Part of the Bay Area News Group

Training camp practice highlights, notes and quotes

By Steve Corkran
Monday, August 8th, 2011 at 7:57 pm in 2011 Preseason, Oakland Raiders.

Monday brought about the much-awaited debut of wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, at least in terms of participating in full-team drills.

Heyward-Bey spent the first 12 days of camp working his way back into shape from a mysterious injury and getting in some light work with his teammates. Finally, coach Hue Jackson turned loose Heyward-Bey to see where his third-year receiver is at nearly two weeks into camp.

Heyward-Bey looked sharp on most plays, taking in stride a pass from Jason Campbell on a down-and-in route, bursting past two defenders and into the open field. He also caught another pass over the middle and a sideline pass that he attempted to turn into a long play.

One problem, though. Heyward-Bey lost sight of cornerback Chris Johnson, didn’t protect the ball and was unable to do anything about Johnson poking out the ball from behind. Heyward-Bey also dropped a short pass over the middle.

All in all, he looked healthy, sharp and ready to make a push for a starting spot for the third straight year.

“He looked like a guy who’s getting ready,” Jackson said. “He did some good things, caught some balls, getting back into the swing of it. Good to have  him back out there. Another pair of veteran legs. He looked good. I was glad to see production. Quarterbacks are getting back in rhythm with him. Obviously, that’s the most important thing, just getting the chemistry back with the quarterbacks. He’s back out there going, and we’re glad he’s there.”

Heyward-Bey said he feels up to speed.

“It felt good to be out there with the guys, going full reps and everything like that,” Heyward-Bey said. “I felt pretty good. … I wish C.J. didn’t knock that ball out, but I felt pretty good, for the most part. Me and Jason connected twice, and it felt good.”

*Jackson knows his way around a football field from years spent as a quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. However, this head coach thing remains a work in progress.

Hence, Jackson is preparing for things such as when to throw the challenge flag, when to kick a field goal, when to call a time-out. In many ways, Oakland’s exhibition opener Thursday will be just as much a learning experience for Jackson as it will be for the rookies on his roster.

“Oh, baby, I’ve thought about (that stuff),” Jackson said. “It kept me up the other night. I didn’t go to sleep. One of these nights, I was thinking about the red flag, I was thinking about, oh, tell them when to kick a field goal, oh, when to punt. I thought about all those things, but you know what? I’ve also been thinking about that for about five years now.

“I’m looking forward to it. I’m not saying there won’t be any bumps in the road, but I’ve got a great staff that I can lean on. The guys I put in the press box are quality, quality coaches that know exactly what it is that we need to do, and the guys that we have on the field, they’ll help me also. But will it be different? Yes, but I’m looking forward to it. Bring it on. Let’s do it.”

Jackson said that defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan will coach from the sidelines. Offensive coordinator Al Saunders will do his work from the press box.

*Jackson lost a bet with running back Michael Bennett at some point. The payment came in the form of Jackson wearing neon-green tennis shoes for practice.

If you missed out on seeing Jackson in the glow-at-night shoes, your only chance is gone.

“Everybody wants to know about my shoes,” Jackson said. “I lost a bet. And when you lose a bet, you have to pay up. Michael Bennett wears these shoes. These are a Michael Bennett special. When you lose, you pay up. It was my day to pay up, so I had to wear them. End of story.”

As for the nature of the bet, neither Jackson nor Bennett was saying.

“I cannot tell you,” Jackson said. “I cannot tell you and I will not tell you. It was well worth it. I lost and I’m wearing these shoes. It’s the only time in history I will ever have on these shoes. That’s it. They’re done.”

*Once again, Samson Satele and Stefen Wisniewski shared center duties throughout practice. At times, Wisniewski took some reps at guard. Other times, the starting line featured, from left to right, Jared Veldheer, Daniel Loper, Satele, Cooper Carlisle and Khalif Barnes.

Jackson said there’s a great battle going on at center. Both hopefuls are holding their own. Jackson makes a point of clarifying a remark he made when the Raiders selected Wisniewski in the second round of the NFL draft in April, when he declared Wisniewski his starting center.

That, of course, was when Satele was an unrestricted free agent. Now, with both on the roster, Jackson is careful to make sure he presents the situation as a wide-open competition.

*Running back Michael Bush is playing like a man on a mission, someone intent upon showing that he is in shape and ready to bang heads with whoever gets in his past.

