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Raiders training camp practice highlights, notes and quotes

By Steve Corkran
Saturday, August 6th, 2011 at 7:44 pm in 2011 Preseason, Oakland Raiders.

And on the day of the 11th practice, he spoke. He, as in seldom-quoted middle linebacker Rolando McClain.

McClain wondered what all the fuss was about as 20 or so media crowded around to hear about his weight loss, marked leap from his rookie season last year to this year and how the defense is going to fare this season.

McClain didn’t disappoint. In fact, his words matched coach Hue Jackson’s proclamation that he has no interest in McClain being a good player, he wants him to be great.

“We’re still working,” McClain said. ”We want to make a name for ourselves and be one of the great Raider defenses here, so that’s what we’re striving for right now.”

McClain is doing his part. He worked out in Tuscaloosa, Ala., with some former coaches, by hitting the weights, watching film and swimming for as long as 90 minutes per day.

“I feel like I came back a step ahead of some guys as far as being prepared, shedding a few pounds, workouts, things just to get my body ready for a season,” McClain said.

As a result, he lost 5 or 6 pounds, feels faster and is taking control of the defense. Now that he has his rookie season behind him, he is concentrating more on what the offense is doing.

“It’s a lot more of a difference,” McClain said. “When you can play fast without thinking about what you do, it gives you the ability to play fast as well as make plays, so now I’m not worried about what I do. Now I can look at the formations and think about what the offense is going to do, instead of worrying about what I’m going to do. It enables me to play a lot more fast.”

Jackson raves about McClain almost on a daily basis.

“He’s very smart, he understands the game and thinks the game,” Jackson said. “What I’m trying to get him to understand is this defense flows through him. He gets to see it all. Richard (Seymour) is the veteran, obviously, but McClain gets to see the offense. Richard’s hand is down on the ground, but this guy (McClain) needs to be the unquestioned leader of our defense, and he should be and he can be.

“That’s what I expect from him. I’m always in his ear because I know what this young man can be. He’s a really, really good football player, but I’m asking him to be great. I’m not looking for him to be good. I want No. 55 on this team to be great.”

*Veteran guard Justin Smiley decided he no longer has what it takes to grind it out every day in training camp and stand up to the rigors of a 16-game regular season. So, he walked into coach Jackson’s office Saturday, thanked him for the opportunity and called it a career after seven seasons with the 49ers, Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars.

“What a man,” Jackson said. “He came in to see me today and said, ‘Coach, I just, this is just not for me right now.’ And I respect that. The great thing about this place is, I told you, this is hard work. Everybody can’t do this. If your mind and body is not ready to do this on a daily basis, it’s tough. And he said, ‘Coach, thanks for the opportunity, but my heart’s just not in it anymore, football. So, nothing against you or the Raiders, but I just can’t do this anymore.’ And I respect that.”

 *The Raiders signed free agent wide receivers Shawn Bayes, Derek Hagan and Chad Jackson. All three were at practice. None is expected to make the 53-man roster, though.

Coincidentally, Hagan’s 85 career receptions are more than any of the Raiders wide receivers on the roster. He did that in five NFL seasons with the Giants and Miami Dolphins.

Hagan and Jackson spent some time in practice returning punts. Hagan clanked one, which is the last thing coaches want to see on your first day of practice.

“We practice pretty fast and pretty hard,” Jackson said, ”and if you only have five guys, it’s hard for those five guys to just keep taking a bunch of reps. Again, the health of our football team is very important, and we don’t want to run the other guys that are practicing in the ground, and we also don’t want to take a chance of doing something to the other guys in trying to get them back too fast. So we have to do a great job of that.”

*McClain, running back Michael Bennett and linebacker Bruce Davis returned to practice after missing a couple of days. Jackson said he expects even more of the 14 players out to return in short fashion.

*The Raiders welcomed back running back Michael Bush and welcomed into the mix for the first time tight end Kevin Boss on Saturday.

