Photo by Bob Carr
Originally published on SBReport.net on July 28, 2013
The Raiders returned to the practice field for day three of training camp, but this time wearing pads for the first time of camp.
“Finally we didn’t have to let off the gas and we could just go how we wanted. It felt pretty good,” rookie defensive tackle Stacy McGee said.
Cornerback Mike Jenkins was able to return from yesterday’s injury but replacing him was wide receiver Jacoby Ford. Ford was unable to finish Sunday’s practice but his injury is not believed to be serious, according to head coach Dennis Allen.
The Raiders wide receivers continued to have difficulty hauling in the ball and completing passes as their were numerous drops once again. The drops came from unlikely sources for much of practice as fullback Marcel Reece dropped a couple, as well as Ford before he left with his undisclosed injury. One of the passes Ford dropped was a perfectly placed ball by Terrelle Pryor that would have gone for a touchdown.
“It was better today than it was yesterday,” Allen said after practice. “It’s going to be a continual process and really, at the end of the day what it comes down to is concentration. Focus in on the football; make the plays when you get the opportunity. That’s what players in the National Football League do.”
One wide receiver that has continued to impress is second-year wide receiver Rod Streater. Streater made a handful of nice catches including one in which he elevated above Jenkins on the sideline and managing to get his toes inbounds.
The young wide receiver has impressed his head coach with his play on the field so far.
“I think he’s a little more confident,” Allen said of his young wide receiver. “I think he’s got a little bit better understanding of how the NFL game is played. He’s playing a little bit more physical and that’s one of the qualities we like about him. He’s improved his route running. And again like I talked about before: you’ve got a guy that’s got some talent and the guy works extremely hard, he’s going to continue to get better.”
Though the team was in pads, rookie cornerback D.J. Hayden was still wearing his red “no contact” jersey. Hayden did participate in most drills but when the defensive backs were working on tackling, Hayden was pulled out of line by secondary coach Clayton Lopez pulled him out and didn’t allow him to participate.
Hayden made some nice plays when he was on the field. In a one-on-one drill, Hayden lost a step to wide receiver Travionte Session on a double move but was able to recover nicely and use his hands to knock the ball down to the grass before Session could secure it. Hayden has used his hands on multiple occasions to knock the ball out already.
Cornerback Taiwan Jones, who has been converted from running back, made a cle of nice plays during today’s practice. Jones was able to jump up and intercept a poorly thrown pass from Matt McGloin. Jones also held his ground during a blocking drill pushing his defender back on one occasion. Jones’ blocking ability has been a problem for him in the past.
The quarterbacks once again were able to limit turnovers for the most part, though safety Charles Woodson did almost make a nice one-handed interception on a ball from starting quarterback Matt Flynn to Streater.
Pryor continues to throw a consisten deep ball but did have a couple of balls batted down on shorter attempts. Pryor has had a problem of getting balls batted down throughout the offseason. One play of note for the third-year quarterback was a pass to wide receiver Juron Criner over the middle where he had to put some touch on the ball to get it over linebacker Keenan Clayton’s reach. Such types of throws have often been difficult for Pryor.
Rookie Tyler Wilson did throw an interception during drills where he needed to put more distance on the ball, but then bounced back nicely with the long pass to Streater that was right on the money.
One competition that will continue throughout camp is for the starting tight end position. Third-year man David Ausberry has had a solid camp so far but knows he needs to continue to work hard if he wants to get the nod come opening day.
“You’ve got to be prepared and you’ve got to be willing to do whatever they ask of you and play to the best of your ability. That’s the only thing you can do,” Ausberry said of his mentality coming into camp with an open competition.
Defensive end David Bass had a solid practice while getting around the third-string offensive linemen and applying pressure on the quarterback. Bass got to Wilson two times in a row for what would have been a sack and then forcing Wilson to throw the ball down.
Fans in attendance also were graced with the first scuffle between players of this year’s camp. Players and coaches didn’t say who it was, but acknowledged that it did occur and it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“It happens. It’s football, okay. It’s football,” Allen said of the scrum. “At the end of the day we’ve got to understand that we can’t hurt our team. We need everybody out there, but you’ve got to practice football and you’ve practice it tough; you have to practice it physical. You’re never going to be able to run the ball if you don’t come off the ball and try to knock the heck out of people, so that’s what we did. First day of practice you get pads on, everybody’s a little jacked up. It got a little fiesty in there, but you know what, that’s alright.”
Practice resumes tomorrow starting at 2:50 p.m