It’s interesting to note that other running backs get thumped pretty good whenever they run into defenders. With Bush, defenders tend to touch him to signify that they were in position to make the play and then get the heck out of his way.

Bush, Rock Cartwright, Michael Bennett and Louis Rankin are the only healthy running backs as of now. Darren McFadden and Taiwan Jones still are sidelined with injuries.

*For a short while, it appeared as if rookie receiver Denarius Moore had shed his Superman image and returned to mortal status. He clanked a punt early in practice and then flat out dropped a short pass over the middle.

Not to worry. Moore rallied past the early gaffes by blowing past cornerback Walter McFadden and cradling a 45-yard pass from Campbell and running out of bounds at the 10-yard line.

Toward the end of practice, Moore beat Johnson to a quick out, spun away from Johnson and turned a short reception into a long play.

Just in another day’s work for the fifth-rounder out of Tennessee. Jackson was spotted talking to Moore off to the side on several occasions throughout practice.

*Sebastian Janikowski finally attempted a field goal. He spent the first nine practices standing around and keeping himself amused in various ways.

On Monday, Janikowski converted all four of his field-goal attempts, including back-to-back 40-yarders at the end of practice.

*Veteran receiver Derek Hagan made a couple of nice plays in only his second practice since he joined the Raiders.

In particular, Hagan ran a precise post route that placed him in position to make a fingertip grab of a pass as two defenders looked on.

Jackson said he’s looking for consistent playmakers, regardless of their age, draft status or history. Hagan has more career receptions (85) than any of Oakland’s other wide receivers.

“Hey, if you’re a good football player, if you can make plays for us, we’ll try to find a place for you,” Jackson said. “Obviously. there’s a group of young men who are fighting for jobs. We have established guys there, some guys who have played. I’m trying to uplift the whole performance of this team, so I want our guys to know and understand it’s about performance. The more you perform, the better you perform, the more opportunities you’re going to get.”

Hagan received a ton of reps Monday.

*Receiver Nick Miller had a short pass hit off his hands and wind up in the hands of a cornerback for the second straight practice. This time, it was rookie cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke who benefitted from the second chance.

Speaking of Van Dyke, cornerbacks coach Rod Woodson is high on Van Dyke’s chances of developing into a productive NFL player.

“He reminds me of a player that I played with in Baltimore, Duane Starks,” Woodson said. “When he got drafted, coming out of The U (of Miami), and we were in Baltimore, he had great hips, great feet. DVD reminds me of him. He’s a little bit taller. His range, I don’t think too many receivers are outrunning him. So, he has to learn to break down, move his body weight and transition when he’s playing in space. If he does that, he can be a pretty good player.”

Van Dyke still is trying to digest the wealth of information coming his way and to carve out a niche.

“Well, I just got to play my part, man,” Van Dyke said. “Coach going to play nickel, play dime, I’ll do that. He wants me to be a starter, I’ll do that, too. But right now, I’m just learning from guys like Stanford Routt, Chris Johnson and Michael Huff and (Tyvon) Branch.”

*Jackson is like most coaches in that he views exhibition games as an ideal time to evaluate the players on his roster. In the end, though, he also wants to walk off the field with more points than the other team.

“If they’re keeping score, I like to win,” Jackson said. “That’s the way it is. Our team is going to go out there and play the way we’re supposed to play as Raiders and keep building on that.”

Playing that first game at the Coliseum is just an added bonus.

“It’s very important,” Jackson said. “It’s good to not have to travel. It’s good to know your environment and where you’re going to be, how to get to the stadium, how to do certain things and be comfortable and go out in front of your own fans and play football. I thank scheduling for what they did. They let us stay home. …  We’re very excited about our preseason schedule.”

*McFadden caused quite a stir at practice without taking part in a single play. He is out with a fractured orbital bone. He fired up his black car, turned up the stereo and watched as people flocked to find the origin of the ear-busting bass. Jackson even wandered over to take a look at the flashy mobile.

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  • CJ Legend 34

    270.RaiderRockstar Says:
    August 9th, 2011 at 8:19 am
    Taiwan Jones needs to get in the mix. I want to see what that kid can do at the pro level

    ***

    CJL,

    Everybody was talking up TJ like he was the savior and Mike Bush was a Ron Dayne clone after the draft. Now that we’re into camp and both men are present those comments have died down.

