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Notes, quotes and observations from OTA Monday

Rookie Gabe Jackson got some reps with the first-team offensive line today at left guard Monday, and it sounds as if Jackson is on the fast track.
Veteran Khalif Barnes is the projected starter for now. However, it’s not a stretch to envision Jackson winning a starting job at some point, if not right away this season.
“I like Gabe,” coach Dennis Allen said. “I liked him when he came out in the draft. I’ve liked what I’ve seen on the practice field. Mentally is where he’s really got to work to improve. Because any time you get in this situation as a rookie, you’re behind from a mental standpoint and just picking up the offense, not to mention the physical aspect of the game.”
Jackson started all four years during his collegiate career. Allen said starting that many games in the rugged SEC bodes well for Jackson.
Still, Jackson has a ways to go before he beats out either Barnes or Austin Howard at one of the guard spots. Allen makes it sound as if it won’t be long before Jackson makes his mark.
“Gabe is a good athlete for a player of his size, and he’s got very good power,” Allen said. “And he’s a lot better pass protector than people might think. I’ve been impressed with him, I’m pleased with his progress and he’s got to continue to work.”

– Running back Darren McFadden was among a handful of players that returned kicks today. Yes, folks, you read that correctly.
And this wasn’t some lark, either. This is just another example of Allen taking a look at every player in multiple roles to see how he can maximize their talents.
Hence, McFadden joined the likes of Taiwan Jones and George Atkinson III returning kicks midway through practice, even though McFadden hasn’t returned kicks during his first six NFL seasons.
“Anything’s an option,” Allen said, when asked if McFadden is a realistic option as a kick returner. “We’re looking at a lot of different things, a lot of people in a lot of different areas. There’s a ton of things that aren’t set. Everything’s written in pencil right now. We’re going to continue to look, not only at that, but a lot of other areas where guys can help our team win.”

– As for the rest of the offensive line, it looked much the same as it has all offseason:
Left offensive tackle — Donald Penn
Left guard — Barnes/Jackson
Center — Stefen Wisniewski
Right guard — Austin Howard
Right tackle — Menelik Watson
It says here, the only player assured a starting spot along the offensive line is Wisniewski. Penn, Barnes, Howard and Watson simply are the leading candidates to start the season.
“Wiz has been a solid piece to that offensive line,” Allen said. “He’s a little bit of the glue that kind of holds the thing together because he’s highly intelligent. Again, we put a lot on him from a recognition standpoint, whether it be fronts, stunts, blitzes, all that. It’s part of the process. To have somebody of his ability level and his intelligence level, kind of running things in there, is key for our success.”

– Here are the six players who did not participate in full-team drills today: wide receiver James Jones (hamstring), guard Lucas Nix (undisclosed), defensive end Justin Tuck, defensive lineman Antonio Smith, linebacker Kevin Burnett and cornerback DJ Hayden.
Jones worked on his running and routes with an athletic trainer on an adjacent field. He looked fine from a distance. Hayden and Nix did not participate at all, though they was on the field for the duration.
Tuck, Smith and Burnett weren’t spotted on the field at any time. Allen said he communicated with those players and is satisfied with their status.

– Allen and offensive coordinator Greg Olson at times were critical of wide receiver Denarius Moore for his inconsistency.
Here’s what Allen had to say about Moore’s progress in that regard:
“We’re still working through that,” Allen said. “He’s not unlike a lot of guys we have on our football team. He’s still got a lot of improvement that he’s got to make. I’ve seen some strides and hopefully he’ll continue to make those strides.”
Allen is hard on Moore, just as he has been with fellow receiver Juron Criner, Watson, Hayden and others that he has high expectations.
“With all these guys, the attention to detail is where we got to work to continue to improve,” Allen said. “That’s with all these guys because the margin for error in the NFL is very minute, very small, so the ability to be precise in everything you do is critical to (being successful).”
Moore is competing for one of two starting spots, with Rod Streater and Jones the other leading candidates. Allen said the Raiders can succeed without a legitimate No. 1 receiver, as long as a corps of good receivers makes plays when needed.