Bush practiced for the first time after he signed his one-year tender and passed a physical. Bush was eligible to report to practice as soon as Thursday. However, he said he had to “take care of business.”

“He’s in shape,” Jackson said, ”and I said the other day that we have to be very careful because I haven’t been around him enough to know what kind of shape he was in. But he felt like Michael running on the field. He was quick and fast and he looks lean to me, which is great. The guy’s worked out, he’s done a great job of getting his body prepared for football, so we’re glad to have him back.”

Bush said his agent and the Raiders had discussions about a long-term contract. Those talks are on hold right now, though it’s possible the issue will be revisted at a later date. Bush signed for $2.6 million for this season. He is eligible to be an unrestricted free agent in 2012.

The Raiders are counting upon Bush once again to be there in case lead back Darren McFadden gets injured or needs a break. Bush rushed for 655 yards last year, with McFadden setting a career-high with 1,157.

“It’s hard for a back to play 16 straight regular-season games and not get, at some point in time, nicked up,” Jackson said. “So you got to always have quality, quality players back there. And, again, our organization has done a great job of making sure that we have good players.”

Bush looked and performed like a man on a mission, ready to reassert himself as a complementary player who does what is asked of him at a moment’s notice.

“Goal-wise, I never really have goals,” Bush said. “I don’t need 1,000 yards. My whole thing is to always do better than I did last year and be consistent. When they’re on the field, they know they can count on me and they know what they’re going to get out of me, so those are pretty much my goals.”

*Here we go again. If we’re writing about another practice, there surely must be some talk of rookie receiver Denarius Moore.

And there is plenty, once again. Moore got jammed by strong safety Tyvon Branch at the line of scrimmage on a one-on-one drill, worked his way through the setback and hauled in a pass from Kyle Boller with one hand and without allowing Branch to break it up.

In another drill, Moore put a move on cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke, bolted downfield and made an impressive catch despite tight coverage by Van Dyke and safety Hiram Eugene.

“I guess I could say I’m starting to expect it,” Moore said. “Every time the ball is going up, I want to be the guy who’s coming back down with it, so if I can do it in practice, the coaches can depend on me in the game.”

The coaches are so high on Moore that they inserted him into the lineup with the starting offense at the end of practice in a red-zone drill.

Moore is feeding off the confidence and making more and more believers every day.

“It gives me a lot of confidence knowing the quarterback’s trusting me in and out of the huddle, knowing that I understand my plays and I’m a guy that they’re starting to depend on,” Moore said.

In a rare down moment, Moore dropped a crossing route that hit him in the hands.

*Jason Campbell was back at full capacity Saturday after sitting out most of Friday’s practice. Jackson said Campbell looked like a player who had a day off.

Overall, though, Jackson has been impressed by Campbell’s play, command and leadership.

“Jason Campbell is the starter of this team, doing great and leading this team,” Jackson said. “I’m excited about him. The thing I like the most is, sometimes things don’t go right, and Jason keeps his poise. That’s what a quarterback has to do. Your team has to know, when things get a little off, all of a sudden you’re not going to cave in. He doesn’t cave in. It’s like, ‘Coach give me the next play, let’s go.’ That’s the kind of quarterback I want on my team.”

*Rookie cornerback Sterling Moore turned in one of the plays of the day once again when he raced to snare a pass that hit off receiver Nick Miller’s hands twice before it hit the ground for another interception.

*Left offensive tackle Jared Veldheer and backup defensive tackle Desmond Bryant engaged in a brief scuffle at the end of one play. Teammates separated the two before any damage was done.

*Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was a bystander for most of practice once again. Jackson said he is holding back on turning loose Heyward-Bey until he is certain that Heyward-Bey is fully recoverd from whatever ails him. Neither Jackson nor Heyward-Bey has identified the injury.

*Samson Satele received a fair amount of reps at center for the second straight day. That relegated rookie Stefen Wisniewski to guard duty on more than occasion.

It’s all part of the plan to identify the five best players before settling upon a set offensive line, Jackson said.

