By Steve Corkran
Thursday, July 28th, 2011 at 2:50 pm in Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders first training camp practice commences in less than an hour here in Napa. Coach Hue Jackson said most of the time will be spent on conditioning and going over formations and schemes as a means of getting players up to speed.
However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be much that one can glean from the proceedings. Here’s some of the things that we’ll be looking for at today’s practice and that we will report upon soon after things end:
Where will second-year player Bruce Campbell line up during offensive line drills? He prefers playing offensive tackle, and the Raiders have an opening on the right side. Yet, Campbell worked at right guard for most of last season so that he could make himself more versatile.
Is Daniel Loper the replacement for Robert Gallery at left guard? That’s how it appears as of now. The Raiders were quick to re-sign him before the lockout started, and they liked what they saw from Loper in four starts last season.
How do the offensive linemen respond to new coach Bob Wylie and assistant Steve Wisniewski? Returning offensive linemen were coached by Tom Cable, Jim Michalczik and Chris Morgan the past two seasons. It’s Wylie’s show now, with Wisniewski in the shadows waiting to hammer home points and offer pointers.
How does oft-injured wide receiver Chaz Schilens look after missing most of last season with foot and knee injuries? Teammates say that Schilens looks healthy and ready to go. One observer up here reported seeing Schilens in a protective boot just before the NFL draft.
Who is lined up at free safety, Stevie Brown, Hiram Eugene or Mike Mitchell? Michael Huff is an unrestricted free agent, and he isn’t likely to be re-signed. The Raiders took steps to replace Huff by signing Eugene during the offseason. Still, this position figures to be wide open throughout camp.
Is defensive end Trevor Scott fully recovered from the torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in his left knee against the Pittsburgh Steelers last season? He has had more than eight months to recover. Yet, such injuries can linger if there are any setbacks.
Is running back Taiwan Jones as fast as advertised and how will he be used? The Raiders already have Darren McFadden and Michael Bush, along with Rock Cartwright and Michael Bennett, at running back. They also have Jacoby Ford to return kicks and Nick Miller punts. There’s many ways the Raiders can use Jones, we just don’t know yet.