Notes from the practice field at the RNC

The Oakland Raiders put on their most organized Raider Nation Celebration yet. Instead of random players wandering off to the stands at various times to sign autographs, the team set up a period after the practice where nearly all of the players were at the stands signing. The practices themselves looked more energetic than years past, as well.

Darrius Heyward-Bey continued to have problems with drops, but JaMarcus Russell was mostly on target. Chaz Schilens has to be the best receiver playing that is active, as it is impossible to judge Javon walker, despite his many great workouts off to the side.

  • The Raider Nation was loud and proud on what is called “Raider New Year.” There was one fan who kept chanting MVP every time JaMarcus Russell would make a good play.
  • Nnamdi Asomugha got in on some action in front of the fans. He did receive extra stretching on the sidelines at the beginning of practice, but he covered DHB among others.
  • Javon Walker, Robert Gallery, Jeff Garcia, and Samson Satele all wore jerseys, but did not work out. Both Gallery and Satele were right their with the other linemen during position drills.
  • DHB had some nice catches, including a perfect laser from JaMarcus Russell split double coverage, and a sliding catch that was thrown where only DHB could get it. However, DHB also had a few drops. The one that stood out the most was in red zone drills, where DHB had the ball ricochet off his hands at the goal line and into a defender’s hands.
  • Russell had some beautiful throws, such as the aforementioned laser to DHB and others that split coverage. However, he also hung several deep balls, and misfired on several others. He is still looking MUCH better than he did at the offseason workouts.
  • Good thing for Luke Lawton this was a light contact drill, as he had caught a swing pass on the sideline and Mike Mitchell had a perfet angle on him for the knock-out blow, but Mitchell only gave him a little shove. (Which was called a tackle today.)
  • Both Louis Murphy and Nick Miller ran reverses from the wide receiver position, and looked good doing it.
  • Hiram Eugene made a nice play breaking up a pass on the sideline.
  • There were two interceptions, one was the bobble-drop from DHB, and the other was a bad throw over the middle by Russell that Ricky Brown made an excellent play on.
  • I have been predicting Nick Miller as a practice squad guy, but he is playing at such a high level that he is going to make it difficult to cut him.
  • When Miller was running his reverse, an unknown member of the coaching staff said, “Come on scrappy!” An appropriate nickname for Miller.
  • I saw Michael Bush have a greate blitz pick-up that set up a deep pass to Louis Murphy that fell incomplete, but the officials flagged a flagerent defensive pass interference call.
  • Todd Watkins had a 70 yard catch and run in full team drills. That was the first offensive play following the DHB drop-ception.
  • Talked to Oren O’Neal and he said the “Knee felt fine.”

Coach Cable’s post practice Q&A

Q: How did it feel working in front of all the fans?

Cable: It’s good.
This is good for us. It’s a break from Napa in the middle of camp and everything. The most important thing was to give something back to all these
people. I mentioned when I got hired, I thought the fans in Oakland have been
great, they’ve been very supportive, it’s high time this team gives something
back. And that’s the goal this year. We’ve got to bring this team and this
community together.

Q: Did you get anything out of the
practice:

Cable: We did. One thing, we approached it the right way, we
talked about it, and in the the two years I’ve been here it’s been kind of a
goof-around thing. I didn’t want it to be like that. Let’s go and have some
things we want to get done, and we got it done.

Q: Thought about having
more practices with fans?

Cable: I’ve been around that. When I was in
Atlanta, there were 5,000 people every day. I don’t know if it really matters.
You’ve got to get your work done, and to me the best thing is to have a good
environment where you can teach and you can work.

Q: Schedule backs off
with a game approaching, work on keeping focused mentally . . .

Cable:
Only because the two-a-days, we’ve still got one, we’ve got one Tuesday, and
we’ll stay the course with that, we really will.

About Patrick A. Patterson, Senior Writer

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