Oakland Raiders Training Camp: News and Notes from Day 16
Stuart Kovacs – Aug 21, 2012
On Tuesday morning, the Oakland Raiders participated in their sixteenth day of training camp practice. Here are some news and notes as well as what head coach Dennis Allen had to say afterwards.
Tuesday marks the third to last day that the Raiders will be practicing in Napa. After their game against the Detroit Lions on Saturday, they will practice in Alameda for the remainder of training camp.
In addition to the team’s approaching exodus from Napa is the limitation of media during the practices.
Starting today, rather than having access to the entire practices like they previously had, the media now only gets to view the first 30 minutes of practice.
The most newsworthy story from today’s practice was that the Raiders worked out free agent defensive lineman Andre Carter, according to Paul Gutierrez’s Twitter page.
Carter, 33, played for the New England Patriots last season where he compiled 10 sacks. In three of his last five seasons, Carter has accumulated double-digit sacks.
While no signing is imminent as of yet, Allen did admit that the team is looking at Carter in an attempt to catch lightning in a bottle.
“We’re going to shake all the bushes and see what falls out.”
Carter denied interview after working out citing that he needs to let everything simply play out.
“I gotta stay low key, brother. If it works out, God willing.”
On the injury front, wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, safety Michael Huff, fullback Manase Tonga, and quarterback Matt Leinart all returned from injuries, according to Vic Tafur’s Twitter page.
Heyward-Bey (shoulder) and Leinart (cut on right index finger) were both injured during Friday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Huff didn’t play in the game due to the birth of his first child.
Tonga missed Sunday’s practice with an undisclosed injury. However, Gutierrez says that his Twitter page suggests that he also had a child born this weekend.
Defensive lineman Richard Seymour (day off), wide receiver Jacoby Ford (left foot),Linebacker Aaron Curry (knees), wide receiver Denarius Moore (hamstring), defensive lineman Jamie Cumbie (foot), offensive lineman Ed Wang (shoulder), offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski (calf), fullback Rashawn Jackson (hip), and offensive lineman Zach Hurd (head) all missed practice once again with injuries, according to Gutierrez.
However, it appears that Curry, Moore, and Jackson are extremely close to returning from their injuries as Gutierrez observed them working on the side with a trainer.
Seymour, for the second consecutive practice, received a day off while Ford was still in a walking boot, according to Gutierrez.
Wisniewski has essentially missed the entire offseason with injury. He missed OTA’s after offseason shoulder surgery and has been shelved with a calf injury for most of training camp.
Allen emphasized that he needs to return to action rather quickly in order to be ready for the start of the season. Even though he’s watched the practices, he’s not getting the important physical reps needed.
“He needs to get the reps. It’s football and you don’t just show up and play. Every day he’s not out here, it’s a little bit further behind. He’s been keeping up mentally, as far as taking the mental reps in the meetings. It’s hard to replace those physical reps out here in practice or as you get into games.”
Alex Parsons has taken over for Wisniewski as the first-team center. Allen is happy with the effort and results that the former USC Trojan has given the team.
“He’s done well. As a matter of fact, he was competing the whole time. We were impressed with what we’ve seen out of him. Again, we’ve got a ‘next man up’ philosophy. If Wiz is ready to go, great. If he’s not, then it’s next man up. Alex goes in there to play and we expect to see results out of him. He’s given us every indication that we’ll see that.”
Allen also specified that there is no cutoff date as of right now for Wisniewski in terms of playing in the season opener. Allen and the rest of the coaching staff will determine what will be in the best interest of the team.
“There’s no cutoff day. We’re going to evaluate Wiz and we’re going to try to get him back out here as soon as we can. Whenever he’s able to go, then we’ll determine what’s best for us as an offense and gives us the best chance to win.”
Allen has used this week and prepared the team as if they were playing the Lions in a regular season game. He wants the players to get a feel for what the environment will be like week in and week out.
“It’s more of a dress rehearsal, kind of taking the guys through how we’re going to go about game planning for a week, all the way up until game day. We’ve got a little bit more in, from a game-planning standpoint this week than we normally do. We’re still not full game plan, but more than what we’ve done the first two preseason games.”
Several of the Raiders’ safeties have been enthusiastic about the new scheme that Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver have implemented.
Allen is also pleased with guys like Michael Huff, Tyvon Branch, and Mike Mitchell and what they bring to the table. He singled out their speed and athleticism as exceptional.
“Yeah, I think the good thing about our safety position is that we’ve got some speed and athleticism there. Again, our job as coaches is to find out what our guys do well, put them in those positions and ask them to do those things and limit the time you ask them to do things they’re not as good at. Those are a couple guys that are athletic, that can do a lot of different things. So we’re going to try to use them that way.”
In the 2011 season, stopping the run was a huge issue for the Raiders. While admitting it is still a work in progress, Allen believes the group has improved immensely especially in knowing their individual responsibilities.
“It’s no different than any other year, when you understand what your job is, what your responsibility is, and you do your job, then we’ll stop the run. If we get undisciplined in our gap control, then that’s where you get crease. Our guys have done a pretty good job of understanding where they fit in the run game, and how we’re trying to make the ball go where we want it to go, and they have a good feel for that right now. It’s still a work in progress; we’ve still got to get better. But, I’ve been happy with some of the improvement.”
On the offensive side of the football, Allen says that the new zone blocking scheme has been hit or miss. However, he is very confident in the system as well as the players that the Raiders have on the offensive line and at running back.
“It’s not going any different than what I would have anticipated. At times, it’s really good and we have some explosive runs. Then, at times we don’t execute the technique exactly right or we don’t target exactly right and it’s not as good. I’ve spent enough years in the League watching this running scheme, and I’ve got all the confidence in the world in the scheme and our players’ ability to execute it, that when the time comes, we’ll be able to run the football.”
The Raiders will resume practice tomorrow as they prepare for their third preseason game against the Detroit Lions on Saturday. It will be closed to the media after the first 30 minutes, as will the remainder of training camp practices
Raider Nation Times will continue to monitor the team’s progress throughout the entire training camp period.
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