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Post-Schilens phase underway

It was planned weeks ago between coaches Tom Cable and Mike Singletary, but the opening team sessions between the Raiders and 49ers Tuesday afternoon symbolized what will be important as Oakland will be forced to begin the season without the services of wide receiver Chaz Schilens.

JaMarcus Russell handed the ball to Darren McFadden, who found a big hole up the middle with Chris Morris at center, the first of a series of plays during a running period, virtually in all of which the Raiders appeared to gain considerable ground.

(During non-tackling sessions, you can never be absolutely sure).

McFadden, Michael Bush, Justin Fargas and Gary Russell all had decent carries, and the 49ers went more than 10 plays before 49ers cornerback Reggie Smith strung out a sweep the left and stacked up Louis Rankin.

Nobody was talking about it on the record, but make no mistake _ the coaching and administrative staffs were sick over losing Schilens. The healing time on a fifth metatarsal fracture varies from patient to patient, but it’s a good bet he’ll miss the first three games against AFC West opponents.

As much as Tom Cable has made it a point to talk up the group as a whole, Schilens was far and away the best in his position group since the club arrived in Napa.

Thinking ahead to an annual end-of-camp feature, I thought Schilens was the easy leader as the offensive Most Valuable Player because he’s been more consistent than McFadden.

Sports Illustrated had dispatched a writer for a possible feature.

Instead, the Raiders were mixing and matching receivers in a way that made it impossible to tell exactly how they’ll go about the rotation. Darrius Heyward-Bey probably had fewer reps than he did in the morning session.

It’s something they’ll have to work out once they get an idea starting Monday if Javon Walker is a viable option after not practicing for the last nine months.

“As good of a camp as Chaz was having, you hate for him to let this happen this early on,” Walker said. “We just feel for him . . . but that’s part of the league and it happens and you’ve just got to try to move on and let other guys step up in his place that haven’t really maybe been getting a lot of reps. But they’re obviously going to get those reps now.”

During the second session Tuesday, the Raiders mostly played it safe, throwing checkdowns and safe, short passes, and giving Darrius Heyward-Bey fewer snaps than in the morning practice.

JaMarcus Russell capped one seven-on-seven red zone session with a pass over the middle to Johnnie Lee Higgins. It started with a swing left to Rankin, followed by an incomplete attempt to Marcel Reece at the goal line that was broken up by Manny Lawson.

Russell hit Brandon Myers for a short gain before finishing it off with a score to Higgins. Higgins, who along with Schilens gave the Raiders some legitimate threats at wide receiver toward the end of the 2008 season, sounds as if he’s prepared to step up.

“I encourage everybody to do better _ it’s their time to get in the limelight,” Higgins said. “So if they don’t want to get in the limelight, like I tell them all the time, I’ll get in it. I ain’t scared to get in the limelight. Y’all don’t want me in y’all limelight, though. Or y’all ain’t getting it back.”

For the most part, Russell and Jeff Garcia struggled against the 49ers first and second teams while Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye fared much better against the end of the 49ers bench _ which really isn’t a fair indiction of how the quarterbacks actually played considering the level of competition.

Garcia showed flashes of what has made him a difficult quarterback to defend when he rolled right after a play fake, saw an open area and ran for a good chunk of yardage.

More notes and observations from the second session:

– Still not sure how much of a blocker sixth-round tight end Brandon Myers is, but he made a tumbling end zone catch from Gradkowski for a touchdown in a red zone drill. Tony Stewart, the incumbent backup, is giving no ground, however, and has been extremely reliable as a receiver as well.

Probably doesn’t matter _ should be room for both.

– Raiders offensive linemen showed their agility, a prerequisite for zone blockers, during two-on-two blocking sessions against stunting defenders. During one instance, Seth Wand and Paul McQuistan gave virtually no ground against Ricky Jean-Francois and Lawson.

– The leader in the clubhouse as the outstanding defensive player through training camp so far? Strong safety Tyvon Branch. Has not only held up in coverage, but made plays as well. Have the Raiders finally developed their own playmaking safety?

