What we didn’t learn from training camp


What we didn’t learn from Raiders Camp 2010:

— With contact restrictions in practice, there’s no way to know if the Raiders will be able to block well enough at the line of scrimmage to generate the running game they want or adequately protect quarterback Jason Campbell.

Not much riding on it, except their entire season.

Considering there has been no serious push for a starting job for spots belonging to Mario Henderson, Cooper Carlisle or Langston Walker, that’s not a good sign. (Samson Satele wasn’t pushed until he got an ankle injury against the Bears).

— Darrius Heyward-Bey has improved in some ways and drawn the raves of coach Tom Cable and his teammates, but there has been little on the field to suggest he is anything approximating the No. 7 pick in the 2009 draft. Four practices off for fatigue? Or just the Raiders not wanting to disclose an injury? Neither scenario is all that promising. Heyward-Bey appeared to hit a wall of some kind when he was making progress.

— Darren McFadden was injured again, this time it was a hamstring that put him behind. Still no evidence he can become the kind of 300-plus carry, 1,400-yard runner his Southeastern Conference career at Arkansas and No. 4 overall draft selection seemed to suggest.

— Lots of pressure packages in training camp, but with Kamerion Wimbley’s third down prowess as a rush end, and with the defensive line getting a natural push from a four-man line, will they regress into a base shell and stay there? If it works, no problem, that’s always the best way to go. But there seemed to be some creativity going on with regard to Nnamdi Asomugha in the secondary and with more blitz packages than usual.

— Backup quarterback is currently up for grabs. Considering how Bruce Gradkowski played last year, you wouldn’t think that would be the case. But Hue Jackson wasn’t a part of what Gradkowski did after replacing JaMarcus Russell, and he has a history with Kyle Boller _ who has played well. If Boller is No. 2, Gradkowski’s tender of nearly $1.8 million could be a lead weight.

— There is no way to know if the Raiders can get their return game back to the 2008 standard under special teams coach Brian Schneider. Returns aren’t live in practice and the preseason games haven’t solved anything.

No doubt they’d love to see Jacoby Ford seize the day as the punt return specialist (and maybe even kickoffs if he was completely healthy) but a quadriceps injury slowed his progress. Neither Johnnie Lee Higgins, Yamon Figurs or Nick Miller moved to the forefront.

— Do the Raiders have faith that McFadden will stay healthy enough so they keep Rock Cartwright as the third running back? Cartwright returns kickoffs and plays on all special teams, but it’s pretty clear Michael Bennett is the superior scrimmage runner. If McFadden were to go down and Bush were to get nicked, then Bennett is more of a legitimate 20-carry, 100-yard threat than is Cartwright.

— No one has stepped up to demonstrate they can be a solid No. 2 tight end behind Zach Miller. Brandon Myers, in his second year, has the most promise, but Tony Stewart is the better blocker and journeyman John Owens hasn’t ascended the ladder unless he’s a film room star.

— Cable has essentially put the blame of the porous run defense at the feet of last year’s starting linebackers _ Kirk Morrison, Thomas Howard and Ricky Brown (and later Jon Alston). Maybe he’s right. But there isn’t a big enough sample size to say with absolute certainty that Rolando McClain, Trevor Scott and Kamerion Wimbley will solve all their ills. To be fair, there really is no way to know in training camp. How they fare against Chris Johnson in Week 1 will be a big clue.

— John Henderson was brought in with the reputation of being a run-stopper, but judging from the practice rotation, he’s No. 4 behind Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly and Desmond Bryant. He’ll probably be around in Week 1, but the Raiders have said, “thanks, but no thanks” to respected veterans before (Donovan Darius, Lorenzo Neal, Ed Hartwell) after getting a long look in camp before.

— Fullback, anyone? Marcel Reece can catch and block a little. Manase Tonga can block and catch a little. Luke Lawton is suspended for the first two games. Chane Moline is a longshot. Alex Daniels got a brief trial and was moved back to defense. Lamarr Houston has seen some action at fullback in goal line defenses.

It’s conceivable the Raiders fullback is on another roster, awaiting cutdown day.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Nnamdi21

    Player pics from tonights Raider Nation Celebration


  • No Mas Diamante

    Congrats to all those on the East Coast who at this time have officially earned the right to say, “Game Day!”…!

  • stoopidmike

    JB Says:
    August 27th, 2010 at 7:41 pm
    Colston #12 reminds me of Schilens. Both 7th round picks, both with same physical attributes, both with great hands, unfortunately our guy has a propensity for injury. That’s too bad as he could have done what Colston’s done if he’d only been healthy enough to play.
    I wouldn’t say Chaz could do what Colston has done if he was healthy. Colston has been a beast, proven…Chaz has showed flashes of being good, but i don’t know about pro bowl good. I think outside of them both being 7th rd picks, they don’t really compare…That’s just my opinion. I’ve seen colston makes some amazing catches in his young career. I’m not a chaz hater either. I like him. He’s above average.

  • I agree with you Mike. Chaz is faster, and Colston is bigger (he was a TE at college).

    Go Aztecs.
    Make us proud Chaz! We can’t beat BYU but we have more players in the NFL!

  • It has to be coaching and lack of superior talent.

    We need you to be our coach M Faulk!! You can do it!!!

  • Al likes drafting players from SDSU.