    Perhaps because Jones is injured, but he struggled with injuries and fumbles during college too, so that shouldn’t really surprise anyone imo
    ——————————————-
    RR I thought it was crazy to trade Mike Bush. We did and do not know what Taiwan can do. With DMAC, BUSH and Reece we have one of the best backfields in the NFL. To me adding a change of pace speedster like Taiwan would be a nice change of pace once DMACH and Bush has wore down the defense. Plus, you know one of the two will get hurt. But I read the same thing about Taiwan fumbles & often gets hurt. Now, if Bush wants to leave next year and Taiwan is the real deal. Sweet!

  • RaiderRockstar

    Mistic,

    Brandon Myers = Todd Heap

    get over it!

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    pryor will never be as good as gerrard. pryor will never be as good as JC. If you take pryor it wont be to groom him to one day replace JC. JC will have a great year and be extended for the next 3-4 years. Book it

  • CJ Legend 34

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    August 9th, 2011 at 8:53 am
    Pryor is not better than the 3rd QB we have on the roster at this time.

    ***

    Jhill,

    Pryor is a developmental prospect. If Jackson & Saunders can groom a QB, we need this guy. Jason Campbell is in the last year of his contract and we already know Boller & Edwards won’t ever be franchise QB’s. Pryor has potential. The argument should be whether or not that potential could be realized in Oakland. As Kell points out, we’ve only developed 1 QB that we drafted in franchise history and it wa over 30 years ago. If the Raiders dysfunctional days are behind them, you take a chance on Pryor for next to nothing and hope he becomes the next Warren Moon or Randall Cunningham. Perhaps an earlier version of Culpepper or McNabb. Steve McNair or Mike Vick. worst case scenario I think he’s average like Vince Young or David Garrard … all this I say AFTER development

    the Raiders need to starting planning for the future
    ——————————
    RR I hear you but what do we do if Campbell has a great year and takes us into the playoffs? Do we sign him or weight for Pryor to develop? By the way if Pryor develops into any of those guys you named I would be very surpised. I watched the kid play at OSU. COuld not throw a decent out pattern. Vision locked down the middle of the field, but he is an athlete no doubt and won games.

  • CJ Legend 34

    302.RaiderRockstar Says:
    August 9th, 2011 at 8:56 am
    Mistic,

    Brandon Myers = Todd Heap

    get over it!

    ——————–

    RR really? : )

  • RaiderRockstar

    if Bush wants to leave next year and Taiwan is the real deal. Sweet!

    ***

    Exactly – you gotta give TJ a season to prove himself

    what if Rankin outshines Jones?

    I’d like to think that Taiwan is another Jamaal Charles, but what if I’m wrong?

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    Boss was under utilized in ny. i think we will forget all about that traitor z miller.

  • RaiderRockstar

    pryor will never be as good as gerrard. pryor will never be as good as JC. If you take pryor it wont be to groom him to one day replace JC

    ***

    Mistic,

    did TP sleep with your girl or something?

    what’s with all the unfounded hate?

  • RaiderRockstar

    Mistic,

    Zmiller and “traitor” don’t belong in the same sentence

    you should be demoted from semi-pro blogger just based on that comment alone!

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    The players are improving, and we brought in even more talent in the draft and free agency. we have better coaches teaching better schemes. this will be a better year. my only concern is how long will it take for our young oline players to develop and gel. We must get wiz, barksdale and b cambell up to speed.

  • http://ibbahttp://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 4evaRaider

    I mean between Scott and Moss.The D will work better when with the rotation Seymor discussed.I think we have a few guys that start but not enough room 4all of them at the same time.Is Scott comming or droppin back…is moss comming or dropping back…gotta love it!

  • RaiderRockstar

    what do we do if Campbell has a great year and takes us into the playoffs? Do we sign him or weight for Pryor to develop?

    ***

    CJL,

    if Jason Campbell has a career year, you give him an extension without question. Pryor may take 2 or 3 years. Give him the Aaron Rodgers treatment. Let him sit, watch and learn. perfect his craft

  • http://ibbahttp://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 4evaRaider

    Dude we had the #2 rushing attack last year…why do some say this or that about our O-line?It should be as good if not better than last year,imo

  • RaiderRockstar

    I would give the job to Jarvis Moss and place Trevor Scott on the PUP list to start the season. He’ll be 100 % before mid-season and ready to attack some QB’s

    meanwhile, that’ll give us ample time to evaluate Jarvis and decide whether or not he needs to go after the QB or ride the pine

  • bcz24

    Our oline cant pass protect thats why it is in question!

