Notes, quotes and observations from mini camp


Saturday marked the second day of the Raiders three-day rookie mini camp. It also represented the only day of the three that the media were permitted to get a look at the team’s 10 draft picks, 14 undrafted free agent signees and handful of first-year players.
It’s tough to gauge what everything means at a practice such as today’s when the veterans aren’t around, players are getting back into the swing of things after a long layoff and there isn’t any contact of note.
Still, there’s plenty to be gleaned by watching how the players comport themselves, how well they execute their assignments and how they acclimate to life as an NFL player.
To that end, here’s a sampling of things gleaned from the two-hour practice at the team’s year-round facility in Alameda:

— Rookie quarterback Tyler Wilson looks nothing like most fourth-round picks. In other words, he looks like he belongs and that he intends to make the most of what he calls an “opportunity.”
Wilson displayed a strong arm, great accuracy and touch and the composure of a veteran player. Put another way, he looks miles ahead of where JaMarcus Russell, Andrew Walter, Marques Tuiasosopo and Terrelle Pryor were when they arrived as Raiders draft picks.
“I like the way that Tyler’s commanded the huddle,” coach Dennis Allen said. “I’ve liked the way that he’s gone through his reads. Obviously, picking up a new system, there’s a little bit of rust there, but throwing the ball, he’s done a nice job. I don’t have any question about his arm strength and his accuracy.”
Wilson said he still has plenty of learning to do, but he’s not approaching this gig as if he’s going to be happy just making the 53-man roster.
It says here that Wilson is on track to push Matt Flynn for the starting job right away and certainly push Pryor for the backup spot held by Matt Leinart last season.

— It seemed rather odd witnessing a player wearing No. 92, defensive tackle Stacy McGee, actually taking part in a practice.
In recent seasons, the guy wearing that number, defensive tackle Richard Seymour, rarely practiced. McGee is battling a sore foot, but he still made it through his second straight practice. Can’t remember the last time Seymour participated in back-to-back practices.
It also seemed strange seeing a player wearing No. 55, linebacker Sio Moore, moving around all over the place and blending in with the defense.
The previous player that donned No. 55, middle linebacker Rolando McClain, often put forth less than full effort and frequently played outside the context of the scheme.

— Seventh-round draft pick Brice Butler made like 2012 fourth-round wide receiver Juron Criner on Saturday, making impressive plays one after another.
On one play, Butler adjusted to a pass slightly off the mark, contorted his body and hauled in the deep pass for what would have been a touchdown.
“He’s a guy that’s a big target, that can really run,” Allen said. “We wanted to try and throw the ball down the field a couple of times to see him go get it and he did a nice job today.”
The lone blemish came on a pass thrown behind Butler. He got his hands on the ball but wasn’t able to make the catch. That’s the play that Butler harped on most, rather than focus on his catches.

— Running back Latavius Murray is a well-rounded player, and one that appears to have everything a team covets.
Murray caught passes with ease out of the backfield, showed nice burst through the line and looked like an Eric Dickerson clone as he emerged into the secondary.
“He runs nice routes, he’s extremely intelligent, so he’s picked up the offense really well, and he’s got really soft hands so he does a nice job not only catching the ball,” Allen said. “But when you look at it, he’s done a nice job of picking up in pass protection.”
At 225 pounds, Murray isn’t going to encounter many defensive backs willing to take him on head on. Murray said he likes to use his speed to run past some defenders and his power to run over others.
If nothing else, it appears as if the Raiders found a great candidate to compensate for the loss of Mike Goodson to the New York Jets in free agency and Taiwan Jones in a conversion to cornerback.
Who knows, if all goes well, the Raiders also might have found a replacement for Darren McFadden after this season. McFadden is in the final season of his rookie contract, and the Raiders aren’t going to break the bank to re-sign him unless he shows that he can hold up for an entire season and performs markedly better than the 3.3-yard average he posted last season.

