If your Derek Carr, practice didn’t begin well and didn’t end well. If you’re the Raiders secondary, you feel a bit differently. The day started with a Carr getting intercepted and that’s exactly how it ended.
Early on, in 7-on-7s Seth Roberts went across the middle and was picked up by Karl Joseph. Carr tried to fit it into Roberts, but Joseph reached out and batted the ball. It flipped through the air and into the arms of Breon Borders.
At one point, Carr made a couple attempts to connect with Johnny Holton for long touchdowns, and both fell incomplete. The first one, TJ Carrie had tight coverage to disrupt it. The second, Carr just overshot it and had the pass go out the back of the end zone.
And finally, the very last play of the day, Carr threw for KJ Brent out left only to have Carrie read it perfectly, undercut it and pick it off. He returned it up the sideline for good yardage. Carr said that’s a perfect example of how the secondary has improved from what they were last year.
“That last play where TJ [Carrie] jumped the ball,” said Carr. “He wouldn’t have jumped that last year. They’re recognizing things faster and that’s why I just dropped back and threw it. They wouldn’t recognize it that quick. They wouldn’t be on top of their stuff. Sometimes we’d catch them slipping, miscommunicating and then we’d go.”
Derek Carr wasn’t to only one who had a rough day courtesy of some strong DB play. EJ Manuel had a pass intended for Jaydon Mickens knocked down by Antonio Hamilton and a bit later by Chris Humes. He had a couple off-target throws in between which are likely also a sign of good coverage giving him no easy targets.
In case you are wondering, yes Sean Smith is still running with the second team.
Four of the five drafted rookies returned to practice today. Well, sort of.
Second round safety Obi Melifonwu was suited up, but didn’t do any drills or team sessions. The most he did was a special teams walk-thru with minimal movement and he didn’t really look he was doing too well even with that.
Fourth round offensive tackle David Sharpe was back, but had a bit of a limp and told me he was fighting through some pain.
There are still four starters missing from practice. Khalil Mack was out for a second straight day, Amari Cooper is still not back, Jihad Ward either, and Donald Penn is still holding out of camp over a contract dispute.
Other injuries: Gareon Conley (PUP shin splints), Keith McGill (broken foot), Jon Feliciano (PUP undisclosed), Ben Heeney (NFI), and Cooper Helfet (NFI).
Catch of the Day: The play just before Karl Joseph tipped the ball for the interception, he was beaten badly by Jared Cook who got a step on Joseph on a deep cross and then was gone up the right sideline for a touchdown. Joseph was pretty mad at himself for letting that happen and made up for it on the next play.
Best run: Marshall Newhouse and Rodney Hudson laid a couple key blocks out left to clear the way from DeAndre Washington to run for a 10-yard touchdown.
Defensive play(er) of the day: Probably TJ Carrie. But since he has been mentioned already, I’ll give Dexter McDonald an honorable mention for putting together another solid day. On a run play, Paul Boyette held his gap to force DeAndre Washington out right and McDonald came up to tackle him for a loss. A bit later, McDonald stayed with Cordarrelle Patterson and very nearly picked off an EJ Manuel pass in the right side of the end zone. McDonald laid out for it and just barely couldn’t keep ahold of it.
Gotta step it up: Cordarrelle Patterson had a couple drops today. The first drop he had was a deep pass up the left side. A fan yelled ‘Catch the ball!’ to which Patterson responded ‘Shut the F*ck up!’ He dropped another later, but there were no words exchanged that time. Another instance he couldn’t dig out a low pass from Manuel and then there was the near interception in which Patterson went inside and Manuel threw it to a different spot.
A couple sacks today. Shilique Calhoun put a swim move on left tackle Marshall Newhouse to sack Derek Carr. Calhoun’s second in as many days. Mario Edwards Jr also got in the backfield quickly to sack Connor Cook. I didn’t see who Edwards beat, but they were worked.
James Cowser was once again a standout in pass rushing drills, getting around Vadal Alexander for a sack. Darius Latham had a nifty inside spin move on Jordan Simmons to crash the pocket and Treyvon Hester put a swim move on Simmons for a sack. Simmons got worked yesterday too.
Isaac Whitney and Connor Cook had a nice looking connection. Whitney had Kenneth Durden in tight coverage and Connor Cook put the ball up high where Whitney went up and got it. It was the only really impressive completion I saw from Cook on the day.