The Raiders have officially been in training camp for one week which they're at the halfway point before the first preseason game. They also had their fourth day of padded practices and the newness is wearing off which presents the challenge of guarding against the lull and keeping the energy up.
Injury update: Trent Richardson took the training camp field for the first time today, coming off the Non-football illness list with pneumonia. Though the Raiders had asked he get his weight down, and Jack Del Rio had said Richardson was close to reaching that goal, his absence was not a directly weight related issue. Rod Streater remains on the NFI list with an unknown issue. Stacy McGee remains on the PUP list with an undisclosed injury.
Not practicing for the first time this camp was Menelik Watson and Michael Dyer. They joined Roy Helu Jr and Clive Walford doing light work on the side during practice. Walford has been out all of camp and Helu has missed the last three days.
After having just one interception the first five days (Nate Allen), the defense got two interceptions today. This first interception acted as a bit of redemption for DJ Hayden who intercepted a Derek Carr pass intended for Amari Cooper. A bit earlier, he knocked a pass down out of the hands of Kenbrell Thompkins as well. Hayden had been struggling in camp this year and as a result had spent some time demoted to second team behind Keith McGill, so getting that interception was big for him and his confidence.
The other interception undrafted rookie Tevin McDonald picked off Christian Ponder which closed out practice.
Overall, the defense had a very good day while the offense wasn't quite a crisp as it had been over the first five days. While the defensive improvement is welcome from the defensive side, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave was not pleased with it from an offensive perspective.
"Today was a day we definitely want to learn from," said Musgrave following practice. "As soon as we learn from it we want to forget it because it wasn't the way you play winning football. So, today we let the defense get on too many footballs. That's for sure."
Catch of the day: Kenbrell Thompkins red zone TD
Team sessions today started with red zone work. There were quite a few touchdown passes Carr threw in this session from which to choose. The one with the greatest degree of difficulty would have been another Crabtree sideline grab, but he didn't quite keep his feet inbounds. The Thompkins catch he had to make with Nate Allen between him and the ball. Carr threw it because Allen was turned around and Thompkins pulled it in for the score.
Premium rush: Neiron Ball swat
Yes, Khalil Mack had one of his daily sacks in this game. A play later, Neiron Ball came rushing up the middle and got his hands in the air to bat down the Christian Ponder pass attempt.
Pick of the litter: Malcolm Smith
Since I mentioned the interceptions in the opener, Malcolm Smith gets love here for his fine day. He had a couple of good plays. First he knocked down a Derek Carr pass in seven on sevens and later he came in to stuff Latavius Murray behind the line and stripped the ball out.
Gotta step up: Brice Butler
Last year in training camp, Butler was steady making plays. He was looking to be on the rise with the Raiders and last season he showed some skills that had him as a serious challenger to Andre Holmes' spot on the roster. But thus far in camp, he seems to be working mostly with the second and third teams and hasn't hardly even seen the ball. Meanwhile, guys like Andre Holmes and Kenbrell Thompkins are both seeing a lot of first team work with each making at least a couple grabs per practice. If Butler doesn't start making some noise soon, he could find himself the odd man out in this receiver group.