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Cable tackles the tackling question

No one is likely to confuse the Raiders’ practices with the Baltimore Ravens, but Tom Cable insists some offensive players will be hitting the deck some day soon.

For the most part, Raiders practices for the last several years have been with the safety of the players in mind. Be aggressive, be explosive, but back off at the point where the ballcarrier is supposed to go to the ground.

There have been only a few exceptions. A few sessions under Bill Callahan here, a goal line sequence under Lane Kiffin there.

But for the most part, it’s been the stressing of technique, footwork and positioning, with the thought being football players ought to know how to tackle if they’re in the NFL.

I caught part of the NFL Network’s Total Access Tuesday night and saw several plays of a Ravens scrimmage that looked like a regular-season game. There was Ray Rice, their valuable tailback, reversing field, sidestepping defenders flying at him and going down awkwardly in a heap.

The Ravens are one of the best tackling teams in the NFL but also the exception in terms of practice. Perhaps they tackle better because they tackle in practice, but too many teams have played it safe and tackled just fine _ and also lessened the chance for injury to investments that become more valuable every year.

When asked about not tackling in practice, Cable said, “I wouldn’t say we’re not going to do it. I do think we’ll be smart about it. You’ll see more of it than we’ve probably done in the past.’’

Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said that indeed, Cable has informed them there will be some “live’’ work in the coming days.

Exactly how ‘`live’’ remains to be seen, because the no-tackling edict is an organizational philosophy from the man who signs the checks. Al Davis doesn’t want to lose talent to injuries, especially when it can be avoided.

The fact is, live tackling is done on a much smaller scale in college as well. Defensive end Lamarr Houston said it is done only occasionally at Texas and that defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, for all his game-day histrionics, makes a point of keeping players fresh and healthy during practice.

Coach Mack Brown told his players to stay on their feet because that’s how it would be in an NFL practice.

“They were full speed, but stay up, work your technique and don’t be sloppy,’’ Houston said. “I think at this level of football, if you can’t tackle right now, I don’t think you’ll make it.’’

The 49ers have gained a lot of publicity of late for their physical practices, but that has more to do with the use of a “nutcracker drill’’ as well as long practice sessions. Singletary is adamant about not bringing players to the ground and players who violate the rule are scolded.

(Even in the 49ers nutcracker, players are urged to keep their feet. It’s strictly a leverage drill).

Considering the quality of offensive players, one-on-one tackling is one of the most difficult skills in the sport.

The solution?

The same one espoused by former coordinator Willie Shaw when the Raiders improved from the NFL’s worst defense to No. 8 in a single season _ get more defenders to the ball so that if someone misses a tackle, another players follows up.

A defense that puts its players in one-one-one situations too often is in trouble to begin with.

News, notes and quotes from Wednesday’s lone session:

– Louis Murphy returned to practice after missing four days with a concussion and immediately made a contribution, making a few nice catches.

“I’m feeling good today, glad to be out there, no headaches,’’ Murphy said. “It’s great to be able to come out and makes some plays.’’

– Cable said Darrius Heyward-Bey, who did not practice Wednesday, was simply being rested and there were no health issues. Heyward-Bey took an awkward fall Tuesday in a collision with Michael Huff.

– Anyone who had Houston in their first-fight-of-camp pool can cash in. He body slammed tight end Brandon Myers in a team session with the offensive backed up to the goal line, with Myers, sans helmet, going after Houston.

It was quickly broken up by teammates.

Houston is a live wire, but Myers hasn’t been in anything close to a scuffle, at least when the media was at practice.

“The last thing person you’d expect would be me. It all happened so fast I don’t know what happened,’’ Myers said. “I’ll stick with that story.’’

Said Houston: “It’s just football. It happens. We’re in practice and things get a little fiery.’’

The two players patched things up shortly afterward.

“You want to become as a team, but it’s going to get hot, you’re going to get sore and tired and that’s starting to kick in a little bit, so tempers are going to flare,’’ Cable said. “But at the end of the day, they’re teammates and they took care of that right afterward so that was good.’’

– Alex Daniels, wearing a black jersey and No. 71, was impossible not to notice as he ran through drills with the running backs. He practiced blocking technique, even caught a pass with the fullback position affected by injury.

Cable called it an experiment, and Daniels, a defensive end by trade but a former running back as a sophomore at the University of Minnesota, was only to happy to oblige.

“I played running back before, but now I’m going to be a blocking back, and if I’ve got to block for McFadden I’m going to block for McFadden,’’ Daniels said. “If I’ve got to block for Bush, I’ve got block for Bush. If I’ve got to block for President Obama, if it’s going to help the Raiders win, then that’s what I’ve got to do.’’