“I’m going to let these moving pieces unfold,” Jackson said. “(Wisniewski’s) one of our better lineman, there’s no question about that. He’s doing a tremendous job. Sammy’s in there and, right now, I don’t know exactly how all that’s going to go. And that’s the beautiful part, we have the pieces, now it’s just getting all the pieces in the right spot. And we’ll do that as we continue to move forward.”

*Boss made a handful of impressive catch-and-run plays, displaying the skills that made him a dependable receiver for the New York Giants the past four seasons.

“He was awesome,” Jackson said. “(For) him to just step in, step right in, and we do a lot of things on offense, and he picked it up. As he goes every day, we’re a couple days away from seeing Kevin at his best, because once he learns the terminology and learns his teammates and Jason gets a feel for him and our other quarterbacks get a feel for him, that guy is a big target. He is a big man, he can catch it and he is pretty agile running up through there. So, there’s going to be some good things there.”

*The defense got the better of the offense, for the most part. That had Jackson referring to his defense as “The Hunters” and saying it has arrived.

“Our defense is starting to play football the way I envisioned our defense playing,” Jackson said. “There’s a lot of good players on that side of the ball, and we have a lot of good players on the offensive side of the ball, but the defensive decided today they wanted to show up and play. …  Those guys, they have the potential to be as good as they want to be. And I’m challenging them to be great.”

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  • TerrapinRaider

    What are you talking about man??? What ‘demotion’? The guy was injured and he is coming back. What demotion??

    They are all competing. Sheez, you guys say some of the craziest things.

  • TerrapinRaider

    Did you even read the damn tweets I posted that said DHB looked pretty good/solid????

    What do you mean things don’t seem to be getting better for him. Sheez!

  • TerrapinRaider

    I don’t know what else to tell ya’. I’m done.

  • 89052RAIDER

    Terrapin and priestbj,

    Al will still let you sniff his diaper if you acknowledge that DHB is not an NFL player. He is absolutely awful and will never be a legitimate NFL receiver. He is never going to help the team win.

  • lefty12

    Terrapin,give it up.These guys will never accept DHB even if he was to lead the league in receiving for 10 straight years.They hate him for where he was drafted and how much he was paid even though he didn’t draft himself or offer himself the contract he received.They will never acknowledge him making any plays.Whenever he does anything good it will always be because someone else screwed up.

  • TerrapinRaider

    Anyway, for anyone looking for information about the goings on in camp I say pull up these guys on twitter. This is the best I have so far.

    silverandblackp (fan who’s at practice tweeting, gives most info so far)
    Vittorio Tafur (gives a lot of info)
    LeviDaimen (i have not viewed but prob ranks up there with SNB, i will start)
    Jerry McDonald (late, but give good info)
    Paul Guitterez (slacker)

  • SharkCatcher

    I love our new coach….cable doesn’t motivate. ” hip hip horray ” ??? Get the f out of here!!

  • Thec07

    I will give props to the player personnel department…
    They have been able to uncovered some nice gems…

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

    Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was a bystander for most of practice once again. Jackson said he is holding back on turning loose Heyward-Bey until he is certain that Heyward-Bey is fully recoverd from whatever ails him. Neither Jackson nor Heyward-Bey has identified the injury.
    “““““““““““““““““““““““““““`
    Perhaps the training staff needs to get over to the local Rite-Aid, or CVS, and get a bottle of Vagisil for DHB…..

  • SharkCatcher

    Player personal department aka Al Davis ..don’t get. It twisted. I can see Al telling rookie WR Moore ” I saw your first Jr high football game, you had 11 receptions”……Moore ” wow, I don’t even remember that game”

  • Thec07

    I read somewhere that JFORD had his cast removed….If thats the case then he will be in the fold for the opener.

  • TerrapinRaider

    This is a nugget I just read from LeviDamien’s blog:

    [At one point Hue Jackson called out "if you are a one, get on the field" and the first team offensive line at this moment is LT Jared Veldheer, LG Daniel Loper, C Samson Satele, RG Cooper Carlisle, RT Khalif Barnes.]

