I just felt like posting a very brief summary on my thoughts and feelings from what I've read of the first day of practice. It's pretty short and unorganized so bare with me.
Campbell vs. Russell
First off, I fully expect Campbell to be the starter this season, but, for right now Russell is definitely impressing me. Now while his feats in a non-contact and often undefended practice don't amount to much, he did do pretty horrible around this time last year in the same scenario.
Now i definitely hate Russell, he's right up there on my most hated list of NFL players with LT, Rivers, Cutler, Chad Johnson (I refuse to call him ochocinco), T.O, Romo, etc. But if he Russell fairly wins the job, then I want him starting. You have to put your personal opinions aside and say, I want the best for my team.
However, Campbell struggled, but not as bad as I thought he would. He's learning a new scheme, in a new environment, with new receivers and teammates. It will be a lengthy process for him. He's had a consistent chemistry with a consistent group of receivers in Moss, Randle El, and Cooley. Now he has to get used to so many new names and faces.
Campbell did manage to complete some bizarre and awkward passes. Jerry McDonald said he was throwing lame duck passes that were still getting completed, even in 7-on-7. He also is reported as being surprisingly fast. I knew he was a mobile quarterback already, but he is astonishing several media members attending the practice.
If Campbell builds chemistry (which with his attitude and work ethic I fully expect), then I truly believe he could be a very solid QB for us.
Campbell at guard
Do people forget why Campbell was considered a first round talent by many? A lot of fans seem to be against him at guard because he's quote: "A finesse pass blocker who was terrible at run blocking"
If I remember my film correctly, Campbell was a great run blocker who used sheer power and who's pass blocking and technique were in question. As a backup right guard, I'm excited to see Campbell's capabilities inside. Especially in the ZBS which focuses on run blocking.
If anything, this is the perfect place and position for him to develop and play. He can use his specialty of run blocking to the fullest while gradually working on his pass blocking. From there he could stay at guard, or become a solid tackle option.
At the very least, he will be one hell of a run blocker for the Raiders inside.
Receivers looking good finally
DHB dropping passes, Murphy dropping passes, JLH running routes improperly, these were thing we heard last year. This year we see DHB dropping only 2 horribly thrown passes, Ford making a huge TD catch, Murphy catching everything (pray his injury is minor).
I expect DHB to play a lot better this year after a full offseason of working on his game with a competent guy throwing at him in Gradkowski. Murphy and Schilens (whenever Schilens stops feeling "general soreness") should build on last year and be a good starting duo.
I am however interested to see if both JLH and Ford might be kept. I consider Ford to be stealing away JLH's job (let's face it, that's why he's here). Ford is already doing better, but JLH isn't doing too bad out there. He's doing a decent job, and I'd like him as a #5 receiver as backup and backup return man if needed.
The starting linebacking corps so far. I actually like it. Wimbley and Scott are fast and athletic enough to do fine in coverage (though nice to see Howard sticking around to be a coverage specialist) But from this set we get big run stoppers and all three are regarded as great blockers.
Meanwhile we have depth in howard, Brown, and Goethel with developmental guys in Boyd and Norris. Linebacker finally feels like a strength for the first time in a long time. Unfortunately, it's a long wait to see if this unit is truly good or not.
Overall i thought we saw a good first practice, long time since I could say that with confidence. Though I do wonder who the mystrey #36 is that JMac was saying was amazing in coverage. If anyone knows who it is, please tell me