It's not really surprising that receiver Javon Walker has been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform List, what with his penchant for injuries and having undergone "secret" surgery on his knee this offseason. But here is coach Tom Cable's reasoning for the roster move (Walker still counts toward the 80-man training camp roster).
"Just want to be sure, give it enough time (to heal properly)," Cable said. "Seems to be on schedule and all that. We want to make sure. I think if you remember last year, he hurried it a little bit and it became an issue."
A year ago, Walker came to the Raiders with a bum knee, suffered a hamstring injury and then saw his season come to an end with ankle surgery.
- Speaking to reporters for the first time since he was ushered off the practice field in June by team officials the day after signing with the Raiders, veteran defensive end Greg Ellis seemed genuinely happy to be in Napa and admitted Al Davis personally recruited him.
"He said, 'Greg, guess where we're going to be on Thanksgiving.' I said, 'Where.' 'We're going to be in Dallas playing your Dallas Cowboys,'" said Ellis, who has never not played on Turkey Day, what with calling Dallas home since being drafted by the Cowboys in 1998. "So that will be fun. And Thanksgiving games are a good time; guys will love it. It's just like a Monday Night game, almost, that type of atmosphere, because you're the only show on."
I asked Ellis how the conversation with Davis went.
"I was happy because he expressed a lot of interest in me, a strong interest, and it's always good to be wanted, as opposed to have to go out there and hunt for a job; it's a different story," Ellis said. "But again, I'm blessed that somebody actually wanted me to be a part of their team and I'm just here to try and aid and do what I can do to help us win."
With two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Derrick Burgess and his 38 Â½ sacks in four seasons in Oakland still AOL, Ellis has slid into the starting position at left DE in the Raiders' 4-3 defense. In Dallas, he had been playing linebacker in the Cowboys' 3-4 defense, though his career began on the left side in a 4-3 scheme.
- Second-year receiver Chaz Schillens, who lined up with the first-team offense, was unable to join Will Franklin, Jonathan Holland, Louis Murphy and Todd Watkins at JaMarcus Russell's passing camp in Alabama due to a prior commitment. But the San Diego State pass catcher did have some balls thrown at him by a four-time Pro Bowler this summer.
"I heard they got some good work done (but) I was able to throw with Jeff (Garcia)...a couple of times down in San Diego," Schillens said. "That was good."
- Left guard Robert Gallery is sidelined for the moment having recently undergone an emergency appendectomy. Which means he has a different view of new fellow Raiders offensive linemen Samson Satele (center) and Khalif Barnes (tackle).
"They're athletic," Gallery said. "They're going to be good in this (zone-blocking) system. They can move. Just all the things you need to be in this system and that's why they brought them in here and it's good to get going with them."
Barnes has been a left tackle his entire career but is working in the right side for the time being.
- Fulback Oren O'Neal, who blew out his knee in an exhibition game last season, is practicing once a day during the two-a-day workouts.
"They limit some of my reps out there," he said. "It's been a year since I've played football so I'm going to ease back into it....I'd say I'm pretty close. Training camp is getting me ready, knock the dust off and get ready to play some games. I'm ready to roll.
"Sitting there watching and being in pain, (it) just feels good to be out there with the team moving around again."
- Darren McFadden likes the mental aspect of four straight days of two-a-day practices in shorts and helmets. The Raiders will be in pads Monday
"It was a pretty good day, kind of a learning day for us," the running back said. "There wasn't much intensity or anything going on. It was a learning day for us. It's something that coach wants to get out there and just kind of learn the plays so when we do come back full speed we'll be able to run them."
McFadden appeared thicker than last season, more muscular and appears to be in great shape.
"Maybe three or four pounds bigger," he said.