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Much was made about wide receiver Jacoby Ford dropping two passes and not being able to make a play on a deep pass from Carson Palmer on Monday night. Palmer and Ford said, it’s much ado about nothing.
"The interception was my fault," Palmer said Wednesday. "It was not his fault at all. It was completely my fault. The drops, that’s part of the game. I’ve thrown Jacoby a lot of balls, and those are the only two balls I remember being dropped with him from last year to this offseason to OTAs to minicamp, this training camp."
Coach Dennis Allen said that Ford could have been more aggressive on the one play, which resulted in an interception by Cowboys safety Gerald Sensabaugh.
Ford said he wasn’t pleased with the way he played against the Cowboys. Inconsistent play is to be expected at this time of the season, though.
"It’s definitely not the way I wanted to come out and put anything on film like that," Ford said. "But games like that happen and that’s why you’ve got to have a short-term memory and put it behind you. Good thing is, it’s preseason, so you kind of just put that behind you now and kind of just go into the next game, work on improvements the next time."
Palmer dismissed any notion that he and Ford lack chemistry. In fact, quite the contrary.
"I’ve thrown him 100 and something balls probably and completed most of them," Palmer said, "and the incompletes were mostly because of good coverage or bad throws. It’s not something that needs to be talked about. Jacoby understands. It’s nothing that needs to be talked about.
"I have complete faith in him and he’ll catch the next one. I told him right after (the interception) happened, ‘I’m coming right back at you to give you another chance.’ I know the next ball I throw to him, if it’s a bad ball, he’ll go up and make a play on it and make a play for me."
Ford echoed Palmer’s sentiment, saying he and Palmer are in synch.
"Yeah, most definitely," Ford said. "Me and Carson, we’ve been on cue every day since OTAs and camp, just working and getting that chemistry and the relationship down. We’ve been clicking well and that’s why the ball was coming to me, and I’m pretty sure he’s going to keep throwing to me. He’s not going to go away from me at all."
– Defensive tackle Jamie Cumbie, fullback Rashawn Jackson and offensive lineman Ed Wang joined a sizable list of players unable to practice.
Cumbie (foot), Wang (shoulder) and Jackson (hip) suffered their injuries during the Cowboys game. None of the injuries appears to be serious.
On the bright side, running back Mike Goodson (neck) and wide receiver Eddie McGee (hamstring) returned to practice after missing considerable time.
"I wanted to get back out here," Goodson said. "It was tough just sitting at the game, just watching, wanting to be out there with my team. Just happy to be back out here."
Allen said he anticipates Goodson playing Friday night.
To that, Goodson said: "I can’t wait. I can’t wait. I cannot wait."
Running back Taiwan Jones (hamstring), receiver Denarius Moore (hamstring), punter Shane Lechler (knee), tight end Brandon Myers (shoulder) and linebacker Aaron Curry (knee) also missed practice.
Allen said Curry still is in Los Angeles receiving treaments on his knee. He is expected to rejoin the team next week.
Allen said wide receiver Duke Calhoun (knee) and linebacker Mario Kuhn (knee) will be placed on injured reserve, as expected. There is no firm timetable for those transactions.
– Speaking of Lechler, Allen said he expects his Pro Bowl punter to play in at least one exhibition game. Allen also said that Lechler underwent an arthroscopic prodcedure on his knee.
Lechler has missed all of training camp so far. He said he underwen the procedure before camp started.
"It just slowly progressed," Lechler said. "I’d work out and then I’d have swelling, then I’d work out and have swelling. I just came up and had it cleaned out. … Thirteen years, that’s a lot of pounding on my left knee. I feel a whole lot better already than I did before."
In the process, Lechler said he has lost some weight. How much, he didn’t say. However, he said he weighs less than he has at any point in his Raiders career. He is listed as 230 pounds on the roster.
The reason Lechler lost weight, he said, is to expedite the healing process. He added that he has no doubt that he will kick in an exhibition game this season.
– Allen had crowd noised pumped in while the offense performed a drill as a means of simulating the conditions in a road game.
The Raiders play the Arizona Cardinals on Friday night in their first game away from the Oakland Coliseum this year.
Good thing Allen is working on that now, for there were several instances of players moving before the snap or being late off the ball.
– A Tweet Tuesday said that the Raiders were going to work out undrafted free agent defensive tackle Myles Wade. Allen said he isn’t sure if that workout took place. Wade spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier this season.
– Great scene after practice, with Palmer staying after to talk to and run with second-year quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
Then again, that’s nothing new for Palmer, revered by Allen and his teammates for his work ethic and selflessness.
"It says a lot about Carson as a person," Allen said. "It says a lot about him as far as his being a team player. It says a lot about him as far as his unselfishness. Says a lot about him as far as wanting to win."
That kind of approach is what it takes for the Raiders, or any team, to be successful, Allen said. Palmer and other projected starters can’t be fearful of sharing information or helping get better players competing for jobs and playing time.
"That’s the only way you develop a team and that’s the only way you develop a championship team is. we all got to be in this together," Allen said. "We’re not independent contractors looking out for ourselves, we’re looking out for the Raiders and what we feel like helps us win.
"It helps Carson Palmer if Terrelle Pryor as a quarterback. If Christo Bilukidi gets better, it helps Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour, because we’re in this for one reason and one reason only, and that’s to win and we need everybody to do that."
– Pryor spent most of his time against the Cowboys running around, away from defenders, scrambling for positive yardage, avoiding persistent pressure.
Still, Allen admitted, there were some instances where Pryor, perhaps, could have stayed in the pocket longer and gone through his reads.
"It’s a combination of a lot of things," Allen said. "Obviously, there were a couple of times where protection broke down. There were some times where he’s got to sit in there and make his reads. But it’s been a year since he’s been in a real football game.
"I wasn’t totally discouraged. I’m looking for him to get better. He’s been working hard to do that, so I’m not going to draw any conclusions on where Terrelle Pryor is. I’m going to let the process play out."
– Quote of the day: "There’s no comparison to where I’ll be at week seven or eight this year as opposed to last year. Just getting the experience and reps I need now will pay off come week one." — Palmer, who joined the Raiders midway through last season via trade after not playing at all until mid-October
– Coaches always pay particularly close attention to rookies and younger players in exhibition games, hoping to glean as much information as possible on whether they can make the 53-man roster and, maybe, even contribute right away.
To that end, Allen said he was impressed by the NFL debuts of defensive linemen Christo Bilukidi and Dominique Hamilton on Monday.
"I was impressed with both of them, as far as their effort," Allen said. "Christo, specifically, on the run defense, he was pretty powerful in there, and that’s things that he’s got to work and continue to get better. It was good to see him play the run well, and it was good to see Hamilton with a nice pass rush, getting the sack on the quarterback."