NAPA –- Quarterback Matt Schaub was near perfect for five straight practices. Early in the sixth, Charles Woodson snapped that streak.
The veteran safety leaped in front of James Jones down the left sideline and picked off a high-arching ball before the receiver could recover and make a play.
Whether or not Woodson got both feet in bounds is uncertain. We surely know Schaub was rolling away from pressure and made a lackadaisical attempt to throw the ball away, something he never would've done in a regular game.
That didn’t stop Woodson from joining fans in the bleachers for an impromptu celebration. After bowing to Raiders passers for nearly a week, the defense needed a win.
Then, on the very next snap, Woodson stole another one. His second pick in as many plays was legitimate. He plucked Schaub’s pass and, without much resistance given that this was a practice, sauntered into the end zone.
[RELATED: Schaub's confidence 'never went anywhere']
Woodson highlighted a strong day for the defense, which played well against the run and pass during an intensely physical session.
“Woodson’s on scholarship, too,” head coach Dennis Allen said. “He’s been a good player in this league, and he’s going to make big plays. It’s football, and nobody’s perfect. In camp, you like to see a little give and take.”
Despite the fact he made several quality throws during Thursday’s practice, head coach Dennis Allen was asked about Schaub’s interceptions. After throwing so many in 2013, turnovers are of concern to the fan base. They aren’t to those watching Schaub’s efforts in practice, or to the Raiders coaching staff.
“I know how this whole thing is going to work,” Allen said. “Every time Schaub throws an interception, people are going to hit the panic button and act like the sky is falling. He had a couple of plays that weren’t very good, but he came back and responded well. I’ll let (others) push the panic button. I’m not going to. In my mind, he’s still doing a great job for us.”
Some other notes from Raiders camp:
-- Defensive tackle Antonio Smith missed Thursday’s practice with a groin strain. He cut Wednesday’s session short due to that ailment. Allen said he did not believe Smith’s groin strain was related to the sports hernia surgery that kept Smith out of the offseason program.
-- Linebacker Khalil Mack used pure power to knock tight end Mychal Rivera on his back during a running drill. Darren McFadden was sent Mack’s way, and his obliterated his block to made a stop in the backfield.
“It was good to see,” Allen said. “I expect him to do that a lot this year.”
-- Running back Latavius Murray has played well as a rusher, and seems to be a contender to return kicks.
-- The Raiders are looking far and wide for players to return punts and kicks. Allen said that rookie TJ Carrie, Denarius Moore and Murray have stood out thus far. Allen: “We’re going to let this thing play out over the course of the preseason.”
-- George Atkinson III has been involved in kick return duties, but he has struggled some with ball security.
-- Defensive lineman C.J. Wilson practiced for the first time this camp, and was taken off the non-football injury list.
Returned to practice: DL C.J. Wilson (hamstring)
Did not practice: DT Antonio Smith (groin), LB Kaluka Maiava (hamstring), WR Juron Criner (hamstring), S Shelton Johnson (hamstring), LB Marshall McFadden (hip).
Physically unable to perform: DJ Hayden (foot), G Lucas Nix (knee), S Usama Young (quad)
Non-football injury: DT Stacy McGee (thumb)