Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 5, 2008
Notes from a soft practice

NAPA - Lane Kiffin and I are in agreement.

Practice in the "soft pads" is kind of ... soft.

Those weren't Kiffin's exact words but trust me, there isn't a whole lot of fun watching practice without shoulder pads, which guarantees no real contact.

"Whenever you put soft gear on like that, it's hard for me out here because they can only do so much," Kiffin said. "They don't have their shoulder pads on. But I thought they were OK today."

As expected, the Raiders went a little easier today after two practices with the 49ers. Kiffin has kept practices shorter in his second training camp and today was no different.

And is often the case in these practices, there were plenty of opportunities for the receivers to work against defensive backs because the run game is hard to gauge.

Today's whipping boy from the peanut gallery (better known as starters resting) was rookie cornerback Darrick Brown.

After Marques Tuiasosopo connected on a long touchdown to Drisan James, the defensive linemen laughed because it was Brown being beat again.

"First down, second down, third down ... throw to me ... 39 is on me," Tommy Kelly yelled in between laughter in mocking Brown.

"The next Willile Brown my (butt)," someone else bellowed.

It wouldn't surprise me if Brown would boast that he is the next Willie Brown. The rookie did brag about putting a move on an eight-year old at the Raiders youth camp when chatting with the rookies.

JaMarcus Russell tested the secondary with a deep pass to Jonathan Holland. It was broken up on a nice play by DeAngelo Hall.

"That ain't 39," Derrick Burgess yelled.

Preseason plans

Russell won't get the one series and done treatment on Friday. Kiffin plans to keep Russell in for some time while keeping this in mind:

"I just want to be careful with him as far as who's in front of him with the linemen and the backs and protection."

Darren McFadden won't return kickoffs, Kiffin said. But he will a significant amount of time.

The bug

Nnamdi Asomugha was out for a second straight day because he's sick. Whatever he has is spreading, as is often the case in training camp. Asomugha had "a couple of IVs" according to Kiffin.

Jarrod Cooper didn't practice today because he's sick.

Asomugha is expected back in the morning.

Linebacker watch

Ricky Brown (back, knee) was out so Robert Thomas continues to start at strongside linebacker.

"Robert is playing Mike and Sam (linebacker) for us," Kiffin said. "Robert's got to play special teams and I've talked to him about that, and he's going to have to do it all to make the team, so there's a lot of competition there at linebackers. There's only two guys there that I know are going to make this team and the rest of the guys better play special teams and contribute."

One of those two guys is on the brink of being a Pro Bowl player if he can be tougher against the run, Kiffin said.

Thomas Howard had six interceptions last season, but Kiffin is looking for more against the run.

"Thomas has to be more physical at the point of attack," Kiffin said. "Take on fullbacks more aggressively and not play so high, and he'll be looking at the Pro Bowl if he can do that."

The other backer that has a roster spot secured is Kirk Morrison, in case you didn't know.

Practice notes

*The Raiders still have no answer for Burgess, who continues to get to the quarterbacks. DE Greg Spires went through RT Cornell Green and TE Darrell Strong to blow up a running play.

*NFL officials were at practice today and will give the team and media a presentation on rule changes and points of emphasis while in Napa. The media session is tomorrow.

*In the final scrimmage portion of practice, the defense won the best-of-five set 3-1.

The offense struck first with a completion to FB Justin Griffith. But a sack by Kalimba Edwards, a competition from Russell to TE Tony Stewart a yard short of a first down and the secondary blanketing the receivers on the third play gave the defense the win.

*WR Drew Carter (rest), SS Gibril Wilson (knee) and QB Andrew Walter (tired arm) did not practice. Kiffin said only CB John Bowie (knee) and LB Grant Irons (hamstring) definitely wouldn't play Friday. S Greg Wesley (back) will be evaluated in the morning.

--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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