Daniels was Minnesota’s second leading rusher in 2006 with 309 yards and five touchdowns, including a 155-yard, three-touchdown game on 24 carries against Kent State.

Daniels said he weighs 275 pounds and played running back in college at 265.

Fullback Luke Lawton had a headache and will go through the concussion protocol, meaning he could be out a few days. Fullback Marcel Reece also has a sore foot, and Manese Tonga a knee strain or bruise, Cable said.

—Cable was looking at the bright side of protection issues by the offensive line during the Raiders third-and-long sessions.

He believes the Raiders pass rush has improved to such a degree that it will be a good thing for the offense in the long run.

“We definitely upgraded in that department, in terms of the pass rush on third down,’’ Cable said. “It’s a great battle for those guys and it’s going to make us a lot better.’’

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • RaiderRockstar

    good morning AM crew!

    Plunk, Hwnrdr, Dirt Lot, Fire Baby, Tbone …

    Gabby: get these boys some coffee :)

    drink up, it’s on me

  • http://www.safc.com/page/StadiumofLightDetail/0,,10281~1706060,00.html neilb

    Good morning all.

  • http://www.safc.com/page/StadiumofLightDetail/0,,10281~1706060,00.html neilb

    Just in time for coffee I see!

  • http://www.safc.com/page/StadiumofLightDetail/0,,10281~1706060,00.html neilb

    A 275 pound full-back,well,it’s different!

  • bcz24

    Can I get a yellow Amp… I hate coffee!

  • http://www.safc.com/page/StadiumofLightDetail/0,,10281~1706060,00.html neilb

    The best cup of coffee is the one after a night shift.

  • http://www.safc.com/page/StadiumofLightDetail/0,,10281~1706060,00.html neilb

    Yellow amp ?

  • hwnrdr

    Amp…I think its an energy drink…
    Thanks for the morning coffee Rockstar (and Gabby)

  • bcz24

    Amp is an “energy” drink. Yellow is the lemonade flavor and its fantastic. I dont know about the ramifications of drinking something that makes your pee nuclear yellow but… hell it tastes sooooo good!

  • CHT13

    how bout some purple drank?

  • RaiderRockstar

    good morning Neil, BCZ …

    “I dont know about the ramifications of drinking something that makes your pee nuclear yellow but… hell it tastes sooooo good!”

    LOL!

  • CHT13

    beware it makes you fat and lazy but gives you a cannon for an arm

  • http://www.safc.com/page/StadiumofLightDetail/0,,10281~1706060,00.html neilb

    Thank you! Yellow amp hasn’t made it’s way across the Atlantic yet.

  • bcz24

    No sizzurp for me… I prefer green and sticky my friend.

  • CHT13

    just got my zach miller afl legacy jersey, man i can’t wait for the season to start

  • http://www.safc.com/page/StadiumofLightDetail/0,,10281~1706060,00.html neilb

    There isn’t any purple drank left.Gabby said some bloke came in and bought the lot.

  • J Wiggle

    neilb Says:
    August 5th, 2010 at 6:56 am

    A 275 pound full-back,well,it’s different!

    ——————————————————

    We need to get this thing resolved at FB!

    I don’t think there are going to be a lot of snaps out there for a FB quite frankly. I could see if we had some stud FB that we needed to get on the field, but obviously that’s not the case.

    It comes down to would you rather have McFadden, Bush Murphy, JLH, Ford, or Meyers on the field? Or Luke Lawton?

    I think I’d get rid of all those FB flops and just throw a lineman out there in short yardage and goal line.

  • RaiderRockstar

    I know you guys won’t like this, but I think Bruce Campbell would make an ideal Fullback …

    I’m not the first to bring it up either.

    was it M Lonetree?

    anywho, he has the size, strength & speed. technique isn’t required as much and he won’t be forced to take on massive DT’s 1-on-1. BC against a LB or S is a mismatch every time, especially with a running start

    FB Campbell & RB Bush = beast mode!

  • CHT13

    green and sticky sounds good, i fly out there twice a year to see the raiders i have to say the homeade cupcakes are good too

  • CHT13

    do you guys go to nappa to watch practices?

  • bcz24

    I agree Wiggles

  • http://www.safc.com/page/StadiumofLightDetail/0,,10281~1706060,00.html neilb

    I’d rather have Campbell learning the RT position,but I can see where you’re coming from.

  • RaiderRockstar

    I think I’d get rid of all those FB flops and just throw a lineman out there in short yardage and goal line.

