Heat arrives just in time


News and notes from the Raiders’ practice session, as relayed by beat writer Steve Corkran and through group interviews:

— Projected starter Chaz Schilens is almost certainly out of the season opener and the status of center Samson Satele is up in the air, but all was right with the world as the temperature broke three digits Tuesday in Napa.

“It was great. It was exactly 103. It was perfect. But we needed it,” Raiders coach Tom Cable said. “I talked about before, we had a chance to go to Dallas, it was like 104 when we got off the plane. We played in Chicago last week. We were hoping to have a lot of humidity, and we just didn’t get it.

“It was actually a pretty cool night. What I’m getting at is the fact that we’ve got to go and open at Tennessee, so we’re going to need to be in this kind of environment a little bit. And it was good for it. I really am excited how we handled it today as a football team.”

— Cable ruled Satele out of the 49ers game, but wasn’t willing to anoint Chris Morris as the starter Saturday night. It’s an interesting decision for Cable, given that third-round pick Jared Veldheer was the backup left tackle yet has also been touted as a possible center.

— Not long ago, Cable talked of the move of Alex Daniels from defensive line to fullback as something that was out of the experiment stage. He was wearing No. 71 Tuesday, instead of No. 39.

“I just didn’t feel like we made the improvement as quickly as I’d hoped,” Cable said. “He was brought in here, started out on defense to be a pass rusher, and obviously, it’s good to get a set of legs back over there. It just didn’t feel like to me it was working.”

That doesn’t meant we’ve seen the last of Daniels. Someone who can play both defensive line and fullback can be of great use on the practice squad.

— Darrius Heyward-Bey and Darren McFadden, apparently fresh and loose after missing practice sessions, were back on the field in the heat and ostensibly will get some work against the 49ers Saturday.

Not that either shed much light on why they were out. McFadden originally was “tight” and not injured, according to Cable, but missed more than a week. Heyward-Bey was “fatigued.”

Heyward-Bey had a good practice, and deflected as best he could inquiries bout his status.

“Just fatigue, same thing coach Cable said,” Heyward-Bey said. “Whatever he said.”

McFadden remained vague about his ability to “get loose,” said he could have played against the Bears but didn’t yet have his “burst.”

Cable, when asked about McFadden’s workload, essentially covered all the bases.

“Our plan right now is to go through the week like normal, that he’s back and ready to go,” Cable said. “We’ll be smart in terms of his workload, is probably the only issue here. Once we get there Saturday we go play.”

— Defensive end Jay Richardson said he underwent surgery for a meniscus tear and hoped to be ready for the opener.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

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