After a day off the Raiders were back on the field for day five of training camp practices. Another day in pads, and they will continue to be in pads all this week.
Injury update: There is no update from two days ago. The same guys were missing as Sunday. Clive Walford has yet to practice this camp and Roy Helu missed the second straight day. Rod Streater and Trent Richardson are still on the NFI list and Stacy McGee is still on the PUP list.
Since the names Michael Crabtree and DJ Hayden seem to come up daily, it was only fitting the two of them went at it late in practice. In the final team session of the day, which is always the most fast-paced, Derek Carr looked to Crabtree over and over on their offense's march down the field.
The first pass to Crabtree tried a hitch and go along the right sideline and Hayden got a hand full of jersey and was called for pass interference. The next play, Carr went for Crabtree on a crossing route and Hayden read the play to bat it down for a pass defended.
After a short pass to Mychal Rivera, it was back to Crabtree, who got behind Hayden but Carr overthrew it. Carr went right back to the well again and this time Crabtree burnt Hayden for a long catch. Technically speaking, Mack got pressure for a would-be sack, but Mack got there quick, so it wasn't like Hayden was on an island for a long time.
Then just like on Sunday, Carr hit Crabtree with a touchdown pass at the horn. Crabtree faked inside and went outside along the goal line and Carr placed it on the outside, Hayden tried pushing Crabtree out of bounds but it was to no avail, Crabtree had tapped his toes just inside the pylon for the score.
Jack Del Rio commented on the battle between Hayden and Crabtree following practice.
"I think Crab's bringing us some of what we brought him here for, he's friendly to the quarterback and Derek's a good young player," said Del Rio. "There's a great competition going on over there for our DB's working against a good quarterback and good receiver and some good contested plays right there so I like the way they're working."
Now five days in, the first team offensive line has not changed. From left to right, it's Donald Penn, Gabe Jackson, Rodney Hudson, J'Marcus Webb, and Menelik Watson. There has been some shuffling behind them, but it looks like the first five are set until further notice.
Catch of the day: Michael Crabtree toe tapper
The play to end practice was the catch of the day for two of the past three practices. It was a great pass and a great catch which showcased the chemistry Derek Carr and Michael Crabtree continue to have in this year's camp. It's also the kind of hands and body control which we all knew Crabtree was capable of, but hadn't shown a lot of last season in San Francisco.
Ground attack: Latavius Murray cutback
One thing I have seen Latavius Murray do really well in this year's camp is really sell his first look and draw the defense and then make a vicious cutback through the backdoor gap that opened up. One particular run he went like he was going through the center/left guard gap, Justin Ellis sold out to fill it, and Murray cut behind Gabe Jackson, inside the left tackle to daylight. After the play, Del Rio excitedly yelled to Murray "Nice cut! Nice cut!"
Premium rush: Curtis Lofton
Mack had a sack and a tackle for loss today, but since we talk about him every day, I'll recognize Curtis Lofton for getting a sack on Derek Carr. It came on a blitz and he got through for the sack. Not much more to it than that.
Pick of the litter: Malcolm Smith strip
Yet again, we go without an interception (there has been just one in five days), which means we once again talk about another kind of turnover in the passing game - the forced fumble In doing so, we continue our linebacker love as well. Derek Carr threw a pass over the middle to an open Lee Smith who pulled it in and turned up field only to have his name sake, Malcolm, swat the ball out of his arms to force a fumble. It's not an interception, but the end result is the same.
Gotta step it up: Amari Cooper
Despite this little NFL.com video floating around showing one moment in a wide receiver drill (no filming team sessions), Amari Cooper has been pretty quiet on the field in camp thus far. Today, he had a play where he got a step on DJ Hayden on a long ball and had Derek Carr put it where it needed to be, but Cooper tried to catch it with one hand and dropped it.
And before the excuse brigade starts cracking their knuckles, I realize Cooper is just a rookie and he is in his fifth day of camp. But there will be a lot expected of him as the team's future number one receiver and thus far, he has been basically a possession receiver in camp. We know he can do better, and I think he will. He just hasn't done it yet.
I have mentioned it here and there, but it bears repeating and emphasis - Derek Carr has looked fantastic. Seeing him in an actual game is important to avoid any premature proclamations of sophomore superstardom, but I can say he most definitely looks very sharp and very in tune with his receivers. He is obviously loving having Crabtree in the offense and it is a bit concerning how often he looks Crabtree's way. When he gets Clive Walford back and when he and Cooper can get in rhythm, we will hopefully see that chemistry spread around the offense.