By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, August 30th, 2010 at 2:52 pm in Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders entered lockdown mode Monday in their first post-training camp practice session at the club facility in Alameda.
Some news and notes as relayed by beat writer Steve Corkran:
– Coach Tom Cable conceded he was happy to see Jason Campbell throwing the ball after suffering a stinger and a right wrist injury against San Francisco, but wasn’t going into detail about injuries to Campbell or anyone else.
“We are going to adhere to the in-season injury policy and we’re not going to talk about injuries, or where anyone’s at or what’s going on with them,” Cable said.
Editorial aside: OK, then how come through at least 90 percent of his coaching tenure with the Raiders, Cable has opened press briefings with the statement, “Quick injury update . . . ”
Cable left it open regarding Campbell’s availability Thursday night, even though it’s a virtual certainty he won’t play.
“Don’t know that yet,” Cable said. “And it has nothing to do with injuries, it has to do with what we’re going to do with our team.”
Editorial aside: Oops. He just talked about injuries.
As for Michael Bush, he may or may not have had a super secret procedure done on his fractured left thumb Monday.
“We’re not going to talk about those things, any of that,” Cable said.
When asked if he could confirm Bush had the procedure, he answered, “No.”
Editorial aside: An educated guess _ sounds like the head coach got a lecture about being too forthcoming about injuries. Another educated guess _ Al Davis would have much rather have heard Cable say Bush’s thumb was “sore” rather than fractured and not mentioned that Chaz Schilens would be out three to six weeks.
– Cable repeated there has been no movement about adding an extra wide receiver given the absence of Schilens. Receivers recently on the market include Antonio Bryant (cut by the Bengals) and Laveranues Coles (cut by the Jets) although Bryant has been injured and Coles has talked of retiring.
– Cable on Bruce Gradkowski: “I think he certainly went and proved he’s the backup quarterback here.”
– It may be time for an in-season policy on about injuries, but it’s not yet the in-season policy for media access as the locker room remained closed and only a few players were made available.
– Safety Tyvon Branch didn’t sound overly concerned about the 49ers rushing for 166 yards, pointing out that the Raiders are still getting adjusted to new schemes and were without a key piece of the run defense.
“We still have to work out the rough patches. We changed a lot of stuff up coming into this year as opposed to last year,” Branch said. “And then Richard Seymour not playing I think is the biggest difference. He gets those guys fired up up front. Once we get him back it’s a tremendous change in the defense, tremendous.”
Cable thought there was no issue with run fits or assignments. It was poor tackling, pure and simple.
– Left tackle Mario Henderson wasn’t ducking the issue of who was responsible for Campbell’s stinger. Forty-Niners outside linebacker Travis LaBoy was his assignment.
“I take responsibility. That’s my fault. The only thing I can do is get better,” Henderson said. “Thank God the injury is minor. All I can do, like they told me, is get better and move on. Just try not to let it happen again.”
Campbell told Henderson there were no hard feelings.
“I even texted him. It was like, ‘I apologize. I hope you’re OK.’ He told me he was good,” Henderson said. “Like I said, now it’s behind me. We can just move on. It shows a lot of credit.”
– Rookie middle linebacker Rolando McClain arrived with the reputation of carrying himself like a veteran on the field and in the film room. He’s already a pro at avoiding interviews as well. Sometimes he doesn’t even respond with to a request with his voice, he’ll put his hands palm down in a gesture which apparently means “no chance” and then keeps on walking.
– Cable’s review of Jared Veldheer, in his first start as a center in the NFL:“I thought pretty good. There are two plays I would like to have back. He probably would do. But I thought overall he did a fine job and I think for a guy going in playing against a 3-4, being covered every snap like that, you would have to say it was probably a little better than expected.”
– With Schilens out, here is how Cable handicapped the wide receivers competition behind Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey: “I think there’s a number of guys. I think Yamon Figurs has stepped it up. Jacoby Ford. We’ve got to teach him to get his feet up underneath him when he’s coming out of breaks a little bit. Johnnie Lee Higgins has showed some things. So we have a nice corps right there, a next group just ready to step up.”
If Todd Watkins had caught that last pass from Gradkowski, he’d probably have merited a mention.
Cable’s top three priorities for the Seattle game on short rest: 1) Tackling; 2) Kick coverage; 3) Consistency on offense.