Filed for print with additional information and expanded notes . . .
One moment Andre Holmes was breaking into the clear Monday and hauling in a perfectly-thrown post pattern from Matt Schaub for a touchdown against rookie cornerback Keith McGill.
The next, Denarius Moore attempted bring down a Schaub sideline throw with a prodigious leap, only to have the ball break free when he hit the ground.
Almost, a great play, but not quite.
You could make a case that those plays properly summed up the trajectories of the standing of both men with the Raiders. The initial depth chart agreed, listing Holmes as a first-team receiver and Moore as third team behind veteran James Jones.
On the other side, Rod Streater appears entrenched as the starter, with Greg Little running with the second team.
Greg Jenkins was a practice squad promotion a year ago who scored a touchdown on Thanksgiving against Dallas on special teams. Seth Roberts, an undrafted free agent out of West Alabama, has caught everything thrown his way. Brice Butler was a draft pick who stuck last season.
It’s a crowded position group.
Besides, Raiders coach Dennis Allen warned not to make too much out of the first depth chart.
“Everything that we’ve done so far has been in pencil,’’ Allen said. “That will be determined as we continue through these preseason games. I just wanted to give you guys something to write about. ‘’
Allen did say the depth chart was an accurate barometer on where the players currently stand. With 130 receptions for 2,054 yards and 17 touchdowns in his first three seasons, Moore has seldom if ever been listed as the third-team receiver when healthy.
Moore said he learned his lesson last year to quit worrying about the other receivers in his position group and instead worry about himself.
“I was worrying whether I was going to be able to be that go-to guy, or what I was supposed to on this down or that down,’’ Moore said. “If I dropped the last pass, I’d think, `Are they going to come back to me? Do they have faith in me?’ I should have just let it go and go on to the next play.’’
Allen and offensive coordinator Greg Olson have talked about Moore’s issues with consistency and the struggle to put together a string of good games or good practices.
“He’s been better this camp,’’ Allen said. “I’m excited by Denarius Moore, but I’m also excited by the whole position group.’’
Olson said Moore is doing well and that “he’s got good competition.’’ Asked if the competition is pushing Moore to be better, Olson said, “I would hope so.’’
At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Holmes is four inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than Moore. Over the last seven games of the 2013 season, Holmes 25 receptions for 431 yards _ an average of 17.2 yards per catch _ and had a touchdown.
Allen noted the trend toward larger receivers league-wide and said of Holmes, “Sometimes you get these big receivers and they don’t play big. Andre not only has the physical stature but he plays to that stature,’’ I think he’s going to be a real factor for us this year.’’
Holmes’ goal for 2014 is an area which has been an issue when it comes to Moore.
“I just want to continue on an upward slope,’’ Holmes said.
– Maurice Jones-Drew was listed as the first team running back ahead of Darren McFadden, but the two have split first-team reps almost evenly since camp began. If both are healthy, McFadden could transition into a role as a third-down back and receiving threat.
McFadden is also the second team kickoff return specialist behind Taiwan Jones.
The normal attrition of an NFL decision will determine how the carries are distributed, but it’s no secret the coaching staff is delighted at how Jones-Drew is performing.
– The depth chart listed Sio Moore as the starting weak side linebacker over Miles Burris, but Moore missed his second straight practice with a rib injury.
“We’ll see what Sio’s able to do over the next couple of days, but obviously you have to go with the guys that are healthy and out there,’’ Allen said. “Right now it’s Miles Burris.’’
– Cornerback DJ Hayden continues to be a spectator at practice as he recovers from surgery related to a stress fracture. If the recovery is too slow and Hayden doesn’t practice in the preseason, he would be eligible for the regular-season physically unable to perform list put on the injured reserve/designated for return list.
The PUP would mean missing at least six games, IR would mean missing at least eight games.
Allen doesn’t expect it to come to that.
“I expect to see him before preseason but we’ll have to wait and see,” Allen said. “He is getting better. But he’s not ready to be out here playing football yet.”
– Tight end David Ausberry missed practice with a knee injury but it isn’t expected to be a long-term absence. Ausberry is listed as the first team tight end, in part because Mychal Rivera is used in a lot of different ways.
“They really kind of play two different positions, although they both line up as a tight end,” Allen said.
– Schaub talked up the wide receiver group as a whole.
“There’s a lot of guys that many people don’t know about but after coming here and working with them for four or five months, it’s a good group,” Schaub said. “It’s as good as I’ve been around, top to bottom. We’ve got a lot of guys with different skill sets that are competing their tails off.”
– On Military Appreciation Day, the Raiders had approximately 280 to 300 members of the National Guard, the Marines and guests from the Pathway Home in Yountville. The Pathway Homes serves soldiers who were wounded or are dealing with post traumatic stress disorder.