    Thats where it stands now with our lineup. It could all change but thats where we are at this point.

  • Thec07

    SharkCaher, I do have it twisted. Mr. Davis does not make all of the personnel decisions for this team…

  • YoungAmerican

    Terrapin,give it up.These guys will never accept DHB even if he was to lead the league in receiving for 10 straight years.They hate him for where he was drafted and how much he was paid

    ———-

    This is flat-out delusional.

    As Raider fans, by now we’re all used to players being overpaid or over-drafted. Has nothing to do with that. DHB isn’t even having much of an effect on the salary cap this season.

    It ALL has to do with production. At this point? I’d settle for Louis Murphy-level production (even though the Raiders could have had Nicks, Maclin, Harvin, even Britt or Crabtree – all of whom are far more accomplished receivers). DHB hasn’t even provided that much.

    DHB has been outplayed by two fourth round picks. He’ll soon be outplayed by a fifth-round pick. A seventh-round WR who is ALWAYS INJURED has as many TDs as DHB. The amount of plays that DHB has made can be counted on one hand.

    1st round or 7th round, no receiver is drafted to be a decoy/blocker. WRs are drafted to contribute to the offense by catching balls and putting up points. DHB has not done that, nor has he shown that he’s on his way to doing that.

    I’d love to be wrong. I’d love for DHB to come in and put up 700 yards and score 4 TDs. Hell, I’d love for him to put up 500 yards and 2 or 3 TDs, and contribute on the level that Murphy, Ford, and Chaz have. Pretty modest expectations. But right now he’s the odd man out. Forcing him into a starting role takes reps away from better players who ACTUALLY CONTRIBUTE.

    That is the reason people are frustrated with DHB. Not draft status. Not his salary. It’s the fact that he quite simply doesn’t make plays that help take the Raider offense to the next level.

  • SharkCatcher

    We need another linemen..NFL ups are The wiz 2.0 and who else?

  • priesttj

    lefty12 is right Terrapin they love to hate that kid for something he had nothing to do with he just played. He had some good games last year but they’ll NEVER admit it. JC just chose to go underneath him. They have to get more of a chemistry goign and DHB will be fine.

    DHB has to shut them up, you never will.

  • TheGeneral

    Get kirk morrison back and cut groves let morrison and goethel play OLB

  • TerrapinRaider

    Tell me about it Lefty. I just posted for the guy a source at practice saying DHB is looking pretty solid and all they come back with is he doesn’t look good or things are not looking good with respect to DHB.

  • big pep

    not joking or trolling, he needs to get his ass in gear hes not been a starter so until i see him get 20 carries a game for a full season and not tap the top of his helmet hes out of shape, i just wish he would have been in camp. the only reason i compared him to jacobs is because they weight about the same. thats the reason i used the steak and bologna comparisons.

  • SharkCatcher

    It was a joke thec. But I’ve heard stories about al telling players about games they played in high school ECT..I ve been on this blog for about ten years now

  • Lowdown_in_Beijing

    909, classic.

    I will admit, however, if DHB starts taking ‘em to the house and puts up big numbers, I will be the first to start making authentic knock off jerseys and exporting them to Oakland.

  • TerrapinRaider

    Yeah, I’m shutting up now and hope DHB shows something, anything, to get rid of these vultures they call fans (or lets use the real term – fanatics aka crazies)

  • Thec07

    270.SharkCatcher Says:
    August 7th, 2011 at 11:14 am
    It was a joke thec. But I’ve heard stories about al telling players about games they played in high school ECT..I ve been on this blog for about ten years now

    ++++++++==

    My bad, went way over my head…

  • SharkCatcher

    I keep hearing Kirk Morrisons name thrown around the last couple of weeks, doesn’t he have a big contract with the Jags? Side note Kirk is cool. I partied with him in Vegas memorial day weekend as soon as I saw him I’m like ” raaaiiiddders” he’s like I’m a JAG ..I’ said….you’ll always be a raider kid!!( when I say I” p”artied with him…I just mean we had bottles at tables next to each other)

  • TerrapinRaider

    This offense averaged about 25ppg last year (lets just say 20ppg to be conservative) with DHB in the starting lineup. You would think we were gawd awful the way these guys talk. Obviously he had to have been doing something out there.

