by Matt Kawahara
NAPA -- The Raiders practiced in pads for the first time Wednesday, which paved the way for a little welcome-to-the-NFL moment for rookie linebacker Miles Burris.
Burris, the Granite Bay High product, was on the receiving end of a lowered shoulder from running back Darren McFadden that knocked him backward and off his feet. To his credit, Burris was a good sport when asked afterward if it was a wake-up call of sorts.
"Yeah, a little bit," Burris said, grinning. "I was a little tentative on, 'Do I hit (No. 20) or not? How does this go?' But yeah, he's a load, he's a good player, and we're lucky to have him on the team."
The knee injury that Aaron Curry is battling right now has allowed Burris to get plenty of snaps with the first-team defense this week. Burris said the experience, along with some instruction from Curry, is speeding his development.
"He's been helping me out a lot, even though I'm the same position," Burris said. "He's been giving me tips and encouragement and all that kind of stuff. So it's been a great deal so far. But I've got a lot of mistakes to shore up being a rookie, just trying not to make the same mistakes twice."
Burris said he's finding the rigors of NFL camp comparable to college. One perk is that instead of going home to homework every evening, he is able to immerse himself in game film and the playbook.
"It was a little different today with the pads on, seeing everything, adjusting to shifts and just being mentally there as well," Burris said. "It was a little tough, but it's getting there, and I'm getting better every day. That's what I'm trying to focus on. That's what (head coach Dennis Allen) harps on all the time."
Allen was asked on Monday about his two rookie linebackers, Burris and Nate Stupar, and said he finds both of them "instinctive football players. They're smart and they've done a nice job of picking up the scheme. They're still rookies and they make some rookie mistakes, but as far as the level of commitment, I've been real pleased with that."
As for his run-in with McFadden, Burris said, game circumstances may have made for a different result.
"Yeah, I would like to think that anybody with a ball in their hands, I would get him down," Burris said.
* Receiver Denarius Moore was held out of practice Wednesday with a hamstring injury. Allen didn't go into detail about the injury, but said it is the same issue that sidelined Moore during mini-camp in June. Moore was out walking around the practice field.
Tight end Richard Gordon did not practice with a hip flexor. Neither did punter Shane Lechler (knee), cornerback Ron Bartell (hamstring), linebacker Aaron Curry (knee) or defensive tackle Travis Ivey (conditioning), who have been out all week.
* Curry said Wednesday he is "getting better every day," but that he doesn't have a target date for his return to the field. He said the unspecified knee injury "came from the middle of nowhere in OTAs and stuff. I tried to play tough guy and fight through it, which might not have been the best idea. I'm on the right track now."
He also said he is not frustrated at missing time, as he's doing his best to coach up players on the field, which in turn keeps him studying the position.
* Among the players who stood out Wednesday was running back Mike Goodson, who made a couple of sharp cuts upfield in team drills. Goodson is battling Taiwan Jones for the backup role to McFadden.
Rookie defensive end Jack Crawford had two sacks in the span of three plays in a team scrimmage. Allen described Crawford, the fifth-round draft pick out of Penn State who didn't play football until he was a high school junior, as "willing to pay the price to be good."
Linebacker Rolando McClain dove to break up a pass intended for tight end Tory Humphrey. Cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke, who has been playing with the first-team defense in Bartell's absence, had another strong showing, at one point breaking up a deep ball from Carson Palmer intended for Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Tight end David Ausberry made a couple of nice catches, as did undrafted rookie receiver Rod Streater, who had worked his way into the first-team offense when Moore went down in mini-camp.