By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, July 29th, 2010 at 3:23 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Like every other first-round draft pick not named JaMarcus Russell, there was little drama associated with the signing of Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain.
McClain said he intended to be in camp on time, and his agent struck a deal with the Raiders late Wednesday night, enabling him to participate in the first practice Thursday.
“I know I missed a few meetings but my whole goal was to be here for the first practice,’’ McClain said Thursday. “We got it accomplished.’’
According to ESPN, McClain’s deal at No. 8 overall was similar to that of Darrius Heyward-Bey, last year’s No. 7 pick _ five years, $23 million guaranteed with a maximum value of $40 million.
Heyward-Bey got $500,000 more in guaranteed and $2 million less in maximum value.
McClain said he stayed in his apartment in Oakland until the deal was completed so he could get to Napa quickly.
He is counted on to be a leader of the Raiders defense and like fellow rookie Lamarr Houston, was in as the starter from the first snap of the first practice.
“I have my own goals, my own personal goals,’’ McClain said. “I’ve never really been a follower. I just know what I need to do in order to succeed, in order to help the team succeed. And that’s what I’m going to do.’’
More notes and quotes following the Raiders first training camp practice:
– As the Raiders went about the offseason, the Raiders offense was described by Michael Bush as “smashmouth’’ and by receivers as “vertical.’’
Coordinator Hue Jackson isn’t talking, or hasn’t been allowed to yet, and it may not matter all that much since the Raiders will create an identity over the next month or so which will determine the direction of their offense.
Quarterback Jason Campbell resisted characterizing the offense as either run-heavy or pass-heavy.
“It’s not like it’s going to be a run team or just a passing team,’’ Campbell said. “We’re going to do a lot of different things. Our whole game is to keep defenses off balance. It’s kind of like we do what we have to do to test defenses.’’
Campbell is absorbing yet another offense, having played for nine different coordinators dating back to his college days at Auburn.
“One day I can be an (offensive coordinator) and draw from nine different playbooks,’’ Campbell said.
Not that he doesn’t occasionally get confused.
“We were in a meeting the other day and coach asked me what the protection change and I called out one of my protections in last year’s offense when I was in Washington,’’ Campbell said.“It started with the same letter. Sometimes you have to just focus on trying to learn these plays.’’
– Louis Murphy was 12th among NFL rookies with 34 receptions in 2009, 10th in yardage (521) and his 75-yard touchdown reception was the longest of any rookie in the league.
He led Raiders wideouts in both catches and yards. Not bad for a fourth-round draft pick, particularly when the starting quarterback for 10 games was Russell.
Upon further review, Murphy thinks he could have done much better.
“There’s a lot of plays I left out there, man,’’ Murphy said. “I broke down every film, every play, of the entire year, I could have had a thousand yards.’’
Murphy wants to retain his zest for the game but tame some of the emotional swings which occasionally hurt his play.
“That’s what I really have to do this year, is tone it down,’’ Murphy said. “I remember one time in particularly I came in so amped up I forgot the first play.
“ I’ll tone it down, man, (I’m) feeling my way through the NFL. This second year, I feel way more comfortable. It’s a great feeling.’’
– “I want us to be tough, I want us to be physical, there’s no question about that, in both running the ball and stopping the run. But we’ve also got to be great defending the pass on defense, on third down and in the red zone, and offensively we got to be 180 degrees different in the red zone than we’ve been. So, we got a lot of work to do,’’ _ Cable on the Raiders 2010 identity.
– Inquires about the difficulties of Russell were in most cases deflected or redirected to praise for Campbell.
“It’s unfortunate the way everything went down. I really don’t want to get into that too much, but right now I feel we’ve got a good guy, a dependable guy, a guy who’s going to work hard, who will be there for us every day,’’ wide receiver Chaz Schilens said.
“He’s not going to shy away from anything. You know what to expect. We know what to expect. You know where the balls are going to be. That’s really all you can ask for as receivers, a dependable guy that’s going to go out and work hard every day.’’
Said Murphy: “He spoke loudly, commanded the huddle. It was great being able to follow our quarterback.’’
– Safety Mike Mitchell will always remember the training camp conversation he had with Jack Tatum a year ago.
“The one thing I got from him is he’s a very real guy,’’ Mitchell said. “.He’s not going to B.S. you. He heard the comparisons people were making from me to him, but he just told me to be myself, go out and play the way I play.
“He liked my passion, he liked my enthusiasm. I think that’s the thing you can learn from a guy like that, take the knowledge that he gives you and do what you do, don’t try and be anyone else. Play the way you play.’’
Mitchell felt he was behind almost all season physically because of hamstring issues which derailed his training camp.
`This is the best shape I’ve been in since I’ve been a Raider,’’ Mitchell said. “I’m excited. I was flying around today even though we weren’t supposed to. I’m just excited to show everybody what I can do this year. It’s going to be a big Year 2 for me.’’
– Second practice begins at 4:20 p.m. . . .