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Quick hits from last minicamp practice

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Impressions gathered from five practice sessions at the Raiders’ mandatory minicamp, which concluded with a single practice Sunday:

— Coach Tom Cable, a roll-up-your-sleeves and do-it-yourself type, has taken a step back.

Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is running the offense, John Marshall the defense. Line coach Jim Michalczik, who became a spectator at times last year as Cable jumped in as the unit struggled, was the main voice in that unit.

Particularly telling Sunday was Jackson coming in and working with offensive linemen while Cable was off watching Mike Waufle work with the defensive line.

— Rolando McClain knows his stuff.

McClain played in a 3-4 defense at Alabama, but his transition to 4-3 middle linebacker was seamless in terms of knowing his assignments. He jumped right in with the first team and was seldom seen getting heavy tutoring from coaches in between snaps to correct errors.

The most important quality will be fitting run gaps and driving ballcarriers backward, and we won’t know about that until July, but it was a promising start.

McClain sat out Sunday’s practice after being tight following four hard practice sessions where he took a lot of snaps.

— Admittedly, some of the issues had to do with Chaz Schilens and Louis Murphy missing practice, but Oakland’s wide receivers littered the ground with too many dropped passes.

About the only guy getting a passing grade Sunday was Todd Watkins and perhaps Jonathan Holland.

As for Darrius Heyward-Bey, he has indeed improved, but he fell far short of Cable’s glowing assessment at a pre-draft press conference.

Take a look at film of Murphy and Heyward-Bey side-by-side breaking on a deep ball and only one of them would look like a potential star. It would be the guy taken in the fourth round, not the first.

— Jason Campbell is not a statue. Far from it.

I apparently didn’t pay a lot of attention to Redskins games because I thought Campbell a classic dropback pocket passer. He can do that, but he also runs well.

Sunday, he broke to his right and beat end Jay Richardson to the corner for a nice gain.

— Rookie tackle Jared Veldheer looks thin for a lineman at 6-foot-8 and 315 pounds but was strong enough to send fellow O-lineman Alex Parsons flying during a routine drill.

— JaMarcus Russell still hasn’t mastered the art of the short pass, hitting Darren McFadden with a swing pass to his right on one play, then firing the next at the feet of Rock Cartwright.

Russell, whose best practice session was his first one, got a limited amount of snaps in each of the last two practices.

He may not be 290 pounds, but he didn’t look anything like a $9.45 million quarterback, either.

— Rookie defensive backs Jeremy Ware, Walter McFadden and Stevie Brown all had good final practice sessions. Brown properly broke on a pass from Russell intended for Zach Miller and ended up with an interception on the overthrow.

Ware had the prettiest interception of the minicamp when he stayed with Jacoby Ford on a post then out-raced him to a deep pass by Charlie Frye.

— Eddie Anderson has roles that go beyond being watch commander in charge of Russell. During one sequence Sunday, Marshall had some words with Stanford Routt along the sideline, and when Routt ran back out on the field with the first unit, he was sent off by defensive backs coach Lionel Washington.

Eventually, Anderson came over and the two had a discussion. Routt was back on the field a short time later.

— Lamarr Houston, the second-round pick out of Texas who will be in the defensive line rotation at end, will get in his share of scrapes this year. When teams hit the Raiders for a big run and he’s on the field, he’s going to hit back.

He’s one of those “play to the whistle’’ types _ which means once in awhile he’ll play beyond it.

— Cable said Schilens’ absence is not a big deal, and we’ll take him at his word.

But the Raiders’ best possession receiver has had two surgeries on his left foot in the past year. Not everyone has feet that can hold up to playing in the NFL.

If he experiences any setbacks which constitute missing more than a practice or two at training camp, be worried.

— While it makes for a nice story to say Richard Seymour was not at mandatory minicamp because the two sides were working on a longterm deal, one has nothing to do with the other.

Seymour could have signed the tender, been at camp and the two sides still could be working on that contract. He is doing what a lot of people would do in his position _ staying at home with his family rather than go through five football practices as April turns to May.

— Not sure who the Raiders fullback is going to be in Week 1, but there’s a very real possibility that it’s not someone who is currently on the roster.

— Michael Huff and Tyvon Branch at cornerback? They were for a handful of plays on Sunday. Cable says it was simply to work on their coverage skills and that neither will be moving from safety to the island.

— The first OTA session begins May 18. In past years, the media is allowed to cover one day of sessions which last three days.

— For more practice highlights, check my Twitter page.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Wasn’t Ronin Harris a nose tackle?

  • Random Drug Tester

    Kirk…there will be for another year too…ain’t that hilarious.

  • mack-madden

    Tommy Kelly was very good at DE.