    I hope he does take it to the next level. This O is going to be lights out. Too much speed plus two dominant RBs. Its just too much to defend. When it clicks you get what you say vs Denver, vs Seattle etc. Its like a tidal wave.

  • Thec07

    DHB is going to get his shot, and he will be a productive Raider WR…

    Coach Jackson will figure out how to use all of the strengths from this WR corp, and get the most out of them….

  • big pep

    i dont fucn troll i bleed silver and black. GO RAIDERS, FUC THE REST.

  • Thec07

    This O is going to be lights out. Too much speed plus two dominant RBs. Its just too much to defend. When it clicks you get what you say vs Denver, vs Seattle etc. Its like a tidal wave.

    ++++++++++++

    We have the potential of doing that to everyone…

  • Lowdown_in_Beijing

    Alexander Wright, Terry Mickens, P. Bobo, Alvis Whitted, Moss, Rocket Ismail, DHB are just a number of WRs this vulture has circled over waiting to see if their careers were dead…

  • RAIDERMAN99

    Why isn’t DHB fully participating in practice ?

    It’s not because he’s going to be traded or redoing his contract.

    It’s because he’s injured and not 100% ready to go full speed.

    What is the injury ? My guess is it’s a muscle pull. Sort of thing that isn’t entirely debilitating, but lingers and could get worse if it’s pushed before fully healed.

    Could be something more severe, but not career threatening, that takes time to come back from. Wouldn’t be impossible that DHB had some surgery that hasn’t been revealed to anyone. Something like a sports hernia or even a scope job on a knee.

    I have little doubt he’ll be back at full speed within a few weeks at most.

    How he’ll perform is another matter.

    The thing that concerns me most abt DHB is his ability to catch the ball.

    Will he ever show an ability to track a deep throw and haul it in over his shoulder with his back to the LOS ?

    A deep threat has to be able to do that.

    First, he has to show he can even catch the ball facing JaJason. DHB’s drop at the end of the last KC game was ridiculously bad. Makes one wonder if he can ever get it together.

    It’s hard to write off a WR with the size/speed combination DHB posesses, but that will happen unless he shows an ability to secure the ball. I haven’t reached that point yet, and I doubt Al Davis has either, but the clock is ticking on DHB.

  • lefty12

    You say it is delusional then you talk about lower drafted players and others whom we could have drafted but didn’t.Davis drafted DHB based on potential not his readiness to make an immediate impact,like he does with a lot of high picks.You wouldn’t love to be wrong,that is pure BS.You guys want him to fail,hence the cut him now attitude.You are all afraid you are going to be wrong and won’t be able to come here and say’I told you so’!The fact is you don’t give up on someone with his speed and size in such a short period of time.BTW,Jer is one of you.in the 2+ years DHB has been on the team,Jer has never given the kid a fair shake.Time will tell if DHB will make it.I,for one,hope he does to shut all you know-it-alls up.

  • Plunketthead

    TerrapinRaider Says:
    the first team offensive line at this moment is LT Jared Veldheer, LG Daniel Loper, C Samson Satele, RG Cooper Carlisle, RT Khalif Barnes.]
    “”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"

    That makes the most sense. A lot more sense then two or three rookies starting on the oline

  • Hagar the Horrible

    Al Davis has done some great things in the NFL and as an owner he has made many mistakes as well. One mistake, which is now a Dallas problem, is keeping Rob Ryan as the defensive coordinator for 4 or 5 years.

