By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, September 7th, 2009 at 1:19 pm in Oakland Raiders.
As the Raiders ended warmups and special teams drills Monday and begun the closed session of practice, those who were not on the field were running back Justin Fargas and defensive lineman Richard Seymour.
Coach Tom Cable believes Fargas will be ready to play. There has been no update on the Raiders regarding Seymour and when he is expected to arrive. Cable will address the media following practice.
Linebacker and special teams player Isaiah Ekejiuba was back at practice. Safety Mike Mitchell was on the field for the second consecutive day and workin gon special teams.
More news, notes and quotes from the open locker room session:
– If rookie wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey is nervous about being a starter in his NFL debut, on Monday night, no less, he’s hiding it well.
“It’s a regular routine. It’s a game, and I know it’s the regular season, but you can’t get too high and you can’t get too low,” Heyward-Bey said. “You’ve just got to do your normal preparation for the week.”
When told his approach seemed even keel, Heyward-Bey said, “Oh yeah. You have to. Then you get caught in this dream land. You can’t allow yourself to get that way. At least for me I can’t.”
– Linebacker Slade Norris, a fourth-round draft choice, was surprised that he didn’t make the 53-man roster, but plans on rectifying that before the season is over.
“It was disappointing, definitely, but I have a lot of confidence in myself, and I know I’ll make it up there this year,” Norris said.
Even with the demotion, Norris felt he had the confidence of the coaching staff in terms of his potential.
“They told me, `We want you on practice squad, we’re hoping no one picks you up because we really respect you as a player, we just don’t think you’re quite ready yet to go out there,’ ” Norris said.
Cable said Norris was struggling with the conversion from college pass rusher to stand-up linebacker. Norris said it is a matter of seeing things clearly.
“The biggest thing I need to work on is my reactions, my vision, I need to see the whole defense from depth, I need to be able to read things quicker,” Norris said. “Physically, I’m there right now. I feel I can play with them right now. I just need to tighten up my game a little bit.”
– Tackle Khalif Barnes sounds as if he realizes being ready for Week 1 is a stretch (Cable has pointed to Week 2 or 3) but won’t rule it out for sure.
“That’s a good question. Would it make sense? I don’t know,” Barnes said. “I really don’t know. Of course, would I have loved to at the beginning of camp, yeah. But, you also got to be smart about it and know it’s a long season. In case somebody goes down, you got to be ready to step in. So, I’m just getting myself back into the mental mode of not just having to heal but playing well also. All that kind of goes into the factors.”
Barnes on blocking Seymour: “It seems like you stone him at the line, but he always somehow seems to creep in and get a couple of inches deeper than you would like for him to get. So, he works well with his hands.”
– The ascension of Chris Morris to starting center came the way things usually do with the Raiders. He wasn’t told anything specific, and he wasn’t about to ask.
“Last week I just started running with the (first team), Morris said. “I just started taking those reps. I don’t know if anyone officially said anything.”
Morris, who credited former Raiders Adam Treu and Brad Badger with helping him develop, said of being the starter, “It feels fantastic. But the work doesn’t stop here. It’s just beginning. I can’t let anything slide or else I could be back as a backup. I’ll definitely take it to a new level and continue to work hard.”
– Guard Richard Scheuning, a practice squad guard, participated in his first practice wearing No. 67. Free agent defensive tackle Desmond Bryant switched from No. 67 to No. 90, the number of the departed Terdell Sands.
– It’s conceivable defensive tackle William Joseph, cut to make room for Seymour, could return at some point. His locker was not cleared out and his name and number remain in the stall.