Training Camp day 1: Reps are very important

Dec 21, 2008; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders wide reciever Chaz Schilens (81) receives a pass during the Raiders' 27-16 victory over the Houston Texans at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

Training Camp is sprung in Napa, California and all the Raiders players are present. That’s more than the Patriots can say, they are actually missing a former Raiders player who is making a habit out of missing training camp time late in his career, Derrick Burgess. Perhaps it is an omen of which team is on the rise and which is on the decline. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t put too much credence into that last statement. Unless of course I’m actually right, in which case, you heard it here first.

Lots of news from camp, but perhaps the most important thing to keep a close eye on is wide receiver Chaz Schilens leaving the field with a trainer in the second practice. Jerry McDonald tweeted that Schilens was not limping, so that is a good sign.

For those who’ve been reading, I’ve said before that I would keep him out of training camp for the reason that he is injury prone and I would want him to be there for the first game to set a good tone for the season. However, I do realize that this idea is illogical because if you hold a player out of practice he will not know what he is doing on game day.

In other wide receiver news, Louis Murphy says he wants to tone it down this year. He claims he could’ve had a 1,000 yard season last year if he would’ve taken advantage of his opportunities. “There’s a lot of plays I left out there, man,” said Murphy. “I broke down every film, every play, of the entire year. That’s what I really have to do this year, is tone it down. I remember one time in particular I came in so amped up I forgot the first play. (I’m) feeling my way through the NFL. This second year, I feel way more comfortable. It’s a great feeling.”

Continuing the wide receiver talk, Nick Miller apparently picked up where he left off last training camp. He made a diving catch and Hue Jackson yelled, “I got one guy who can catch!” Apparently the first thing Jackson said at the beginning of the second practice was, “Run through the ball men. We’re going to be the best catching team in football.”

This would be quite an accomplishment after all the balls the Raiders dropped last season. Contrary to Jackson’s statement, Nnamdi Asomugha got his revenge against Jackson by picking off a pass from QB Bruce Gradkowski. After words, he walked over to Jackson and handed him the ball.

Nov 15, 2009; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive end Richard Seymour (92) reacts after a tackle during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The Chiefs defeated the Raiders 16-10. Photo via Newscom

Along the defensive front, Richard Seymour is playing on the interior line alongside Tommy Kelly. Matt Shaughnessy and Lamarr Houston are the current starting defensive ends. I have to say I really like the move and I was hoping it would happen. Seymour is a guy who is used to handling double teams from opposing offenses and that is exactly what the Raiders need. Now they have Seymour and Kelly who will both require a double team on the interior D-Line.

John Marshall was apparently telling his defenders to watch runs bouncing to the outside due to the two guys in the middle. His new interior toy, Seymour, claims he is more comfortable on the inside. He says he is naturally an inside player, but will play anywhere they want him to.

Rookie defensive end, Lamarr Houston is doing his part; he got into it with veteran lineman Robert Gallery. Apparently, Gallery was mad and Houston was without his helmet. While all of this was going on, Vittorio Tafur tweeted, “The Raiders might actually have some depth on defense.”

Could’ve fooled me, I thought that the two starting linebackers from last year, Ricky Brown and Thomas Howard being on second string were indicative of that theory. The fact that Mike Mitchell is at his healthiest since becoming a Raider would also imply the same. And Desmond Bryant as well as Jay Richardson and Quentin Groves add some depth to the front seven. But hey, I’m just pointing out the obvious here, right?

May 19, 2010; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell (8), center, huddles with teammates Jonathan Holland (17), Jacoby Ford (12), Louis Murphy (18) and Tony Stewart (86) at organized team activities at the Oakland Raiders practice facility. Photo via Newscom

This just in, Jason Campbell is a better quarterback, leader, and person than the person whose name we shall not mention. “I feel we’ve got a good guy, a dependable guy, a guy who’s going to work hard, who will be there for us every day,” said Chaz Schilens. “He’s not going to shy away from anything. You know what to expect. You know where the balls are going to be. That’s really all you can ask for as receivers, a dependable guy that’s going to go out and work hard every day. So we have that now.”

