The Raiders ended practice Wednesday with a two-minute drill where the offense needed to score a touchdown to win.
Quarterback Matt Schaub, who has been extremely sharp since the Raiders went to padded practices Sunday, got the Raiders in the end zone on the 10th play of the drive with a short flip to Denarius Moore in the back of the end zone.
Schaub patiently completed short passes down the field, moving the chains and exhausting the clock until the touchdown, which came when Moore got free against Chimdi Chekwa.
“It definitely feels pretty crisp, but there’s always stuff we can clean up, things we can get better at,”Schaub said. “We’re not there yet, but it’s some quality work we’re getting in and a good defense we’re seeing on a day to day basis. We’re just trying to make each other better.”
Wide receiver Rod Streater, stayed out of team sessions while recovering from a concussion, can see the difference in the offense with Schaub in command.
“He’s been very impressive, completing a lot of passes compared to what we were last year,” Streater said. “It’s looking way better. His two-minute drive ended with a touchdown so I think we’re way ahead of where we were last year.”
Schaub said he is still in the process of learning his teammates, finding out which ones need prodding, criticism or a pat on the back.
`We’re getting close to having everyone figured out, but it’s a never ending process,” Schaub said. “The more we go through training camp, the more things get hard, the more install we put in the hotter it gets, the longer the days, the you find out about guys.”
Schaub has seemed amused by questions about his confidence following a poor season to Houston and laughed when told Antonio Smith, a teammate in Houston and now in Oakland, said, “Schabby’s got his mojo back.”
Said Schaub: “I never lost it. It never went anywhere.”
– Right guard Austin Howard left practice when his back tightened up and was replaced by Gabe Jackson, the third-round draft pick out of Mississippi State. Jackson had played exclusively on the left side.
“What you try to do when you have an injury is keep as much continuity as you can,” Allen said. “You move Khalif, now you’re switching two guys. You want to be able to just plug a guy in.”
Allen was not sure of the extent of Howard’s injury.
– Defensive tackle Antonio Smith, who had sports hernia surgery in the offseason, left practice with a groin issue possibly related to that procedure.
– Wide receiver Rod Streater participated in warmups and drills but sat out team sessions. Streater had a concussion Monday and said he has been cleared for contact Thursday.
– A potential move to San Antonio or anywhere else is not on the radar of Allen.
“That’s above my pay grade,” Allen said. “That’s something Mark Davis is in charge of and I really don’t focus too much on that.”
– Fullback Marcel Reece, dropped about 15 pounds in the offseason, made the play of the day with a leaping sideline catch of a pass from Schaub despite tight coverage from Tyvon Branch.
“Whether it was the reason he was able to make that play or not, I don’t know, but it certainly doesn’t hurt,’’ Allen said. “I just think losing that weight is going to make him more explosive.’’
– Right tackle Menelik Watson continues to play well, effectively pass blocking rookie nickel rusher Khalil Mack on the 10-play drive in the two-minute drill at the end of practice.
“I’ve been very impressed with what he’s been able to do on the right side,” Allen said. “I think it helps him on a day-in and day-out basis that he’s going against guys like Justin Tuck, Lamarr Woodley and Khalil Mack. That’s going to do nothing but get both sides of the ball better.”
– Second-string quarterback Derek Carr also put the offense into the end zone against backup defenders, finishing it off with a run around right end for the score. Carr’s mobility is almost Rich Gannon-like, and it was one of the things that Allen liked about Carr during the scouting process.
“From that standpoint he and Schaubby are two different quarterbacks, but Derek adds a mobility that allows him to create when things don’t happen the way we want them too,” Allen said. “What was good to see about it was he was decisive. he put the ball the way, took off and ran, and understood if he needed to get out of bounds he could but if it was clean he could score the touchdown.”