    ***

    exactly my point Jwigg …

    Erik Pears was a nice blocking TE last year

    Lawton was out so we brought in DE Alex Daniels instead of giving more reps to Reece, Tonga & Moline ???

    doesn’t sound like those 3 are giving us what we’re looking for. Why not sign vet FB Brad Hoover?

  • http://www.safc.com/page/StadiumofLightDetail/0,,10281~1706060,00.html neilb

    CHT13…..aren’t the public banned?

  • bcz24

    RRS… Bruce Campbell with a running start is a mismatch against Freightliners!

  • CHT13

    if daniels can get it done, why not

  • J Wiggle

    VittorioTafur Mitchell playing well as 3rd and long linebacker
    about 14 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone

    Jerrymcd Mitchell breaks up back to back plays on field with McClain as 3rd-long LB . . . he’s having a good day.

    ——————————————————-

    Raider O !!!!

    Your Booiiiiiiiiiii !!!!!

    Huff isn’t going to the bench though, so calm down, lol.

    Like I told you, you’re going to see A LOT of 3 S sets. Wouldn’t be surprised to see it as some part of our base defense.

  • hwnrdr

    neilb Says:
    August 5th, 2010 at 7:17 am
    There isn’t any purple drank left.Gabby said some bloke came in and bought the lot.

    LMAO! Good one Neil!!!

  • RaiderRockstar

    Bruce Campbell with a running start is a mismatch against Freightliners!

    ***

    BCZ: haha, you’re probably right

    think he’ll see time on special teams as he learns the RG job this year?

  • Just Fire Baby

    They should ask Bush to play FB again

  • CHT13

    if you say so, i’m from nj and i think people go to the jets practices but what access they have i’m not sure

  • CHT13

    maybe they wait till its over to meet players or something

  • J Wiggle

    Ford will make it. JLH and Miller both won’t.

    Game on.

    ***

    Agreed with JFB

    ——————————————————

    You don’t think JLH is going to make the team?

    Since when?

    I can’t see us cutting JLH.

  • http://www.safc.com/page/StadiumofLightDetail/0,,10281~1706060,00.html neilb
  • hwnrdr

    If there’s a chance that JLH gets his head back and explosiveness (and elusiveness)…we would be dumb to cut him…however, how many times have we seen that one before?

  • http://www.safc.com/page/StadiumofLightDetail/0,,10281~1706060,00.html neilb

    maybe they wait till its over to meet players or something

    —————————————————

    Sounds more like the Raiders.

  • RaiderRockstar

    new post!

  • edward teach

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    August 5th, 2010 at 7:19 am
    I know you guys won’t like this, but I think Bruce Campbell would make an ideal Fullback …

    I’m not the first to bring it up either.

    was it M Lonetree?

    anywho, he has the size, strength & speed. technique isn’t required as much and he won’t be forced to take on massive DT’s 1-on-1. BC against a LB or S is a mismatch every time, especially with a running start

    FB Campbell & RB Bush = beast mode

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

    I’d rather see a guy like Daniels play fullback, if we’re going in that direction. Campbell is going to be needed on the o-line at some point, and Daniels (a defensive end, and a pretty good pass rusher in college) is probably athletic enough to handle it and has played in the offensive backfield before. With our reasonable depth at DE, he’s probably a long shot to make the team there anyway and may be more help as a fullback without wasting Campbell (or risking an injury to him) at a position he’s not going to end up playing.

  • CHT13

    i don’t think they’ll cut jhl,maybe if our other wr were 100% healthy

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  • DKnight007

    CHT13 Says:
    August 5th, 2010 at 7:17 am
    just got my zach miller afl legacy jersey, man i can’t wait for the season to start

    ^^^^^^^
    Where can you still get the Legacy Jerseys? Especially the white ones?

  • DKnight007

    neilb Says:
    August 5th, 2010 at 7:22 am
    I’d rather have Campbell learning the RT position,but I can see where you’re coming from.

    ^^^^^^^
    I think Campbell will eventually be moved to RT.

    He is learning how to run block on that right side, which he will need to do effectively as a RT.

    They probably figure he has all the tools to be a good at pass pro on the RT, so they want to add depth at RG and teach him how to run block first.

  • weaselbit

    Daniels as a 275lb fullback?
    Freaking great idea!
    How long has it been since we had a punishing fullback?
    Marv Hubbard used to hurt defenders for fun.

  • weaselbit

    Having to deal with shedding the blocks and trying to tackle a 275 ponder for an entire game would wear defenders out. Force them to take some hits. Gets in their head.

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