News, notes and quotes from the Raiders first practice Tuesday with the 49ers:
— The most impressive hit happened not in a full team session, but in a blocking drill. Forty-Niners running back Frank Gore not only walled off Raiders linebacker Ricky Brown in a pass rush drill, but put him on his back.
“Our coach really coached us up on that. He wants us to be very aggressive,” Gore said. “He really helped me a lot when he came in by (having me watch) the small things, taking the angles. I try to do my best to do whatever he tells me to do because I see that he’s helping my game a whole lot.”
Gore also unloaded on Kirk Morrison, although not to the same extent.
The coach? Tom Rathman, who coached Raiders running backs for the last two years and the man most responsible for turning Justin Fargas into an exceptional pass blocker and Darren McFadden into a good one.
Said Brown: “I came in too high. He’s a great blocker and I’ve got to learn from that.”
To his credit, Brown had some solid rushes after being pancaked and said he wasn’t offended by Gore’s enthusiasm afterward.
“Some guys like doing that kind of stuff, other guys are more just let’s get down to business,” Brown said. “It really doesn’t bother me. The stuff that goes on between the whistles is the stuff that wins games.”
Said Singletary, tongue-in-cheek: “I told Frank I was going to put him on the bus if he does that again. But he did a nice job. Frank is a guy, he gets excited about what he’s doing, and to me, his heart and his emotion and his enthusiasm is what this game is all about.”
— No surprise for Raiders best pass blocker among backs _ Lorenzo Neal stonewalled Parys Harrelson.
— Spent much of the morning practice watching the Raiders play defense against the 49ers. For the most part, the 49ers had the upper hand.
Linebackers, in particular, had trouble staying with 49ers backs coming out of the backfield. Raiders free safety Hiram Eugene made a nice center field break on an overthrow by Shaun Hill for an interception, and Stanford Routt dropped what would have been an easy pick.
— Although difficult to determine who gets the better of running plays in no-tackling drills, there were a handful of instances when Gore, Glen Coffee and Kory Sheets were getting a good head of steam right up the middle before being touched.
— Not surprisingly, the Raiders offense began to struggle with its passing game after Chaz Schilens left with what turned out to be a broken fifth metatarsal on his left foot.
Medical Web sites suggest Schilens would be out six weeks or more. That being the case, Schilens would likely miss the crucial three-game stretch to open the season against San Diego, Kansas City and Denver.
It also means the Raiders will probably open the season with two players _ Schilens and Khalif Barnes _ will be on the 53-man roster but unable to play when the season begins.
Asked if he thought he could play in the opener on Sept. 14, Schilens said, “If God works a miracle, we’ll see.”
— Worst case scenario? You don’t want to know. It’s considered a poor healing bone because of lack of blood flow. It could drag on past midseason or later. Rehab usually means not putting any weight on the foot at all, so conditioning will be an issue when Schilens returns.
— Before the extent of Schilens injury was learned, Cable said he felt good about the depth at receiver.
“We’re pretty deep back there when you look at us and see us,” Cable said. “Then you’re going to get Javon back in a week it looks like, so, I thinkwe’re OK. Hopefully Chaz is alright and we can get through this quickly.”
— When Javon Walker suits up Monday, it will be the first time in nine months since the last time he set foot on a practice field.
— Looks like full speed ahead for Robert Gallery, who is practicing with no restrictions.
— Derrick Brooks confirmed he visited the Raiders Monday to Sirius Satellite Radio. Morlon Greenwood was signed instead, who was better suited to a role as a special teams player and backup linebacker than an 11-time Pro Bowler.
— Got mixed reviews on the Raiders’ offensive performance, most of which I didn’t see. Darrius Heyward-Bey apparently dropped a few passes, although I saw him catch a corner route from Russell late in practice. Plan on watching offense more in the second session.
Those who missed practice were termed by Cable as the “normal crew”: Walker, WR Louis Murphy, T Khalif Barnes, C John Wade, G Marcus Johnson, LB Isaiah Ekejiuba and S Mike Mitchell.
— Additional practice highlights and quick hits available on my Twitter page.
Cable-Hanson, Day 2
The NFL will be asking questions about how it was that assistant coach Randy Hanson ended up in a Napa hospital.
“We are looking into it so we can understand the facts,” senior vice president of public relations Greg Aiello said Tuesday.
Cable again declined to answer questions about the matter, although on Monday he told ESPN’s Mark Schlereth that “nothing happened.”
When asked directly if that was the case, Cable said, “Nothing happened.”
Schlereth, by the way, played college football with Cable at Idaho.
Cable may have been better off sticking with “it’s an internal matter,” because “nothing happened” sounds ridiculous on its face when somebody went to the hospital.
Schlereth and Adam Schefter speculated on ESPN the matter could even give the Raiders some added resovlve.
More likely, they’ll ignore it altogether. Unless Cable is suspended, it’s just another strange day in the life of being a Raider.
“That’s for you guys to talk about,” left guard Robert Gallery said. “We have no idea what happened or if anything happened . . . rumors start real fast. We could start one now and it would change by tomorrow.”
Said defensive end Jay Richardson: “I haven’t been here long, but it’s been interesting. It’s my third year, and there’s never a dull moment . . . guys are like, `What happened? Oh.’ Then it’s back to work. Nothing surprises you any more.”