Three and Out: Pads come out; drops galore; TE battle
The addition of pads in practice allowed the Raiders to get physical, but also led to the first fight of training camp. (CSN)
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Practice summary: The Raiders conducted their first practice in pads on Sunday afternoon, which predictably produced the first scuffle. Running back Darren McFadden got brought down early in the first team period – a no-no even with pads on – and right tackle Khalif Barnes defended his man against an overzealous defensive line. New right end Jason Hunter was in the scrum, which was broken up before the exchange got worse.
Fire was evident in the Raiders' offensive line play. This was a holiday of sorts for the front five, who relished the chance to execute their new power-blocking scheme with the force required. Running lanes were created with regularity in what is the beginning of the running game’s evaluation process.
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor continues to show improved accuracy and decision-making. He made several quality throws – some with power, others with loft – and also waited the appropriate time to run with the football. When receiving options are exhausted, Pryor knows what to do rushing in the open field.
The receivers dropped several catchable passes, which sullied quality play from other position groups. Rod Streater had a nice practice, showcasing a smooth, graceful style running routes.
Offensive play of the day: Pryor’s best throw of camp was a lofting arc to Juron Criner for a first down. It sailed just over a linebacker’s arm and fell softly to Criner, showing the kind of touch Pryor struggled with in seasons past.
Defensive play of the day: Charles Woodson made a difficult play look effortless, breaking up a surefire touchdown from Flynn to Streater. Streater elevated above cornerback Tracy Porter to make the catch, but Woodson flew in from midfield, reached a hand inside the receiver’s grasp and ripped the ball away.
Rookie report: D.J. Hayden is still wearing a red non-contact jersey in practice, but he was in pads on Sunday and played pretty physical football. He grappled with receivers in one-on-one drills and played bump-and-run coverage in 11-on-11 drills. Hayden has showcased real talent early in camp and continues to expand his role in practice while working with the first team. … WR Conner Vernon, an undrafted free agent, has impressed with the second and third team.
Maiava MIA: LB Kaluka Maiava was not at Raiders practice on Sunday, a day after he injured his lower left leg the day before. He left Saturday’s practice on crutches, sporting a walking boot. Coach Dennis Allen said he was “going to miss a little bit of time,” without offering further specifics. The Raiders hope Maiava will compete for a starting spot at strongside outside linebacker, where rookie Sio Moore is also receiving consideration.
On the sideline: In addition to Maiava, Moore and LB Billy Boyko missed their first practice with injury. WR Sam McGuffie missed his second straight session while DT Pat Sims, LB Miles Burris (knee) and OT Menelik Watson haven’t practiced since training camp started on Friday. Watson, the Raiders’ second-round pick, missed his third straight practice day with an undisclosed injury. He’s still on the active non-football injury list. … WR Jacoby Ford was injured during Sunday’s practice with an undisclosed injury. The dynamic pass catcher has struggled with foot injuries the last two seasons. …Allen will not comment on specific injuries during training camp.
Quote of the day: “They have to get better. We don’t have a choice. If we set our mind to it and keep our focus locked, we’ll start reeling in passes every time.” – Raiders coach Dennis Allen, on receivers dropping passes