– Among those who didn’t practice were FB Oren O’Neal and C Samson Satele. WR Louis Murphy went through some drills with wide receivers but stayed out of team sessions, indicating he may be near getting back into the mix after sustaining a hip injury against Dallas.

Rookie defensive end Matt Shaughnessy sat out practice for undisclosed reasons _ Cable will address the media Wednesday _ as did the “normal crew” of C John Wade, G Marcus Johnson, SS Mike Mitchell, T Khalif Barnes and Walker. McQuistan, who sat out the morning session, practiced in the afternoon.

– Shaughnessy, linebacker Slade Norris, defensive lineman Desmond Bryant (correction, I originally wrote Desmond Howard) and linebacker David Nixon were given haircuts courtesy of some veterans, although they weren’t nearly as bad as some of those in years past.

Spared were the two top picks, Heyward-Bey and Mitchell.

– Larry Robbins from Encino, the media watchdog who periodically trumpets the accomplishments of Al Davis to the media through e-mails sent to newspapers and sports networks all over the country, noted in his latest message, “they have a chance to be something special _ if not this year, then next year for sure.”

Somehow I don’t think that will be the message at the bottom of the next press release.

– Practices will be at 8:30 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Wednesday, both in pads.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Brien the General

    Well AZ, last year the game was more defensively dominated. I think both teams improved offensively from last preseason. I think more offense will be seen IMO.

    AZ, in this game what things are you looking for from our team?

  • Brien the General

    # jhill Says:
    August 19th, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Don’t get me wrong,

    The I has it’s place. Power I around the goal line, and short yardage situations. And maybe even when we are within 30 yds of our goal line. But when we have a wide open field, I like having all the speed I can on the field. And the FB is just not one of those guys. Again, I’m talking primary play calling situations, not situational play calling.
    *************************

    LOL us power around the goal line? That is the problem with the ZBS. Near the goal area it sucks. I kinda see what you are saying though with all the speed we have. But the thing is Russell seems like the type of QB who needs a run heavy scheme with simplistic passing game. But as KoolKell said last week it was refreshing to see the diverse pass patterns in the offense

  • Brien the General

    Brien<—————-can talk football, politics or go into personal attacks. However you guys want. No problemo

  • OAKlifer

    Yup thats da hood tell cutty be safe after dark!!! Chaz will be fine I agree he’ll be back by week 4 and JLH Murphy Javon and JLH ( my boy) will step it up!!

  • OAKlifer

    Brien,

    You party with Narco at the tail gates??? Im finna get in on that this year!!!!

  • jhill

    I know your still not sold on JRuss, lol. I think my point is that offense would really simplify things for any QB. I just don’t see LBs and Ss matching up with Meyers, Miller, and DMac. And once the safeties start helping …. Just saying it should be pretty simple, ya know?

  • RaiderRockstar

    Call me crazy but I don’t think Orton is a terrible QB.

    ***

    24: I agree …

    Orton’s supporting cast in Chicago

    RB: Matt Forte, Kevin Jones
    WR: Devin Hester, Rashied Davis, Brandon Lloyd, Marty Booker
    TE: Greg Olsen, Desmond Clark

    o-line allowed 29 sacks

    —-

    Orton’s supporting cast in Denver

    RB: Knowshon Moreno, Correll Buckhalter
    WR: Marshall, Royal, Stokley, Gaffney
    TE: Scheffler, Graham

    o-line allowed 12 sacks

  • AZ Raider

    Brien the General Says:
    August 19th, 2009 at 11:23 am
    Well AZ, last year the game was more defensively dominated. I think both teams improved offensively from last preseason. I think more offense will be seen IMO.

    AZ, in this game what things are you looking for from our team?
    ………………………………………………

    Not much in this one. I still think bot D’s will dominate the game because of all the prectice time together. If it wasn’t with the 9ers, I’d be looking for about 70% pass attack to develope timing with the WR’s as I stated earlier.

    I gues I’d say I’m looking at how our D stacks up to the run game, and I’d like to get a nice long look at Nick Miller with the first team in the slot and returning kicks.

