Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen addresses the team at 2012 training camp (photo by Levi Damien)
The Raiders took a break from full contact today. The team had been in full pads since the third day of camp but today they took a break and were suited up in only shells and shorts. Coach Allen was heard saying that he still wanted everyone going full speed but without contact.
Allen said the break from full contact was simply because the team needed a break. However, they were scheduled to be in full pads and it seemed obvious the "break" was in light of the hit that led to running back Mike Goodson being taken away from practice in an ambulance on Tuesday.
Goodson was not practicing today with the neck injury he suffered on Tuesday. Although MRI results were negative and he was being held out for soreness in the neck. Also new to the walking wounded was rookie Jack Crawford who didn't finish practice on Tuesday with after hurting his foot. Both players are expected to fully recover although no timeline was given.
Sebastian Janikowksi was also not practicing today but he was not injured. He was held out because he was sick.
Several Raiders booster clubs were on hand to view training camp including the Black Hole, 66 Mob, Fresno Knights of the Shield, and Oakland Raiders boosters.
One of the first observations of the day was the fact that Chimdi Chekwa has been demoted in favor of Pat Lee. Chekwa has been struggling all camp and he becomes the first player to be supplanted from his position on this team. Pat Lee has earned the right to be given a shot and he is getting it.
With Mike Goodson and Taiwan Jones both out of the lineup, Lonyae Miller was working with the second team and Rashawn Jackson was the third team tailback. Even Marcel Reece was getting some carries at tailback. Jackson didn't get off to a good start in his tailback duties, fumbling the ball on a handoff.
Carson Palmer and Darrius Heyward-Bey got off on the right foot, hooking up for a long catch across the middle. Then Palmer hit Jacoby over the middle with Bartell defending. But as good as Palmer was throwing, Leinart was even better.
Leinart had his best day of camp throwing the ball. He throwing lasers all over the field. His favorite target was Juron Criner but he didn't discriminate, hitting David Ausberry, Richard Gordon, Rashawn Jackson, Rod Streater, Thomas Mayo, and Brandon Carswell.
Pryor had another bad day. He completed one nice pass in which he escaped the pocket and saw Dre Muhammad come back for a completion along the right sideline. He does seem to throw very well on the move. After that he lofts a weak pass intended for Derek Carrier that falls incomplete. The horn blew to end the session right after and he was not happy with his performance. David Ausberry came out to give him a high five as encouragement but Pryor just kept walking, leaving Ausberry holding his hand in the air.
Spencer has been playing a lot better in the past few days. It seems to have coincided Ron Bartell's return to the lineup. Demarcus Van Dyke has been outplaying him while he was playing in his stead. Now, with Bartell getting back on track, it possible the Raiders could have three good options at corner. Or at least two of them.
Richard Gordon had the longest catch of the day, grabbing one over the middle on a crossing route from Leinart that he took to the house. He also made a nice catch from Palmer where he corrected on a ball slightly behind him. If he can eliminate the lapses that have him dropping easy passes from time to time, he could be a real asset to this offense.
Best player on defense today was Philip Wheeler. He continued to show how good he is in coverage. Within a few plays time, he had a pass defended and an interception. It was the only interception of the day.
DHB went down late in practice and there was a moment of tension but he hopped up pretty quick and continued with practice.
After practice, several Raiders players stopped to sign autographs for the boosters who were on hand.
There will be no practice Thursday but the team will be back on Friday at 2:20pm as the hit the home stretch in preparation for their preseason opening game on Monday night against the Cowboys.