Part of the Bay Area News Group

Players looking for less contact?

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Saturday, July 16th, 2011 at 12:23 pm in Oakland Raiders.

UPDATE: Chris Mortensen of ESPN has reported owners have agreed to elimination of two-a-day practices during training camp, although allowances will be made for a second session without helmets.

Training camp isn’t what it used to be, and that’s probably a good thing with regard to the long-term health of the players.

It’s a big deal when there are any real blows struck during training camp. The Raiders had a couple of “live” sessions when players were actually brought to the ground. Much was made of Mike Singletary’s difficult camp and “nutcracker” drills, but from the few times I was out at Niners’ practice, at least a couple of people who saw the team regularly thought that the intensity of those drills and the amount of contact was overblown.

Teams take care of their players, and although it’d be nice to say it was for health-related reasons, much of it is economic. It makes no sense to lose multi-million dollar investments on the practice field.

According to Chris Mortensen, speaking on ESPN and picked up in an item on Profootballtalk.com, one of the items on the the table pushed by the players is for reduced contact during camp and to “basically eliminate” two-a-days.

Seems a bit extreme from what I’ve observed over the last several years, with the Raiders in particular.

I can’t remember the last time the Raiders had two practices in a day and actually put on the pads for both of them. It’s usually one padded practice, a couple of hours or 2:15 in length, followed by another in shorts, shells and helmets. In the padded practices, players are aren’t actually brought to the ground except in rare instances. Sometimes, the second practice is merely a walkthrough.

The isolated blocking drills, man-to-man, have become more infrequent every year. From a selfish perspective, that’s unfortunate. It happens to be one of the more entertaining parts of training camp. In many cases, there’s a bit of explosive contact, then players back off. The value comes from film sessions which can determine whether proper angles were taken, etc.

Whatever restrictions are put upon camp and contact, it shouldn’t affect the Raiders much. Teams that could be affected include the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets, whose sessions are much more brutal than most of what we see in in Napa. I’ve seen NFL Network footage of the Ravens in practice and it looks almost like a game. Nnamdi Asomugha said former teammate Chris Carr has talked with him about the intensity of Ravens’ practices.

Likewise, the amount of full-speed contact I saw from the Jets on the “Hard Knocks” series last year seemed much more “live” than most of what happens with the Raiders.

Coincidence or not, the Raiders have had some tackling issues for the last several years. The dilemma is in shoring up that area without actually tackling. When the Raiders went from the NFL’s 30th ranked defense (out of 30 teamas) in 1997 to No. 5 in 1998, coordinator Willie Shaw explained improvement didn’t come through better tackling. It came because the Raiders got more players to the ball so that when a tackle was broken or missed, another player was there to follow up.

That problem will belong to Chuck Bresnahan in whatever form training camp takes, and he may have to solve it with less contact than ever.

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  • lefty12

    J-I agree.OCs should call the plays.The HC can always over-rule them if they feel it is necessary.HCs have other responsibilities they need to focus on during the game.Too many HC’s want to wear too many hats.

  • Bauce Rules

    Lefty12 Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 3:34 pm
    To me the big question is who will be the other OLB-Goethel or Groves.We know Groves can’t play the run at all and that Goethel was being penciled in as the starter before being injured last year.It seems he was drafted too high to just be a back-up for McClain.
    ***********************************

    I think we lose some speed and coverage with a lineup of Goethel-McClain-Wimbley but I believe we got a better shot at stopping the run and bigger more physical.

    Goethel is a smart tough player and can tackle. I say give him every chance to beat out Groves.

  • lefty12

    I believe Goethel is the forgotten man by most fans,especially on this blog.

  • bcz24

    lefty12 Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    If the offense is even better this year,will credit go to HJ or the OC-Sanders since it seems almost everyone gives all the credit to HJ last year and none to the HC?
    ******************
    Saunders is coming in to help Hue run his offense. Hue didnt run cables offense last year. Hue came in to install his own offense and improve the 29th ranked scoring team in football. What Hue did last year is find ways for our playmakers to make plays. I cant believe how little credit the guy gets for LITERALLY doubling our scoring output!

  • J Hill

    I realize that, B.

    Just saying I prefer a HC that delegates those duties.

    There is a lot going on on the sidelines, and it takes a lot of attention and concentration to call plays.

    Again, not saying it’s wrong(am I cowering Koolio?), just saying I prefer the Mike Tomlin types.

  • Bauce Rules

    Well Leftster…my good ole uddy….I believe the respect level that Hue will have for Saunders suggestions a full on autonomy with the calls. These two understand offense extremely well

  • Bauce Rules

    Lefty how just wonder how Goethel can play covering a RB out the backfield

  • lefty12

    Actually HJ ran the more traditional Raider offense of the past last year,just as Cable did the year before,albeit more effectively.The offense we saw last year was the same one ran in the 70s and 80s-power running,take your shots through the air.

  • Bauce Rules

    J Hill Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 3:46 pm
    I realize that, B.