  • J Hill

    Started watching the lat KC game again.

    Just finished the 1st qtr and I can’t stress enough how we need Wiz to win the starting C job.

    Satele is not very good in pass protection and their seems to be a guy running free up the middle on our QB on every play.

    Isn’t that on Satele and his line calls?

  • J Hill

    Miller just got ABUSED by Hali and gave up a sack.

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    Oline was decent at times run blocking, other times they were man handled in the run game. the large rush totals are a testament to dmacs outstanding superstar talent, and the fact that many teams kept safeties deep in the second half of the year after ford and JC started going long.

    The pass protection was abysmal, and had JC running for his life almost every time he went back to pass.

    The o-line was and is a major concern. although at least now im confident that we have young talent being groomed to one day be much better than the incumbents.

  • J Hill

    Glo drops a dime right on Murphy’s hands …

    Murphy drops the sure TD.

  • http://ibbahttp://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 4evaRaider

    I think its a combo of our very young WR’s taking a bit 2 long and JC not familiar with the book.Thats why some think we cant pass block.Run blocking is a more difficult thing to execute.The QB is 1 more year along now,the WR’s too!

    This is the year of a very balanced offense,but a the same time,a very explosive O,imo

  • alex7

    Mystic,

    our D-Line’s job description also entails stopping the run. They were the 29th best in football at that.

  • Kirk

    Thursday’s game is going to be rebroadcast on the NFL network over the weekend and on Monday and Wed of next week for those of us who don’t live in California.

  • J Hill

    There is a lot of shotgun sigle back formations.

    Working pretty well too.

    TD to Charles Schallens!

  • RaiderRockstar

    new post

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    Alex,

    im confident they will improve for a few reasons. Besides being 29th against the run cant be pinned on the d line exclusively, it takes 11 guys to be a run defense.

    1.) shaugnessy will start from the beginning of the year. the run d really improved once he was inserted into the starting line up. he and houston are very good against the run at the end spots.

    2.) the linebackers are better. Groves was barley serviceable last year, and romac was learning on the fly. Although romac evened out and started having a real impact over the last 5-6 games, groves never did. This year romac will be a much bigger force, and goethel who is known as a vicious run stuffer will vastly improve the run defense.

    3.) Hendu is healthy. hendu went out for a long stretch last year and that hurt our rotation. The guys in the middle got tired. this year they wont in part because of the new tempo that hu jack has them practicing for.

    4.) Disguising the defense will cause the qb to guess wrong a times and audible into disaster.

    5.) Our offense will be explosive and put big points on the board. this will force teams to throw the ball in order to try and keep pace, much like the 2002 season. the raiders will not have to face nearly as many rushing attempts, thereby drastically reducing the run yardage they give up.

  • alex7

    Wasn’t Shaugnessy starting when we faced Jax, Miami, and Indy late in the season? Those were all in the final 6 weeks of the season. They kinda ran all over us.

    I agree Goethel > Groves.

    Henderson is sooooo old. You can’t count on those guys to stay healthy a full season. And he’s not even a starter. It isn’t like we know when run plays are going to occur, so whenever he’s in, one of our top 2 DTs are out.

    Disguising the D? I’m not sure Bresnahan is an upgrade.

    Our offense was explosive last year. With a much tougher schedule, I don’t expect us to finish 6th again in points scored.

  • DEATHROW 55

    I don’t like the fact that hendo was talkin so much $hit before the jax. game acting like they would get no rushing yards on us and then they ran a muck through us. He better play better than that I like dez bryant hes up and coming. I tell you what its a lot better than our d line 3 yrs ago…..

  • BeAlwaysUrselfCommittingtoExcellence2011

    Sorry but Hendu wasnt in for most of those big runs…It was Seymour and Kelly in the middle….now the indy game they aced us with him in there but week 17 in kc he was a monster

  • BeAlwaysUrselfCommittingtoExcellence2011

    Alex7……seymour just as old as Hendu and hasnt been as durable

  • TheyCallMeAssassin

    Weird, it won’t let me post in the new comment thread…

  • dvrick

    Where’s DMAC?Told you he wants traded.

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