By Steve Corkran
Sunday, August 14th, 2011 at 3:06 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Injuries to wide receivers Chaz Schilens, Louis Murphy, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jacboy Ford at different times during training camp has made it difficult for the Raiders to get in much work with the players they hope to be on the field for the regular-season opener.
Quarterback Jason Campbell said it would be nice to get in as much work as possible with the aforementioned receivers. At the same time, he prefers to look at the silver lining.
“Other guys are getting an opportunity to get reps that they probably wouldn’t get if it was a regular season week because the starters take all the reps,” Campbell said. “Right now it’s an opportunity for them to learn what to do early in camp.”
To that end, rookie Denarius Moore and roster hopefuls such as Shaun Bodiford, Nick Miller, Derek Hagan and Chad Jackson are making the most of their added reps.
Campbell said he has been quite impressed with the early showing of Moore. He also likes what he has seen from the other receivers vying for spots on the 53-man roster.
“Nick Miller has been coming to practice every day, working his butt off,” Campbell said. “Bodiford has been out here working his butt off. We just brought in Hagan and brought in Chad Jackson, and they picked up on the system really quick. There’s a lot of young guys getting an opportunity to work.
“Sometimes you feel for them because they run so many routes, and they’re the only ones out here right now because a lot of guys are injured, but they don’t give up, they keep fighting.”
*Campbell and middle linebacker Rolando McClain oftentimes lock eyes before the snap, seeking an edge and wondering what the other player is thinking.
“There’s always a competition between him and me out here,” Campbell said. “We’re always battling. It’s fun. That’s what you want in practice. You want guys to battle. Sometimes defense wins, sometimes offense wins. That’s’ part of training camp. But we’re here to make each other better and make each other work. It’s good to see that. You can see how he breaks on balls. You know he has to have an understanding of the game, and he definitely has that.”
Campbell said he and McClain compare notes off the field in an attempt to pass along insight that might help the other one out in performing his job.
Sometimes I ask him, ‘What gives a route away,’ or ‘How’s the quarterback looking? Are we keeping you honest with our eyes?’ Sometimes they come up and ask us, ‘Are we rotating coverage really quick, quick enough to jump spots or is it too late?’ Those things we communicate to each other. We know out here we compete, but on Sundays we’re all together, and we want to help each other.”
*Second-year offensive lineman Bruce Campbell said he hurt his right knee during offseason workouts. Fortunately for Campbell and the Raiders, he did not need surgery.
The injury forced him to miss the first two weeks of practice and Oakland’s first exhibition game. He practiced for the first time Saturday and is eager to make up for lost time.
“It’s pretty tough because it seems like you’re missing out on a lot, you’re missing out on opportunity,” Campbell said. “But you can’t have that mind-set going into it. I’m just like, ‘Hey. this is what happened to me. I just have to make up for it.’ ”
Campbell isn’t sure whether he will get reps at guard or tackle, or both. He spent most of his rookie season learning the nuances of the guard spot so that he can become more versatile and, therefore, more valuable to the Raiders.
*Cornerbacks coach Rod Woodson is harping on the players under his tutelage to “pull the trigger.” Recognize when there’s an opportunity to make a play and go for it.
Seventh-year cornerback Stanford Routt is all for that kind of mentality.
“That’s the way you win football games,” Routt said. “You can’t win football games by being passive or just sitting back waiting. You got to go and dictate to the offense and not have the offense dictate to you.”
*There hasn’t been any further word on whether the Raiders remain interested in signing veteran linebacker Lofa Tatupu. They worked him out early in camp but held back on making an offer.
Tatupu, a six-year veteran, has visited other teams since he showed up in Napa. For whatever reason, he hasn’t landed with any team.
Tatupu is an undersized middle linebacker who has a history of knee problems. It’s conceivable that the Raiders will revisit the Tatupu issue at some point before the season starts, especially if one of their linebackers gets injured along the way.