Part of the Bay Area News Group

We’ll see ‘em in Napa

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, June 14th, 2010 at 2:33 pm in Oakland Raiders.

That’s all, folks.

The Raiders media relations department said Monday the final organized team activity session of the offseason would be closed to the media.

The last open OTA was scheduled for Wednesday, but the Raiders lost that day as well as Thursday’s session when the NFL and NFL Player’s Association terminated the last two days for unspecified reasons.

Requests from media members to have the final open day moved to Tuesday were denied.

So the Raiders will wind up what looks to be their best offseason in the last decade the way Al Davis prefers _ in private.

Why close the last session?

It prevents Tom Cable from answering questions on behalf of the organization about the specifics of OTA violations. Or maybe it’s because after a handful of veterans were “excused” from last Wednesday’s session, there will be even more this week.

It’s voluntary, and from a player’s perspective, it hardly seems worth coming into town for six hours of practice and meetings as opposed to 18 hours of practice and practices and meetings. No need publicizing a much-less-than-full house.

Or the best reason with all things Raider when it comes to the media: “Because we don’t have to.”

No problem. It’s not like we were going to learn much more in 90 minutes or so that has already been gathered since the first mandatory minicamp following the draft, and it’s safe to say the Raiders aren’t much interested in those who want to read blogs and “tweets” from their practice sessions.

We already know the Raiders drafted middle linebacker Rolando McClain with the No. 8 pick and had an overall draft which in most quarters rated an enthusiastic thumbs up.

McClain seemed to need very little extra tutoring, and second-round pick Lemarr Houston, playing at end, looks like he’s going to get some offensive players riled up in training camp.

We know JaMarcus Russell is gone, and the Raiders want $9.55 million of their money back, with both moves getting thunderous applause from the fan base.

We know Jason Campbell was acquired for next to nothing, came to work early, stayed late and got most of the practice reps in what looks to be a much-improved passing game. It’s more than just “throw it to Zach Miller and hope for a first down.”

We know Darrius Heyward-Bey looks much, much better, although the real proof will come with full contact. If you told me right now he’d catch 40 passes for 700 yards and six touchdowns this year, I’d consider it a possibility. If you’d have told me that last year, I’d have laughed in your face.

We know Hue Jackson is the new voice and direction of the offense. He’s pushing buttons, challenging players to be competitive and go after the defense in a way that hasn’t been seen since Jon Gruden left following the 2001 season.

We know that despite the loss of the OTAs and the fact that a player likely got the ball rolling with the union, the workouts have generally been spirited and the players seemed to be having fun and setting a good tempo.

Face it _ there are worse things in the world than losing a couple of practices because someone thinks you’re working too hard.

We know that the Raiders bucked a league-wide trend by getting all their restricted free agents signed to tenders early and with no problems.

Here’s what we don’t know:

– If Darren McFadden can break some tackles and become the running-receiving weapon the Raiders hoped he’d be when they took him No. 4 overall in 2008, and join forces with Michael Bush to return the Raiders running game to top 10 status.

– Blocking and tackling. It’s not allowed in the offseason in any real sense, and they were two big weaknesses for the Raiders last season.

– Linebackers’ ability to cover. It was the least accomplished part of McClain’s game in college, weak side linebacker Trevor Scott is a converted defensive end, and Kamerion Wimbley also has the build of a lineman.

– Defensive alignment. Will the Raiders truly be creative this season, mix in some 3-4, play some exotic defenses with the changes in personnel and an abundance of linebackers? The acquisition (although still not confirmed by the Raiders on their Web site) of defensive tackle John Henderson adds a player who has played exclusively in the 4-3.

– We don’t know the true intentions of Richard Seymour because he hasn’t been around and hasn’t signed his exclusive franchise free agent tender. But that’s not unusual. When he was an exclusive franchise free agent, Nnamdi Asomugha waited until training camp to sign as well. What we don’t know is whether Seymour will show up to camp on time or take his time.

Either way, he’s not passing up $13 million this season if a long-term deal isn’t reached.

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  • RaiderRockstar

    Jason Campbell doesn’t have to be Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Brett Favre or Kurt Warner to lead us to the playoffs.

    He doesn’t have to be Tom Brady, Caron Palmer, Philip Rivers or Tony Romo either!

    all he has to do is play his game, limit turnovers and move the chains.

    JC had the 10th best completion percentage in the league last year. 14th most passing yards

    Hwnrdr: Campbell went 2-2 against the AFC West last year

    0-6 against NFC East (Dallas, Philly, NYG)

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    10 wins? I would shine Al Davis’ shoes if we won 10 games next year. I would wear an Russell Athletics Authentic Tom Cable Wife Beater Shirt for a week if we won 10 games next year.

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    I haven’t seen enough games Campbell has played to pass judgment on him, but he has to be three times better than Russell right?

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    Goooo LAKERS! Time to put up or shut up Gasol, Odom and Artest you sissies!

  • RaiderRockstar

    Sunday, Sept. 12_at Tennessee, 10 a.m. (WIN)
    Sunday, Sept. 19_St. Louis, 1:05 p.m. (WIN)
    Sunday, Sept. 26_at Arizona, 1:15 p.m. (WIN)
    Sunday, Oct. 3_Houston, 1:05 p.m. (LOSS)
    Sunday, Oct. 10_San Diego, 1:05 p.m. (WIN)
    Sunday, Oct. 17_at 49ers, 1:05 p.m. (LOSS)
    Sunday, Oct. 24_at Denver, 1:15 p.m. (WIN)
    Sunday, Oct. 31_Seattle, 1:15 p.m. (LOSS)
    Sunday, Nov. 7_Kansas City, 1:15 p.m. (WIN)
    Sunday, Nov. 14_Bye
    Sunday, Nov. 21_at Pittsburgh, 10 a.m. (WIN)
    Sunday, Nov. 28_Miami, 1:05 p.m. (LOSS)
    Sunday, Dec. 5_at San Diego, 1:05 p.m. (LOSS)
    Sunday, Dec. 12_at Jacksonville, 10 a.m. (WIN)
    Sunday, Dec. 19_Denver, 1:15 p.m. (WIN)
    Sunday, Dec. 26_Indianapolis, 1:05 p.m. (LOSS)
    Sunday, Jan. 2_at Kansas City, 10 a.m. (WIN)

    Dakota: 10-6

  • RaiderRockstar

    Celtics had 3 different guys step up in each victory …

    Ray Allen, Big Baby & Paul Pierce

    Kevin Garnett showed up in a loss

    will this be Rondo’s night?

    maybe Rasheed Wallace shows up clutch in the 4th?

  • aig

    LMN,

    dude, i always mix you up between Copenhagen and Amsterdam. Maybe I am obsessed with the red light district. Anyways, is Winston Reid really a Dane?

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    Rockstar, although Tom Cable has been demoted to Assistant O-line coach/Time Out Coordinator, his mere presence is worth at least 5 losses.

  • RaiderRockstar

    new post!

  • hwnrdr

    A Russell Athletic Tom Cable Wife Beater…
    That is CLASSIC!!!

  • edward teach

    KoolKell Says:
    June 14th, 2010 at 9:44 pm
    Don’t worry about Al getting credit, if they turn around.

    He’ll make sure he gets the credit.
    Believe that.

    ********************************************************

    Well, seeing as how it’s his team and he’s publicly taken the blame for the last seven years, I would say that taking the credit if it turns around would be completely justified and appropriate.