Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 4, 2008
(Practice) Battle of the Bay Part I

NAPA - It wasn't easy keeping tabs on the Raiders today with the offense and defense on separate fields going against the 49ers.

Here's the good:

The defense looked to be the more solid of the two units. Linebackers were stepping into holes and meeting offensive linemen violently.

Defensive end Derrick Burgess was especially impressive, as he's been all of camp. The front seven looked extremely aggressive.

Now the bad:

The offense struggled in pass protection against the 49ers' 3-4 scheme. More times than not there were 49er linebackers coming through unblocked.

Lane Kiffin said that was to be expected.

"They're a primary three-down front and a movement team, so there's a lot of rules that go into it," Kiffin said. "It was really good for us to see. I would have probably predicted that you would have seen some guys go free because of the different looks and different fronts. And also they're running things that they didn't run last year because they're looking at different things. It makes for a difficult day but that's the exact situation we want to put our guys in."

The problems in pass protection made it tough for the quarterbacks. Several Raider completions came on plays that would have been sacks if the quarterbacks could be hit.

It will be interesting to see how the offense adjusts to the pressure for tonight's practice. The responsiblity falls on the running backs as well as the offensive line to pick up blitzes.

Fight time

As expected, there were a few times where a few brief fights.

The first was between Raiders defensive tackle William Joseph and 49ers guard Chilo Rachal during a run-blocking drill.

There was some more action on a separate field. Raiders linebacker Edgerton Hartwell and 49ers fullback Moran Norris got into it, too.

"He came across the middle," Hartwell said. "I'm a hard-thud guy, I wasn't trying to take him to the ground. It was just that when I hit him it kind of lifted him up. I guess it was kind of too hard for him. I didn't really hit him that hard but he got kind of upset. I can understand that if you don't like contact."

The person I had my money on to start a fight was Jarrod Cooper (he did get into it with Frank Gore).

Cooper blamed Hartwell for starting trouble.

Flip the switch

After saying he wanted to retire last week, a lot of attention was on Javon Walker. He looked to have more energy than he'd shown in recent practices.

"I think you saw him ready to come out against another team," Kiffin said. "I think as we continue to learn Javon, he had kind of a different look today at the beginning of practice than our normal practices because I think he was more competitive to go against somebody else. We're going to continue to try to build that mentality in him, that that's how we want him to be at every practice, not just because we're going to play somebody else."

Walker made a nice diving catch near the sidelines against the 49ers. But the last thing the Raiders want is for him to only show up for competition and struggle through practices.

Walker practiced twice in a day for the first time during camp on Saturday. The Raiders will probably put him back on the field tonight, too.

Kififn is worried about how Walker, who had surgery last season, responds to another practice.

"I'm more concerned to see just to push him as hard as we can, make him work as long as he's physically ready to go," Kiffin said. "From a training-room standpoint, we need to continue to push him. I'm not into the whole 'Well, when the lights go on, they play well.' That's not my deal. I'm trying to work him out of that mentality."

Camp notes

*Both teams were in full gear. It's only the second time the Raiders have worn full gear during training camp.

*RB Michael Bush looked the best among the Raiders in picking up blitzes. RB Darren McFadden showed good speed and instincts in the running game.

*LB Jon Alston was impressive against the run. He stepped and took on offensive linemen behind the line of scrimmage.

*Rookie DE Trevor Scott received a rude welcome from 49ers T Jonas Jennings, who manhandled him on a running play.

*CB Nnamdi Asomugha woke up sick and did not practice this morning. DT Gerard Warren (thigh) returned to practice.

*QB JaMarcus Russell's arm is close to 100 percent and Kiffin expects him to be 100 percent for Friday night's preseason game.

--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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