Practice notes


Except for the absence of Jeff Garcia, everything went according to plan.

Training camp is like the draft in that way. If there are no serious injuries, the spin as put forth by players and coaches is positive.

The Raiders went to school for four days and as a result went out and had a crisp, error free padded practice Monday.

“I noticed there weren’t too many repeats. I didn’t see too many blown assignments when we were going on hard cadences and things like that,” running back Justin Fargas said. “Nobody was flinching, jumping offsides, things like that. Things that have killed us in the past.”

The sentiment was echoed several times by several players. Mission accomplished.

It was indeed a far cry from Raiders practices of the past when confusion reigned. Not sure the tempo was all that much different, and Tom Cable’s warning about keeping players upright and avoiding injury was followed closely.

It was controlled physicality, the kind that makes it hard to determine exactly what you’re seeing.

Some random observations from the first padded practice:

— On Sunday, Cable said Garcia’s missed practice was merely part of the plan. It was the way he went about training camp as a 39-year-old quarterback. Garcia said he was merely staying fresh for Monday, which had a brief morning walkthrough before the padded practice.

Must have been a tough walkthrough, because Garcia missed the first practice with a calf strain.

“It doesn’t look serious at all,” Cable said. “We’ve got to be smart on this one.”

— Nick Miller lined up at wide receiver, was on special teams and even went with the running backs to carry the ball a few times during drills.

He made the biggest play of the first practice when he somehow got between Hiram Eugene and Chris Johnson and came down with a 50-yard rainbow from JaMarcus Russell.

Miller’s a Tim Dwight-type who claims to have run 4.28 and 4.30 at his Pro Day.

— Russell had one interception during team drills, a forced pass intended for Zach Miller which was picked off by Eugene.

But the throw to Nick Miller, and at least two medium-to-deep range seam bullets to Chaz Schilens, were impressive.

The Raiders have taken the training wheels off their offense. There are “tags” on pass routes which can alter the play after the snap. Fargas believes the players have been given more responsibility in making it work.

Russell credited the work of passing game coach Ted Tollner and quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett.

“I think those guys are some of the best coaches,” Russell said. “They been around for quite some years. I think you guys see that. And what they’re doing is putting us in a place for success. Everything’s a process, and right now we’re working on it.”

— As the Raiders usually do in training camp, they blitzed often and as a result the pass protection was an issue. Or was it? Cable didn’t seem to think so.

“No, not at all. What I liked about today is they’re seeing so much. We have had a lot in. We need that for how to blitz properly,” Cable said. “We have not been really a pressure team but when we do pressure, we want to be right.

“For the offensive line and the quarterback, in particular, being able to handle it and getting us in the right play if we need to. That stuff it’s always kind of up and down early and then it just progressively gets better.”

Asomugha, for one, will believe in more regular-season pressure when he sees it.

“That’s like a wait-and-see type of thing because even in camps previously we were doing a lot of blitzing and doing multiple things defensively and then we got into games and we were pretty basic,” Asomugha said.

— One blitzer who came in unimpeded was veteran Sam Williams, with new line acquisition Erik Pears failing to cut him off.

— The protection issues weren’t all about blitzing, with Greg Ellis getting past Cornell Green and Tommy Kelly (who hasn’t jumped offsides in two days) shedding Cooper Carlisle.

— Strong safety Tyvon Branch showed excellent coverage skill on one deep pass, staying with Darren McFadden stride for stride and breaking up a pass along the sideline.

— Cornerback Stanford Routt held up in coverage on a deep attempt by Johnnie Lee Higgins and continued to get some first team reps along with incumbnent Chris Johnson, a situation that drew an interesting take from Asomugha.

“I think Chris has been a little more upset than Stanford because Chris came in after DeAngelo (left) and felt like he proved himself worthy of starting this year,” Asomugha said.

— Good to see Oren O’Neal on a lead block on a running play, taking on Thomas Howard and clearing the way for Louis Rankin.

— Fargas demonstrated on at least two occasions why he would be hard to cut even with Darren McFadden and Michael Bush around, stonewalling middle blitzes and enabling Russell to get off passes. One of them was the deep strike to Miller.

Neither McFadden nor Bush is in Fargas’ league as a blocker. Running back reps were distributed fairly evenly.

— Cable said he has been getting “good reports” on Walker, who again looked strong workout with the training staff. Walker joked tha the could hardly wait to get back to practice so he won’t have to work as hard.

“It’s coming back quick, quick, quick so that’s also working on the conditioning,” Walker said. “So I’m looking forward to getting back out there practicing so I can get a little more of a breather.”

You can find practice quick hits on my Twitter page.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Chris in NY

    # SNB Defense Says:
    August 4th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    1. JRUSS, no reports on his throwing or progression. He must be either ahead or on schedule.

    You know he’s doing a good job. Otherwise the media would be screaming about the need for Garcia and talking about weight and laziness etc…..Russell has command of the huddle and is leading his team the right way.

