During yesterday’s practice Darren McFadden laid a hard block on linebacker Quentin Groves on a blitz pickup. It was a great block but McFadden saw the worst of it. He went to the side, visibly shaken up. He seemed fine at practice afterward but it was revealed today that he was more than shaken up. He fractured his orbital bone (eye) and will be out a while.
Hue Jackson said that McFadden would be out “a couple weeks” which is a bit of a low estimate for an injury of that kind. A fractured orbital bone can be pretty serious and take up to 6 weeks to heal, though in this case it appears not to be quite that serious.
After practice on Wednesday, he didn’t have any visible swelling but seemed to be a bit woozy. If this were the regular season, the Raiders might try to get him back after 2-3 weeks but it is still the preseason, so I wouldn’t expect to see him until the last game at the earliest and probably more like the opening game against Denver.
McFadden joins fellow running backs Taiwan Jones and Michael Bennett on the injured list. The Raiders are now left with just two running backs at practice — Louis Rankin and Rock Cartwright, who had to carry the entire load for the team.
The Raiders clearly have had a lot of injuries this camp, which can be partially attributed to the long offseason with no OTA’s or minicamps. But some believe the ramped up intensity of this year’s camp is also a factor. If the players had a regular offseason, there would be no excuse, but jumping back into camp at this pace seems to be causing some issues.
Hue was asked about it — to which he said, “No… I’m never going to throttle back on the intensity of our practice. There’s no substitute for competing, the intensity in practice. That’s the way this game is played, and we’re never going to apologize for that.”
Today was the day the newly signed Raiders were able to join in on the fun. There were 15 new players in total, which was supposed to bring the players practicing to a good number. But that didn’t work too well because there were more than 15 players injured and the list grew longer as practice went on.
During today’s practice Rolando McClain, Walter McFadden, and Derrick Jones all went out with injuries. McFadden’s and McClain’s injuries are not considered serious. Jones on the other hand fell to the ground clutching his ankle and had to be carted off the practice field. It looks like a high ankle sprain at least and it may just cost him a chance at making this team. He was already a long shot.
The Raiders are actively looking to bring in more players and that task is getting more and more important. Today it may have also gotten a lot easier.
The Raiders were able to restructure Stanford Routt’s and Richard Seymour’s contracts today. Both players received tremendous contracts this offseason before the lockout began and their salaries were hindering the Raiders from getting under the salary cap, let alone sign any new players.
These restructurings would have been better a couple of days ago as the team had hoped to retain Zach Miller. But now the Raiders should be able to extend a contract offer to free agent tight end Kevin Boss.
Boss was at Raider camp working out for the team and later had dinner with head coach Hue Jackson. According to a source, Boss is very enthusiastic about joining the Raiders. The Giants are trying hard to get him back but at this moment it appears he is giving the Raiders a chance to get their affairs in order before he makes his decision.
The tight end group pre-Boss looks pretty shoddy, though the two rookies have been impressive. They have both surprised thus far in camp. But Brandon Myers and Kevin Brock have not looked good at all. This team absolutely must bring in Kevin Boss. The indication I got was that Hue feels much the same way.
Denarius Moore stole the show again today. He had three great catches yesterday but the catch he had today dwarfed all of them. Demarcus Van Dyke was guarding him and Moore ran past him. With Demarcus in tow, Stevie Brown came over to help out. And with both DVD and Brown defending, Moore leapt up and plucked the ball out of the air in the back of the endzone. Everyone on the field and on the sideline went nuts. Everyone, including Jackson, is running out of superlatives.
“The young man can make some plays, can’t he? Oh my gosh, is he something? He’s fun to watch. Every day there’s something. A ball goes up, he comes down with it and makes a play. He has tremendous talent. The game is not too big for him. He has that factor of making plays. There’s no fear in the young man. I’m glad he’s on our team.”
That wasn’t the only big catch he had either. He froze Sterling Moore on a double move and caught an over the shoulder long pass for a touchdown. Even more impressive was a block he laid that sprung Rock Cartwright on a swing pass. He is not a big guy at all and he blocked both Stanford Routt and Quentin Groves at one time. It prompted a few to say, “Did you see that block?”
Sterling Moore may have been burnt once by Denarius but he came back later and made some nice plays. He had two passes defended — one on Denarius and the other on Nick Miller.
There were two interceptions today. The first was by Hiram Eugene on a bad pass from Trent Edwards. The other was a perfectly played ball by Chris Johnson who stepped in front of Chaz Schilens to intercept Jason Campbell. Chris Johnson also had a pass defended.
And speaking of Quentin Groves, he had a tough day. He got earfuls from his teammates and coaches for lapses in coverage and at one point he gave up two touchdowns on goal line drills. Both times he was in position and the back ran right by him and right through him. He was clearly distraught about it afterward.
The team brought in Darryl Blackstock to compete for playing time with Groves. Blackstock didn’t look too great himself and I wouldn’t be surprised if the team didn’t make a few more calls. Kirk Morrison anyone?
Right now it looks like Stephon Heyer has a great chance of taking the starting spot at one of the tackle positions. He was running with the second team at left tackle but he looked quite good and I wouldn’t be surprised if he were given a shot to start. He certainly had the quote of the day when I asked him if he ever played any guard.
“I played one game at guard against the Tennessee Titans last year. It was a last-ditch effort. We ran out of linemen. We ended up beating them when Vince Young threw a pass in the audience. Sorry Vince. Sorry, but you did that. He did that. I didn’t do that.”
He also saw Samson Satele walking by with his hair down and thought it was Troy Polamalu. At which point he started yelling out “Hey Polamalu! Did you use my Head n’ Shoulders?”
No injury update section this time. The new injuries are above. The rest hasn’t changed.