It was another nice, cloudy day in Raiders training camp. It's odd, really. Raiders season ticket holders were present at practice the first eight days and all of those days were sweltering hot. In the two days since, it's been nice and cool. I guess that clinches it; God hates Raiders fans. I mean, I'm no rocket surgeon, but I see no other explanation.
The hater status of the almighty aside, there was a practice to be had.
It was pads again today, making the count of days with pads since they were allowed vs those without 7 to 1. The intensity ramped up today and was very much simulating a real game environment. And yet, still no fights. I mean, seriously, this is getting ridiculous.
So, I have an idea. With the news of David Ausberry's knee procedure, the Raiders trade for Martellus Bennett from the Bears and they could solve both the tight end situation as well as the lack-of-fighting problem. Done and done.
Sio Moore returned to practice today from the rib injury that kept him out the past two practices. He was being eased back into things so Miles Burris continued to take most of the first team reps. Dennis Allen said they're going to monitor how Moore is doing the past couple days as to how much he plays in the preseason opener on Friday in Minnesota.
Keith McGill wasn't practicing. He got banged up yesterday. His injury is unknown at this time. The rest of the injured list was the same as before. Neiko Thorpe, Marshall McFadden, Kaluka Maiva, and Shelton Johnson were still out. The PUP list remains DJ Hayden, Usama Young, and Lucas Nix.
The defense was stout today and the offense was struggling. The completions were hard to come by for any of the quarterbacks. Whether that was a sign of a good defense or poor offense depended on the individual play. There was a mixture of both.
Let's get the offense out of the way first.
Matt Schaub and Greg Little hooked up early for a nice completion. Little ran a seem route against the zone and once he got about 15 yards downfield he reached Charles Woodson and broke to the outside where Schaub hit him in stride and Little took it the distance up the right sideline. They had another long sideline connection later that was not as good of a play but a much tougher catch. Not much positive offensively to talk about outside of those two connections.
There were a few nice runs thanks to solid blocking upfront. Latavius Murray shot through a nice hole through the right guard spot for a good gain. A few plays later, Gabe Jackson opened a nice hole, pushing Stacy McGee aside so Jeremy Stewart to get through and put on a burst into the defensive backfield.
Then on the next play, they ran a sweep right and Kory Sheets cutback left with open field thanks to a seal block by Jack Cornell at left tackle.
Standouts on defense were Justin Tuck, Shelby Harris, Miles Burris, and Justin Ellis.
Tuck had a sack and he tipped a ball at the line from Schaub that was intercepted by TJ Carrie. Burris had a couple run stuffs. Harris had a sack and a couple run stuffs.
Justin Ellis was clogging up the middle a lot and taking on double teams. Suddenly I got Hall and Oates stuck in my head "Ooohh here he comes. Watch out boy, he'll chew you up. Ooohh here he comes, he's a space eater." (you're welcome for the earworm.
Mychal Rivera was not sharp at all. Not a good look when he is now expected to assume the starting job again. First he didn't turn in time to get a pass from Derek Carr in the endzone. Then he had one go right through his hands from Carr. A bit later he flat out dropped one from Schaub.
Carrie very nearly had another pick on Schaub as well. He was going for Andre Holmes on a left sideline go route and Schaub overthrew Holmes. Carrie just couldn't quite catch up to it and get his hands on it.
It is really hard to believe just how often I find myself talking about the play of TJ Carrie. He is a seventh round rookie and is constantly making plays. And he has been doing it since OTA's. As of right now, he looks like an incredible draft steal. But I digress.
The cleanest interception came from TJ Carrie's fellow seventh round rookie, Jonathan Dowling. He broke perfectly on a pass from Derek Carr intended for James Jones and never broke stride the other direction. If you're keeping score, that's big day from each of the Raiders three seventh round rookies today.
There's just one more practice for the Raiders before they head to Minnesota to face another team. The defense looks ready. The offense, not so much.