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DHB, receivers catching on

Quick hits following Tuesday’s second practice:

Looking for some good news about Darrius Heyward-Bey?

How about 16 passes targeted, 14 receptions. No. 11 was a one-handed snag near the sideline. One of the misses was on a low pass, the other could well have been a pass interference penalty on Chris Johnson, with the ball falling to the ground.

– DHB wasn’t the only one. It’s possible Will Franklin has dropped as many passes as Heyward-Bey since the beginning of camp, but no one knows it because, well, he’s Will Franklin. Franklin caught everything thrown his way Tuesday afternoon, including one sideline dart from JaMarcus Russell in front of Nnamdi Asomugha.

– Russell wasn’t as sharp in full team sessions as he was in 7-on-7 and drills, but there were sequences where he threw the ball very well. Better than at any open sessions during the offseason, and more consistently than any time during training camp last year.

– OK, there was one bad-hands sequnce during passing drills when Louis Murphy, Chaz Schilens and Jonathan Holland dropped passes in succession, although you could argue that they weren’t the easiest chances.

– Darren McFadden showed off the type of speed he had all through camp last year but lost in Week 2 agianst Kansas City when he was isolated on a swing pass to the left. He caught a perfectly thrown pass from Charlie Frye, accelerating into the ball, then squeezed past John Bowie and Darrick Brown _ both who seemed to have angles on him.

– Johnnie Lee Higgins got loose behind Bowie and Brown and caught a touch pass from Bruce Gradkowski for a big gainer. He mishandled a pass a short time later on a ball that may or may not have been in his reach, and it was the first time all camp I saw a pass hit the hands of JLH and not remain caught.

– Michael Huff has continued his maddening habit of being very tight with his coverage but still being just a fraction of a second late when the ball arrives, giving up the catch.

– Not sure if it will ever be useful in a game, but special teams coach John Fassel conducted a relay-type drill designed to help defenders pick up a fumble and score.

A football was placed on a cone, with a player lining up in a three-point stance in front of another player with a blocking pad. At the sound of the whistle, he got past the chuck, ran to the cone and knocked the ball on the ground. Then a player, racing up behind him, attempted to pounce on the fumble and make it to the end zone.

A few yards away, the there was another group doing the same thing at the same kind. In the closest heat, Jerome Boyd and Murphy appeared to cross the end zone in a photo finish, with no winner determined because the horn blew to go on to more important things.

– Defensive end Greg Ellis sat out his second straight practice. Coach Tom Cable said after the first session Ellis was not missing practice due to injury, but to keep him fresh throughout camp. If Ellis doesn’t go in Wednesday’s single practice, something is sore or injured.

– Quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett worked with quarterbacks on their footwork and selling a draw play out of a spread formation.

“Make it look realistic, make it look realistic,” Hackett said. “Slow them down.”

– Lineabacker Isaiah Ekejiuba missed the second practice, and fullback Oren O’Neal took the session off after participating in consecutive padded workouts.

– Strong safety Tyvon Branch continues to excel in coverage.

– Kirk Morrison, who gave way to Ricky Brown at middle linebacker for much of the first practice, was back with the first team in the second session.

Morrison attempted to blitz Russell with to his left, only to have Cornell Green pick it up perfectly and wall him off. The result was a Gradkowski-to-Darrell Strong completion in front of Huff.

The Raiders practice once at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday and I’ll be available for an on-line chat at 11 a.m. before I head to Napa.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • AZ Raider

    Alright Nation, signing out…

    9-7!

    JAVON WALKER COMBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR!

    CHARGERS REIN AS AFC WEST CHAMPS STOPS SEPT 14TH 2009!

    53 MEN AND COUNTLESS FANS COMMITTED TO ONE PURPOSE!

    RAIDER ON!

    DRINK IT!

    PLAYOFFBOUND!

    ;)

  • 24

    I would almost want Mitchell to be the FS. He seems to cover the whole field real well and he would have the play in front of him so it would be easier to lay the big hits down more often.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    I am not a kool-aid drinker by any stretch. But I like what I am hearing from this training camp. Everything is refreshingly normal and good.

    People are fighting for jobs…the practices are seemingly crisp according to the reporters…young players are embracing their role…there is physicality out there…

    They will still have their ups and downs this year…but this is looking to be pretty good so far.

    Let’s hope they keep progressing.