  • OAKlifer

    B,

    ya’ll should hit up Sam Jordans thats tha spot for the bbq ribs!!!!

  • Brien the General

    Jhill, I agree with you on that formation. Myers was responsible for saving us in the college season by making big plays late in the 24-23 win over penn state. Otherwise we would have seen PSU in the bcs title game.

    Anyhow i went off a bit but yesa double tight end formation may help Russell since he passes well to tight ends

  • OAKlifer

    Speaking of Jordans ribs!!!!

    Off to wing stop!!!!!!!!!

    20 pc lemon pepper!!YHEEEEEEEEEEEE

  • jhill

    Yeah, I’m trying to see that tailgate this season to. Just gotta figure out which games I’m going to.

    Gotta set that tailgate straight with the private lable OG!

  • RaiderRockstar

    24: here’s to further prove your point

    Orton – 2972 yards, 18 TD, 12 INT, sacked 27 times, 3 fumbles (2 lost), 58.5 completion percentage, 79.6 QB Rating

    Russell – 2423 yards, 13 TD, 8 INT, sacked 31 times, 11 fumbles (7 lost), 53.8 completion percentage, 77.1 QB Rating

  • Brien the General

    # OAKlifer Says:
    August 19th, 2009 at 11:33 am

    B,

    ya’ll should hit up Sam Jordans thats tha spot for the bbq ribs!!!!
    *********************************

    Hmmmmmmmmmmm dont know bout that. I dont fuk with the pork. We too busy passing these blunts around lol. Since I’m in the hood ill prolly just go to KC/Taco Bell off of third street lol

  • No More Infield or Trolls

    Jhill – gotta give you props. Your posts make the most sense out of any on this board. You must have been a coach or something. used to be a guy here called coach on wheels who knew alot about the game as well.
    Brien – Your posts make little or no sense and only go to show your true lack of knowledge regarding football and the men who play it. Your moronic nicknames for players you don’t like make you sound like a punk teenager.

  • 4evaRaider

    Sorry OAKlifer JLH is your boy 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Brien the General

    Only a a wimp worries about the infield dirt. Seems like a person who makes excuses. I’d love for you to try and get into a debate with me so i can wreck you as well. Instead of pulling up a post and debating me like Jhill would do, you act like a diva ass beyonce loving whore and revert to how you “feel”. You are a pitiful excuse and quit posing like you are down for the Raiders. The team for women wear red n gold

  • Brien the General

    # 4evaRaider Says:
    August 19th, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Sorry OAKlifer JLH is your boy 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    *******************************

    See JLH growing the fro out? I guess he gonan ahve braids like he did in college. Been funny to see him running routes with the fro poofing out the back of the helmet

  • RaiderRockstar

    Brien: speaking of Beyonce, don’t you think we should send Al Davis some “highlights” of Cornell Green over the past 2 seasons in Oakland?

    playing to the tune of Beyonce’s song ‘let me upgrade ya’

    perhaps an animated mop dancing in the video would be appropriate as well?

  • Brien the General

    Come on No More Brains or Balls……………..Im waiting for your rebuttal. Show me where I lack football knowledge. Wish you would show a post compared to the millions where I drop jewels in here

  • RaiderRockstar

    Higgins with an afro is gonna make people think … #18 Randy who?

  • Brien the General

    # RaiderRockstar Says:
    August 19th, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Brien: speaking of Beyonce, don’t you think we should send Al Davis some “highlights” of Cornell Green over the past 2 seasons in Oakland?

    playing to the tune of Beyonce’s song ‘let me upgrade ya’

    perhaps an animated mop dancing in the video would be appropriate as well?
    ******************************

    HAHAHAHAHA I think you ar Raiderpopstar now lol. J/K man. I do feel ya though. Cornell Green is awful as a pass blocker but he can run block like hell

  • beeecham

    Brian the Genital, so the “joke” you’re making is that I’m a female hooker with freshness problems? Brian, you are just priceless!

    I’m wondering where you acquired your considerable comedy skills. Obviously you’ve done stand up for years and learned from the very best. There’s no doubt you have everyone on the blog in stitches right now from your hilarious little rant.