    He’s just a little above average at DT.

    Still not sure why we moved him from DE to DT…

  • Random Drug Tester

    Out of my Canadian curiousity for American things…whose fault is it for the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Democrats or Republicans?

  • So, what’s the deal with these skinny jeans? When I was a kid, guys tried their hardest not to look like a homosexual. Nowadays, everyone’s looking gay. I guess that what happens when you have a liberal media.

  • Random Drug Tester

    Al Davis is putting together a team that can play man-to-man with the “front-seven”…3 or 4 lineman, and 3 or 4 LB’s to take on the 5 olinemen and TE and FB.

    Hopefully, their QB cannot run. We have their WR’s and Rb covered with a S to tackle their RB.

  • Random Drug Tester

    Oaktown Hustler…sounds like you had a hard time not looking gay

  • Oh, I sure don’t wear no skinny jeans. No sir. I wear my drawers baggy and low.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Random Drug Tester Says:
    May 3rd, 2010 at 9:06 pm
    Out of my Canadian curiousity for American things…whose fault is it for the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Democrats or Republicans?
    ======================================================
    The british

  • Random Drug Tester

    well then…you are not definitely not gay…even though your pants fall off easily, for anyone, and you can’t run away

  • How do you wear your pants, Random Drug Tester?

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    JLH is a good slot receiver who has made plays.

    DHB hasn’t made ONE doggone play all year!

    And JLH is much cheaper and actually has caught the ball.

    The depth chart if draft status didn’t mean anything:

    Schilens
    Murphy
    JLH
    DHB
    Ford
    Watkins

    Of course Ford would be pushing DHB because DHB can’t catch the ball

  • Random Drug Tester

    SnB offense defense specialteams Says:
    May 3rd, 2010 at 9:17 pm
    Random Drug Tester Says:
    May 3rd, 2010 at 9:06 pm
    Out of my Canadian curiousity for American things…whose fault is it for the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Democrats or Republicans?
    ======================================================
    The british
    ————————————–
    no problems then, BP will make you “whole”…just like Exxon did for the people in Alaska.

  • Random Drug Tester

    Oaktown Hustler Says:
    May 3rd, 2010 at 9:19 pm
    How do you wear your pants, Random Drug Tester?
    ——————————————————-
    securely

  • Guy

    SnB I like that depth chart. Imagine if we took Monroe over DHB. We would be much more set, with our WRs like Schilens
    Murphy
    Higgins
    Ford
    Watkins
    some other guy from camp, Yamon Figurs or Nick Miller.

  • That’s hot.

  • Random Drug Tester

    Schilens is not a starter…too fragile

  • Random Drug Tester

    to an Oaktown Hustler maybe…where I come from, low and baggy means “I don’t know how to dress myself”

  • Random Drug Tester

    do you where you baseball cap “sideways” too?

  • Random Drug Tester

    where = wear

  • I don’t where baseball caps. I prefer Kangol.

  • Random Drug Tester

    sorry..is “Kangol” an Oaktown thang?

  • This is my favorite hat. I like it because it is Raider colors:

    http://www.hatsinthebelfry.com/product/kangol-tri-stripe-504-K0238CO.html

  • Random Drug Tester

    thanks for the link…didn’t know that was called a Kangol

  • Random Drug Tester

    needs a Raider Shield in my opinion

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Schilens is to the NFL what Greg Oden is to the NBA

  • Random Drug Tester

    I for one, would not want to have to count on Schilens

  • Random Drug Tester

    Murphy in my opinion is the only player we have at WR

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Random Drug Tester,

    BP will pay some heavy fine, the money will never make it to the fisherman and tour operators who will lose their jobs…and the Gulf will recover in a decade or so.

    That’s life. Americans, and the world, use fossil fuels to power cars, trucks, heat, plastics and all sorts of stuff.

    Unless these alternative fuels/energies become affordable for the average person, these issues will continue to happen.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    I agree, Murphy is the best receiver on this team. Had we a competent O.C and QB, Murphy would have had a breakout year

  • Random Drug Tester

    If Seymour doesn’t play DT this year…we are without a true DT.

  • Random Drug Tester

    SnB…move on from fossil fuels, the rest of the world is trying to, USA should do the same.

    Bush et al have made all the money they can from that old game.

  • Random Drug Tester

    the OIL game is a losing strategy…too risky, all gone. It can’t be sustained anymore, get GREEN, your children are being taught that (or should be) and it’s time for everyone else to realize it.

    The Oil Barons are dinosaurs we can’t afford anymore.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Random Drug Tester Says:
    May 3rd, 2010 at 9:37 pm
    If Seymour doesn’t play DT this year…we are without a true DT.
    =================================================
    I will be interested to see how this works. Cable said the NT candidates are Kelly and Bryant.

