Things started to heat up in practice for the Raiders. And I am not just talking about the twenty degree temperature difference between the past two days. We arrived to the field to an ambulance and fire trucks as a fan had some trouble with the heat. It seemed strange because those same trucks and ambulance had been there when we left the day before after a woman had fell and scraped her leg.
There were some injured Raiders as well. After being limited in the past few days of camp, Denarius Moore was not practicing. He Aaron Curry, and Ron Bartell were watching practice today.
Bartell passed his physical and is cleared to practice. Though he won't be able to have full contact until Wednesday per CBA rules.
Richard Gordon was back from his hip flexor and then lower leg infection. He was wearing a wrap around his leg for the infection but look full strength. Travis Ivey was waived after spending the first week of camp on the sidelines from not passing his conditioning test.
Regardless, of the injuries on the team and in the bleachers, the show must go on. And the heating up shifted to the practice field.
It was the first day in which we saw the team simulate an actual game environment. They already had the fans there to cheer them on so why not.
The defense set up on one side of the field and the offense on the other. They started at the 50 yard line and drove toward the endzone.
It started with the second team with Matt Leinart behind center.
On the very first play, Philip Wheeler dives in front of a Leinart pass intended for Brandon Myers and intercepts is. It was a better play by Wheeler than it was a bad pass. He just read it perfectly and made a play on the ball.
Other highlights on the drive were Leinart hitting Criner on a crossing route, Ausberry dropping a pass right on his hands, Carl Ihenacho shooting up the middle to stuff Mike Goodson for a loss. The offense moved close to the endzone and then the defense shut them down. Jack Crawford got into the backfield to sack Leinart, then Bryan McCann and Pat Lee have put tight coverage on Brandon Carswell and Duke Calhoun to force Leinart to throw the ball away. The drive ends when Miles Burris knocks down a Leinart pass.
Leinart had a pretty good practice overall. It is the first time in which he made some passes that really stood out. Usually he is just ok and mostly up and down.
After Leinart had his shot moving the ball downfield, it was Pryor's turn with the third team. And that's when things got real ugly.
He starts things off throwing short on a long pass intended for Rod Streater that falls incomplete. Then after a good gain on a connection to Kyle Efaw, Aaron Henry steps in front of a pass intended for Streater to knock it down. Then Pyror throws low and incomplete to Streater. Like before, they set them up at the goal line to try and score. The last two plays Christo Bilukidi has a would be sack but Pryor didn't really even know he was there. Then the series and the practice ended with Pryor throwing an interception right into the hands of Nathan Stupar at the goal line. It was so bad, it was hard to tell who the intended receiver was.
This makes four of the last five practices that ended with a bad throw by Pryor. It is also the second time the horn has blown immediately following Pryor throwing an interception. He had a pretty good practice on Friday but has been back to his usual problems since then.
Others who looked good overall in practice today, I would point to Khalif Barnes, Tory Humphrey, Mike Goodson, Nathan Stupar, Rolando McClain, Philip Wheeler, Travis Goethel, Jacoby Ford, and Sebastian Janikowski.
Barnes continues to look dominant in pass blocking drills, Humphrey looks like a very solid all-around tight end in receiving and blocking, Goodson showed fantastic hands out of the backfield, Stupar, McClain, Wheeler, and Goethel all showed some pass rushing skills, Ford had one of his signature catches in which he took the ball away from Michael Huff ala Brandon Flowers, and Sebastian Janikowski put on a field goal trick show for the crowd.
Others who looked not so good include the aforementioned Pryor, Brandon Carswell, and Kyle Efaw. Carswell didn't look good trying to get off the line in drills, dropped a few passes in receiving drills, and had difficulty getting open in team sessions. Efaw, while having good hands in the receiving game, has shown pass blocking to be a serious deficiency in his game.
If you notice not a lot about the starters for this team it is because the team was emphasizing the second and third team guys as they try to find out what kind of talent they have there. They have to prepare for their first preseason game in which most of it will be played by second teamers and bubble players.