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Day 15: It

Raiders writer Bill Soliday

Posted by Bill Soliday, Raiders beat writer for ANG Newspapers
When Phillip Buchanon left for Houston, nobody threw him a going away party in Oakland. His act was growing old with fans, teammates, coaches and we won’t even get into his media relations. Suffice it to say, listening to him talk about himself in the third person got a little old after awhile.

Personally, I don’t think he’s a bad guy. A bit undisciplined and a bit egocentric (actually a lot egocentric), yes. Bad guy…ehhhh…probably not.

Well, he’s in Houston now and the Texans seem to think “Showtime” is just the solution for their 24th ranked pass defense … even though he was starting on the league’s 30th ranked pass defense a year ago.

“Phillip’s got so much talent,” secondary coach Jon Hoke said. “If he does his job consistently, he’s going to make us better. He can bring so much to our defense because he’s got so much big play ability.”

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Posted on Monday, August 15th, 2005
Under: Training Camp (2005) | 11 Comments »

Day 13: Missing the unkindest cut of all

NFL writer Jerry McDonald

Posted by NFL Editor and ANG football writer Jerry McDonald
Ryan Riddle got cut Thursday but he avoided getting released.

There were laughs all around when Riddle emerged from the field house on the Raiders practice field with a hideous haircut provided at no charge to rookies each year at training camp, courtesy of some all-to-willing veterans.

About an hour earlier, there were gasps all around when Riddle was involved in a collision with Randy Moss during a drill. Moss leaped high, fell awkwardly, and buckled to the ground in a position that looked as if injury could result.

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Posted on Friday, August 12th, 2005
Under: Training Camp (2005) | 11 Comments »

Day 12: The Depth Chart Conundrum

Raiders writer Bill Soliday

Posted by Bill Soliday, Raiders beat writer for ANG Newspapers
One of the ongoing joys of scoping out an NFL team’s practices is trying to ascertain who has moved ahead of whom on the depth chart. It’s easy enough to see who is with the first unit most of the time, but sometimes what you see can be deceiving.

Example: Marques Anderson has been playing ahead of Derrick Gibson at strong safety through much of camp. Then, suddenly, on Tuesday Gibson was with the first unit. Did this mean a promotion for Gibson and a demotion for Anderson?

“No,” Anderson said. “I think they’re just working through it, taking some looks at some people. It’s preseason. Everybody is going to get a look.” Now you wait for a chance to ask Gibson, who was not exactly doing handstands.

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Posted on Thursday, August 11th, 2005
Under: Training Camp (2005) | 8 Comments »

Day 9: The lighter side of the grouch

NFL writer Jerry McDonald

Posted by NFL Editor and ANG football writer Jerry McDonald
We interrupt a stream of “grumpy Rich” anecdotes to balance the ledger concerning the demeanor of one Rich Gannon.

True, he could be a little defensive.

In 2003, Gannon asked whether yours truly had been indulging in recreational drug use, wondering whether any crack had been smoked after putting in print that the Raiders ought to consider using Marques Tuiasosopo for a series or two as a change of pace.

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Posted on Saturday, August 6th, 2005
Under: Training Camp (2005) | 9 Comments »

Day 8: Will you still love me tomorrow?

NFL writer Jerry McDonald

Posted by NFL Editor and ANG football writer Jerry McDonald
Tight end Rickey Dudley drifted into the left flat unnoticed, wide open. He went unnoticed by quarterback Andrew Walter as well, with the ball going elsewhere.

Hoping for a second chance with the Raiders, Dudley has none of the pressure which accompanied his first go-round as a much-hyped first-round draft pick out of Ohio State in 1996.

Few tears were shed when Dudley left as a free agent following the 2000 season. The media was full of critics, the stands were full of boos. Some of his teammates didn’t know what to make of him. Some coaches looked at his unemotional exterior and wondered if he really cared.

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Posted on Friday, August 5th, 2005
Under: Training Camp (2005) | 6 Comments »

Day 5: The kinder, gentler Raiders

NFL writer Jerry McDonald

Posted by Jerry McDonald, NFL editor and writer for ANG Newspapers
Something’s missing in the early stages of training camp, and it’s not the sight of Rich Gannon, Tim Brown or Jerry Rice.

The 2005 Raiders look downright dignified, keeping their skirmishes within the confines of the rulebook. A crew of officials was on hand to watch the Raiders Tuesday, and they must have been stunned to see football’s supposed bad boys lending each other a helping hand.

There have been no training camp fights, hardly even a push, a shove or even a discouraging word. The four-letter words are flying, but not the fists.

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Posted on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2005
Under: Training Camp (2005) | 7 Comments »

Day 4: Pour The Wine

Raiders writer Bill Soliday

Posted by Bill Soliday, Raiders beat writer for ANG Newspapers
If you try real hard, you can smell the cabernet in the air up here. Probably wishful thinking. However, certain members of the media with an oeneophilic tendency have the gall to show up at the Napa Valley Marriott wearing t-shirts advertising that little-known athletic endeavor, The Wine Tasting Triathlon … consisting of performing the following feats, in order:
Swirl, sip, chug.

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Posted on Monday, August 1st, 2005
Under: Training Camp (2005) | 14 Comments »

Day 3: Top secret scouting report

NFL writer Jerry McDonald

Posted by Jerry McDonald, NFL editor and writer for ANG Newspapers
For getting a look at the Raiders’ lone practice Sunday afternoon, it was more advantageous to be a couple of guys drinking beer and peering over a fence than it was to be an accredited member of the Kansas City media.

As per club policy, the Raiders denied practice access to Kansas City Star reporter Wright Thompson.

Thompson waited outside the practice area and was granted interview access once the sessions were over.

To be fair, this sort of paranoia is fairly widespread throughout the NFL. Word out of Miami is new coach Nick Saban has control issues which may set a new standard.

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Posted on Sunday, July 31st, 2005
Under: Training Camp (2005) | 33 Comments »

Day Two: The Boss Arrives

NFL writer Jerry McDonald

Posted by Jerry McDonald, NFL editor and writer for ANG Newspapers
Al Davis made his first appearance at Saturday’s second session, needing a little help to get around but none when it came to seizing the moment.
Davis moved slowly, with the aid of a walker, in what was surely a stubborn concession to reduced mobility.
While interacting with players and in an informal chat with a handful of media, Davis seemed no different than the Davis who brought his team back to Oakland 10 years ago.

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Posted on Saturday, July 30th, 2005
Under: Training Camp (2005) | 10 Comments »

Day One: Camp Opens

NFL writer Jerry McDonald

Posted by Jerry McDonald, NFL editor and writer for ANG Newspapers
The buildup was more exciting than the actual event.

The 2005 Oakland Raiders took the field for the first time Friday afternoon behind the Napa Marriott, away from the prying eyes of the general public.

A whirlwind offseason that brought wide receiver Randy Moss and running back LaMont Jordan to the offense and a host of new faces to a beleaguered defense brought with it a level of excitement far exceeding the reality of its importance.

To steal a line from Allen Iverson, “We’re talking about practice.”

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Posted on Friday, July 29th, 2005
Under: Training Camp (2005) | 13 Comments »