Growing up in the Northwest as Raider fan during the dark ages blew. See, I am one of those old timers that grew up with computers containing only information I had entered into them. This left me surrounded by Seahawk news. It is a marvel that I persevered.
Once Al Gore invented the internet, things started quickly improving, but I remember thinking then that all I wanted was to read stories in the *newspaper about the Raiders. I searched for ways to get more Raider news.
*newspapers were pieces of paper, origamicly folded, with ink on them. They were hand delivered to houses and contained yesterday's news.
I used to save my money and get a monthly Raider mailer. These were put out by the team and let's just say were a little biased. For example, I thought Todd Marinovich was going to be the kind of leader the team needed to solidify its commitment to excellence.
I would also spend eight bucks on magazines like Lindy's football preview so I could read a page or two on the Raiders off season and find what others had predicted for their future. These were big ticket items to a pre-teen and looking back on it now, contained a laughable quality of information.
My how the times have changed. I can essentially get minute by minute updates on the happenings of my favorite team. What a wonderful and overwhelming world. I am like a kid in a candy store. Now I just have to learn how to eat all of this candy without exploding.
Following the Raiders practice updates day to day, without any games to go on, I find myself bouncing between extreme highs and lows. So, for moments like today when I read that the WR's couldn't catch anything and DHB had--wait let me quote McDonald--"a ball which thudded off the hands of Darrius Heyward-Bey loud enough to be heard throughout the wine country," I get a little PTSDish.
"Oh my god. Nothing has changed. It was all a delusion of grandeur that they'd have a passing game this year," are some of the thoughts that run through my head. At times like these it is important to take a step back and realize that it was one practice. Rome wasn't built in a day...I think it took three-and-a-half and they also didn't quit building it when the first bath house failed to have properly heated tubs.
Leave it to Tom Cable to back me off the ledge. Cable:
We’re miles and miles ahead that way. What I don’t like is, what I saw today, there’s a drill where it’s a critical period because of the blitz and we’re getting some things protected and getting the ball out, and we’ve just got to make those plays catching. I think there were three or four of them. That’s too many.
Thanks Tom, I needed that. Let me settle back into the flow of my good trip. DHB largely had a good weekend of practice. Louis Murphy has looked good after his injuries. Nick Miller is beginning to shine again. Pause, reflect on those positives as we move onto some negatives from the position under the klieg lights.
DHB wasn't the only WR with a drop or two or twenty. Chaz struggled mightily. The reporters seem to feel that a large part of this may be due to his reluctance to push his foot. Whatever...when it comes to Chaz, I am reserving judgment for gamedays.
Jacoby hasn't returned to practice due to his quad, but was running. Figurs is dropping the ball. JLH is having hamstring issues. Annoying, but not big issues. I will say it is beginning to look like JLH may be trailing in the slot WR race at the moment.
Enough of the pesky WR position....
- As we have discussed, the Raiders signed Colt Brennan. This was needed because of Frye's wrist injury and Gradkowski's groin injury--hopefully the two are completely unrelated.
- I am willing to bet that Brennan already has a better grasp of the offense than last years game one starter.
- Frye's injury opens the door for Kyle Boller, who is looking sharp in practice and he did so in front of Al Davis.
- Alex Daniels has been officially moved to FB, much to the dismay of the Raiders defensive players. After having words with Trevor Scott last week, Daniels got into a little UFC action with Quentin Groves that was highlighted by Groves trying to kick Daniels. For his part, Daniels seems to feel it's just part of the job:
He chopped me a few times. It’s cool. It doesn’t matter. I’m a big boy. It was a scuffle and that was it and then that was it. We shook hands, hugged, talked in the locker room.
- I really hopes Daniels works out. I am thinking practice squad.
- The FB race gets more interesting. Marcel Reece showed his explosiveness on one scrimmage play when he busted the corner on a swing pass and took it to the house. He is the only legitimate offensive threat the Raiders seem to have at FB. For my money, they need more of a blocker at FB and Manase Tonga appears to be the best blocker.
- Luke Lawton, who is facing a two game suspension is also not able to practice due to a concussion. Lawton needs to practice to show the team what he has. The guy was a sub-standard FB with PED's what's he going to be like without them?
- Tommy Kelly is underwhelming reporters with his practice play. Public Enemy #1 status awaits you Mr. Kelly. Is Kelly drinking the drank? He is still getting all of his reps with the first team.
- John Henderson is making his presence known. On one play he stuffed Cartwright at the line and let out a wild yell. Apparently he wasn't joking when he said he was excited to stop the run.
- It would appear Thomas Howard is in a serious dog house. He was dropped from the second team drills. At this point, it'd be a surprise if he was on the roster come Tennessee.
- The refs were in town to discuss the new rule changes. The most notable was the no launching rule. Launching is defined as a defender leaving his feet to strike an offensive player anywhere near the head or neck, is now a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness, as well as FedEx notice of a fine for the offender.
- Easy for me to say, since I watch the game from the safety of a couch, but I am not a fan of this rule. Jack Tatum just rolled over. The players need to be protected, but does this add that much more safety for the players than the helmet to helmet rule? Is a player running full speed less viscous than a player leaving his feet?
- Everyone made sure Mike Mitchell knew the new rule. Michael Huff joked:
He’s going to have a lot of fines. I feel bad for him. It’s going to hurt his wallet. I’m not going to help him, either.
Mitchell had this to say:
You’ve got to adjust. It’s tough. Do they want us to play flag football or tackle football? They’re trying to protect the players and I understand that. We’re not trying to hurt anybody, but some guys are explosive, and how we tackle is to leave our feet. We’ll have to change and bide by the rules.
Maybe the Raider fans can get a fine fund set up for me to help pay that thing.
- Rook secondary updates: Stevie Brown, who is getting run with the safeties, made some nice reads and had a couple of INT's. Jerome Boyd is was gaining praise and criticism from the coaches and then received some one-on-one instruction after Sunday's practice.