Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

July 31, 2009
Passive-aggressive start to camp a hit

Tom Cable's pseudo-passive aggressive start to training camp - begin with a day full of meetings, follow with four straight days of non-contact two-a-day practices in helmets and shorts while installing new schemes on both sides of the ball - seems to be a hit among the Raiders veterans.

"You know, in 17 years, I've never seen anything like this, but I can't believe how much we're getting out of it," Cable said Lorenzo Neal told him after Friday's morning practice. "Just in our talks, in our room, or in meetings, or whatever, it's a chance to really sort it out and work through it before, all of a sudden, you put the combative part into it, which will start on Monday."

Meaning full pads and hitting.

"I'm young, so I've only been through a few camps (but) I think it's a great thing," said third-year offensive lineman Mario Henderson, who has been working at left tackle with the first-team offense. "For one, you prevent my opinion at camp when you get out the first day, you sometimes are not really focused on trying to do the right things; you're just focused on going out there and trying to win the starting job. Sometimes that can be bad because you are going fast, but you're not really doing your assignments. Now we have four days where we get everything down pat so then when it comes time Monday to earn a job, it's not your assignments slowing you down. I think it's a great thing."

But don't let the seeming New Age, meditative mental approach fool you. Cable, an offensive line coach at heart, is as old school as they get.

"Well, this game is still about who and how," Cable told reporters. "At the end of the day, we all love football and the players love playing football. So, when you hand them a set of pads and it's time to go do that, they get into that part of it rather easily. That's the way they're wired. But when it comes down to it, if you really know who you really got and how you got to do it, you can do it that much quicker and that much more violent and so you just kind of fit the two together.

"Remember now, the NFL season starts now and it hopefully ends sometime in February for you. The human body can only take so many car crashes."

- Still no word on the whereabouts of two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Derrick Burgess, who is purportedly holding out for a trade.

- Rookie receiver Louis Murphy, a fourth-round draft pick from national champion Florida, has already impressed in what figures to be a wide-open battle among the youngsters for wide receiver slots.

"He's a guy that came out of a good program and is very passionate about playing the game," Cable said. "For him, it's just learning our offense, a new system for him and just keep doing it but he's progressing very well."

- Second-year running back Darren McFadden, whose myriad of talents were wasted last season by running him between the tackles so often, has been lining up at wide receiver. Expect more such looks to take advantage of his play-making abilities this season, such as screen passes, pitches, Wildcat formations, etc...At least I hope the Raiders use him in that manner.

- Ricky Brown is working at both middle and outside linebacker in the Raiders' 4-3 scheme but says he does not prefer one over the other.

"I've proved that I can be the opening day starter at the SAM linebacker," he said. "I think maybe my more natural position would be MIKE, just kind of the way I'm built, having good change of direction and all, but either one's fine. Really, ever since I played MIKE my second year, which was 2007, it gave me a chance to know the entire defense. So I feel comfortable playing all three."

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

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.

Raiders stories on

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31