  • lefty12

    Looks like I missed a lot of good conversation about the good old days.Very nice reading about those days,but I must say-KoolKell,I also respected the Chiefs in those days,but I didn’t and couldn’t respect the Stealers.Still won’t and can’t.

  • armond

    lefty u ready for 2morrows 9er azz whippin. btw i love the old raider conversations u ol schoolers have. makes me respect what this organization has accomplished throughout the years. cant wait to actually see those times again. alot of younger fans cant relate so they talk all this al davis bullsh!t cuz they havent experienced what alot of u have.

  • lefty12

    For those who don’t know,in those days when we played the Stealers it was war-we hated them,they hated us.After we physically beat them one year,their HC chuckie noll complained about the ‘criminal element’ on our team-G.Atkinson and the one and only Jack Tatum,while at the same time they were no goodie 2 shoes.Since then,IMO,they have received more than their fair share of calls and we have constantly got the short end of many calls.Hence,I cannot ever respect the Stealers.

  • lefty12

    While I want to totally kick their a$$ tomorrow,I’d rather humiliate them during the regular season.

  • Pito

  • They call us the villains of the nfl. Mf Doom

  • Lefty, we all have the History of the Raiders DVD.

  • Lefty, Raiders and Steelers rivalry ended by the late ’70s. Only the fans recognize it today. Players don’t care. And they didn’t care 30 years ago. And, it was Swann and Knoll who were the key forces behind the conspiracy to criminalize the way the Raiders played football. No way the likes of Jack Lambert and Joe Greene were down with such cowardice.

  • you guys bore me. Goodnight. don’t bother responding.

  • DirtyRaccoon

    Richard Seymour is voted most feared by other NFL players.: I just got the NFL preview issue for ESPN magazine, th… http://bit.ly/9tWYmT
    about 2 hours ago via twitterfeed

  • DirtyRaccoon

    The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    August 27th, 2010 at 11:07 pm
    Lefty, we all have the History of the Raiders DVD.


    True RAIDER fan.

  • tazZraider

    Richochet Says:
    August 27th, 2010 at 11:46 am
    Anyone STILL think we shouldn’t have picked up T.O.?
    what up richochet? miss arguing with ya bro.
    so your actually a raiders fan thought you were a niners fan this whole tome till now.

  • DirtyRaccoon

    The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    August 27th, 2010 at 11:13 pm
    you guys bore me. Goodnight. don’t bother responding.


    How bout you respond to my questions? What, ya don’t have any answers?

  • Pitos

  • Just Fire Baby

    Well, it is time for Bruce to put up, or for me to shut up, lol.

    Never been so excited to watch a 3rd quarter of a preseason game before in my life.

  • I’m watching Miami vs ATL, and I don’t see Groves playing with the 1st unit. We should trade for him.

    Trade for J Grove!

  • # Raider O Says:
    August 28th, 2010 at 9:01 am

    I’m watching Miami vs ATL, and I don’t see Groves playing with the 1st unit. We should trade for him.

    Trade for J Grove!
    Announcers mentioned him first drive. Said he is in a battle but has come on strong as of late and would start the game. Don’t know how long he played.

  • edward teach

    Jake Grove was dealt to Miami for a fourth round pick because he was injury-prone and wasn’t getting the job done in Oakland. All he’s done in Miami is continue to be injury-prone and lose his starting job.

    Yeah, by all means, let’s go get him. Yeesh.

  • J Wiggle

    We don’t need a C. We heave Veldheer!

  • Thx 75. I missed that part.

  • -Grove wasn’t traded! He was a FA who signed with Miami.
    -We traded a 6th RD for Satele because he couldn’t block strong NTs, and he was injured.

    You People!! YEESH!!

  • J,

    LT: Mario
    LG: Gallery
    C: Satele/ Veldheer
    RG: Walker
    RT: Barns/ Campbell

    I would still sign Grove if he was cut, keep Satele, and cut Morris.

  • I usually root for whatever team is playing against the 49ers. This year,as much as I hate them, I’ll be rooting for the 9ers to beat KC, Den, SD, and TB.

  • Who is starting at C today?


  • edward teach

    Raider O,

    You’re right about Grove signing with Miami as a free agent, which means that Al thought so much of him that he let the former second round pick walk away with no replacement on the roster. I’m right about him being injury-prone and losing his starting job with the Dolphins.

    He hasn’t played more than 12 games in a season since 2006, which is the only time in his career that he’s played a full year. He has only started 24 games in the past three years. He injured his shoulder LAST NIGHT and had to have xrays taken on it.

    Still want him?

  • Q: Did you need to boost his confidence?

    Jackson: No. I don’t think I need to build up any football player’s confidence. What it is is going to work. It’s rolling up your sleeves every day and going out to work to improve your skill level. That’s what the young man has done. Obviously he needs to go do it in a game. I think he will. I’m looking forward to watching him play this weekend.
    I disagree with Jackson on this one. I think DHB does need a boost in confidence. It seems to me that just showing up and playing isn’t getting it done. Unfortunately, I don’t know if there is any way for the OC to boost his confidence. Confidence is built of success.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    well he isn’t going to say yeah he needs more confidence, that doesn’t help him

  • Hobs Gnarly

    425. what does pitos mean?

  • Hobs Gnarly

    is the game close to selling out?