The Raiders practiced in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees today in front of members of the Raider Nation. The fans filled the sidelines to watch the team go through a pretty standard workout in shorts and without pads. Other than the intense heat on the field, there wasn’t anything too unusual about the day’s events.
Samson Satele (ankle), Langston Walker (lower back), Chaz Schilens (knee), Jay Richardson (knee), Richard Seymour (tricep), and Chris Johnson (hamstring) all missed practice today due to their various ailments. Alex Daniels, who was moved from defensive end to fullback, was moved back to defensive end and wasn’t able to finish the day due to a groin pull.
Satele, who injured his ankle in the preseason game against the Bears, shouldn’t miss much action. Cable, who said he’d been, “kind of excited about the direction he was going,” in camp, will be holding him out this week for sure. “I know I’m going to shut him down this week. There’s a chance he could be ready to go, but I’m just not going to push that, I’m not going to do that,” said Cable after practice.
Schilens’ return is a little more uncertain. Cable was quick to point out that the Raiders’ top wideout, “has had a procedure on his knee. It’s an arthroscopic procedure. I cannot tell you yet – he’s not back – as to a timeline, but we’ll know here pretty quick.”
With the timeline on Schilens’ return in doubt, it was good for the silver and black to get Darrius Heyward-Bey back on the field. Even better, DHB had a good day of practice. He caught a deep sideline pass over his shoulder without breaking stride without anyone covering him, then later he proved he could do it in coverage by beating rookie Walter McFadden deep. The second-year pro’s best catch was a finger-tip snare over his head while running a slant pattern over the middle — again, he was uncovered, but it was a great grab anyway.
Asked how it felt to be back on the field, DHB replied, “It felt good. The timing was off a little bit, but we’ll be fine.” While out with what was termed as ‘fatigue’, coming back on the hottest day of training camp would seem to be asking for him to get fatigued again. “I felt fine out there. Practice was practice. I got the reps I normally get. So it was fine,” said Heyward-Bey.
The defense eventually shut down DHB when Joey Thomas stepped in front of a Jason Campbell pass for what would have been a pick-six in a regular game. Campbell dropped back and immediately turned to his receiver, who ran a 10-yard in route, and telegraphed the easy interception.
Another prominent member of the Raiders offense returned as well — Darren McFadden. While I can tell you that he looked as if his hamstring wasn’t bothering him, there wasn’t really much action to gauge his prognosis going forward. He did make it through the entire practice without skipping a beat.
McFadden definitely feels ready for game action. “It’s something I haven’t talked about with the coaches. But for me I feel like I’m full go so I’ll hit it full go,” said the running back on the possibility of getting playing time this week against the 49ers.
According to Cable, it’s a pretty good bet that McFadden will get some time on Saturday night. “Our plan right now is to go through the week like normal, that he’s back and ready to go. We’ll be smart in terms of his workload, is probably the only issue here. Once we get there Saturday we go play,” said Cable on his plans for his speedy back.
Chris Cooper, formerly known as Baby Howie, looked pretty good while practicing against the Raiders’ offensive line Tuesday. While matched up against rookie Bruce Campbell, Cooper got into the pocket only to be told that he had rushed too deep to have sacked the quarterback. So, he lined up again against Campbell and instead of letting Campbell push him deep in the pocket, Cooper used a swim move to cut right into the heart of where the quarterback would be.
Practicing for punt returns, the lineup was Johnnie Lee Higgins, Yamon Figurs, Nick Miller, and Jacoby Ford — in that order. I don’t know if it means anything, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Higgins was again the first man off the bench to return punts when the season starts.
That’s about it for now. For more, check the blog and for some of the interview transcripts, check the front page of Raider Rants later.