Cable grades practice a B

Tom Cable spoke to the media after the Raiders first practice session today in Alameda. The Raiders first practice turned out some surprises today, like JaMarcus Russell being the best looking quarterback of the day, YIKES! That’s a good start, good thing it’s the first practice of the year right?

Evidently, Nick Miller continues to be injured according to Cable, “Nick Miller, just, he’s sore. The shin splints are sore so we’re being cautions with that, same thing with Chaz.” Schilens is still suffering from soreness in the broken foot he lost nine regular season games to last year.

Also, coming as news to us in the Raiders news-media is that the former fullback of the future Oren O’Neal has been waived from the team following his second full season on IR. It’s unfortunate for O’Neal, because he was steadily becoming a fan favorite even with his limited performance. As always, there is a chance they could bring him back, but tearing your ACL and MCL in the same knee is generally career ending for running backs, even if they are only blocking backs.

Evidently what my colleague, Levi Damien, reported earlier about drawing quarterbacks names from hats was accurate. Cable was asked what it meant that Charlie Frye was running the first team offense today and offered the following, “First of all, means nothing. Don’t look anything into that. If you do, you’re wasting ink. There’s nothing to that right now. Just know that we’re putting in a bunch of new stuff and that’s where we’re at. So that’s what it is.”

Fortunately, for us, here at TFDS we don’t use any ink for our stories, so we can talk about it all we want. Of course, Frye was the coach’s pet from last season, so it only makes sense that he would know the playbook best at this point. Next to Bruce Gradkowski of course, who of course is not participating in practices due to the torn pectoral muscle he suffered earlier this month.

Coach Cable also told reporters, “80 percent of what we’re doing is much the same” as last year, so Charlie Frye and JaMarcus Russell will have an early advantage over newcomer Jason Campbell. That’s a scary thought, because last year this team scored only 17 touchdowns in 16 regular season games. If it is 80 percent the same, then I hope the new 20 percent involves running the football more. I thought last year that the team shouldn’t have even attempted a pass unless it was 3rd & 7 or longer. Especially due to the fact that the offense was so simple with that silly trips package for passing they kept running early in the year.

Coach Cable did not hesitate when asked about the recovery of left guard Robert Gallery, “Actually he’s right where they thought he’d be. Fortunately, this wasn’t down in the lower back or some of those issues, it’s in an area that has a great recovery rate and the procedure was done great, and the rehab has kind of worked how you lay it out. We figured he’d be there, and he’s good, with no issues.”

That bit of news is fantastic to hear from the coach’s mouth, and you have to hope that it is not just a company line. The fact that Gallery was out with his teammates running drills bodes well for the side that says Cable is telling the truth. Hopefully, Gallery does not succumb to the same kind of issues he had last season, because I think he could be a Pro Bowl caliber guard who can really help this offense. It was evident when he was absent from the line-up last year, and the running game especially suffered.

Coach Cable continued on to say that he is “geeked” about having less responsibility on play calling this year, “I had a lot more notes from practice on a broad area of things. From what I saw on some special teams things, with the DBs, something with the linebackers. I’m able to do that part more and I think that’s something that is a strength of mine. I kind of walked off the field feeling really good about what I saw and was anxious to look at it on film and kind of crosscheck myself. You’re right it does give a chance to look at a lot of things.”

When Coach was asked to grade the practice today, he gave it a B overall. That is a far cry from last year’s first mini-camp practice where the Raiders looked like they couldn’t have beaten my son’s pee-wee team.

He graded Raiders rookie linebacker Rolando McClain as an A, however, saying, “I thought [he was] very poised and he seemed to adapt to being able to go in and call the huddle right away. He’s been here really less than 24 hours. It shows the level of intelligence this young has, his background. He was very impressive that way.”

So far, so good for the Raiders early on in the offseason; sure they lost Oren O’Neal and JaMarcus Russell is the best looking QB out of the gate, but the season is just in its infantile stages people. I’m just saying a B, even if it is coming from somebody partial to the situation, is clearly better than the complete flopping egg they laid on the first day of practice in the 2009 season. Stay tuned here at Thoughts from the Darkside for continuing Raiders mini-camp coverage.

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About Patrick A. Patterson, Senior Writer

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