Rookie linebacker Khalil Mack flattened tight end Mychal Rivera on a running play Thursday, with Rivera knocked on his backside.
“It was good to see,” coach Dennis Allen said. “I expect him to be able to do that a lot this year.”
Sure enough, on the next play Mack stuffed running back Latavius Murray on a run play up the middle. That’s the kind of bang the Raiders expect from Mack, their first-round draft pick.
– Veteran safety Charles Woodson intercepted quarterback Matt Schaub on back-to-back plays. He returned one for a touchdown.
Allen jumped to Schaub’s defense by pointing out that Schaub “responded well” after the interceptions and has played well overall in camp.
“I know how this whole thing is going to work,” Allen said. “Anytime Schaub throws an interception, everybody is going to want to try to hit the panic button and act like the sky is falling. … I’ll let (others) push the panic button. I’m not going to. He’s still doing a great job.”
Rookie Derek Carr also had a pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown Thursday. In the end, neither play is much to get worked up over.
If they happen during exhibition games, then it warrants concern.
As Allen said, Schaub had another pretty decent day. On one play, Schaub laid a pass in to wide receiver Denarius Moore on a post route. However, defensive back Chimdi Chekwa was there to break up the play.
– Brandian Ross and Jonathan Dowling also intercepted passes Thursday, and cornerback Taiwan Jones recovered a fumble. The takeaways earned high praise from Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver.
– On Woodson’s first interception, he fell to the ground, rolled over, jumped to his feet and ran over to fans where he doled out a slew of high-fives. The fans roared with delight.
He gave the fans even more reason to cheer on the next play, when he returned an interception for a touchdown. He did so with the kind of flair you might expect from Woodson, ever the showman.
– Defensive tackle Antonio Smith missed practice with a groin injury that he suffered Wednesday. Allen said he doesn’t feel as if the injury is related to the sports hernia that Smith had surgery for in the offseason.
Wide receivers Juron Criner (hamstring) and Greg Little (hamstring) and linebackers Kaluka Maiava (hamstring) and Marshall McFadden (hip) also missed practice.
– WR Rod Streater (concussion) practiced at full strength for the first time since he got injured. Guard Austin Howard (back) returned to practice one day after he missed some time.
– TJ Carrie and Denarius Moore have impressed Allen on punt returns so far, Allen said. Rookie George Atkinson III has a ways to go in the return game, however.
“The guy’s explosive, he’s got some talent,” Allen said, “but he’s got to do a better job of hanging on to the ball.”
– Defensive lineman C.J. Wilson practiced for the first time Thursday after he was activated from the non-football injury list.