall to offensive linemen who had finished their drill session and straggled through a defensive session en route to the other side of the field.

“Run to the ball black shirts, that’s what you do . . . you run,” Marshall exhorting a faster pace during a team session.

“You guys have got to stiffen it up inside too soft, too soft,” Marshall after Michael Bush ran unimpeded through the middle.

— Overheard from passing game coordintator Ted Tollner . . .

“You’ve got to sell that `go’ better,’ ” Tollner to rookie wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey after he telegraphed a red zone route which was broken up by two defenders.

— Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who missed the last OTA, isn’t counting on the defensive philosophy being much different under Marshall.

“We know the game plan, pretty much know how to play,” Asomugha said. “On defense, it’s going to be the same stuff.”

— Asomugha may get his wish and shadow the opposition’s best receiver on occasion, although he reiterated change isn’t going to be a big in terms of scheme with the Oakland defense.

“Yeah, we talked about that, me and Lionel (Washington) whether it’s shadowing or doing what we’ve done, where we’ll double another guy if he goes to a different side, we’ll be open to mixing it up pretty much,” Asomugha said. “It should be a different feel a little bit but it’s kind of going to be what we had last year and the years before.”

— Players aside from Eugene who were limited included wide reciever Chaz Schilens (hamstring) and lineman Paul McQuistan (knee). Those who did not attend because of what Cable termed “personal” business were defensive tackle Terdell Sands, running back Justin Fargas, defensive end Derrick Burgess, quarterback Jeff Garcia, quarterback Andrew Walter, defensive end Jay Richardson and wide receiver Will Franklin.

— Cable seemed to soften his optimism somewhat on the chance that fullback Oren O’Neal would be ready to go by the start of training camp.

“The injury he has needs a lot of work and a lot of time,” Cable said. “He’ll just continue to do what he’s doing, and he’s progressing. The hope is that he’s ready to go when camp comes.”

— Fullback Lorenzo Neal continued to get plenty of work and even caught two passes out of the backfield in which he turned the corner and rumbled up field. While things could change during training camp, the Raiders don’t appear to be employing a lot of lead man-blocking plays within their zone blocking format to integrate Neal’s biggest strength.

— Cable sees OTAs as a time to play it smart.

“The biggest thing I’m judging right now is how they’re picking it up and are we eliminating the mental errors part of it,” Cable said. “The physical part of it, without pads you can’t judge anything that way. What I want to see is the mental errors, the execution mentally, can we get to a high level and sustain it through practice and eliminate mental errors. That’s really what this whole thing is about.

— Speaking of mental errors, defensive tackle Tommy Kelly jumped offsides at least three more times, a recurring theme this offseason. Kelly also has been quick to penetrate when he guesses right, although Cable doesn’t sound enthused about the possibility of having someone who picks up occasional penalties on gambles.

“Tommy’s a good player, and as I talk to the defense every day, the one common thing they keep hearing from me is more discipline, more discipline, so that kind of fits what you’re saying,” Cable said. “Staying onside, not giving up free yards, free plays, that kind of thing.”

— Khalif Barnes was seen getting reps in place of Mario Henderson for the first time with the first team at left tackle, although Cable said it first happened last Wednesday. He said it was simply a matter of evening out reps.

“Read nothing into that, believe me,” Cable said.

— The Raiders report to training camp July 29, with the first practice the following day. Cable said the Raiders were changing up the format, although he was non-specific. There likely won’t be as many night practices, he said. The club is also working on having the 49ers to Napa for a second straight year, the days and times to be determined.

— Quarterback Charlie Frye was on hand, wearing No. 3, but got no work in seven-on-sevens or team drills as Russell and Bruce Gradkowski got all the snaps.

Frye said he is fine with entering into a situation where Russell is the quarterback of the future and Garcia is counted on as the veteran backup.

“I think I’m a competitor. I think competition brings out the best in me,” Frye said. “With what happened in Cleveland, when me and Derek (Anderson) battled, with Brady Quinn, for that one year, I thought it really brought the best out of my game. So I like competition. That’s why you play the game – to have a chance to compete.”


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Look,

    The customer’s object is to save money, and buy the car he wants.
    I sell the car, so I can ask for the money later!! Not show the car, and sell the price!!
    But before anything, I sell myself.

  • Saint,


    I don’t sell cars over market value. I keep my prices between retail and trade in value.

    By the way, you know what I mean when I said ” I sell myself”!

  • Hi my name is Dude I can out debate any of you at any topic go ahead and pick one and I will wipe your butt clean like your a baby and I am changing your diaper.

    Oh wait a serious topic that actually requires brain cells and intelligence….NO I cant do that!!!

    I said Lets debate RAIDERS you stupid idiot cant you read? LMAO at your psychotics.

    Now seriously Dude how do you want me to respond to this kind of retardation?

