By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 at 12:19 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Practice quick hits, sent for insidebayarea.com . . .
For a day anyway, Juron Criner looked like 2012 version of Denarius Moore.
It was a year ago that Moore , a fifth-round draft pick out of Tennessee , began impressing his Raiders coaches and teammates with his playmaking skills. He carried it on through training camp and an excellent rookie season, catching 33 passes for 618 yards and a team-high five touchdowns.
Criner, the second of two fifth-round picks out of Arizona , came 20 spots later than Moore at 168. He was the standout of a nearly full-squad organized team activity session, catching at least six passes during team sessions _ some of them of the spectacular variety.
“It’s been a learning process for him,’’ coach Dennis Allen said following practice. “I think he every day he gets a little bit better. He’s learning more what to do. I was pleased with the way he practiced today. It’s not a whole lot different than what we saw on tape in college. That’s what we expect of him.’’
The last of Criner’s big plays came on a sideline throw by Terrelle Pryor that carried between 55 and 60 yards in the air, with cornerback Pat Lee the victim.
On a 50-yard heave from Carson Palmer into the end zone, Criner beat the coverage of DeMarcus Van Dyke and safety Tyvon Branch with a tumbling catch that brought hoots and shouts from his teammates.
On a fairly basic route over the middle, Criner somehow stopped himself to reach back and catch a Pryor pass that had been thrown behind him.
– Full speed ahead for Darren McFadden, who participated fully in drills and team sessions without restrictions.
“We want him to be healthy,’’ Allen said. “We want him to be able to stay healthy and we want to do everything we can to keep him that way.’’
– The biggest defensive play came when a Palmer pass bounced off the hands of Rashawn Jackson and then was juggled among several defenders until Aaron Curry held on to it and ran into the end zone for a touchdown.
– The Raiders employed exclusively a four-man line during defensive team sequences, with Allen saying three-man fronts will be added later
“You can’t throw everything at ‘em at one time,’’ Allen said.
– Allen’s style during the first full-team session open to the media was to stay fairly detatched, letting his coaches do the coaching while he often stands off alone as an observer.
“I believe as a head coach, ultimately you’re in charge of the product tha goes out on the field,’’ Allen said. “But part of being the head coach is you want to hire good people. You want to declare your expectations, what you expect out of them and then you want to get out fo the way and let them work.
“That’s kind of my style and that’s what I’ll do but I’m a coach at heart and I’ll get my hands dirty when I need to.’’
– Tight end David Ausberry is noticeably bigger in the upper body as he grows into his position. A converted wide receiver last season, Ausberry made one difficult catch in traffic and appears not to have lost any of the agility that makes him a tough matchup.
Allen said he expected Ausberry to be deployed as a receiving tight end this season but the bulk was necessary for blocking purposes.
— Among those players who were not present included defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who normally does not attend OTA sessions, and middle linebacker Rolando McClain, who is dealing with legal issues relating to the misdemeanor charge of illegal discharge of a firearm in Alabama .
Also not present was safety Mike Mitchell, who Allen said has a knee issue. Kickers Shane Lechler and Sebastian Janikowski also were not in Alameda .
Among those players who were present but not practicing were center Stefen Wisniewski, who had shoulder procedure following the season, Allen said, and right guard Mike Brisiel, who has a minor hamstring strain.
Alex Parsons played with the first team at center in Wisniewski’s absence, with Zach Hurd getting some reps at right guard with Cooper Carlisle moving to the left side.
Travis Goethel got most of the first-team snaps at middle linebacker in place of McClain, with Curry moving inside during one sequence.
– Rookie undrafted free agent wide receiver Thomas Mayo, who was having a difficult practice holding on to the ball, left drills and was limping.