    When I was reading the Sunday morning sports page, there he was…this big fat, really fat, long hair moran touting his greatness. Quote: We (Dallas) have excellent defensive players, an excellent staff and an excellent coach. So we’re going to be an excellent team this year. If someone doesn’t like that, it’s too bad.” Spoken by new defensive coordinator Roy Ryan.
    What a way to start a Sunday, by having to look at a picture of a big fat moran, who blew game after game for us with his “prevent defensive” and his “no-pressure” games. I hated the dud then and I hate him now.

  • SharkCatcher

    On the bright side of this DHB debate I think coach Jackson used him a lot better with reverses and quick slants last season . You can’t help but root for the kid because he’s a hard worker. At the same.time I know what Raider fans want too see……they want to see dhb be burning someone for a td like deshawn Jackson does.almost every game.

  • Lowdown_in_Beijing

    Whereas the likes of Javon Walker, Jerry Porter, Johnnie Morant, et al, were DOA.

    As a fan, not as a coach with secret inside info, DHB has yet to impress me, but am available to be impressed by DHB, or any other WR, should they be so inclined.

    For the time being, I am only anticipate exporting Ford Jerseys.

  • SharkCatcher

    New post

  • http://www.tedhendricks.com/Ted_vs_Montana.jpg BigTed707

    SharkCatcher Says:
    August 7th, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I keep hearing Kirk Morrisons name thrown around the last couple of weeks, doesn’t he have a big contract with the Jags?
    ***************
    Nope, He is a UFA, and hasn’t been sniffed by any team, even though he averaged 100 tackles a year for six years. I’m glad we replaced him as MLB, but I think he could be useful on the outside. He would at least be an upgrade over Groves – who apparently spent the offseason burning tree and eating poptarts.

  • ohioraider

    hec07 Says:
    August 7th, 2011 at 11:21 am

    DHB is going to get his shot, and he will be a productive Raider WR…

    Coach Jackson will figure out how to use all of the strengths from this WR corp, and get the most out of them….
    ————————————————–
    Eh, wouldn’t bank on it friend.

  • Just Win Baby

    Terp – I dont know what catch you refer to, but I will allow it. DHB made one nice catch vs the Seacocks. I think Khalif Barnes made a couple nice grabs last year too. May have even caught a td if I remember correctly. I wouldn’t say this makes either of them promising prospects to excel at WR this season.

  • dvrick

    What do you need run blocking for?You don’t have any serious running backs!And if your gonna say DMAC don’t He’ll end up having a very bad season because of injurys just wait and see.GO CHARGERS

  • dvrick

    # 277 Idon’t think you bleed silver and black I think you bleed STUPID!! GO DOLPHINS!!!

  • Fear_the_eyepatch

    142.Fear_the_eyepatch Says:
    August 7th, 2011 at 11:58 am
    @ Dvprick
    Since you are a Seachicken fan and talk all this big head, why don’t you stop by the Orleans on 1st ave downtown Seattle next to the stadium in your Seachicken gear on Sept 2nd and see what kind of reception you get in your own town. Then you will see what real fans are about and find out why there is only 1 true nation…………RAIDER NATION!!!! NW Raiders reppin on you all day every day in your town punk!

  • dvrick

    By the way The Orleans?That says alot about your class.You’re probably a wanted felon on the run!

  • dvrick

    CODE PINK-THE TAIDERS HAVE TAKEN THE FIELD IN THEIR FAIRY OUTFITS!!

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  • dvrick

    Boy,the TAIDERS look like a bad practice squad on the field.HUE YOU SUCK!!!

  • Raider J

    Good to see such passionate fans.
    We all want to see better and more consistent production from the passing game.
    from the OLine protection
    to QB execution
    to WRs getting open and catching the ball

    The passing game must improve
    and I am happy to hear any news that suggests that it is regardless of which player is the source.

    Aside from Ford V12, its an open competition for WR playing time. IMO

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  • dvrick

    # Thec07 Says:
    August 7th, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I will give props to the player personnel department…
    They have been able to uncovered some nice gems…
    *******************************************The ONLY PROBLEM IS THOSE GEMS ARE ON THE SEAHAWKS ROSTER LMAO!!!