Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 16, 2009
Knee-jerk reactions? And more Sunday camp notes

In what feels to the outside world like a pair of knee-jerk reactions, the Raiders made a pair of roster moves over the weekend.

On Saturday, diminutive cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. was signed and tight end John Paul Foschi was released. Sunday, undersized and well-traveled linebacker Morlon Greenwood was signed and defensive end Derrick Gray was waived.

"It's just to make sure we have enough legs at that position," coach Tom Cable said of the Manning move. "He's here obviously to give us more juice and to compete as well."

The Raiders could not have been happy with the rough night turned in by Stanford Routt at the corner opposite Nnamdi Asomugha against Dallas. But in practice on Sunday, Manning, listed at 5-feet-9, 195 pounds, was given the Elvis "Toast" Patterson treatment as well by the Raiders wideouts. Manning is wearing No. 28.

Greenwood, meanwhile, is a 6-feet, 238-pounder who has played four years for both Miami and Houston on the outside and as a special teams player. He is wearing No. 56, Derrick Burgess' old number. It is no secret the Raiders are trying to push Kirk Morrison so the signing signals more of the same. Just makes you wonder if they're trying to push Morrison out of the picture entirely. Plus, Jon Alston has foot issues and Ike Ekejiuba suffered a shoulder stinger against the Cowboys.

"There's some history there and we want to take care of that and not get him back into it too soon where perhaps he may reinjure it and now he's out for an extended period of time," Cable said. "Probably more to do with Ike than Alston."

- The big news coming out of camp Sunday was that Jeff Garcia would return to practice Monday at full speed. The four-time Pro Bowl quarterback has not taken a snap in more than two weeks, or since before the team put on pads and started hitting due to what was described as a strained calf.

But many have started to wonder if there was more than a strained calf. Bruised feelings, perhaps? I go into it in a column that runs in tomorrow's Bee.

- There's a time frame now for Javon Walker joining the team for full workouts. Kinda. Sorta. O.K., here's how Cable put it.

"We're actually very close," Cable said. "I think it could be as soon as right after the San Francisco game (on Saturday). So we're just days now."

Just watching Walker work on his own during practices has been encouraging as it seems the veteran is working harder than any other receiver.

"I've watched a couple of those workouts, and not just the conditioning part of it, but the change of direction, the ball-catching, and I've been very impressed," Cable added. "It's exciting for us, for him. It feels really good. So hopefully when he gets out here and gets to work he can have some success."

- Another position battle to follow in camp - fullback. Rarely does a team carry two and in the veteran Lorenzo Neal, 38, and in third-year man Oren O'Neal, returning from a catastrophic knee injury last preseason, you'd think one was looking at the other in a mirror.

"You know, I think that's going to be decided as we get through these next few weeks," Cable said. "They are very similar...an age difference is really the only difference in the two guys. They're both very physical; both catch the ball well, can get better at that, and understand their role and embrace their role. I think they are very similar."

- Those that did not practice Sunday - Louis Murphy, Walker, Khalif Barnes, Marcus Johnson, John Wade, Garcia, Terdell Sands, Ekejiuba and Mike Mitchell.

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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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