    The Raiders are trying to be like the Colts. Problem is our offense does not, and in my humble opinion, is not capable of scoring at a pace that would force the opponent to go away from our weakness.

    We’ll see…I am skeptical…but will keep an open mind I guess

    BTW, I think Shaughnessy is heading to the bench. Seymour and Houston are the Defensive Ends.

  • ‘Drill Baby Drill’, that’s my motto. Drill right into that sweet and moist crude until you can’t drill no mo.

  • Dark Forces

    Cut Russell – Sign TO

  • Random Drug Tester

    There is no need for 3 shifts a day producing brand new cars 24/7/365 that only big budget movies can afford to blow-up in spectacular special-effect movies anymore.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Random Drug Tester,

    I think people would love to move on from fossil fuels…but the problem is that things electric cars, hybrids, solar panels..etc are not affordable for the average person.

    Until those technologies become efficient and affordable, they will remain in the domain of science fiction.

    also, I would love for some of these folks to practice what they preach. Take public transit, if its reliable….stop living in the 3,000 sq ft home and move into a modest flat….but a lot of these upper middle class environmentalists and so-called leaderss fly private jets live in huge houses and eat imported food.

    Like Barry White said…”Practice what you Preach”

  • Random Drug Tester

    Oaktown Hustler Says:
    May 3rd, 2010 at 9:44 pm
    ‘Drill Baby Drill’, that’s my motto. Drill right into that sweet and moist crude until you can’t drill no mo.
    ——————————-
    been done already…can’t drill no mo.

  • I’m out. Got to go do some drilling.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    BTW, I think alternative energy will take hold…probably in another 15 to 20 years.

    Its just not efficient enough yet…..and people are not willing to downscale their standard of living

  • Random Drug Tester

    subsidize those things instead of giving tax-breaks and subsidies to the the auto-makers and/or having Oil Barons as President.

    See how much things change then.

  • Random Drug Tester

    meant to paste this in before my last one….

    I think people would love to move on from fossil fuels…but the problem is that things electric cars, hybrids, solar panels..etc are not affordable for the average person.

    Until those technologies become efficient and affordable, they will remain in the domain of science fiction.

  • Random Drug Tester

    also, I would love for some of these folks to practice what they preach. Take public transit, if its reliable….stop living in the 3,000 sq ft home and move into a modest flat….but a lot of these upper middle class environmentalists and so-called leaderss fly private jets live in huge houses and eat imported food.

    Like Barry White said…”Practice what you Preach”
    ————————————————
    you have to be very wary of these things in Canada, or you get voted out. And there is more than 1 alternative to vote for if you do, that helps.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Oil is what it is…

    The auto makers employ a LOT of people! The reason the auto makers were bailed out was because the U.S was staring at over 1 million unemployed in a time of economic crisis..

    also, the infrastructure for public transit is poor and the average person has no appetite to invest in it. Same in Canada, where the infrastructure is more U.S like than it is European like.

    Until average people are willing to get behind this…nothing will substantively change until the technology stands on its own.

  • Random Drug Tester

    You Americans are so dependent on Oil, largely because your leadership says to be, that you don’t know any other way. There are other ways, but lobbyists and your Presidents have squashed them.

    There are technologies available that allow carborateurs to produce 200 mphs that have never hit the market because it’s “not good for business”

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Random Drug Tester,

    We don’t have multiple choices in the USA.

    We are ruled by a one-party system that markets itself as two…..

    Not too unlike China

  • Random Drug Tester

    transfer those automaker jobs to the public transit and to infrastructure making…no difference in the number of jobs. Only in who makes money off of it.

  • Random Drug Tester

    your government is not operating in the best interests of the people it is supposed to represent.

    It is up to you people to change that, not wait for them to decide on their own what the right thing to do is.

    Americans are supposed to be known for that, remember the 60’s?

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Random Drug Tester,

    Americans and Canadians, for that matter, have historically lived in wide open spaces. In Europe and Asia, space is a premium as is size…so you have to pay a huge premium to get a bigger house or a bigger car to drive down smaller streets.

    Also, the public transit in those countries are superior…even China.

    America has a third world public transit system. It would take Billions…maybe more…to build the rail system to connect the country at the same quality that others are doing it.

    Plus, Americans, for better or for worse, generally have a distrust of large government projects…plus as a nation we are not capable of managing and executing large intiatives because our leadership pool is awful.

    America will respond to conditions when it hurts….like when gas prices went up to 4 or 5 dollars and people started changing behavior.

    Legal fiat won’t get it done…only cold hard economics