    That’s why Garcia is sitting out. No need for him to get too many reps since Russell is looking the part.


    You know if J-Russ was sitting out with some minor ankle injury right now it would be the lead story on NFL Live, Total Access, etc. It would be all about how the out of shape, bust is being lazy again. But because it’s Mr. Hard Work and toughness Jeff Garcia who’s sitting out you don’t hear anything from the national guys but crickets. When things don’t fit their predetermined storyline they just look the other way.

  • AZ Raider

    I was worried about “Mad Mikes” coverage skills, but David White say he looked pretty good. He could be a beast for us if he works out.

    I was watching his highlight reel on youtube, and he had a couple picks, but fot the most part when he is in pass coverage, he goes for the knock-out rather than a pick. I’m cool with either one, but the picks are a nice touch.

  • Thec

    I am out NATION, looks like the Trolls, MR, or Jerry
    is running Amuck.


  • SNB Defense

    Why does Michael Turner start?

    How about Matt Forte or Frank Gore, Steven Jackson…Brandon Jacobs, Steve Slaton or the Carolina/Tennessee backs?

    Because they run the ball with purpose. Because they get 1st downs and touchdowns….not because of pass blocking…running the ball with purpose and getting yards and TDs is what a running back is supposed to do.

    They are supposed to break a few big plays…maybe even score double digit TDs….they should make plays on the pass

    Let’s not dupe ourselves here. Do the Raiders want to build a high performing offense…or a plodding one.

    3.9yds per carry and 1TD on 200+ carries is not good enough


    Keep Fargas…create a package where DMC lines up as a slot. Bush as a tail….and make Fargas block and pass the ball. Bush needs touches, DMC needs to start. Fargas needs to have a role. Its a healthy situation to be in. JRuss and Garcia…healthy situation to be in. First 3 games against the West….Healthy situation to be in with victories. Lets keep healthy situations alive.

  • SNB Defense

    The PRIMARY reason Adrian Peterson plays because he’s a beast when carrying the ball. I am sure he’s a decent pass blocker…but I am sure that if he was below average…he’d still be starting

  • AZ Raider

    Yeah Thec, soon as the kiffin crap popped off I knew it wasnt you, dont trip…

  • Thec

    Hayesdaze37, nice work playing the roll of a troll…..
    See you still toting the company lines…

  • Richochet

    HayesDaze#37 Says:
    August 4th, 2009 at 12:45 pm
    Ricochet — Gallery grades-out as one of the best Guards in the NFL. If the rest of his team played as well as he did last year, the team would’ve competed for the Division.

    Whether or not Gallery got paid Tackle money when drafted is irrelevant at this point…he’s making what the top Guards make NOW, and he would make even more if he hit the open market right now.

    Looking at his toughness, Gallery is probably a 10-12 year starter in the NFL. That’s a successful pick in anyone’s book.

    Grades out? Again..WHERE? What NFL source grades out Gallery as anything except a first round bust?
    Yeah, he’s not in the limelight as much because he’s not on the bubble at left tackle.

    Successful pick? Money paid is irrelevent?
    Guy was beat like a drum, and had to be re-positioned, even though he got top tackle money, which is more than guard.

    I will say this. Gallery wasn’t picked on, because defenses drooled at the prospect of attacking your left tackle position. If that ever gets shorn up, Gallery will likely be targeted again.

  • SNB Defense

    DHITZ Says:
    August 4th, 2009 at 1:03 pm
    Keep Fargas…create a package where DMC lines up as a slot. Bush as a tail….and make Fargas block and pass the ball. Bush needs touches, DMC needs to start. Fargas needs to have a role. Its a healthy situation to be in. JRuss and Garcia…healthy situation to be in. First 3 games against the West….Healthy situation to be in with victories. Lets keep healthy situations alive.
    How many 3 back running games do you see in the NFL that are effective?

  • Thec

    I do have to go to a meeting, understand some of these posters have agenda’s. some try to sway you from your own opinions, by imposing there so called “will” on you.

    1 NATION

  • AR

    Two quick points:

    1. Read an article criticizing JR for not getting angry about Garcia lobbying for his job. He’s in a catch 22, if he blows up, then they say that he’s a jerk and he doesn’t have sportsmanship. Or they say that he “thinks” he should be given the job. Guess what, they hate one another–and JR has told Garcia through a team employee to “keep my name out of your mouth”. Garcia is going to be a cancer to this team, mark it down. He’s going to try to divide the locker room. And all this time, everyone thought that it was all TO in San Fran. This guy wanted Philly to get rid of Donovan and keep him after he led them to the playoffs, get real.

    2. If Garcia is really going to take the job, shouldn’t he be able to make it through camp? He already has a calf strain and they are only a week in. IF he did unseat Russell, which I doubt, he would only last about 8 games before he was injured. Yes, he has heart, desire but what he also has is a 39 year old body that has taken a beating in 16 seasons because of his stule of play. He better get his stuff together because that little one of his may want to play with daddy someday but daddy may not be able to get out of the bed.