— Allen said people are making too much of the Raiders going heavy on linebackers in free agency and the draft.
The logical inclination was that the Raiders are preparing for a switch from the 4-3 scheme to the 3-4. Not so fast, Allen said.
“We’re basing out of a 4-3, just like we did last year,” Allen said. “But we’re going to have the ability to have some 3-4 looks, being able to implement those things and try to make them as simple as we can for our players, as well as try to make it complicated for the offense.”
The Raiders let Philip Wheeler walk in free agency and released McClain. Weak-side linebacker Miles Burris is the lone returning starter. However, they signed free agent linebackers Nick Roach, Kaluka Maiava and Kevin Burnett and drafted Moore in the third round out of Connecticut.
There’s another purpose to carrying so many linebackers, Allen said.
“You got to develop depth across the team,” Allen said. “Fortunately for us, we feel good about the linebacker situation and when you really look at it, the quickest way we’re going to help this football team is improving special teams. That’s a big part of it. The linebackers, the secondary, the tight ends, those are all areas that we can improve our football team through special teams.”

— McGee just might be the guy the Raiders were looking for when they sought someone to help lessen the sting of losing Seymour, Tommy Kelly and Desmond Bryant.
“When he walks out on the field, he looks like an NFL defensive tackle,” Allen said. “He’s got really good size and strength and for his size, he moves really well. He’s a guy that has got really good ability to stop the run. Pass rush is an area where he can continue to improve on, but he’s a guy that I’m anxious to see when he really gets a chance to get out there and work.”
Allen defended the Raiders decision to draft McGee, a move that flies contrary to Allen’s and McKenzie’s philosophy to stick to high-character players. McGee was involved in several off-field run-ins with the law during his time at Oklahoma.
McGee said he is hopeful that a change of scenery and getting away from some of the people he is accustomed to hanging around will make a huge difference in his maturation as a person.
“That was something from the past and something I’m looking to move forward from, grow as a person, become a man,” McGee said.
Allen said the Raiders are big on high-character guys. Yet, they opted to take a chance on McGee after an extensive background check allayed their fears of getting burned by someone with a checkered past.
“Guys are going to make mistakes, nobody’s perfect,” Allen said. “When we did all our research on him, we felt like he was a guy we wanted to give a second opportunity to. We’ve had a lot of conversations with him. He understands the mistakes that he’s made in the past. He’s ready to learn from those and move on from it. If he can do that, then he’s got a lot of ability and there might be a football player there for us.”


Steve Corkran

  • The_Judge37

    1500.Thec Says:
    May 13th, 2013 at 3:08 pm
    Allen fell in love with Wilson and Rivera because they were able to tear up his “Vaunted” Defense in the Senior bowl.


    I hope our HC is more of a visionary than that.

    Hope is cruel

  • xraided

    Mistic1 Tha Supavillain Says:
    May 13th, 2013 at 3:07 pm
    Spiff Says:
    May 13th, 2013 at 3:04 pm
    i for one believed in pryor coming out of college. thought he had the tools to succeed. don’t know if he’s being black-balled or if he sucks at practice or what. we could use him in the pistol inside the 20, but if we do that it don’t take long for defenses to figure that out making it pedictable when pryor comes in. and on that note if pryor isn’t part of the plans, once again wilson is better than flynn.

    makes no sense to designate pryor as a red zone qb, what about the other 80 yards on the field.

    fact is pryor in a hybrid offense offers far more challenges to a defense than wilson or flynn in a conventional offense.

    it is why wash carolina and seattle and sf are among the best offense in football

    philly and buffalo are on deck

    pryor can be as good as newton he is already better between the ears in terms of maturity


    if Pryor can put up passing numbers like Kaep, Wilson or Newton … i will commend you all day long for sticking by him. he has accuracy issues, and it showed in the SD game week 17. he’s been working hard, so come July we will see how far he’s gotten. i guess maybe even at OTA’s comin up in a month or so …

  • dr_robert

    Lol. What a weird idiot.

    I LIKE kaepernick, griffin, Wilson, and newton.

    U like to talk around the issue and blame others for being blunt.

    Ur a con man. And not a very good one.

    None of those guys overcame racism.

    “Had to go to Baylor”?

    Poor guy. Griffin got a quality education for free at a D1 school and was drafted #2 and made millions.

    Kaepernick was overlooked. Happens all the time. I guess Romo is fighting racism too. But the nfl recognized his talents.

    Newton forced to sit behind tebow? Well tebow had a pretty spectacular college career. Why aren’t u hyping his college numbers? Wrong color?

    Wilson was picked in the third as a 5’10” qb so he was lucky to be picked that high.

    Pryor isn’t fighting racism. He’s fighting poor throwing.

    Ur a racist clown.

  • The_Judge37

    1504.ElkGRaider Says:
    May 13th, 2013 at 3:10 pm
    So…who was it saying Wilson had the noodle arm? Or was it a troll?

