It was day four of Raiders training camp. The second day in pads and first with a crowd of Raider fans in attendance. There was around 1000 fans in the bleachers alongside the field to watch the Raiders practice.
Denarius Moore was back in action after missing Wednesday's practice with a tweaked hamstring. He practiced albeit not at his usual performance level. He was wearing a brace on his right knee and a wrap around his calf.
In Moore's absence, the duties of wowing the fans in attendance would fall to other receivers. Juron Criner had a great day catching the ball. His usual of making corrections on off-target passes and hauling in everything that is anywhere near him. The first few practices, he didn't see as many balls but today he was back to the kind of play we saw from him in OTA's and minicamp.
Jacoby Ford also had some nice catches. Most notable the first catch on a go route that had the crowd go crazy. He also had a really nice catch on a quick slant over the middle from Palmer. The pass came in hot and high. Jacoby reached up at the last instant and plucked it out of the air seemingly effortlessly and didn't break stride. He is look really good as the Raiders' slot receiver.
After being short or off target on several passes on Wednesday's first padded practice, Carson Palmer still had some kinks to work out. Most notably, he and Darrius Heyward-Bey can't seem to get in rhythm. He overthrew DHB three times, once resulting in an interception.
DHB also continues to see Demarcus Van Dyke in his nightmares. DVD vs DHB has been a daily occurrence of late. Looks like a good little rivalry.
Overall, DVD has played tremendous and is continues to make a case to be a starter for this team. Once Ron Bartell is back healthy, it should get interesting as far as who gets first team reps among the top three of Bartell, DVD, and Shawntae Spencer.
This was Terrelle Pryor's best day of camp thus far. He had a couple nice passes on Wednesday but nothing worth shouting from the rooftops. Today, he made a few nice throws with no major miscues. He even tucked the ball and ran it two times, showing just how much speed he has at his disposal. He certainly had the most impressive throw I have seen from him. Ausberry was sent on a flag route left and Pryor threw a tight spiral with perfect touch right over his shoulder, in stride. I have talked about his throws tending to flutter or have nothing behind them. He had at least three completions on the day which that was not the case. I had not been able to say that prior to today.
Owen Schmitt looked great in blocking and catching the ball. He has a really nice combination of soft hands and hard hitting. He garnered one of the bigger responses from the crowd when he laid a loud block on rookie Chad Kilgore to clear the way for Taiwan Jones to run through the line. Later, out of play action, he ran into the flat and had a textbook catch. You couldn't even hear the ball touch his hands.
Rolando McClain had another solid day. On Wednesday, he made some plays in coverage. But today, he was making plays against the run. First, it was him cutting off the outside and meeting Mike Goodson head-on on a run out left. A few plays later he stood up Darren McFadden at the line. It appears from the outside that McClain has a renewed drive.
The two turnovers today were via interception and fumble. The DVD interception off the high pass from Palmer and Tory Humphrey fumbling after a short pass. Tyvon Branch scooped up the fumble and ran it in for a touchdown.
The Raiders did show a 3-4 alignment today. Despite the players saying that multiples hadn't been instituted early in camp, Dennis Allen said the team has been slowly instituting it. I expect it to become more obvious when it is instituted in future practices and we will get a better idea then who will be playing which positions.