It was back to pads again today after a day in shells. This time the Raiders had a scripted scrimmage so the intensity was up again.
Just to add to the uptempo day was this was a shortened practice. This mean no walk-thru to begin practice and about ten minutes of drills before team sessions began. Then offense versus defense quickly transitioned to special teams practice and back with no lag.
The Raiders got a lot of players back today just in time for the fast-paced scrimmage. Those returning were Stacy McGee, Antonio Smith, Justin Tuck, Greg Little, Denarius Moore, and Juron Criner. Denarius Moore was practicing but it didn't appear he took part in the scrimmage. He may have still been a bit banged up from yesterday's practice. Sio Moore was not practicing with a rib injury. To see the entire injury list, click here.
David Ausberry had another drop today. When he's on, he looks like a world-beater. But he hasn't been putting things together much lately. His receiving abilities have usually been the given. He can't let that part of his game lax and still be the number one tight end for this team.
TJ Carrie was in lockdown mode again today. Early on he was blanketing Greg Little to knock down a Schaub pass. In the next sessions, he did the same on a pass from Derek Carr to Brice Butler. He had Juron Criner in tight man coverage but Criner made a very tough catch, leaping in the air to pull down the Carr pass with Carrie all up in his grill. Good defense, great catch.
Carrie was drafted for his special teams abilities first and foremost and he showed off some of that as well. Though, not where you would have expected. While he is the return man on punts, he is a lead blocker on kicks. He cleared the way with a couple of nice blocks to spring his fellow Antioch native, and high school rival, Taiwan Jones for a big return.
Marcel Reece once again had a one-handed grab today. This time it was on a screen pass to the left. He reached up with his left hand to pull down a high pass from Schaub and didn't miss a step.
Darren McFadden was looking to hit some people today. On consecutive plays, he finished off a play, driving through a prospective tackle. The first play ran to the left where just Jeremy Deering and Keith McGill were standing between him and the endzone and McFadden lowered his shoulder and drove through for the score. The next play, he took a pass on a shallow cross and turned upfield and it was Deering again. This time Deering didn't wait to be hit, he gave back some and their pads popped together.
Jeremy Stewart had a nice long touchdown run today. He got some good blocking and shot through a hole then through the entire defense completely untouched. Sometimes it can be hard to know whether the running backs are doing well when they can't be taken down, but there was no doubt about that one. I didn't see where the blocking came from, unfortunately.
Marquette King continues to show his improved directional punting on top of his already good power. He boomed one about 65 yards in the air that landed just inbounds and bounced out inside the 20-yard line. I'm sure that one was for Ray Guy as Guy enters the Hall of Fame today.
Tony Bergstrom and Kevin Boothe continue their shifting around battle on the line. After two days with Bergstrom at center with the second team with Boothe at right guard, they swapped back with Boothe at center and Bergstrom at right guard. This team will only keep one backup center so whomever gets that job has the better shot of making this team.
Fourth round rookie Keith McGill has been watching seventh round rookie TJ Carrie play well and today made a play of his own. He got physical with Greg Jenkins and redirected his route. Trent Edwards threw the pass where Jenkins was supposed to be but there was McGill with the pass right in his chest for the interception. Later on, Jonathan Dowling tried to get into the drafted defensive back act but dropped an interception right in his hands. He was pretty mad at himself for missing that one.
Matt Schaub threw another interception today. But this time it actually wasn't Charles Woodson. He threw it for Mychal Rivera and Burris got inside position for an easy interception. Oh, and just so you know, Charles Woodson had his hands on a Schaub pass again today but dropped it. Presumably it wasn't an intentional drop to keep the media from hitting the panic button.
Mychal Rivera had an up and down day. There was that interception which he should have been in position to keep from happening and earlier he clanked one off his hands on a Derek Carr pass. But in both of those cases, he made up for it with impressive catches. And both for touchdowns.
The next play after the drop, he went on a post pattern and laid out for a really nice diving catch from Carr. After the Burris interception, he got behind Burris in the endzone and Schaub put it over his shoulder for the score.
Day off tomorrow, then back to the grind on Monday.