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What we didn’t learn from training camp

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, August 27th, 2010 at 8:54 am in Oakland Raiders.

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.

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  • edward teach

    Remember the radio promo before the Sea of Hands game? Dolphins fans used to wave white hankies at all their home games (sad, but true), and somebody at KNBR(?) decided it would be a good idea for Raider fans to wear the same pair of black socks all week and then come to the stadium with them and wave them at the Dolphins.

    Still the best ever in my mind.

  • JB

    Correction: Then it must have been 66 or 67 when we started. All I remember was Lamonica was still the QB.

  • JB

    Sea of hands – Great game. Second only to the Heidi Bowl.:-)

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    I remember going to the games at Frank Youell field. The players used the main bathrooms for their halftime locker room. I remember standing next to Ernie Ladd outside that bathroom one Sunday at halftime.

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    I was at the Heidi Game. Charlie Smith is a friend of mine. Yeah……..

  • JB

    You got me beat on that one KK. Never made it to Youell Field.

  • LhayeS37

    the 69 chiefs would have beat the 69 vikes 10 out of 10

  • Thec07

    dis chargers look like last years version…
    R matthews is an upgrade to the run game….

  • edward teach

    We couldn’t afford season tickets when I was a kid, and you guys know how hard it was to get in, anyway. My mom worked for a company down by Lake Merrit, though, and her office had them so we used to get to go once in awhile. Most fun game I ever went to was the Monday night game against the Jets. Beat Joe Willie up pretty good and Hubbard set the single season rushing record. Sat in the middle of a bunch of crazy people and missed school the next day because my voice was gone from yelling so much. Good times.

  • Thec07

    76 Raider…GOAT….

  • LhayeS37

    where do you think alva d. developed his long passing?the afl…the afl was the best

  • http://Noknuckleheads! 909RaiderLifer

    Forced to listen to Dan Dierdorf, (or as the late great Jim Healy would say: “The Dorkster”) is painful. CBS needs to put that clown out to pasture..

    Saints, and Dolts are looking pretty sharp. Dolts O-line are giving that punk ass Rivers all day to throw.

  • LhayeS37

    i respected the chiefs then not now.i hated the steelers then,but i have a bit of respect for them now.

  • Thec07

    909RaiderLifer Says:
    August 27th, 2010 at 6:10 pm
    Forced to listen to Dan Dierdorf, (or as the late great Jim Healy would say: “The Dorkster”) is painful. CBS needs to put that clown out to pasture..

    Saints, and Dolts are looking pretty sharp. Dolts O-line are giving that punk ass Rivers all day to throw.

    +++++++++++

    Agree 1 million percent dierdorf is an idiot…

  • Thec07

    I hated the steelers…The immaculent reception….

  • LhayeS37

    the hell with kc,denver,&sd….

  • Thec07

    Dombrowski is moving on every play at LT, refs arent calling anthing, just letting them play…

  • LhayeS37

    i live 60 miles from pittsburgh….i put up with steeler bs all the time.i always say my favorite raider-steeler moment was atkinson knocking out that puke lynn swann with a great forearm shiver

  • JB

    # Thec07 Says:
    August 27th, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    I hated the steelers…The immaculete reception….
    **************************

    We’ve had our share of Bummers like the Steeler’s immaculate reception, the Pat’s no fumble ruling, etc. but we’ve also had our share of unusual plays, Sea of Hands, Heidi 2X scores 1:05 left, The Charger Holy Roller game, to mention a few.

  • LhayeS37

    the pats no fumble?the tuck rule,etc?don’t compare that with any of our “unusual” plays.the tuck rule was the biggest ripoff in nfl history….

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    I think when we finally got by KC, the Chiefs were driving, Len Dawson scrambled for a 1st down with minutes remaining that would have closed the game.

    Len Dawson slid, was clearly down. Then comes Ben Davidson, who speared Dawson while he was down. Clearly a cheap shot penalty.

    But Otis Taylor attacked Big Ben, the Ref threw a flag against Taylor, nullified the 1st down, Raiders come back and win.

    So, it goes both ways.

  • LhayeS37

    when gruden was doing a monday night game and that moron walt coleman was the ref,gruden said “does he have any idea what is going on” to describe colemans officiating.he still hates him.

  • LhayeS37

    it was offsetting penalties in the kc game..everybody knows that.otis taylor screwed up.you can’t be a raider lifer if you don’t get bitter about the tuck rule

  • LhayeS37

    sounds like a closet kc fan

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    My take on the Tuck Game is this:

    “The Patriots” were wearing Red, White & Blue right after the 9/11 attack.

    That’s the most bitter one for me. The Immaculate Deception hurt too. Horrible.

  • Thec07

    KoolKell Says:
    August 27th, 2010 at 6:32 pm
    My take on the Tuck Game is this:

    “The Patriots” were wearing Red, White & Blue right after the 9/11 attack.

