Curtain draws on Napa camp


News and notes from the Raiders last training camp practice in Napa:

— Training camp 2009 ended with Todd Watkins making a sprawling catch in the end zone to culiminate a successful two-minute drill by the second team offense.

It was third-and-9, Jeff Garcia had driven the offense to the 26-yard line and 17.8 seconds remained.

Defensive coordinator John Marshall yelled, “No TDs!”

Sorry, John.

For the most part, however, coach Tom Cable thinks he and his staff got what they wanted out of 33 practice sessions behind the Napa Marriott.

“We hd a goal coming up here, and that was to leave here a better team, closer, and I think we’ve accompished that,” Cable said.

— Practice was in shorts and shells and wasn’t as grueling as Wednesday’s two and a half-hour marathon, but it was once again a very good practice for the Raiders passing game.

The JaMarcus Russell over the last two days bears no resemblence to the Russell who left footballs strewn all over the field during OTAs and minicamps, or even the Russell of last week who kept finding Nate Clements instead of his own teammates.

There was Russell hitting lobbing a completion to Michael Bush against Napoleon Harris, Russell finding Louis Murphy wide open over the middle, or throwing a dart into the corner of the end zone to Darrius Heyward-Bey against Justin Miller.

In red zone team drills and seven-on-sevens, it looked the way a passing offense is supposed to look against scout team defenders _ lots of touchdowns and completions.

“You have guys that are attacking the ball and making the catch look easy,” Russell said. “We’re getting there. It’s a process and we’re going through it together. It’s not like it’s one person’s job. Everybody’s job has to be done in order to get there. We’re on our way.”

— In the drive before Garcia led the Raiders to a touchdown in a two-minute drill to end camp, Russell came up short in his only crack at the first team defense.

The situation? Raiders at teh 20-yard line, and the scoreboard reads 10-7 with 1:32 to play.

Russell immediately connected with Zach Miller on a beatufil downfield seam route for 30 yards to the 50.

He then missed Miller, was incomplete on a deep pass to Johnnie Lee Higgins and then scrambled for five yards on third-and-10.

An illegal motion penalty on Higgins pushed the ball back five yards, and Huff’s final pass was incomplete, “Ball game,” shouted free safety Michael Huff.

— The first team defense, predictably, did much better against the scout team offense, with Nnamdi Asomugha and Tyvon Branch both getting interceptions.

— Those who did not practice included Chaz Schilens (foot), Khalif Barnes (ankle), John Wade (stinger), Justin Fargas (hamstring), Matt Shaughnessy (foot), Isaiah Ekejiuba (shoulder), Kirk Morrison (elbow) and Mike Mitchell (hamstring). The new addition was rookie linebacker Slade Norris (calf).

Cable assessed Mitchell’s progress this way: “It is getting better, but it has been slow to get there this time.”

So slow that Mitchell has never even been seen off to the side, working with a trainer in agility drills. It’s essentially been a complete shutdown.

— Wide receiver Javon Walker, who seemed to ease into his first session, got in some good work during his second practice, looking better that at any time during training camp a year ago, when he was called out by Lane Kiffin and talked of retiring and giving his bonus back.

“He’s a little rough with some of his assignments, but that’s normal,” Cable said. “He hasn’t had a lot of work, but he’s able to clear that because he’s had so much experience. He’s a really bright guy, and the net time you see him do it, he’s fixed the mistake from the time before. We’ll expect him to go after it Saturday.”

— Russell will play most if not all of the first half Saturday against New Orleans, with Garcia playing most of the second half. Cable said some starters could go into the third quarter.

— Cable continues to be coy as to his plans for the three-headed monster at running back. Will he try split the pie three ways, or will he go heavier with two backs, keeping a third in reserve in case of injury.

Cable noted improvement in Fargas’ receiving skills.

Michael Bush will get the start against New Orleans.

— If the Raiders were interested in Duke Preston, who they had at the facility for a visit in the offseason, the Dallas Cowboys beat them to the punch.

Wade, the backup center, has missed considerable time with a stringer.

— Former Raiders John Parrella, with ex-Raiders Rod Woodson and Josh Taves on his staff, will be head coach for the first varsity football game in the history of Valley Christian High School in Dublin.

— Interested to hear “professional liar” Chris Mortensen of ESPN tell Murph and Mac on KNBR this morning the Raiders were the second best team in the AFC West and could be a surprise team this year.

Is he to be believed?

— While Asomugha was being interviewed, Barnes walked past and had a request.

“Buy me a car, Nam,” Barnes said to the $45.3 million man. “An s500.”

If Barnes had stuck around, he could have at least had a No. 21 jersey. The cornerback had a handful of them and passed them out to some fans who were invited guests on the last day of camp.

Coming later today: Camp highlights and disappointments.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Kell, you can figure out why Norco posts with impunity as others are flagged for yourself. I’ve been hip to that for a long time now. This posting too quickly thing….how many web hits do you think the site gets overall by having people resend their comments several times a piece? Pretty obvious what’s going on.