– Allen wasn’t thrilled about several of his players participating in a charity basketball game late last week.
Then again, all he could do was let his feelings be known, offer his advice on how to proceed and hope none of his players got hurt.
“I’m happy that we were able to get through that without any injuries,” Allen said. “The intent is the right intent, to raise money for charity. I wasn’t in agreement with the way in which they went about doing it because, again, they’re paid to play football. Anytime you put that at risk, you’re taking a significant risk.
“These are grown men and they make decisions on what they want to do with their personal time, and that was a decision that those guys took part in. The thing I’m happy about is that we were able to get out of that without any injuries. Really my focus now is solely on this team and this team getting better and what do we need to do to improve out here on the football field.”
Safety Tyvon Branch was one of the participants. He said he and others are well aware of what they are doing when they sign up for such an event.
“Anytime you have a chance to get out there and give back to the community and get involved in anything charitable, I’m all for it,” Branch said. “I just want to be out there and have fun with the community.”
Playing basketball isn’t that out of the ordinary for football players. Many of them fancy themselves NBA-caliber players, if just given the opportunity.
“I guess that’s at your discretion what you want to do in the offseason,” Branch said. “We understand the risks that’s involved in working out. Anytime you’re working out away from the facility, you put yourself at risk. But guys do what they have to do to stay in shape. Everybody does it differently.”

– Rookie quarterback Derek Carr had a mixed bag kind of day. Several throws were right on the money. A few others were too low, behind the receiver or off the mark.
Veteran Trent Edwards looked particularly sharp. Matt Schaub and Matt McGloin were much like Carr, with more on-the-money throws than poor ones.

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Steve Corkran

  • jesusraiderjim

    It’s like a Morgue in here. Hope fully the guys will show up later with the “right mindset”, and “put in the work”, because “we like the skillset”, just gotta “get better everyday”, cause “everything is written in pencil” BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!!!!!!
    Observation: DA doesn’t like DMo.

  • RaidingTexas

    Welcome to the club, DA.

  • RaidingTexas

    Are they still in Sacramento? Or did they move?

  • 0ak R8rs

    I disagree. Great Raider teams have been built around great corners. I have no problem drafting a CB over a DT at 12. Nothing wrong w a corner in that slot. He wasn’t even the first corner taken. As to specifically the players themselves, would I rather have about 20 guys other than Hayden right now? Sure. But there’s no substitute for a shutdown or playmaking corner if you think you can get one.

  • RaidingTexas

    I’ve read the exact opposite. The majority of QBs do not rebound from a season like Schaub had in 2013.

  • Buckarama

    Yeah he really doesn’t think he’s any good. We still don’t have any WRs and I think it will tell this year.

  • 0ak R8rs

    I don’t like Dmoore either (as a football player). What’s to like in the past 2 years?

  • hwnrdr

    LOL, NBA Kings are getting a new arena built, so they’re staying. I was talking about NHL…LA Kings!

  • Guest123

    Great Raider teams have nothing to do with the way the game is played today. I agree that corners are a premium. But if Reggie really wanted Dee Milliner, he could have had him at #3 overall. He said he would have taken Hayden over Milliner, and that is just flat wrong, based on the film and measurables. In the top of the first round, you draft elite talents at their respective position. I’m sure he wanted to draft Sammy Watkins for example, but I’m glad he “settled” for Khalil Mack. See that’s what I’m talking about. Don’t go reaching for lesser talents when the blue chips at other positions are available. Reggie drafted need over talent, last year. I’m glad he learned his lesson this year taking Mack when he fell.

  • R8erEduc8er

    You know Sears is doing bad when they start offering Groupons…

  • Guest123

    LA Kings don’t need any help getting their 2nd Stanley Cup in 3 years. Bring the brooms out. Like Vince Carter said with the slash move, “it’s ovah!”

  • Myopinion

    What a suprise. A guy that hates penn cherry picks a quote out of context to call him out on. You might not like him as a player but his interview was a good one, he seems smart, willing to help the young guys. And he was real good just a couple years ago, so to say he doesn’t have anything to teach menelik or mcants is foolish.

