Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 4, 2012
Moore sits again; McFadden's backup still in question

by Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

NAPA -- Receiver Denarius Moore leaving practice early was the biggest news out of a relatively quiet day at Raiders training camp. Moore's right hamstring, which sidelined him in mini-camp in June and again on Wednesday, continues to bother him, and he decided to shut it down when it started hurting during practice Saturday.

"It's a little frustrating coming in, knowing that you have an injury, have to sit out and wait and watch your teammates constantly practice, going through it and grinding, and you just sit on the side," Moore said. "But it's something that you can't control, you've got to sit back and just let it heal on its own."

Head coach Dennis Allen said the Raiders are being careful with Moore because hamstrings can be tricky and the important thing is having the second-year receiver healthy when the regular season begins Sept. 10. Moore averaged 18.7 yards per catch last season and had a team-leading five touchdown catches.

Cornerback Ron Bartell (hamstring), linebacker Aaron Curry (knee), defensive tackle Travis Ivey (conditioning) and punter Shane Lechler (knee) still have not practiced all week. Tight end Richard Gordon (lower leg infection) also did not practice Saturday.

Allen said Bartell is close to returning. Ivey could be another story. Ivey is being held out as "a safety issue as much as anything else" while he addresses his weight and conditioning, Allen said.

* The question of who will be the main backup to running back Darren McFadden doesn't look much closer to being answered right now. Allen certainly isn't ruling out having Taiwan Jones and Mike Goodson both backing up McFadden, though at this point in camp Allen isn't being definitive about much.

"We're looking for as many good players as we can find," Allen said. "Right now we've got a couple options behind him that can do some different things. All of those guys are explosive in space and that's what I really like about all those guys."

Goodson is similar to McFadden in body type and running style, but Allen said he has been impressed with how Goodson has picked up the new offense. Goodson has had a good first week of camp, though it isn't always easy to judge running game efficiency when players aren't going full-contact. Jones has flashed his speed and was back taking kickoffs today behind receiver Jacoby Ford.

"I think we're all kind of unique," Goodson said. "I like to catch the ball out of the backfield a lot. I think Darren, man, he's just an athlete. He can catch the ball, he can run between the tackles, he can do it all."

And Jones?

"Lightning speed," Goodson said. "He is fast. You see him run, it's like (chugging noises)."

* All the running backs have spent the last few months talking up the offense's new zone blocking scheme. Allen was asked today whether he always planned to use a zone running game when he became a head coach, and he replied: "Absolutely." The zone makes it tougher for defensive players to stay in their gaps, he explained, which can make for open running lanes.

"I think the zone running scheme is the toughest running scheme in football," Allen said. "And I think with our runners, the way that they can stretch you side to side and get you running and find a crease and be able to turn it north and south with the pads square is going to be a good thing for us."

* Undrafted rookie receiver Rod Streater made one of the best plays of camp, going full extension to haul in a wide pass over the middle from quarterback Terrelle Pryor. With Moore out, Streater got some work with the first-team offense, as he did in mini-camp.

Rookie Juron Criner also had an impressive one-handed catch in receiver drills, again on a throw from Pryor, which drew cheers from the fans watching camp. Today's was the second of three practices open to members of the public who claimed free tickets last week. After Darrius Heyward-Bey dropped a pass in receiver drills, somebody in the crowd yelled: "Push-ups!"

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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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