The Raiders started camp with a conditioning test. Now after some 9 practices (5 with pads), sprinkle in a couple days off, they completed day 12 of the 2014 Training Camp on Monday. Head Coach Dennis Allen praised his team for having a sharper practice than they did last time they had a day off. They were in pads for the fifth time in camp and had a lively session, but not as intense as their scrimmage on Saturday.
Sio Moore missed another practice with sore ribs, but Coach Allen wasn’t ready to declare him out of the preseason opener on Friday. David Ausberry missed practice with a knee ailment. This came out of nowhere as nothing was said about him after their scrimmage. Ausberry with an injury is the extent of his Raiders career. Hopefully this is not something that will keep him out long. Promising your cornerback Neiko Thorpe also missed practice, but he was at least working on the side with a trainer. No word on what his injury is. Coach Allen mentioned DJ Hayden in his post practice press conference, saying he’s getting better and that he expects to have him back before the preseason is over.
Matt Schaub did not throw an interception on Monday. If you were hitting the panic button, I hope that makes you feel better. Matt continues to be solid, he had a nice bomb to Holmes and a perfect screen pass to McFadden. The offensive unit has been steadily building. The QB is the brain and the offensive line is the heart and soul of the offense. It will be what keeps this offense going, no matter who is out there at running back or wide receiver.
Coach Allen says he feels, that at this point of camp, this group is ahead of any defense he has had in Oakland. Khalil Mack continues to impress, making plays all over the field. The big fellas up front are very active as well. The young corners continue their up and down play, with more good than bad. This unit is itching to get after another team and I’m looking forward to how they do on Friday.
The Raiders released their first official depth chart, in preparation for their Friday preseason game against the Vikings. Coach Allen said it’s written in pencil, but is an indication of where they are ‘right now’. He stated most battles are very close. Some notable things, MJD ahead of DMC, Sio ahead of Miles, Streeter and Holmes are starting WR, James Jones is 2nd string and Denarius Moore is 3rd string. Starting D line is, Tuck, Woodley, Sims and Antonio Smith. Health permitting, that d line sounds lovely. Khalif Barnes is still starting over the rookie.
Another practice in the books, with just two more before they head off to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. I don’t know if it’s the last 10 years, but I keep waiting to hear some very bad news. That major injury or poor performance. I don’t want to jinx us, so I’ll do all the jinx busting things I can. Mainly, I’ll believe. Believe that the drought is over. Believe. Sure, some solid play in pre-season will make that much easier. I’m looking forward to Friday. Most starters will not play much more than a series or two, but I hope they are sharp and successful. Fingers crossed.