  • No tricks!! Sell my self!!

    I said too much!! lol now you know what I do.

  • Raider O how much do you charge when you sell yourself?

  • SaintKaufman


  • Not a lot!! I’m hairy, not a lot of customers for that!! So I have to be very cheap to compete. It’s a tough business.

  • Let me put this way:
    I’m so hairy, I don’t worry about dropping the soap!! You know!!

  • SaintKaufman

    Now that’s just nasty!!!! 😀

  • Have fun with that image 666! lol

  • SaintKaufman

    Now THAT’s the Raider way!!

  • Saint,

    Intimidation with hair!! lol

  • 666,

    Are you still here?!


  • 666 Is busy drinking, trying to get that image out of his head.
    Or he really liked the image, and I don’t want to know what he is doing now.

  • On the beach in Cancun


    You mention in your post that Ryan was a bad DC for 6 years and that we can all agree on that. True, I agree as well. But, what does that say about wrinkled, purple and green face Al Davis. Doesn’t that confirm that Davis has totally lost it and he’s too blame for our lousy defense, among so many other problems. Ya, throw the bum out.

  • lefty12

    S&B-per post 96-good question?

  • Nice Post Jerry

  • Dude,

    A new born, congrats. Is he your only child?

  • If he is your 1st, then please allow me to share this with you:

    1- don’t underestimate their ability and brain power.
    2- teach them all you can, and start early. It’s never too early.
    3- people will tell you enjoy it they grow fast, that’s very true!!
    4- good luck, you will need it.

    God bless you and your family.

  • By all accounts, JaMarcus had his best off-season performance in Wednesday’s OTA and he continues to improve while showing more and more emotion on the field. Meanwhile, Jeff Garcia – who was openly campaigning for his job after one workout – was absent from the Alameda facility for the second time in as many weeks. While the reports are Garcia’s absence was excused, it does not change the fact that Russell has attended every OTA and is growing even without his mentor looking over his broad shoulders.

    JaMarcus has been a fixture around the team facility this off-season. After Cable’s comments at the owner’s meetings were again confused with controversy, Russell chose to listen to his coach, ignore the media and instead just show up and continue to work.

    Young JaMarcus is growing up before the eyes of Raider Nation. He is rising to the challenge issued by his coach.

    Jeff Garcia appears unwilling to embrace his role of mentor in June. Come September, when JaMarcus is calling signals and Jeff is on the sidelines wearing a hat and not a helmet, the roles will be obvious to the world. When Russell has a bad moment, the flames will be rekindled and perhaps Garcia will get a chance to play. Just keep in mind that Garcia is living out his final days and Russell is taking his first steps.

    Garcia is not a threat, he’s an insurance policy. What he insures is that JaMarcus Russell will have the starting job by proving it instead of simply being promised it.

  • Nnamdi21

    I’m of a mind too that their is no option other than Russell. He is the man, he is the franchise and he will succeed because he will be given every opportunity to do so and he has the talent.

    Exactly right about Garcia’s end and Russell’s beginning.

    This is his team and I’m on board with it.

    Lets go Russell!

  • I wanted us to draft JR over CJ, I thought he was a great talent.
    CJ is a great talent too, and he will be a great WR. He is very good now, but JR can be one of the great QBs to ever play the game based on talent alone. I can’t think of a better talent at QB in the last 30 years other than Elway. I’m talking about talent only!!

  • Good night Nation.

  • priesttj

    Vegas Raider, no QB absolutely no QB is great everytime he plays. Your demands are really ridiculous especially for a second year starter.

    Maybe if you were a little more realistic you wouldn’t get so frustrated. Common sense should tell you that Russell will have good and bad days at this stage of his career. But your reaction is really consistent with mpost people in here you overreact to everything.

    Give this kid a chance and he will reward this organization with many great years of playoffs and YES even SB’s. But he needs to be developed like any other QB at this stage of their careers.

    Dakota seems to look for something to criticize instead of undertsanding the kid has started all of ONE year. Leadership cannot be false or fained it muct come from confidence in yourself. He has gain that through reps……….period.

    He’ll get better and better the more he plays just like everyone else. The QB position is the toughest position to play in sports and he’s learning the right way. Insight says wise fans will be patient and allow the kid to learn and live up t his great potential which is exactly what I see him doing.

    DHB and DMC will accelerate that learning curve with big plays as will JLH, Chaz and ZMiller. And it really bothers me that Raider fans don’t understand this. I’ve always thought that Raider fans were the most astute football fans out there. But this treatment of Russell has changed my thinking greatly. It leaves a lot to be desired in that department.

  • centurionWR87

    I think if Russell doesn’t improve enough this year we trade for Troy Smith… what do people think?

  • # Mistabrown Says:
    June 10th, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    I myself have never seen OakGlenn take anybody apart either. But Im not here 24/7 so there’s a chance I missed him dismantle someone with even less sense than him.