    Just saying I prefer a HC that delegates those duties.

    There is a lot going on on the sidelines, and it takes a lot of attention and concentration to call plays.

    Again, not saying it’s wrong(am I cowering Koolio?), just saying I prefer the Mike Tomlin types.
    *****************************

    Al Saunders understands how to beat any type of defensive scheme. I believe our game planning will be nice by October given we are healthy

  • bcz24

    Goethel was drafted in the 6th round… thats not too high just to be McClains backup.

    I agree we need an upgrade over Groves. I would love to bring Takeo Spikes in. He may be a liability in coverage (so is Groves though) but he would DEFINITELY improve our run defense. Patrick Willis gives Spikes tons of credit for helping him be so strong against the run, and I think he could really help Rolando too.

    I havent seen much film of Goethel so i honestly dont know why some in here are so high on him. Not a knock on anyone, I honestly dont know, because I havent seen him play

  • Bauce Rules

    Lefty12 Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 3:50 pm
    Actually HJ ran the more traditional Raider offense of the past last year,just as Cable did the year before,albeit more effectively.The offense we saw last year was the same one ran in the 70s and 80s-power running,take your shots through the air.
    *****************************

    Yeah this is very true

  • J Hill

    1646.BigTed707 Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 3:37 pm
    J Hill Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 3:23 pm
    Speaking of healthy, I really hope we have some luck with this this season.
    ****************
    At least we won’t have to worry about Gallery’s injured ass this year.

    ——————————————————

    Or his gawd damn penalties.

  • lefty12

    B,that is what we need answered.If he is effective at that,with his run stopping ability,he could be the answer.

  • bcz24

    lefty12 Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Actually HJ ran the more traditional Raider offense of the past last year,just as Cable did the year before,albeit more effectively.The offense we saw last year was the same one ran in the 70s and 80s-power running,take your shots through the air.
    *****************
    Ok. I wont argue that point. But Hue found ways to maximize the abilities of playmakers. How many fullbacks in NFL history have 70 yard td receptions? How often do WRs have 80 yard rushing tds. Hue identified the abilities of these players and got them the ball in situations that allowed them to shine.

    Im Hue Jacksoned out. Bottom line, he is an upgrade over Cable at HC no matter how you cut it in my opinion and I will leave it at that.

  • lefty12

    Goethel a 6th rounder.I thought he was drafted higher.Oh well,we all know where you are drafted doesn’t always mean a thing.

  • Dakota

    1648.Bauce Rules Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 3:39 pm
    Gallery was awful. HE is the 2nd worse Raider draft pick ever behind Russell.
    +++++++

    Gotta say he was one of the most disappointing ever. I had no expectations with DHB….he wasn’t great in college so why expect anything of him in the NFL?

    Patrick Bates pizzes me off too, but I don’t think he was nearly as high of a pick.

  • J Hill

    1653.lefty12 Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    I believe Goethel is the forgotten man by most fans,especially on this blog.

    ——————————————————

    Didn’t know much about him until he started getting hyped up on this blog right before the start of last season.

    Funny thing is the play that a lot of his supporters gave him crdit for in that SF game, Sam Williams actaully made the play. Goethel didn’t even see much time other than STs.

    Obviously the coaches see something in the kid as he did get some of Groves playing time once he got healty. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if he was the starter at WLB.

    I still say T Howard was BY FAR our best WLB last preseason.

  • Bauce Rules

    Bcz….he can tackle is the size of a prototypical outside linebacker…i say give it a shot

  • bcz24

    Yeah I remember the hype when we drafted Gallery… the talking heads talked like this guy was the best left tackle to ever play the game. I certainly didnt know the game like I do now so I bought it. I was WAY more disappointed in Gallery than Russell (because I never wanted him to begin with).

  • lefty12

    HJ was a definite improvement over TC as an OC(play caller).It has yet to be determined if he will be a better HC,although the odds are strongly in his favor.

  • J Hill

    One of my beefs with Cable is him moving Gallery to OG.

    Gallery should have gotten a pass on the Shell season. He was a pretty decent RT before he got hurt, so at worst move him back to RT.

  • http://build-a-bully 909RaiderLifer

    WAKE UP JERRY!

    1650+ posts takes forever to reload on my piece of cr@p Commodore 64 2.0…

    If you have nothing original to write, just post a link to some drivel from BSPN, pft, nfl.com, hell even bleachereport would do…

    Get the muthafawkin CBA DONE!!!…

  • 8RaiderReign8

    Thing about Hue is it wasnt just the offense that improved, but also the situational play calling. He used plays that put the ball in the hands of the correct player. For example, every play to Reese was a called play. Even the amount of checkdowns was created as a safety lever if WRs didnt get open.

  • http://Www.bullycains.com r8dercain

    Mornin nation!!!

  • http://Www.bullycains.com r8dercain

    Am I the only one who hasn’t payed a dime towards my season tix?

  • http://Www.bullycains.com r8dercain

    Get the dang CBA done damnnitt!!!!

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