    +++++++++++

    Totally agree…

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    “The Patriots” were wearing Red, White & Blue right after the 9/11 attack.

    Against the so-called Bad Guys.

  • JB

    # LhayeS37 Says:
    August 27th, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    the pats no fumble?the tuck rule,etc?don’t compare that with any of our “unusual” plays.the tuck rule was the biggest ripoff in nfl history….
    *********************
    Couldn’t remember the correct verbiage. The Tuck rule was what I was thinking. It WAS a BIG ripoff. The biggest? I’d put it right up there with the immaculate reception.

  • http://Noknuckleheads! 909RaiderLifer

    Sam Ryan sure is easy on the eyes…

  • Thec07

    909RaiderLifer Says:
    August 27th, 2010 at 6:40 pm
    Sam Ryan sure is easy on the eyes…

    ++++++++++

    Man, small waist and nice set of hips….

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    Manning/Rodgers last nite, Drew Brees today. Great QB’s who’ve mastered a system they’ve been in awhile.

    Isn’t it obvious you can’t change systems every year?

  • Thec07

    JB Says:
    August 27th, 2010 at 6:36 pm
    # LhayeS37 Says:
    August 27th, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    the pats no fumble?the tuck rule,etc?don’t compare that with any of our “unusual” plays.the tuck rule was the biggest ripoff in nfl history….
    *********************
    Couldn’t remember the correct verbiage. The Tuck rule was what I was thinking. It WAS a BIG ripoff. The biggest? I’d put it right up there with the immaculate reception.

    ++++++++++=

    Both jobbed us out of SB’s… Both equally P!ss me off

  • Thec07

    KoolKell Says:
    August 27th, 2010 at 6:47 pm
    Manning/Rodgers last nite, Drew Brees today. Great QB’s who’ve mastered a system they’ve been in awhile.

    Isn’t it obvious you can’t change systems every year?

    ++++++++++=

    thats been one of our biggest down falls…

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    Isn’t it obvious you can’t change systems every year?

    Particularly with a guy like JaMarcus Russell.

  • Thec07

    I will give a guy who is stand up, works hard, is a leader of men…JRUSS gets no pass he is a dope head…

  • priesttj

    That’s my biggest problem with Big Al is way he will fire a coach before the coach can get his players used to his system. He was way to impatient with Norv Turner he just didn’t like him. And that IMO is what sent things on a long circuitous route to where we are right now. He should’ve given that coach more of a chance to succeed. The rest were bad hires Art Shell and Kiffin but we finally got a guy he can work with.

    Callahan just isn’t a HC……………period

  • buckeyeraider

    Thec,
    I call Dierdorf “Sgt Schultz” from Hogan’s Heroes. The old sitcom.”Hoooogaaaan…I know nutzing, I see nutzing.”

    Agree with you guys 100% on tuck rule. My buddy said the same thing that night. Well..it must be a “patriotic” year. All the way through the SB, actually. They mugged the Rams.

    Good night, fellas.

  • priesttj

    The guy made me really sick outside of Randy Moss was Lamont Jordan. Man what a drama queen!!

  • Thec07

    buckeyeraider Says:
    August 27th, 2010 at 7:06 pm
    Thec,
    I call Dierdorf “Sgt Schultz” from Hogan’s Heroes. The old sitcom.”Hoooogaaaan…I know nutzing, I see nutzing.”

    +++++++++++

    HAHAHAHA That brings back memories..Allways wondered though why they never just escaped…they made the germans look like idiots..

  • JB

    Lamont Jordan – always looked good coming off the bus but that was it. He didn’t accomplish much after he left here. Maybe we knew something & that’s why we let him go.

  • priesttj

    JB

    What an ego that fool had, he had talent but he never was in shape and thought the world of himself. When Fargas beat him out he thought the Raiders had losttheir minds. Every other play he’s tapping out it made me sick.

  • JB

    He thought the team owed him a living. The world is full of people like that.

  • JB

    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.

  • JB

    This new rule of snapping the ball before the umpire is ready is crap. I’ll beat enough pressure will be applied to rescind the rule. Put the official back where they were originally. Give them some pads & tell them to be careful & tough it out. Playing where they now have them will impede to offenses. More offensive holding calls, fewer off sides by the defenses due to quick snaps, more challenges & the offenses won’t have an official out there for their receivers to pick off of.

  • Thec07

    Time to go hang in the gaslamp qtr…ltr NATION…

  • priesttj

    Chaz is really talented but man he is more brittle than anyone I can ever remember. I’m glad we got Murphy and this kid JFord I think is going to make us forget a few people.

    This kid for NO Chris Ivory is something else.

  • JB

    Gotta run for now. Good discussions & memories guys.

  • JB

    How about Jimmy Johnson participating in this year’s Survivor? I guess he needs some attention & abuse. More power to him, I guess.

    Now I really do have to go. :-)

  • priesttj

    Adios Brotha!

  • Roch R

    Does anyone know a good website to view the game tomorrow night live?