    Mitchell and Branch? I say why not. If Mitchell is close to Huff/Eugene…then lets roll….Branch seems to be a cover machine that can hit….Nice

  • 24

    bydavidwhite Asomugha has strained hip flexor, Chris Johnson strained knee, Cable said nothing serious.
    3 minutes ago from mobile web

    bydavidwhite Khalif Barnes does have a broken ankle, out 6-8 weeks.
    2 minutes ago from mobile web

  • 24

    8 weeks would have Barnes ready by September 30th but that may not include any rehab. If the rehab is included in that timeframe and you never know…he could play his first game during Week 4 @ the Houston Texans.

  • 24

    The Texans game is on October 4th btw.

  • 24

    The coaching staff better start preparing Barnes mentally on how to play RT.

  • 24

    Maybe the Barnes injury is a sign from God for Henderson? It is his destiny to become the Dominating LT for the Oakland Raiders for at least the next 10 years. I like it.

  • http://snotmerch.com/ Lynn from Snot

    Terdell Sands getting stood up regularly .Time to move on, his days may be numbered

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Lynn from Snot Says:
    August 5th, 2009 at 6:15 pm
    Terdell Sands getting stood up regularly .Time to move on, his days may be numbered
    =======================================================
    Yeah…he’s too old to be doing that stuff. If he was a rookie or early in his career…ok…but he’s going into his 9th yr.

    But he still has time to get it right…Probably getting good coaching for the first time

  • DarthPirate

    Well we know Henderson has the LT job all locked up. What’s McQuistan’s status? Can he get that RT job from Green?

  • Terrapin

    Bottom line, they both must get on the field. Its only a matter of time. Branch is faster, about 15-20lbs lighter, former CB and can tackle. Mitchell is a bit slower, heavier/well-built, stocky, stays on his feet well in traffic, sniffs out the ball and can tackle.

    Mitchell is more of the prototypical SS. Being able to cause havoc with force fumbles and battle in the trenches given his body type. While I’ll put Branch at FS given his ability to cover ground fast and make plays being a former CB.

  • Chris in NY

    Henderson’s got LT wrapped up. I think he already did before Barnes’ injury.

    That’s tough news about Barnes. O-line is getting a bit scary:
    – Barnes is going to miss at least the first 3-4 games of the season.
    – Gallery isn’t going to have much time to get to full strength/shape before Week 1 coming off his appendectomy.
    – Satele is coming off shoulder surgery.
    – McQuistan isn’t a great system fit to fill in at RT.
    – Carlisle is getting up there in years.
    – Cornell Green has pending legal issues.

    Yikes!! I kind of doubt Seth Wand is the answer either.

    Hopefully Marten comes around or somebody. Who’s available on the waiver wire? It’s gotta be slim pickins. Any ZBS specialists?

  • Terrapin

    That 2007 draft, as time passes, is looking to go down in history as a very significant achievement for a ball club. Overtime, maybe even one of the best drafts in history.

    Russell, Miller, Henderson, Bush all in one draft. That’s a QB, TE, LT and RB in one draft. AMAZING

  • Chris in NY

    One thing I’ll say is I don’t think Cornell Green is as bad as most seem to think. He was starting at RT opposite Mario those last few games of 2008 when the offense came alive. He’s no Pro Bowler but we should be able to get away with starting him for at least a few weeks.

  • Chris in NY

    # Terrapin Says:
    August 5th, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    That 2007 draft, as time passes, is looking to go down in history as a very significant achievement for a ball club. Overtime, maybe even one of the best drafts in history.

    Russell, Miller, Henderson, Bush all in one draft. That’s a QB, TE, LT and RB in one draft. AMAZING

    ———————————

    Totally agree. Don’t forget these guys from that 2007 draft too though: stud PR/WR Johnnie Lee Higgins; FB Oren O’Neal; and who knows, maybe DE Jay Richardson will develop and be a solid contributor for years to come.

  • Norco Bob

    Barnes is hurt,..omg…in case you all werent aware, the dudes a f*ckin bum, no other teams wanted him, especially the team that didnt offer him a dollar to stay, and they know him better then anyone else does…I only wish he was done for the year.

  • Terrapin

    Tackle is a concern now. I was looking forward to Barnes moving to RT. I think that could’ve gave the line a huge boost. Green is serviceable but must be replaced asap. If Mario goes down anytime soon – we’re screwed.

  • DarthPirate

    Chris, I liked Green as a run blocker, it seemed like we had quite a few holes opening up because of him. However his pass blocking left much to be desired, and I think he was penalized an awful lot.

  • Chris in NY

    Here are the 5 best free agent OTs available, according to Scout.com:

    1. Levi Jones, 6-5, 307, 7 yrs pro
    2. Mark Tauscher, 6-4, 315, 9
    3. Jon Runyan, 6-7, 330, 13
    4. Jonas Jennings, 6-3, 335, 8
    5. Kwame Harris, 6-7, 320, 6

    We all remember Kwame from last year. Not sure why the other guys haven’t been signed by another team yet or if any are good fits for a ZBS system. Jones was good early in his career but Cinci obviously got down on him, drafted Andre Smith and cut him.