    Dude Says:
    June 10th, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    LOL @ Oakglenn taking me apart.

    See, that’s the saddest part of this. With regards to Dud, people four continents away were remarking the next day about the guy got completely dismantled and birds were eating his carcass. Two days ago, missed-a-brain was knocked out on his feet and everyone was laughing. Three people told missed-a-brain he got his ass whipped. Saddest part is that these two morons are too stupid to realize they are out of their class and they are knocked out. Stay out of the fast lane you two morons.

  • # centurionWR87 Says:
    June 11th, 2009 at 12:43 am

    I think if Russell doesn’t improve enough this year we trade for Troy Smith… what do people think?


  • priesttj

    I think it’s more of the same looking and hoping for the kid to fail rather than expecting success.

    Russell is improving all the time, what else do you want? to win a super bowl by July 20th?


  • Nnamdi21

    centurionWR87 Says:
    June 11th, 2009 at 12:43 am
    I think if Russell doesn’t improve enough this year we trade for Troy Smith… what do people think?


    No thank you but Troy Smith is a potentially really GREAT quarterback.

    I’ve loved this kid since college.

    Flutie was too short to play too. Yeah right…

  • Silver-n-Black666 Says:
    June 10th, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Dude just a show of how smart you are.

    # Dude Says:
    June 10th, 2009 at 6:38 pm


    Riveting, just riveting. Pick a topic and I will give you my thoughts the you can tear me up. Lets go….

    Triple 6, don’t waste your time. Dud is too stupid to realize he has been reamed up his ass by half the known world.

  • Nnamdi21

    There are excuses galore for Russell at this point for last years performance. Worst tackles, injured RBs, not legit WRs, 3 Off Coord changes ext ect.

    But as Oakland comes on line the next 2 yrs of his career, he’ll have some of those peices in place like our Priest TJ so eloquently said.

    We’ve been burned alot lately, but given time and a little more patience, we could have the makings of a truely remarkable offense.

  • priesttj

    Oak if I didn’t know better I’d think these guy’s were joking around but it’s obvious that they’re opinions of Russell are immature at best.

  • CantstandtheHaters

    hell to the no that is…

  • Priest, the bottom line in all of this is there are some very very stupid idiots on this blog. In fact, it boggles the mind how stupid they are. And not only are they stupid when it comes to the NFL and the Raiders, they are stupid when it comes to the own personal and the world at large around them. In fact, they don’t even know when they are knocked out! Watching pink elephants circling their domes must be a daily occurrence for them. Dud, and missed-a-brain, I am looking your way here. Unbelievable.

  • priesttj

    Truely unbelievable!

  • Nnamdi, that is exactly right. There are very few things that can sink the development of some of our excellent young players right now. Disbelief and ignorance are two things that will sink them quickly.

  • priesttj

    Especially those two jokers…..rare breeds!!

  • NoMoreFargas

    What’s up fellas the word is jruss was throwing lasers all day, we will rise up again to the top of the NFL again baby and I don’t wanna be owned by a company or billionaire who could care less I want the maverick I grew up with the real man in black Mr.Davis !

    GO RAIDERS!!!!!!!!

  • NoMoreFargas

    DMAC looking great also get him & Bush the rock all year I promise way more Offense way more versatilty and way more than 1 td.

  • 4evaRaider

    Good Morning NATION!!!

  • hwnrdr

    Good Morning Nation!!!

  • hwnrdr

    Imagine the possibilities of having Oneal healthy with Lorenzo Neal there?

  • OAKlifer

    Morning Nation!!!!!!!



    D-Starter/Special Teamer!!!!!


    MMMMMM……I LOVE KOOL-AIDE!!!!!!!!!!



  • hwnrdr

    Good morning Dirt Lot, OAKlifer, 4eva…
    Charlie Frye? Hmmm…The Raiders picked him up for a reason….who knows?

  • 4evaRaider

    I havs no idea

  • 4evaRaider




  • hwnrdr

    But then again…Frye could bring out the best in all QB’s…I’m just saying…Vick? I doubt it, but he would be a typical al Davis signing!

  • OAKlifer

    Charlie Frye? Hmmm…The Raiders picked him up for a reason….who knows?
    Well after the firing of AW and Someones strong opinion on Southwick….Al Davis decided that needing some on to make sure the players were properly hydrated as well as keep all drunkin bums with stolen lap tops off the training facility!!! So whollla!! The best damn clip board guy in the nfl suddenly on our sidelines look for our guys coming in and out of time outs fresher than ever with Frye leadin the Water team!! And Watch out Bobert Ol Charlie boy is on the look out for you!!!!!!!!!THERE IS A METHOD BEHIND UNCLE AL’s MADDNESS!!!!!!!