Finally, the story is about some of the hitting going on in practice. There was even a little scuffle. It was after practice but Tony Stewart and Jon Alston got into a little shoving match briefly. Apparently Alston brushed Stewart’s face mask after a play was called dead and Stewart took offense to it.
Darrius Heyward-Bey was still dropping balls like time square on new years so there is no change there (speaking of “Thud”).
Today the good news was in regards to the Raiders’ weakest attribute: run stopping. It wasn’t perfect but it looks to be much improved and everyone is getting in on the act. Which is exactly how it should go. Filling those gaps.
“Stopping the run is just attitude”, remarked Ricky Brown. “It is a beautiful thing to watch a defense play like that and I think we have that ability to do that on our defense.”
One such gap filling was the highlight of the entire practice. Gary Russell came shooting through a gap and was met with a thunderous hit by rookie safety Mike Mitchell.
“Yeah it was fun’, Mitchell said with a smile. “First time. I really I’ve been waiting to do something a little bit but I’m still kind of scared because coach always says don’t take nay shots on anybody. But I’m going to have to try to get loose out here because it’s no fun when you can’t play like yourself. Hopefully I won’t get in too much trouble but I want to start taking some shots.
“That’s what I do. Today I just wanted to get in there and get a little thud going. I think I did a good job of doing that. Once we start getting live and everything I definitely want to start taking my shots because that’s what I’m known for that’s why I’m here. I want to show people why I was drafted. Obviously Coach Cable told us these are our own teammates, we’re not going to lay out anybody, so right now that’s about the most you’re going to get out of me, a couple thuds. But when it gets live, can’t wait for that 13th next Thursday. That’s when no one is going to be holding me back so I’m going to be fine.”
“I’m trying to hit the person behind him, not him. That’s just how I play. I don’t talk any trash or anything like that. I’m just a physical player. When it’s game time, I’ll let that speak when I play. He’s going to be on his back and I’m going to be up yelling. That’s how it usually ends.”
If his coverage skills are anything near his hitting ability, then that spells great news for the Raiders. And so far, he has shown every indication of being worth that second round selection.
Apparently, the problems with holding onto the ball have only made Darrius Heyward-Bey bark even louder
Nnamdi has noted a couple of times about how DHB and his mouth do the talking despite his fingers not doing the walking (or catching, as it were).
“His on-field bravado, I guess, is as if nothing has gone wrong. You know, he’s a real confident guy and he’s talking a lot of trash lately…not to me, but you know to the DB’s. So guys are, guys are expecting a little bit more out of him right now so that he can back up what he’s saying.”
When the new pup was asked about his growling, this was his response:
“I don’t care (laughs). I just go out there and just play football. On the outside it looks like I don’t have a little bark, but I do.”
Uh…Perhaps DHB stands for Dog Has Bark (Which is better than his more common monicker; “Drops Hella Balls”) but you know what they say about a dog’s bark being worse than his bite? Yeah, that is mastering the understatement.