By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, July 30th, 2009 at 3:01 pm in Oakland Raiders.
In the earlier post I referenced the Raiders’ ultra-light practice session which aborted plays with a whistle within a second or two of the snap.
It was a practice which would be scoffed at by old-timers. When the Raiders said they were going twice a day for the first four days Tom Cable was called “Old School,’’ when in reality it was just “school.’’
It looked about as strenuous as a day behind a desk, toting the math book to a locker while grabbing another for biology.
Tweets from Kirk Morrison and Darren McFadden, referencing their need for naps after the practice, were amusing in that light.
Still, some players made a solid argument to the method behind the lack of madness, other than saving their bodies and avoiding the brutality of blitz pick-up drills.
“I think it’s great because we get to get our bodies and our minds re-acclimated for getting to football, so when we get in on Monday, it’s pop, pop, pop, and you don’t have any excuse about rust, because you’ve already had an opportunity to get it out of the way,’’ strong side linebacker Jon Alston said.
Free safety Hiram Eugene, from his familiar spot well behind the rest of the defense, insisted there was plenty to be gained from the format.
“What I’m accomplishing is the focus aspect of getting proper depth on my alignment, also just visualizing, seeing what’s going on, and when the time comes when I’m breaking full speed I can just see that much better,’’ Eugene said.
Said JaMarcus Russell: “He’s doing it this way so on Monday we’ll have a sense of what’s going on.’’
More sights and sounds from the morning session:
– “A lot of the younger players, Louis Murphy, we had Todd Watkins, we had Will Franklin, Jonathan Holland, a lot of guys where we could be ourselves with nobody listening. You never know what you’re able to do,’’ _ Russell when asked who attended his passing camp in Alabama.
– Wide receiver Chaz Schilens had a prior engagement and said he could not attend. He did, however, get in some off-season work with Jeff Garcia in San Diego.
– “I try to let the money go away. But since other people bring it up, it is something that a lotta people that have been playing football their whole life and the work they put in as a kid up to now they final got paid for it.
“That’s the way I look at it. So other than that as a quarterback you are always in the eye so play close attention to what you do never know who’s watching.’’ _ Russell on coping with the money and fame that goes with being an NFL starting quarterback and No. 1 overall draft pick.
– “Depends on who we’re playing, just like every other year. There are certain games where I will follow a guy, there are certain games where if a guy starts hurting us then I’ll follow him. And there are certain games where we’re not worried about it and we’ll just stay on both sides. It will be pretty similar,’’ _ Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha on whether he’ll shadow the opposition’s best receiver.
– Sounds as if new left end Greg Ellis isn’t going to miss being an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.
“It felt good to know, all right, pretty much every time I’m going to be rushing,’’ Ellis said.
Well, on the pass plays, anyway. How Ellis will play the run in Oakland remains to be seen. He typically came off the field against run-heavy teams like the New York Giants.
–“To me, the short time being with him, he seems to say, `OK these guys do this the best so that’s what we’re going to need to do, ‘’ Ellis on the defensive philosophy of coordinator John Marshall.
– Cable is in to slogans. He designed a T-shirt that said, “Wanted, 53 men committed to one purpose’’ on the front.
On the back of the shirt is the printed paragraph: “Once a man has made a commitment to a way of life he puts the greatest strength in the world behind him. It’s something we call heart power. Once a man has made this commitment nothing will stop him short of success.’’
– The Raiders are said to be waiting for league approval on the contract of Darrius Heyward-Bey before he can attend practice, which would probably be later today or during one of Friday’s sessions. On his twitter account, agent Alvin Keels reports an inside source saying DHB will get $23.5 million guaranteed and that the deal has a maximum value of $54 million.
Keels is not DHB’s agent, by the way. He’s represented by Tom Condon and Ben Dogra of CAA Sports.
– I’ll post a brief review of the second practice later this evening.