Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

May 5, 2007
Like watching a defensive end throw a football

The crowd out here at Raiders headquarters isn't nearly as big with the buzz of JaMarcus Russell's first day over.

But it's still hard to take your eyes off him. It's hard to ignore someone with the size of a defensive end throwing the ball at high speed.

Russell showed all the physical reasons the Raiders drafted him on one play this morning.

He rolled to his right and rifled the ball accurately by the outstretched hands of at least two defenders with a chance at the ball and hit Jerry Porter right in stride on a crossing route.

Accuracy in the pocket is one thing. Accuracy on the move would give the Raiders a dimension they haven't had since Rich Gannon.

Besides being in awe of Russell, there were other things to see:

** New offensive line coach Tom Cable is fun to watch. Aside from his colorful language, he's really into what he does and the players seem to respond to him. But it is only May and if what he's selling doesn't work, they'll tune him out like any other coach.

It looks like there will be more cut-blocking this season, which will make the preseason especially important.

Most coaches don't want their own players cut in practices, so the offensive linemen are practicing on taking out large pads low. It'll be interesting to see if they can get low and master the technique that makes just about every Denver Broncos running back into a Pro Bowler.

But that's me thinking way too far ahead.

** The Raiders incorporated football and fútbol into Saturday's morning's practice.

During the special teams session, players worked on downing the ball near the goal line using a soccer ball before using a football in the same drill.

** Receiver Mike Williams is still limping with a hamstring injury. Coach Lane Kiffin said Williams had been dominant in his first practice. Too bad we can't see more. I hadn't noticed the dominance yet, because the offense always has the advantage without pads on.

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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