Time to don the pads and put the women and kids to bed. Day 5 was not for the faint of heart as hits crunched on bones and bodies were challenging blood to flying contests.
Well, not really. Actually the first padded practice wasn't much different than the last 7 practices. Except for the fact, you'll never guess...they had pads on! Players were making contact, but they weren't tackling to the ground. A reality that led to Darren McFadden breaking tackles (apparently gravity wasn't allowed to tackle to the ground either). Nnam sums up the difference in practices for us:
We did more because Hue Jackson wanted to see more from the offense. We never really did a full mental four days like we were supposed to. All we did today was throw on pads and just continue what we’ve been doing.
Of course, a few players had to be told to ease up. Surprisingly LaMarr Houston was not one of them. Not surprisingly Mike Mitchell was, twice.
It was one practice and it would be foolish to read too much into one practice at the beginning of a long season, but I am a die-hard and I am foolish. So, let the hastily made thoughts commence as they are interspersed with the reports of other's reports.
The WR's had a hard time getting open in live drills today and they were without Murphy and Schillens. Murphy jogged while recovering from his concussion and Chaz ran some routes and looked good making cuts, but cut his practice short before contact started. I'm not sure what contact would do to his foot, but hey...whatever it takes for him to stay healthy. It seems even more important today than it did yesterday as the first red flag began furling around the hopes DHB had turned into expectations.
The first practice with pads and the first practice DHB was not mentioned as standing out. A fact that makes me feel less than warm and fuzzy, but it was one practice. Deep breaths. The pads and contact can't take away all the positive strides he has made. Can they? Please say they can't. On the plus side, he wasn't mentioned as sucking.
Of the WR's, Jacoby Ford was mentioned as continuing to impress. Good news for him, bad news for guys like Nick Miller, Yamon Figurs and possibly JLH.
Cable guy on Ford:
We're enthused. He's learning to play fast, and when you get that kind of speed and he's able to use it in routes and use it on his release, it really shows what he's capable of. He certainly catches the ball well.
What? You can be fast and catch the ball well. That's neat. Almost as neat as the fact there are more morsels of goodness after the jump.
- Michael Bush took the newly allowed contact as an opportunity to flash some seldom seen blocking skills. He had a couple of pancakes on LB's today. A good sign that the back the Nation hopes is going to display the bruising attitude his frame seems made for. Not too mention the heart and desire that may be somewhat in question.
- Sarcasm aside, McFadden had a productive day running and catching. According to Henry Wofford if the backs keep this up Cable has said the starter will be Miren McBush.
- Robert Gallery quickly reminded everyone why it blows when he is hurt. He is a damn good guard. He and Seymour battled today. It sounds as if it was a fairly even match in their one-on-one clashes. Cable on Gallery and his match-up with Seymour:
It's really a good matchup for our team because they're making each other better. Robert is a really fine, fine player and he's proven that. Last year the injury didn't (give him) the opportunity...to show it, but they go in there kind of like iron sharpens iron. They grind and they grind and they win some and they lose some. That's good football. That's how you do it.
Daniel Loper showed why he was a prized free agent that the Raiders were lucky enough to acquire as he stopped Tommy Kelly in his tracks in one on one match-ups on two consecutive snaps. What? My glass is half-full. It's training camp! Ugh Tommy...the vibrations of the Nation tell me you are sliding right into the recently vacated public enemy #1 slot.
- The O-line vs. D-line match-up outcome I am not sure if I should be happy or sad about was Langston Someone-has-to-start Walker vs. LaMarr Suck-it Houston. Langston apparently made Houston a non-factor today.
- Like last year, Cable says the #2 CB position is a heated battle between CJ and Routt. For his part CJ seems confident it his is spot and he continued his good play today. CJ:
Last year really wasn't a season I can be proud of, but I went home and looked at some things and worked on some things. It's going to be a better year for me this year.
I came into camp as a starter and I am going to leave as a starter. I never look behind me. If a person looks behind, then he is going to fall behind. So I always look forward, and try everyday to improve my game. I don't ever worry about the next man.
When asked what he has improved on from last year he replied:
The deep ball and being patient on the line of scrimmage. I felt last year that I was impatient at the line and I am too fast not to be patient. I can run with anybody in the league.
- Nnam offered a statement on Routt's play that could be interrupted many ways. I am going with the way that says Routt needs to show a little more, but here it is for y'all to interpret:
I do get the sense he’s been playing well, but you know, by Year 6, you have to have it. If he doesn’t have it by now, it’s like, `What’s going on?’
- M. Tonga had some good blocks today and may be stepping forward in the wide-open FB race.
Jason Campbell has made some high risk throws and suffered some picks, but seems to be getting solid reviews overall. The best passing play was mentioned as a Campbell to Tony Stewart seam route.
- McClain walked off the field with two trainers, but quickly returned. Cable said later it was stomach problems or he had to go to the bathroom. You have to take him at his word here as McClain quickly returned no worse for wear, but this scenario seems a little far fetched. McClain: "Get a trainer over here. No, get two. I've got a serious turtle head poking out here and I gotta get to the crapper."
- Hue Jackson cracks me up. Here is what he had to say after Huff made a little too much contact:
What was that? Oh you actually want to tackle today? You're going to tackle today? That's nice