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NAPA – The Raiders are nearly two weeks into this training camp. Professional, largely well-executed practices have been the norm, but camp legs may be creeping up.
Head coach Dennis Allen wasn’t pleased with Tuesday’s practice, which comes just a few days from the preseason opener at Minnesota.
“We’re kind of at that point in training camp I didn’t think we had a great practice today,” Allen said. "You walk off the field and it looked like the defense got the better of the offense today. So we’ve got a lot of improvement that we’ve got to make and really a short time to get there. The guys are continuing to work, but we’ve got to be able to execute better than we did today.”
Bad news for the offense was positive for the defense, which lost several battles early in camp. They’ve come back stronger, especially in the secondary. On Thursday, several periods were spent working against a blitz package, where the black shirts were in attack mode.
The front seven caused havoc during those sessions, especially for the quarterbacks. Charles Woodson intercepted Matt Schaub when he was under duress during a 1-minute drill late in practice. The second unit baited Derek Carr into a mistake on the next possession, where rookie safety Jonathan Dowling stepped in an intercepted a pass.
“I thought the defense played well today,” Allen said. “They obviously executed better today, and sometimes you get that in training camp and sometimes one side of the ball gets a little bit the better of the other side. But offensively, we’ve got to execute better than we did today.”
The Raiders will have another training camp practice on Wednesday before devoting a day to preparing for Friday’s game against the Vikings.
“I think the guys are starting to get excited about going and playing football for real,” Allen said. “You kind of get to this point in camp when you’ve seen the same guys over and over, and you’re ready to see somebody else lined up across from you. We’re excited about opening up against Minnesota and anxious to get going.”
Some other notes from Raiders camp:
-- Allen said that tight end David Ausberry will have a “procedure” on his injured knee on Wednesday. Allen wasn’t sure when Ausberry would be back, though he believes Ausberry will make it back at some point this season.
-- Cornerback Tarell Brown made a few nice pass breakups on Thursday.
-- Just for fun, the catch of the day goes to defensive tackle Justin Ellis. The defensive line struggled to finish off plays during a tip drill, where one defender tips a pass into the air and another catches it. Ellis, not the swiftest player, jetted to his right and made a shoestring catch off an unpredictable tip.
-- Receiver Greg Little made a tough catch down the sideline that hit off his hand and he kept in his possession despite tight coverage from Brown.
-- TJ Carrie snagged an interception off of Schaub after defensive end Justin Tuck batted it into the air.
-- Linebacker Bojay Flilmoeatu had another strong practice, a day after he received praise from Allen.
Returned to practice - LB Sio Moore (ribs)
Did not practice - TE David Ausberry (knee), LB Kaluka Maiava (hamstring), S Shelton Johnson (hamstring), LB Marshall McFadden (hip), CB Nieko Thorpe (undisclosed)
Physically unable to perform - DJ Hayden (foot), G Lucas Nix (knee), S Usama Young (quad)