  • https://twitter.com/MimiPeepeechimi Just Fire Baby

    Dee Miliner struggled his first half of the year, but got his groove and became one of the better DB’s in the league in December.
    It would be nice if DJ was able to work out those kinks, but he is a weenie.

  • R8erEduc8er

    Agreed. I was hoping to hear from him and was impressed with his responses in that interview.

  • Guest123

    Your grandkids will one day ask, what’s a Sears? Like my kids ask what’s a Woolworth store? Better take good pics so you can remember the good ole days. Penny’s is dying too.

  • https://twitter.com/MimiPeepeechimi Just Fire Baby

    Leading the team in TD’s? With a bunch of slop throwing him the ball and calling the plays.

  • https://twitter.com/MimiPeepeechimi Just Fire Baby

    Penny’s IS dead.

  • Guest123

    They went bankrupt already? I wouldn’t know. I avoid shopping malls like the plaugue.

  • RaidingTexas

    Oh, there are those amongst us that think he’s just as good as any other WR in the league. Alex likes to point out how even top-tier WRs such as Megatron drop passes. Never mind the actual drop rankings that show Moore (and Streater) as statistically in the top five for drop rates.

  • jesusraiderjim

    Knock Knock Knock, Penny, Penny, Penny. Knock, Knock, Knock, Penny, Penny, Penny. Nevermind LOL

  • 0ak R8rs

    Yea. Surprised Seattle didn’t just let Sherman walk. You’re right. Corners, who needs them?

    It has everything to do w today’s game, just like it always has.

  • https://twitter.com/MimiPeepeechimi Just Fire Baby

    I like D-Moore, but am OK with upgrading him.
    We haven’t done it yet. Not enough to put him on the bench.
    Jones is typically better in big play moments (he still drops a lot of passes as well), and Streater is a tad more consistent.
    But Moore can still hold his own with both of those guys. The rest of our WR group is well below Moore, Streater and Jones.

  • R8erEduc8er

    True statement. You meet a beautiful woman in a bar. She flirts with you heavy. Wants to take you back to her room. Buzzed and h*rny, you follow. In her room are some guys waiting to rob you and whatever else.

    That’s just one example lol

  • 0ak R8rs

    He did the same thing w Gutierez “10 takeaways from OTAs” blog today. Posted the link then picked the only real negative out of the piece, number 8. Not saying it wasn’t right. But he’s a little cranky this morning.

  • RaidingTexas

    So you’re selling Greg Little stock?

  • R8erEduc8er

    I think my mother-in-law is the only person that shops at Penny’s…she gets some outrageous deals though.

  • Guest123

    Look where Sherman got taken? 5th round. Look where Kam Chancellor got taken. What I’m saying is you don’t necessarily need to reach for the smallish corner with the 4.34 speed anymore to get a good corner. I would not be surprised at all to see our 4th round pick Keith McGill end up being a starter by next year. He has outstanding physical measurables and length. It’s almost as if we took a page from the Seattle scouting office when we took him there. I have as much hope that he’ll be a starter as I do DJ Hayden one day.

  • RaidingTexas

    Haha! That guy from Apple destroyed JCP. They were actually on a modest rebound. Then he tried to turn the place into a coffee shop. What an idiot.

  • RaidingTexas

    Whole Foods did a groupon. I think they’re doing OK.

  • 0ak R8rs

    And the opposite is also true. Just because Seattle managed to get a position change guy and some other fortunate pickups in the secondary late, doesn’t mean you don’t take them early if you think they r the guy. Plenty of guys in the secondary still getting picked in the first round. And rightly so.

  • Mike_Trail

    Freakin Hayden in a Freakin Boot….This dude is driving me nuts. Wonder how many games he misses this year….again. Is this guy the second coming of Glass Shillens and Lisfranc McFadden?

