By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, April 30th, 2010 at 3:53 pm in Oakland Raiders.
News, notes and quotes from the first day of the Raiders’ mandatory minicamp Friday:
– Coach Tom Cable acknowledged things went much smoother than they did a year ago, when the first minicamp practice was punctuated by fumbled snapped, dropped passes, and disorganization.
“We had two weeks before we did that minicamp, there was kind of a lull in there and that was a reason for doing it right after the draft,’’ Cable said. “I think it’s reflected in that the ball’s not on the round and we don’t look like the Keystone Cops out there.’’
– Whose who didn’t practice included quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, whose left arm is in a sling after pectoral surgery, wide receiver Chaz Schilens, dealing with general soreness, and wide receiver/return specialist Nick Miller, who has shin splints.
Miller was troubled by shin splints last year, only to later have it called a broken fibula. He spent 16 weeks inactive on game day while still on the 53-man roster.
Linebacker Ricky Brown is expected to practice once a day as he recovers from ankle surgery.
– Cable said he hoped Richard Seymour’s contract would be finalized this weekend.
“We’re trying to get it done so he’s all ours,’’ Cable said.
– Fullback Oren O’Neal, who never recovered from a serious knee injury in 2008, was waived.
– It was a mixed bag for quarterback Jason Campbell, getting accustomed to his yearly task of learning a new offense.
“I’ve been through about 10 of them, so somewhere along the like I’ve run a lot of these plays, trying to find the rhythm, get used to the guys around me and get back into the groove,’’ Campbell said.
Campbell, under the watchful eye of Willie Brown during his press session much the way Eddie Anderson monitored JaMarcus Russell, backed well off his NFL Network declaration that he considered himself the starting quarterback.
“I’m just here to work. Just here to work, get better every day,’’ Campbell said. “ I’ll let coach Cable make that decision and Mr. Al Davis. My job is to come out here every day and compete, keep working on things and try to improve the offense.’’
When Charles Woodson was a rookie, the Raiders went through the charade of listing him behind James Trapp until well into training camp.
With middle linebacker Rolando McClain, there was no such pretense.
“The day after they drafted me, I called to ask for a playbook and some DVDs to look over,’’ McClain said. “I didn’t waste any time.’’
McClain was flanked by Kamerion Wimbley on the strong side and Trevor Scott on the weak side as the defense played almost exclusively 4-3 for the first practice.
– The first minicamp practice contained little or none of the potentially exotic looks hinted at by Cable at the post-draft press briefing. No surprise, really.
“I was looking at the playbook and there are some things that we didn’t do last year.,’’ Asomugha said. “Like always, it’s a matter of how well we do it at this time of the year and then in the summer as to whether we actually play it. So it’s going to depend on us and then how comfortable the coaches feel.’’
– No longer serving as play-caller and offensive coordinator, Cable found himself with more information than usual following the first practice.
“I had a lot more notes from practice on a broad area of things, from what I saw on special teams and with the DBs, to something with the linebackers,’’ Cable said. “I kind of walked off the field feeling really good about what I saw and was anxious to look at it on film and crosscheck myself.’’
Cable on the quarterback rotation of Charlie Frye, JaMarcus Russell, Jason Campbell and Kyle Boller: “It means nothing. Don’t look anything into that. If you do, you’re wasting ink.’’
Or blog space.
– Fourth-round draft pick Bruce Campbell, who played exclusively on the left side at Maryland, lined up as the right guard with the second team. Cable said putting him at guard will give him more second-team reps.
Third-round pick Jared Veldheer was the second-team left tackle behind Mario Henderson.
“My first time looking at the playbook, I looked at it and the different language and I was like, ‘Wow.’ Now that I actually got a practice under my belt, I was like, OK, it’s not that bad,’’ Campbell said. “It’s just getting used to the game speed and basically staying low on the inside.’’
Campbell had false starts on consecutive plays during one sequence and was in some battles with defensive tackle Chris Cooper that probably went beyond the scope of a “non-contact’’ practice.
– Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, No. 85, looked much smoother catching the ball in drills and in team sessions. He did have two drops, although neither was a particularly easy catch, one over his head and the other at his feet.
– The following undrafted free agents were announced as signed: DE Alex Daniels, DT Kellen Heard, RB Chane Moline, TE John Owens, G Alex Parsons, DB Joey Thomas and RB Manase Tonga.
– Cornerback Stanford Routt signed his first- and third-round tender and practiced with the team.
Check for practice updates on my Twitter account.