The Raiders return to practice today after an off day Sunday. The provisions set forth in the new collective bargaining agreement mandates at least one day off after six straight days of practice. The Raiders received two within a six-day span.
It will be interesting to see if the two days off within the past week helps those who have practiced the entire time in training camp stay fresh and hold up well to the physical demands of coach Hue Jackson’s program.
It’s also about time for players such as wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, offensive lineman Bruce Campbell and defensive end Trevor Scott to cut it loose. Heyward-Bey is the only one of the three who has practiced in any capacity, but even he has been limited to light duty.
Campbell has missed every practice so far with an undisclosed injury. Jackson said Campbell is “close” to seeing the field for the first time in 2011. Scott has spent the first 12 days rehabilitating from the left knee injury he suffered last season.
Rookie running back Taiwan Jones also is expected back soon. He is missing out on a golden opportunity to get in a ton of reps, with starter Darren McFadden out with a broken orbital bone and backup Michael Bush just getting back into the swing of things after signing his one-year tender Saturday.
*It’s about time for kicker Sebastian Janikowski to start working on his field-goal kicking. He has yet to attempt a field goal in training camp. Punter Shane Lechler already is well along getting himself into game shape.
*None of the four cornerbacks selected by the Raiders in the 2009 and 2010 NFL drafts has made a strong push for the starting spot vacated by Nnamdi Asomugha and occupied by Chris Johnson until now. Chimdi Chekwa is out with a left shoulder injury. Jeremy Ware, Walter McFadden and DeMarcus Van Dyke are getting reps, but none is standing out.
*The Raiders are going to be just fine with Kevin Boss at tight end now that Zach Miller is toiling with the Seattle Seahawks. That much became evident in Boss’ first practice since signing with the Raiders on Friday.
Boss is tall, fast, and he has sure hands. There’s no reason to think that he won’t at least double the 30 receptions he averaged in his four seasons with the New York Giants.
*The Raiders certainly won’t be travel weary as they open the season with back-to-back road games against the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills. They play their first and third exhibition games at home. Their road games are against the 49ers and Seahawks.
*Quarterbacks Charlie Frye and J.T, O’Sullivan, linebacker Ricky Brown and offensive linemen Langston Walker and Mario Henderson are the only remaining free agents from last year’s Raiders team who haven’t been re-signed.
The Raiders were interested in re-signing Henderson until he failed a physical. Trent Edwards made Frye and O’Sullivan expendable. The Raiders already have a slew of linebackers on their roster. Walker is the most likely candidate from the group of five to be re-signed at some point, but only in case of injury or if Khalif Barnes and/or Joseph Barksdale falters.
*People keep throwing around the name of former Raiders middle linebacker Kirk Morrison as someone who should be re-signed. Don’t count on it anytime soon. Rolando McClain is locked in as the starter in the middle, and Morrison’s best days as a special teams player are gone. Also, Morrison won’t entertain the prospect of being a backup until he has exhausted every opportunity of being a starter elsewhere.