    He does sort of have a noodle arm, but it’s like an aldente Fettucini noodle.

  • spiff

    xraided, i thought da was the dc. just imagine da, sporano and schwarts. if tarver is not the guy da sure won’t be the guy. jury still out on this guy. so do you mean a new head coach and hire schwartz as a dc.inteesting

  • alex7

    Projected starters.

    QB – Flynn
    RB – DMac
    WR – Streater, Moore, Ford
    TE – Rivera
    OL – Veldehulk, ?, Wiz, Briesel, Barnes (Watson by week 6)
    DL – Houston, Sims, Walker (more 3-4 to help pass-rush)
    LBs – Moore, Roach, Burnett, Burris or Maiava?
    CB – Hayden, Porter
    FS – Usama
    SS – Branch

    There is NO way this roster is among the worst rosters in the NFL. I’m putting the Jags, Browns, Bears, Steelers, Jets, and Cardinals as worse or equally bad rosters.

    Some of them just happen to have a better QB. (= more wins).

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    Dr_robert Says:
    May 13th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Pryor is NOT like newton.

    he is like kordell stewart


    newton at auburn

    66 cmp % 30 td 7 int

    pryor 65% 27 td 11 int

    stewart 62% 10 tds 3 int

    pryor is very much like newton

    stewart would have killed in the hybrid, but the nfl wanted him to be a so called pocket passer

    the nfl and collges have ruined many qbs trying to discourage them from running.

    the nfl is finally catching on, let the brothas play thier brand of football it is far more difficult to stop

  • ElkGRaider

    So Wilson has 3 of the 4 ingredients needed huh?

    1. arm strength
    2. accuracy
    3. toughness (think most agreed on that from ark.)
    4. intangibles? (can he lead? does he study?)

  • xraided

    DA is our HC …i don’t know what would happen to him after this season. im just speculating that he’ll still be here.

    so if Tarver ends up being in over his head … then DA will go out and get a real name like Schwartz. that was the point, the big name HC’s that go back to what they were truly good at are the good choices… like Jack Del Rio for the Dungver Donkos

  • spiff

    if pryor can be more accurate (which he hasn’t shown)and put more zip on the ball hitting receivers in stride instead of those floaters you have my vote. and if he is showing it whats the big secret. put him in the discussion. tell us pryor is making temendous strides towards being the starter. you just don’t here that. it’s puzzling. pryor can be special based on our opinions, or what we assume. but word is pryor not there. wish he was. hope he is. no evidence to the point.

  • spiff

    da’s the head coach. yet it’s his defense tarver is running.if tarver ain’t getting it done. da could take over and call the defense like rex ryan is in new york. my point is i’m not sold on da . his job is on the line not tarvers. believe that.

  • xraided

    spiff Says:
    May 13th, 2013 at 3:31 pm
    da’s the head coach. yet it’s his defense tarver is running.if tarver ain’t getting it done. da could take over and call the defense like rex ryan is in new york. my point is i’m not sold on da . his job is on the line not tarvers. believe that.


    yea wouldn’t be a bad idea.

  • xraided

    “the nfl is finally catching on, let the brothas play thier brand of football it is far more difficult to stop”

    calls the race card on others… but has to throw in BROTHAS there… LMAO!

    we’ll see how long Kaep, Wilson, and the already hobbled RGIII last in the NFL running around all game long.

  • ShanghaiSmith

    Just Fire Baby Says:
    May 13th, 2013 at 6:32 am
    Curious how you can display “the compusure of a veteran player” in a rookie minicamp.

    Not saying he doesn’t have it in spades, but wondering how Corky surmised that from a non-padded 2 hour rookie practice.


    I assume it means he was ruling with authority in the huddle and at the line.

  • dkernwvu@gmail.com

    Hey fellas (and gals) first time caller long time fan… Anyway, I’d like some feedback on the idea that maybe Amy Left because were about to make some moves on the stadium and she was acting as hurtle to that. I don’t know what the status of that is for us but it seemed like we were moving in the direction to get some answers and it suddenly stopped. A women like her would have a lot of sway on how we’d proceed in that department and as an Al loyalist she may have held things up. Personally, it feels like the emphasis her ‘ I chose to leave raiders’ aspect of her statement seems pressed. My guess is she got pressed out and as a part of the deal she got to say she chose to leave. A savy business person would make that a provision of leaving quietly. Thoughts?

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