By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Saturday, May 1st, 2010 at 3:50 pm in Oakland Raiders.
News, notes and quotes from Saturday morning’s minicamp practice:
– Wide receiver Chaz Schilens is sitting out practice because of a postseason surgery on his left foot.
“There was some follow-up work done,” coach Tom Cable said. “And this is just really taking care of it, so that everything is fine and he is doing great. Probably could have gone, but chose not to do it. I think this team is going to need that guy.”
Schilens missed the first eight games of the season after sustaining a metatarsal fracture in his left foot during training camp.
Also sitting out were wide receiver Nick Miller (shin splints), quarterback Bruce Gradkowski (pectoral surgery), wide receiver Louis Murphy (ankle), linebacker Trevor Scott (trap cramp) and cornerback Chris Johnson (lower back cramp).
– Yes, the Raiders will be primarily a zone blocking team in 2010. But not exclusively.
“There’s some things that we’re doing that are a little different,” Cable said. “There’s maybe more of the down scheme, the gap scheme. But if you saw us all day yesterday, it was all zone the whole day. So, it’s still what we do, it’s still how we make our say, but we’re going to complement it. And those are some of the things that Hue brings to the table that are going to help us.”
– Hue, as in Jackson, is the biggest difference in practice from last year to this year. He has taken hold of the offense in a way Cable couldn’t because he wore too many hats.
Jackson, who hasn’t received clearance to talk with the media as yet, is the loudest voice on the field and isn’t shy about letting players know it when they’ve either made an error or been careless with the ball.
When Louis Murphy made an impressive deep catch Friday with a nice adjustment and headed for the end zone, Jackson, rather than complimenting the catch, chastized Murphy for failing to properly secure the ball as he advanced the ball.
Quarterback Charlie Frye said Jackson has emphasized tempo while at the same time installing plays at a dizzying pace.
“Everything we’re doing inside, he’s put in in these three days. It’s on overload as far as guys being able to go out there and do it. It makes you think,” Frye said. “He’s very demanding and expects perfectionon Day 1.”
Said tight end Zach Miller: “He definately pushes everyone. He’s all about competition, he’s all about guys being fast out there and show what you can do and it’s showing out here on the field. We’re trying to keep a good tempo while still executing, not making mistakes.”
Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey said “we’re a little bit more on edge. Hue has us being responsible for our actions on the field. We can’t mess up, and that’s good for everybody because we’re all accountable.”
– Heyward-Bey was appreciative of Cable’s support _ he called him a “new person” but said he doesn’t feel much different than he did as a rookie or feel he was doing anything out of the ordinary in terms of putting in the work.
“I’ve been here doing what everybody is supposed to be doing,” Heyward-Bey said. “Nothing special. They open up the doors at 9, I’m here at 9, so that’s what I do.”
– Since the Raiders host the 49ers in the preseason on Aug. 28 and play them again on Oct. 17, might the two teams suspend their two-year tradition of a joint workout in Napa?
“I don’t know. I’m not sure I would feel that way, but let’s see how they feel and sit down with them and talk about it,’’ Cable said.
– Although Cable has stressed that minicamp depth charts mean little, Langston Walker has been running ahead of Khalif Barnes through three practices at right tackle and could reclaim the job he left in 2006.
“I think that Langston has done a lot to kind of rework himself physically, and has done a lot of work since the end of the season,’’ Cable said. “I think he has a freshness about him, kind of a new start if you will. He’s going after it.’’
– While the Raiders continued to work exclusively in a 4-3 defense, Cable didn’t exactly rule out a 3-4.
“Oh, I don’t know. I think it depends,’’ Cable said. “We haven’t talked a lot about it. We have a plan for different things that we haven’t done. I think once we see what we can handle, what we can do, I probably could answer that better down the road.”
The Raiders don’t appear to have at true nose tackle, but Cable identified Desmond Bryant and Tommy Kelly as possibilities.
– Even with Scott out injured Thomas Howard as been running with the second team as a strong side linebacker.
“It’s a competition and that’s what I was told,’’ Howard said. “That’s what I see out here, it’s just competition right now.”
Howard’s impression of top draft pick Rolando McClain?
“Man, he’s bigger than I thought he was,’’ Howard said. “He works hard, he’s a smart player and he jumped right in and he was able to control the defense. Like a middle linebacker is supposed to, he has great feet to be such a big guy, humble, hard worker.”
Howard is experiencing his first camp without his trusty sidekick and Twitter partner Kirk Morrison.
“It’s definitely something new but in this league you have to adapt to change,’’ Howard said. “It’s not the first time we’ve seen a player come and go. It’s the first time it’s been someone as close to home as Kirk is. But it’s the league, it’s a business.”
– Check for Twitter updates on the 4 p.m. practice . . .