Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

July 27, 2008
A special observer

NAPA - The man himself, Raiders owner Al Davis, attended his first practice of training camp tonight.

He spent a lot of the time watching the offense before it joined the defense for some light scrimmaging.

Davis stayed for the duration of practice, watching from a golf cart on the sidelines.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Davis is peeved that LaMont Jordan is with the Patriots, fearful Jordan might have a Randy Moss-like revival to his career and that Davis only agreed to release him if he didn't sign with New England or Denver.

But you had to know if New England came calling, Jordan was running there.

In his first public comments as a Patriot, Jordan hasn't joined the chorus of ex-Raiders talking bad about the organization.

"I don't think about the past," is how Jordan responed to a question from Boston-area media about the Raiders.

That's unusual for Jordan, who rarely bit his tongue as a Raider. He always had a way to get his point across.

He has defended the way Moss was portrayed and said he hopes to revive his career much like Moss did.

"Randy caught a bad rap in Oakland," Jordan said. "People don't know that he was playing hurt most of the time. From Day One, from the first time Randy and I stepped on the field together, I knew he was about one thing, and that's just winning. I think sometimes the media portrays him to be this guy that he really isn't. At the end of the day all he wants to do is win ballgames."

*Darren McFadden took turns returning kickoffs during special teams practice.

If the Raiders are looking to get the ball into McFadden's hands in different ways, kickoffs are a logical choice.

McFadden's speed might end that stretch of games without a kickoff (or a punt) for a touchdown.

The last time that happened was the season finale of the 2003 season.

But you have to imagine Davis having flashbacks of Tim Brown being injured returning a kickoff back in 1989.

In the end, don't be surprised if McFadden is back returning kickoffs along with Tyvon Branch.

It's a simple way to get him the ball without the pressure of having to do it in the offense.

After all, Brown excelled in that role early in his career.

Other players that took turns at kickoffs were Arman Shileds, Louis Rankin, Chris Johnson and Johnathan Holland.

Good Hands

Wideout Todd Watkins continues to impress with his receiving ability.

After an early uncharacteristic drop, Watkins was back to showing off his good hands.

His best of the night was a catch in which he rolled on the grass and batted the ball in the air with a defender present but managed to hold on to the ball.

Watkins also made a couple of leaping grabs near the sidelines with defenders close by.

He'll make it tough to cut him if he keeps catching the ball.

Night practice notes

*Left tackle Kwame Harris (back) returned to practice after missing yesterday and this morning's practice. Safety Greg Wesley didn't practice after taking part in the morning practice. He's missed time with back spasms.

Receiver Ronald Curry, center Jake Grove and defensive end Fred Wakefield had the night off. Wakefield has been dealing with flu-like symptoms, but stood out this morning with his play.

Curry and Grove are still slated to practice once a day. Both took part in the morning session.

Also, defensive tackle Tommy Kelly and receiver Javon Walker practiced after having the morning off.

*John Wade took the first-team snaps at center in place of Grove.

*Backup offensive lineman Mark Wilson left practice with a left leg injury that had to be X-rayed. He returned to the locker room on crutches.

*Who says punters don't do anything during practice? When Willie Brown needed someone to throw passes to the cornerbacks, he summoned Shane Lechler over from the sideline.

*Nnamdi Asomugha forced the only turnover of the night in team work, intercepting a JaMarcus Russell pass.

*The drill highlight of the night was a one-handed snag by linebacker Thomas Howard while unit worked on intercepting passes.

*Sebastian Janikowski made two 43-yard field goals. He missed a 57-yard kick at the end of practice.

Those kicks usually have something on the line such as later curfew or later reporting time to practice.

The team joked around with the situation with coaches even calling timeout a la Mike Shanahan before the kick.

*By the way, no offensive linemen false started during the team session.

--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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