Oakland Raiders receiver Jacoby Ford at OTA's 2012 (photo by Levi Damien)
The Raiders are holding their first organized team activities this week. It is the first practices with most of the team in attendance. It is run much like a training camp practice although the players are far less prepared than they will be once training camp starts. At this early stage, there are still some who stood out as positives or negatives and some who simply weren't here.
"Seymour, it's kind of been a tradition for him. He hasn't been to a lot of the offseason conditioning programs. I'm not real concerned, he's a veteran, he was here for the minicamp when we had it earlier and did a nice job and so he's been in touch with us and we're well aware of what he's doing. And obviously McClain's got he legal issue that he's trying to get taken care of back in Alabama this week... Mike Mitchell's got a little bit of a knee deal."
The legal issues McClain is dealing with is a court date later this week stemming from the incident last season in which he allegedly assaulted a man and fired a gun by his head.
Those who were here but still recovering from injury were Stefen Wisniewski, Mike Brisiel, Louis Murphy, and Eddie McGee. Matt Shaughnessy was practicing with his teammates but not wearing a helmet as he is still not completely healthy from the injury that had him out most of last season.
Wisniewski had a procedure in the off season to repair a shoulder injury. Eddie McGee tweaked a hamstring working out and is out as a precaution. No one cared enough to ask about Murphy's injury but he and McGee appeared to be good enough to go through light workouts together after practice.
The story of the OTA is rookie round five pick Juron Criner. He was an acrobatic ball magnet today. Shades of Denarius Moore in 2011 training camp.
David Ausberry looked quite good, confirming Carson Palmer's glowing endorsement of him this off season. He has bulked up considerably from last season and made several great catches in traffic. His technique is sound and he snatches and secures passes well. He has skills and size that can at times have him looking like Vernon Davis. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, but it's a good sign. Ausberry is still working with the second team but with his play, I expect he will move to the starter over Myers soon enough.
Aaron Curry was moving around well and making plays. The defenses are still getting used to the new playbook but Curry's hustle was on display. There was a tipped pass that bounced around to about five different players on offense and defense like a game of hot potato before Curry secured it for the interception. Later he was covering Darren McFadden on a long pass and stayed with him stride for stride down the sideline to force an incompletion.
Among the receivers in the cone drill, Jacoby Ford looks sharp. His cuts are clean and flawless. No wasted movement or slips. He makes the other receivers look like they are lumbering and heavy footed by comparison. This is really no surprise after what we have seen from him thus far in his career. He is quick and compact.
Those standing out in a bad way include Thomas Mayo who dropped three consecutive passes in a cone drill. He began clutching his hamstring and was asked by one of the coaches if he was hurt and he said he was fine but he clearly was not. He was sidelined after that and didn't return to practice.
Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa had some issues in drills. He had a point blank pass bounce off his hands at one point and later got an earful for not finishing a play and not "running through". He was lining up with the second team in team drills.
Darrius Heyward-Bey was as per usual. He did well with short passes facing the quarterback but when he was sent long, he had a ball bounce off his hands. He left his feet unnecessarily when the pass was put on him in stride. It was a routine pass that most even marginal receivers would have made.
Matt Leinart and Terrelle Pryor both had an up and down day. A good percentage of their passes were off target, most of them thrown at the receiver's ankles. Both also had a couple of nice long balls.