    Comedy gold, you feminine little bro! Comedy gold!

  • RaiderRockstar

    whats up beeecham?

    who do you think will be the Raiders most improved player this season?

  • beeecham

    But seriously Brian, where is your uncle Krappy today? I swear, if he overdoses on Egg McMuffins his crap filled pajamas will be on your manicured hands.

  • Brien the General

    # beeecham Says:
    August 19th, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Brian the Genital, so the “joke” you’re making is that I’m a female hooker with freshness problems? Brian, you are just priceless!

    I’m wondering where you acquired your considerable comedy skills. Obviously you’ve done stand up for years and learned from the very best. There’s no doubt you have everyone on the blog in stitches right now from your hilarious little rant.

    Comedy gold, you feminine little bro! Comedy gold!
    *************************************

    Yeah my comedy gold has been proven in this blog. your regurgitated 80s comedy on Kell is all you have. You arent diverse in your comedy game. Step it up Bitchem and stop being distracted by the next john who rumbles your man snatch

  • Brien the General

    # beeecham Says:
    August 19th, 2009 at 11:59 am

    But seriously Brian, where is your uncle Krappy today? I swear, if he overdoses on Egg McMuffins his crap filled pajamas will be on your manicured hands.
    ************************8

    I dont speak for Kell. He has like 30 years on me. He is a grown man and speaks for himself. That is your guys’ deal not mine. But you are rather obsessed with Kell. He must have got real under your Oil of Olay skin

  • beeecham

    Yo what up RR -

    Obviously I’m hoping Mario elevates to a pro bowl LT who can hold down the corner for the next decade. But aside from him, I was holding out a crazy hope Bowie might turn into a legitimate corner. Probably nothing but a pipe dream, my friend.

    Like what I’m hearing about Branch, it would be nice to see him become the safety we thought Huff would be. We need Satele to become a rock/beast at center if the o-line is going to have any success, so I’d be pleased if he bounced back strong.

    And finally I’d like to see Brian the Genital take the runway by storm this year and really show off his new and improved femininity to the world. I’m really rooting for that sassy little dude.

  • Brien the General

    # beeecham Says:
    August 19th, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Yo what up RR -

    Obviously I’m hoping Mario elevates to a pro bowl LT who can hold down the corner for the next decade. But aside from him, I was holding out a crazy hope Bowie might turn into a legitimate corner. Probably nothing but a pipe dream, my friend.

    Like what I’m hearing about Branch, it would be nice to see him become the safety we thought Huff would be. We need Satele to become a rock/beast at center if the o-line is going to have any success, so I’d be pleased if he bounced back strong.

    And finally I’d like to see Brian the Genital take the runway by storm this year and really show off his new and improved femininity to the world. I’m really rooting for that sassy little dude.
    ******************************

    First time you ever attempted to post about football. Good try.

    You wish you could be as masculine as I am. I always offend the beta males on this site let alone a spread eagle pillow biting poo pusher such as yourself

  • RaiderRockstar

    Mario Henderson, Tyvon Branch, Samson Satele and (gasp) John Bowie ???

    I think those first 3 have a good shot.

    Most improved player I hope is JaMarcus Russell, followed by McFadden, Bush, Higgins, Holland & Stewart in that order on offense.

    Most improved player I hope is Kelly, Huff, Ricky Brown, Scott, Morrison & Gunheim in that order on defense.

    I understand Holland & Gunheim are longshots (like Bowie for you), but I think these cats have some real potential

  • RaiderRockstar

    * Last Bly quote: “They were feeding us. That buffet was good.”

    * McFadden: “They got the best of us. They really got us. … You want to come out here w/a better attitude and try to do that.”

    * JaMarcus: “It’s not the end of the world. If it is, show me.” Said Garcia is the one who huddled the offense after practice for scolding.

    * 49ers CB Dre Bly on Raiders: “They couldn’t respond … they were just mellow. It was total domination.” No one argued the point, either.

    -David White (twitter)

  • RaiderRockstar

    oops. new post!

  • Tatumluvr

    Hmmm is this a preview for things to come 8/22?

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