  • radraider

    2007 draft Kittens draft just sayin

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    SnB

    I agree, I like what I’m hearing too. They seem to be executing, Henderson’s dominating, players taking ownership of their product, no drama. (Fingers Crossed)

  • HayesDaze37

    Wow…lots of stuff happening. Here’s hoping JaMarcus’ ankle isn’t too bad. What a near-disaster. Don’t go too far, Southwick.

    Totally agree with Terp about Branch — he could be a special talent at S.

    I wonder about J. Holland — he’s quite a talent himself, seemingly ready to make his mark, but he’s being mighty quiet right now — maybe he’s lurking under the radar until the team gets a better feel for what all these fresh faces have to offer.

    Love the fact DMC is fired up…and that he got popped a little bit. Keep it tough, boys! Just stay off DMC’s toes.

  • http://snotmerch.com/ Lynn from Snot

    Branch and Mitchell next safety tandem for ten years.

  • http://Penisland.com treyrockstarespn

    Oaklifer

  • Chris in NY

    It’d be nice to get Burgess in camp as well. I’m hopeful Trevor Scott can turn into a great pass rusher. He showed some flashes last season. But there were also a number of times last season where he got stone-walled and wasn’t even in the same zip code as the opposing QB after 4-5 seconds. I have mixed feelings about the news that Henderson is man-handling Scott. Do we have a cornerstone LT or is our upstart DE just not that great after all?

  • Chris in NY

    # Lynn from Snot Says:
    August 5th, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Branch and Mitchell next safety tandem for ten years.

    —————————

    Hope so, boss. Hoping they both crack the lineup in time for Week 1. There’s nobody I’m more anxious to see play next Thursday vs. Dallas than Mitchell. Others on that list: JaMarcus, Schilens, Nick Miller, McFadden, Alston, Scott and Branch.

  • HayesDaze37

    Chris — I don’t think having a mopey, pi$$ed-off Burgess around the locker room would work too well with this team.

    I say keep all the negativity out of the locker room as long as possible…it’s been too refreshing lately. Trade Burgess as early as possible, because he has many friends…and it will only be ugly for everybody.

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    Henderson dominated pro-bowlers last season.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen an offensive lineman make as stark a difference in performance as the Mario/Kwame exchange.

  • HayesDaze37

    KK — That’s one of your best posts ever. Henderson proved Lance wrong, big-time.

  • http://atm Raider O

    24,

    Thank you for posting the Mitchell interview. I enjoyed it a lot.

    Nation,

    We should start Branch and Mitchell. Branch at FS, and Mitchell at SS.

  • NoMoreFargas

    Glad to see I’m not the only Raider fan dreaming of mitchell/branch starting and for a lot of years. The second coming of atkinson/tatum !!

  • http://atm Raider O

    Branch is 6’0 205, runs a sub 4.4, and played CB at Conn. He should play FS, and he can hit too.

    Mitchell is 6’1 220, runs around 4.4, and can hit hard. We need him to play SS.

    Together they should help with both the run and the pass.

  • HayesDaze37

    NMF — I have to keep reminding myself that Mitchell’s a rookie. Hard to temper my enthusiasm for rookie Mike Mitchell!

  • Chris in NY

    # KoolKell Says:
    August 5th, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Henderson dominated pro-bowlers last season.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen an offensive lineman make as stark a difference in performance as the Mario/Kwame exchange.

    ———————-

    True. My question is why wasn’t he in there sooner.

    Kwame was atrocious last season but Cable didn’t make the switch to Mario until Week 14, even though Cable took over after Week 4. It’s still one of the biggest concerns I have about Cable. That, the fake FG vs. KC and the failure to utilize McFadden/Bush more.

    Don’t want to be negative though. Cable was a rookie after all. Sounds like things are running really good heading into this season, so I’m optimistic.

  • http://cosmicdanceband.com Silver-n-Black666

    Try commenting on the new post!

    You cant!

  • http://atm Raider O

    We can’t post on the new thread!!

  • http://cosmicdanceband.com Silver-n-Black666

    What about Pears is he going to challenge Mop Handle for the RT job?

  • Terrapin

    Conflicting stories out there. Some say 4-6, others say 6-8. I guess we take the median, 6?

  • http://atm Raider O

    666,

    I hope so.

