Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 7, 2010
McClain is "seasoned," says Groves, and other Saturday camp nuggets from Napa

Quentin Groves was a second-round draft pick out of Auburn two years ago yet readily admits he is no sure bet to make the Raiders' 53-man roster. Yet that did not stop the outside linebacker from marveling at the team's first-round pick, No. 8 overall selection, Rolando McClain.

"Seasoned," Groves said when asked what he sees in McClain. "He's a guy that comes from a great conference, great linebacker coaching, he's a guy that is a field general before he even plays the game."

So was Groves surprised he appeared so ready in his first NFL training camp?

"I knew it when he was coming in because my coach, James Willis, coached him at Alabama, and I called James when we drafted him and said, 'What is he like?'" Groves said. "And he was like, 'That's the kind of guy he is.'

"That's what separates him. And I think that's why Mr. (Al) Davis and the guys, Coach (Tom) Cable, they made the pick. Because in the interviews he was a cool, calm, poised guy. And he plays the same way on the field."

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As a seventh-round pick, chances would seem to be slim for defensive back Steve Brown to make the team. But he's been impressing coaches at camp the past two days with a pair of highlight reel interceptions in live drills.

Friday, he picked off Bruce Gradkowski. Saturday, Kyle Boller was the victim on a diving pick after the ball bounced off fellow rookie Walter McFadden.

"You definitely have to do something to stick out from the rest," Brown said. "Whenever you come in, team's been here before, so whenever you're breaking into a new scene you have to do something that makes you stand out from the pack, so that's what I keep trying to do."

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Trevor Scott, on how much more comfortable he is now at linebacker, after making the switch from defensive end midseason last year: "I can't even describe how much more comfortable I am as far as alignment, assignment and just knowing my responsibilities. Last year was just kind of like run and go, and just go find the ball. It was hard because you go from putting your hand in the dirt to dropping four yards off the ball. I understand things so much better now."

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Depending on your point of view, the defense not being able to strip the ball from the offense is a bad thing...or a good thing.

"We're averaging about three balls out a day," Cable said. "That's far greater than what it used to be."

Then it must be a credit to the ball carriers, no?

"Like we started this morning, every other practice, with that turnover circuit, it is a credit to the offense," Cable said. "I think they're taking better care of the ball. But you see the emphasis. When you turn on film and you see seven, eight guys stripping at it every time. They may not get it out, but we're attempting to, and I think that's really a critical issue."

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I asked Cable if he was a fan of four preseason games, or if they could get accomplished what they needed in just two.

"You know what? They're going to decide all that," he said. "I really haven't thought about all that. Coaches coach, and we're really not involved in that stuff so much, so we don't put a lot of thought into it, really."

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Strange Scene of the Day: Right tackle Langston Walker emerging from the locker room with both hands wrapped inside of clear plastic bags and no ice to be seen.

"What, you been handling Anthrax?" a reporter joked.

"Don't worry about me," Walker said with a big grin. "Write that down."

Done.

Maybe it was a way for him to avoid signing autographs?

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A list of those that were either limited or did not practice in the early session Saturday:

Jacoby Ford - sore quad
Jonathan Holland - sore ankle
Chaz Schilens - sore foot
Robert Gallery - sore ankle
Lukje Lawton - concussion
Darren McFadden - tight hamstring
Charlie Frye - wrist
Bruce Gradkowski - groin
Richard Seymour - lower back
Hiram Eugene - dental work

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For timelier updates, follow me on Twitter @PaulHGutierrez

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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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