  • Yeh, Taz, you can just see Bill Walsh’s admiration for Al Davis in his coaching. His entire career he did nothing but throw that deep ball, and play man to man defense.

  • People base their theories of guys like Walsh and Madden admiring Al Davis based on the fact that they’ve never come out and bashed him publicly. It’s almost like saying a woman likes you, because she never said she didn’t. I think rapists work under this premise.

  • Ricochet, I haven’t been around all day. Did TazRaider put Al Davis at the top of the Bill Walsh coaching tree? Is that what he’s really trying to say in that comment?

  • raidertbone

    Hey Kell:
    Did it turn gay all of a sudden, up in here?

    Back to Raiders stuff — who is the number 3 guy right now: Graddy-boy or Frye?

  • Richochet

    No, he’s saying that while Walsh is a massive genius with all of those coaches on Walsh’s tree, Walsh would have never had a tree, at all, if not for Al.

    I simply informed him that asst RB coaches, under John Rauch, weren’t exactly being trained on the vertical game, at least not enough for Walsh to revolutionize the WC offense.

  • And TazRaider, why are you demanding that people “let” you be excited about the upcoming season? You can be excited all you want to. We have our right to be pessimistic, too. Frankly, I find your excitement annoying. I’m the one who’s going to have to comfort you when reality hits in a few weeks.

  • Thec07

    Actually its an error in the way the servers are configed with registration. A know problem. The sitr does not get credit for refreshes as they don’t post. Fuethermore sites are paid for unique hits. That means unique ip addy…

  • Raiderwoj

    He always spoke respectfully of Al, admired Al’s brains and guts. They had been friends a long time, and Walsh said Al taught him everything he knew about football. I think Paul Brown taught Walsh something, too.

    This an excerpt from an article written by Lowell Cohn, and his interviews with Bill Walsh on his death bed

  • Richochet

    Sorry Woj..but you would be wrong.

    Again..ONE YEAR Walsh was with the Raiders, as a RUNNING BACK ASST.

    Al had just left being commissioner and bought in the team at 10%.
    John Rauch was running the team, not Al.

    You look at Al’s philosphy on offense, and you look at Walsh’s..about as different as night and day.

  • Raiderwoj

    I be wrong? That was what WALsh said, not me. I just copied and pasted what WALSH said. See do you actually get that point, WALSH, as in BILL WALSH, said it. Shall i repeat that louder? BILL WALSH SAID IT NOT ME. So in fact you are stating that Bill Walsh is wrong in what he said about Al Davis. hhhmmmmmm……

  • Raiderwoj


    link to the article, and it’s from an article where the writer actually says he’s a Raider\Al Davis hater, so it’s not like it’s comin from an Al Davis sac swinger.

  • Raiderwoj


    It was a nice try though, make sure to run grammar and spell checks on my posts so when you realize you’re wrong(which I doubt) you can attack me on the finer points of the english language.

  • raidertbone

    When will you learn — never get involved in an argument with teenage girls!

  • Raiderwoj

    And one of the points that seems to escape you is that, Al and Bill were friends from the time they were with the Raiders till the day Bill died, but of course in your narrow little 40 whiner mind, that has nothing to do with AL being able to teach him everything he knows, since of course you can only teach another coach something if you coach for the same time, right? Has nothing to with being friends for 40 odd years.

  • Raiderwoj


    Actually had some free time for once, and happened to read some of the statements this guy has made. So I thought I’d chime in. Thing is he thinks that post was my opinion, but it was actually what Bill Walsh told Cohn(a Raider Hater)on his death bed.

  • RaiderRobG

    I think The “Nature Boy” Ric Flair said it best…


  • Raider Dell

    52.RaiderRockstar Says:
    August 27th, 2009 at 2:49 pm
    Dell: here ya go bro. no changes from here on out. it’s official

    QB: Russell, Garcia, Frye
    RB: McFadden, Bush, Fargas
    FB: O’Neal, Lawton
    WR: Heyward-Bey, Schilens, Murphy, Higgins, Walker
    TE: Miller, Myers, Stewart
    OL: Henderson, Barnes, Gallery, McQuistan, Satele, Wade, Morris, Carlisle, Green, Pears
    DL: Ellis, Scott, Shaughnessy, Richardson, Warren, Kelly, Boschetti, Joseph
    LB: Brown, Morrison, Howard, Alston, Ekejiuba, Norris, Williams
    CB: Asomugha, Johnson, Routt, Miller
    S: Eugene, Huff, Branch, Mitchell, Baker
    K/P: Janikowski, Lechler
    LS: Condo


    Here our my thoughts on the final 53.I will follow your, list with my changes.

    QB Gradkowski- instead of Frye.

    FB Russell-also can play HB and special teams.- instead of Lawton.

    WR-Add Miller-back up punt return and KO return for JLH.

    OL-Wade is left off add Johnson.-Morris can play back up center and long and short snap backup.Johnson can play guard and in a pinch RT.

    DL Add Bryant

    LB-Norris will be placed on IR.

    Practice squad will be interesting. Rankin, Reese, Boyd,Compas, Nixon, ? ?