Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

June 10, 2009
OTA observations and ruminations

Players that did not attend the voluntary OTA workout included quarterbacks Jeff Garcia and Andrew Walter, running back Justin Fargas, defensive tackle Terdell Sands, defensive ends Derrick Burgess and Jay Richardson, punter Shane Lechler and placekicker Sebastian Janikowski. Second-round draft pick Mike Mitchell was not here either as his classes at Ohio are just ending.

Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, though, showed up, exhibiting some of the leadership expected of him after signing his three-year, $45.3 million contract.

And first-round draft choice Darrius Heyward-Bey was back on the field, the strained right hamstring he suffered in mini-camp on May 9 sufficiently healed. He struggled through practice, though.

The brightest spot, perhaps, was the improved play of quarterback JaMarcus Russell in the red-zone offense in 7-on-7 drills.
"Red zone? Definitely," said coach Tom Cable. "There is a lot of improvement today. He was pretty good last Thursday, which was probably his best practice since he has been a Raider. Today was a good day for him."
Russell spoke to reporters briefly this week, after blowing by the media last Wednesday.
"I think earlier coach kind of emphasized giving the guys a chance," he said. "If he gives you a chance to put it in the end zone as far as pass rush, you've got to put (the ball) somewhere in that location where they can catch it. Just give them a chance.
"We can run the ball all day. Once you get inside the 20, we're going to take shots at the end zone and that's what we were lacking. We'd get down there sometimes and try to run the ball all three downs and had to kick a field goal. If you don't take a chance at the end zone, how are you going to get there?"

Recently signed quarterback Charlie Frye was on hand, wearing No. 3, but did not take any snaps.
So what made Frye, a former starter with the Cleveland Browns and two-year backup in Seattle, choose to sign with Oakland, which already has an unquestioned starter in Russell and an unquestioned backup in Garcia?
"A job," Frye said. "It's just good to be back out here (on the field)."

Also, running back Darren McFadden continued to impress and spent much time lined up at wideout. Maybe the Raiders will actually use his hybrid talents to their full potential this season?

Khalif Barnes finally spent time with the first unit at left tackle.
"It's just getting equal reps for everybody right now in the learning process," Cable said. "Read nothing into that, believe me.

Also, the Raiders are again looking into a one-day workout with the 49ers during training camp at Napa.

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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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