“The new quarterback is a great leader” says halfback Darren McFadden. “He gets back there and takes control so we’re looking forward to getting out there and seeing what we can put together.”

“To me, I think his professionalism, first of all. I think his leadership. You don’t have to be a boisterous, outgoing, run-your-mouth kind of guy to be a great leader, and I think he’s even showed some of that already,” Head Coach Tom Cable said. “(He is) a guy guy’s are going to look up to and a guy who brings great professionalism to it. He loves it. It’s important to him.”

Switching gears, Mike Golic and Mike Greenburg picked the Raiders as their AFC sleeper this year. They also think that the Chargers will fall and the Raiders have a shot at either winning the AFC West or finishing a strong 2nd behind the Chargers and earning a Wild Card berth. They say with the talent the Raiders have, the newfound stability at QB might be enough to turn this thing around. IF you’ve ever watched or listened to the show, Mike and Mike in the Morning, then you know they do not always agree, but they are really good at what they do. The fact that they are on the same page about this says something.

Another kind of offbeat thing: apparently, it’s not cool to wear Raiders gear anymore. According to Sportsbybrooks.com, “For decades, Raiders’ gear has been the team of choice in L.A. gang culture, but in the past 2-3 years, local sports team affiliation has changed dramatically for those involved in that type of organized criminal activity. The Dodgers have now clearly gained most-favored status among Los Angeles gang members.”

I say that is another positive omen for the Raiders organization. The culture is changing; anybody who has been following this team can notice the difference. Speaking of which, the Raiders players in practice today were all wearing T-Shirts that say, “Take the next step. To get there, we must not allow other people’s limited perception to define us.”

Some more quotes from Thursday:

Richard Seymour

“In my opinion, nobody has a job at this point. We all (are) here laying the foundation for the season. If you think about it, training camp is the only time we have, as individuals to work and hone our skills. Throughout the season, we spend so much time game planning and working on our opponents that this is the time for us, individually to continue to hone in on your craft.”

“This is about working on the Raiders. Getting better individually and moving forward as a football team.”

“Ownership and the coaches have done a great job of putting together a group of guys that they think can win. I’ve been around some championship caliber football and I like what I see.”

Rolando McClain

“I don’t know why I’m able to effect guys, but for some reason I am. I think that’s why the coaches liked me. Being able to step up and lead the defense is just something I do.”

“Hitting is like walking, you’re used to it…that’s what you do. Been doing it since you were little, it’s second nature.”

“I think we’re going to be good…real good. Just with the guys I have in front of me, Kelly and Seymour, and Jay Rich and those guys, especially with the guys behind me, it’s scary how good I think we can be.”

Jason Campbell

“Reps are very important because I haven’t been here before, so it’s important that we know each other.”

“(Hue Jackson) is very energetic. I tell him he must take a spark every morning. Since he’s been here, I think it’s great for our football team, I think it’s great for us offensively, because two-a-days get tough sometimes, and sometimes you need that little bit extra just to keep going and with his mindset, tempo, and excitement, I think he brings that to us.”

“We have a lot of young talent. Our (receivers) are very talented, they’re tall, they’re big…the sky is the limit for them. I think for us it’s going to be all about assignment, technique, and getting a feel for each other.”

“We’re just trying to build a sense of chemistry, a sense of togetherness, because that’s what wins games on Sundays, when you’re out there playing together and not as individuals.”

“Our motto for this season is ‘One game at a time and win,’ whatever it takes to win.”

Two more quick hits:

  • Tom Cable and Mario Henderson apparently had a long talk leaving the practice field
  • DHB and Nnamdi stayed late to work on the young receiver release off the line of scrimmage

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