Training Camp Report by Sac D

training campBy Dean Nelson

NAPA, CA – Monday, August 24, 2009

Okay, a bit later in the year than usual, but we made it to Raiders camp on
Monday, along with a LOT of other special guests. (This was the biggest
group I’ve seen so far, there were at least 200 people watching!) It was
also the first time I’ve been out there when it wasn’t dreadfully hot.
Here’s my report:

I spent a lot of time observing the quarterbacks this time, something I don’t usually do… Jamarcus still looks big and slow, maybe it’s just an optical illusion but I always come away with that impression. Garcia is
hella loud when he’s calling out the plays… more so than anybody I’ve ever heard out there. He sounds like your chain-smoking grandfather!

Gradkowski was solid, nothing spectacular but gets the job done. All four actually looked good, with Russell getting most of the snaps although the work was shared pretty evenly. My guess at this point would be
that Frye will be the odd man out when the time comes.

Javon Walker got in a lot of work . He kept fussing with his knee in between the action, to the point where it made me wonder if he’s still not right. But after a bit he continued to make adjustments to his OTHER
knee, his waistband, pads, helmet, you name it… I finally realized that this was a guy that was just plain uncomfortable in his gear out there. Despite all that, he made some vicious cuts to the ball throughout the
practice, and showed some blazing speed with the ball. Let’s see if he steps up to be “the guy” soon.

Heyward-Bey? Dropped several “catchable” balls, but also caught some impossible ones, so who knows? When he did catch them, he utilized an amazing burst of speed. There’s no doubt why Al wanted him. Sorry,
but this is NOT another J. Jett… this guy doesn’t shy away from contact after the catch. And he’s arguably faster on the football field. He made a tip toe sideline catch that made everyone gasp at one point.

As for the others, nobody was exceptional. Johnnie Lee was his usual loquacious self, and he appeared to be doing quite a lot of mentoring to young Nick Miller… who is listed at 5-9, which is incredibly generous!
Hell, my Akita is bigger than him! Anyway, he is a tough little kid, but I fear for his life out there… he’s not afraid to mix it up though. I sure miss Chaz Schilens.

Brandon Myles was clearly the most impressive ball catcher out there during the period he was active. He went to the field house part way through the session and didn’t appear to return. Dunno why. But while he was out there he caught EVERYTHING in his area code! Watch for this dude! If my name was Tony Stewart I would start thinking about a broadcasting job or something. I think a two TE set with Myles and Miller at bookends will give Russell a good chance to appear competent sooner and for longer. Zach is so underrated it’s crazy. His work ethic is awesome, and he’s taken his skills a notch higher. He’s our best offensive player today in my twisted opinion.

Running backs: Justin Fargas looked to be taking Monday off (faking an injury) so he could rest up, the other guys all looked explosive and strong, especially M. Bush. D-Mac stayed behind after practice ended to run a few sprints by himself without all the gear on… he’s ridiculously fast from one end of the field to the other. Anyway, I know it’s just practice, but please…. can somebody out there stay in their spot and make a stop on a runner? As excited as an observer can be over watching our runners look great, the sickening feeling of imagining what LaDanian will do really is overwhelming. S.O.S. is being sent out as I type. I wish Louis Rankin was just a bit bigger and heavier.

Which brings me to defense… Ricky Brown is THE MAN! I’m not sure where he will finally settle in, but he is the kind of impact LB we have needed for quite a while. Game breaker-in-training. Howard looked so-so, Alston still not 100%, and the others didn’t do much to impress. After practice I chatted with Kirk Morrison after he left the autograph line and headed to the hotel – he says the elbow is already feeling better and he will DEFINITELY be ready to go vs. San Diego, maybe even get into the last preseason game. I’ve known Kirk a long time, and he is -always- very optimistic about everything, so keep that in mind before you take the previous sentence to the bank.

Speaking of impressive prospects, would somebody please make sure that Desmond Bryant makes the roster? Not just because it would be cool to have a Harvard guy on the team, but he can BRING IT! How in the hell did they scout him? He’s a diamond in the rough, let’s keep him and build around him.

What else? Oh, speaking of big and slow… why on earth is Terdell Sands still out there? He’s almost as big as the Earth! And he moves at about the same speed. Just seeing him struggle to keep up when they switched sets made me feel like huffing and puffing… this guy doesn’t look like he’s gonna bust anything this year, other than a buffet or two. Sorry Sands Fans, but that’s how it looks.

Seabass and Lechler were both inactive, so that fun part of the show was not happening, but it’s cool. They know what they are doing so no need to mess around and overdo it in August. Mr. Davis did not appear at any time.

Oh, the press conference after the session was packed… so many gathered around it was hard to hear Cable’s remarks, but I did observe him deftly sidestep the “Bumaye” issue when he was badgered by the ESPN chick – I think her name is Colleen Dominguez. Anyway, I saw her afterwards and she seemed
disappointed that she didn’t get much reaction out of him, but resigned to the fact that you win a few, you lose a few. Same for reporters I guess.

Aloha
-Sac D-

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Sactown Booster Club member and “unofficial photographer” Sac D aka Dean Nelson for the article on training camp and many of the pictures in the training camp slideshow. You can view the training camp slideshow here. For more pictures and Raider game pics visit Sac D’s website at : http://www.sacd88.com/

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~ by Sactown Raider Boosters on August 30, 2009.

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