  • Roch R

    Hey Raider Fans! I absolutely love this time of year! And I have a lot of optimism for ’09!

  • Roch R

    So I want to ask the forum, here’s the deal, after 26 years of my Sunday’s living and dying on the Raiders, my wife is taking me to my first game (NFL game as well, I’m a Canadian) Sept 27th, to watch the Silver and Black hammer the Donks!!

    What do I have to check out at the tailgate party? Where is the best section to see the game? If not the Black hole? Where should we stay? How should we get to the game? Taxi? Rental? Any advice at all!

  • HayesDaze37

    Chris — Re: Cable making some “iffy” decisions as a rookie HC. No matter how much I supported his being named HC, I really Cable was in over his head last year…and I think ANY Head Coach in his position would’ve been, including greats like Madden.

    Rarely, if ever, has a new coach taken over a program so disjointed due to such rapid (and failed) systemic turnover (and yes, other things). Cable’s done an admirable job since getting his feet under him…hopefully he’s got his Coordinator’s hat on a little straighter this year.

  • Florida Pete

    testing…

    testing…

    sibilus, sibilus…

  • Florida Pete

    Roch R Says:
    August 5th, 2009 at 7:32 pm
    So I want to ask the forum, here’s the deal, after 26 years of my Sunday’s living and dying on the Raiders, my wife is taking me to my first game (NFL game as well, I’m a Canadian) Sept 27th, to watch the Silver and Black hammer the Donks!!

    What do I have to check out at the tailgate party? Where is the best section to see the game? If not the Black hole? Where should we stay? How should we get to the game? Taxi? Rental? Any advice at all!

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    sure… you’re canadian right???

    wear blue and orange…

    happy colors…

    everyone will absolutely adore you…

  • HayesDaze37

    Roch R Says:

    What do I have to check out at the tailgate party? Where is the best section to see the game? If not the Black hole? Where should we stay? How should we get to the game? Taxi? Rental? Any advice at all!

    ———————

    Roch — You either bring your tailgate party with you, or you join somebody else’s.

    There are plenty of Official Raiders Booster Clubs listed @ Raiders.com…pick one of the local clubs (Vaca-Valley is one of my faves for out-of-towners) and see about joining their party. You’ll be well taken care of…and you’ll meet life-long Raiders friends.

    As for hotels near the stadium…there are a few decent places to stay…but not much “activity” around them for tourists. Make sure the hotel you pick has a restaurant (and bar!), or has one next to it. If you’re staying for more than an overnight…a rental car is in order. Multiple taxi rides can get expensive, since most tourist-friendly things to do are not near the stadium.

    The Raiders (and frequently their opponents) stay in a sequestered part of the Oakland Airport Hilton. You may find ex-players and coaches (even HOF’ers) wandering the grounds/rest/bar there. Autographs happen! The Hilton’s a bit more expensive than a few other hotels nearby…but they’ve got all you need.

    Here are a few hotels that are prepared to handle Raiders fans for game weekends…and they have shuttles to/from games, and sometimes other game-weekend activities.

    Be careful picking a hotel in Oakland, only a handful nearby the stadium are worthy of referal. Hook-up with a club to tailgate, and make a reservation to one of these places, and you’ll be set-up!

    Oakland Airport Hilton…510-635-5000
    Oakland Park Plaza…510-635-5300
    Oakland Holiday Inn…877-410-6681

    Go Raiders!

  • Roch R

    nice Pete, funny, I work for a major american company with many american co-workers, never get tired of the canuck jokes…

    But seriously seeing my first game live is going to be huge, I’ve been there for Plunkett, suffered through Mark Wilson, Jay Schreoder, Steve Buerlein, Hos, almost got there in 02, but finally my first game, and I don’t want to miss a thing!

  • Roch R

    Great info Hayes!! Thanks! Which section is the best to see the game from?

  • Roch R

    Are club seats worth the price?

  • HayesDaze37

    Roch –

    Club seats are worth the price…but, if you want the rowdy Raiders crowd experience, maybe the stands are the place for you — especially if you actually like being outside.

    The Black Hole is a blast…but it’s packed, and scalped tickets on sold-out games are expensive. West side is the place to be in late afternoon, if you don’t like the sun in your eyes. The high-up “Mt. Davis” East-side seats are waaaay high, but you can see everything. And I mean everything.

    There are great seats all over, though, high and low. Some of my faves are in the corners, on either the 1st or 2nd levels. Great crowds in those sections, too — not too many costumes to peek-around, either!

    Many Saturday nights before Sunday games (and some Sunday nights after wins)…the Oakland Airport Hilton bar is the place to be to get a hat or shirt autographed…bring your own marker!