    So far this guy has bust written all over him IMO…I’ll give him till the end of the Season…But Jesus H—the guy has had a LOT of time off, and runs around a bit and immediately straps on the Ol Walking Boot.

    I might never forgive Reggie for passing on Star.

  • Guest123

    We really don’t have any right to call out our WR corps. Look at their draft standing when they came out. It’s fair to say we have invested on the cheap at WR and TE position. And it’s fair to defend them saying that they only had slop throwing the ball, but I think some of us in this blog like to oversell them, always using that word, potential. Next year, it would be nice to go after one of the premier free agent WR’s. Any of these will do. And maybe draft a top WR or TE. Imagine having a blue chip talent would do for Derek Carr.

    Top Free agent WR’s in 2015:

    Roddy White

    Wes Welker

    Reggie Wayne

    Jeremy Maclin

    Michael Crabtree

    Jordy Nelson

    Demaryius Thomas

    Dez Bryant

    Torrey Smith

    Randall Cobb

    Cecil Shorts

  • hwnrdr

    JC Penney’s…a coffee shop? WOW! What was he thinking?

  • Mike_Trail

    DMO is dead to me. Dude plays small, scared, tentative, and disappears for games at a time. Can’t have it.

  • Guest123

    AMEN brother. To all of that. Frikken Hayden can’t stay healthy and this is tee shirts and shorts. Can we act on faith he’ll line up and start a 16 game season. IDK about you, but I’m not willng to hit that “I believe” button.

  • hwnrdr

    That’s true…however, since this is the only time I do (really) pay attention to the Stanley Cup when the Kings are in it…I won’t count the chickens until “it’s ovah!”

  • Guest123

    DA seems to hate him. Suprise cut or trade?

  • Mike_Trail

    I never try to do this, but I absolutely blasted D-Moore last year on Twitter after his crappy, pouty, small, whimpy play–I just couldn’t take it anymore. Dude has the worst body language of any player out there. I just lost it.
    This is the NFL dude. Get tough or get gone.

  • R8erEduc8er

    We use hindsight to grade players and GMs. In the next few years, if Star and S Richardson doesn’t play as well as their rookie years and Hayden lights it up, it’s all moot. I prefer to let it all play out. But yea, Hayden needs to stay healthy and show something this year.

    I wanted Star in last year’s draft, but take out Sims and insert Star, is our defense better last year and this year?

  • RaidingTexas

    A lot of old or oft-injured guys on that list. And no way in hell Jerruh lets Dez get away. He may not be legally allowed to leave the state anyway.

  • Mike_Trail

    Yep, you can’t trade down and pick up a small corner with an insane injury history–over the next Haloti Ngata staring you in the face…
    That one hurt almost as bad as the DHB pick…

  • Guest123

    He could be great if he dedicated himself to learning and pushing himself harder. The things he struggles with are lame-brain lapses and concentration and focus issues. Game day he should be executing like he’s doing it in his sleep. Most times he just looks like he’s sleep jogging. And the pouting, body language, sulking on the sidelines gets really old fast when your team is behind. You want this guy to step up and be a leader, but he’s anything but an alphadog.

  • Mike_Trail

    Like Mark said: “Where are our foundation Players?”
    DJ Hayden??? PPPFFFFT!

  • Guest123

    With Star? You gotta be kidding me? Yes our defense is better. It’s not just about this year either. We need that Mark Davis called for “foundation players”. Do you think Sims is one of those? Jury is still out on Hayden ever being one, but I don’t think there’s a doubt in New York or Carolina whether or not Star or Richardson are foundation type players.

  • Mike_Trail

    Exactly. He doesn’t want anything to do with that level of responsibility.

  • willy91137

    89 days until football pound the rock 11 angry men

    good morning to the raider nation

  • Guest123

    that’s a penny stock imo

  • Guest123

    maybe so, but any of them would be an upgrade.

  • TrevJo

    I’m not talking about planting to turn, I’m talking about changing direction in an arc, without cutting.

  • Mike_Trail

    If I was DA I’d hate him too, he has the dreaded “Potential” tag, but he will never even come close to it—Trade City USA….