  • Dakota

    Can someone please give me an instance where McFadden failed to pass block and Russell was blown up? I didn’t get to see all of the games, but the ones I watched I sure as hell didn’t see McFadden blowing pass blocking assignments.

    Even if Fargas is a better pass blocker, as long as McFadden, or Bush for that matter, are even slightly adequate pass blockers, then what they bring to the table in all other aspects vastly outweighs what Fargas can do with his super pass blocking skills for crying out loud.

    Wake the fuk up Cable or you are going to get canned after one year.

  • HayesDaze#37

    RRS — What are you trying to get at? I made some comments ABOUT Gallery and ABOUT Khalif…I never said anything about Khalif being better than Gallery by comparison.

    Let it go, man…you are a typing contradiction today!

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    (HD37 says)
    -I never compared Gallery to Barnes


    go back and look @ your post #386 again …


    OK, RRS — Here’s my entire post:

    HayesDaze#37 Says:

    RRS — Stop contradicting yourself in your own post(s), and I’ll stop asking for clarification.

    As far as Khalif goes…yes, it definitely hurts the team. Even if he’s “just” a backup, losing him wouldn’t be good. We don’t even know what he’ll be like at RT, but he’s a bust?

    That’s what (a lot of) folks were saying about Gallery, before he became one of the NFL’s better Guards…against his will.

    And no, RRS — I didn’t have to go looking for your contradiction a few minutes ago…it was just a few minutes ago. I was just pointing out that you were criticizing others for criticizing others…and then you criticized others. Just sayin…


    Now…where do I lie about anything?

    And…the name-calling really hurts! Ouch!!

    Let me eat my lunch without making me laugh, RRS.

  • Hey Boy, Leroy er Hayesdays, u gonna eat some Watermelon too? Typical cooon.

  • CanadianRaider

    I never said start him, never once. I said he is still a good situational back to use a better term that I did before.

  • AZ Raider Says:
    August 4th, 2009 at 12:35 pm
    It’s all good Dirty, I don’t know why I’m so defensive today. Maybe its all the DHB bashing, the crystal ball rosters, “srub” bashing, and over analysis in general.



  • RaiderRockstar

    HD37: wow. you won’t admit when you’re wrong. I’m not surprised

    the man who patrols the blog looking for wrong doers is a liar. hmmm

    you made the connection between Gallery & Barnes. nobody even mentioned him. you brought him up in comparison jokester, when in reality he’s more like Kwame Harris.

    whats the matter? you don’t want to back up your posts?

    for the record, I never said anything about Khalif being “better” either. quit trying to change your earlier statements and mine too while you’re at it

    be a man and back up your words, coward

  • SNB Defense

    CanadianRaider Says:
    August 4th, 2009 at 1:12 pm
    I never said start him, never once. I said he is still a good situational back to use a better term that I did before.
    I hear you. My problem is what is “situational” I just don’t see any teams running 3 running backs concurrently.

    I think Tom Cable is forcing the issue here. Why is everyone questioning Fargas’ play? Why?? Why the need to stress the intangibles?

    The Giants recently let Derrick Ward go. Why? Brandon Jacobs is the man…and Bradshaw can be the speedy change of pace…they didn’t need 3 backs.

    3 backs equals 3 mediocre backs…The Raiders should copy the Tennessee/Carolina formula and be done with it. If pass blocking is the key…then coach Bush/DMAC up.

    Its time to move forward and stop tying a hand behind the collective backs of the offense

    If Fargas was the true #1…why draft McFadden in the 1st place? Davis did that…not me.

  • CanadianRaider

    If DMAC puts up numbers when he gets over 20 carries in a game like he did against KC consistantly then teams are in major trouble thats for sure, and the debate is over.

  • HayesDaze#37

    RRS — I can tell I hurt your feelings. I apologize. I’m not a liar, and my very post you reference shows it.

    You’re clutching at straws and semantics to show something I did not (and would not) do – denigrate Robert Gallery in the slightest. So…stop trying to make it out like I said something anti-Gallery. I said something pro-Khalif, which in some way tweaked your nerves.

    Your feelings are hurt. Again…sorry!

    Let’s just call it a “truce”…there’a another practice coming up, and we can argue some more after that if you want.

    The new post is up now…maybe a new discussion thread, too?

  • Dakota

    new post

  • weaselbit

    Fargas is really under rated.
    He’s tough as nails.
    always hits the hole quick.
    Even though he doesn’t get the respect he deserves, he always gives it his all.
    Good player.
    Tough player.
    Raiders need to keep him around.
    Not just in case of RB injuries.
    He would be a star on a lot of other teams.
    Could be a star with the Raiders if they utilize him more.
    3 fresh RB’s rotating might work well.
    Like the Cardinals 3 WR set.