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Ron Curry back in action

There was a welcome sight at the Raiders’ practice in Alameda today, the only session this week open to the media: wide receiver Ronald Curry running routes and looking healthy. Curry had surgery to remove a bone spur in his left foot around the beginning of May, and just this week got back onto the field. He informed a press mini-corps after practice that the foot had bothered him throughout 2007, beginning in March. He took painkiller shots about every… Read More »

Raiders avoid another draft-pick debacle

Darren McFadden’s spring signing surprise was celebrated Friday with congratulations ” and, let’s face it, self-congratulations ” all around. And with good reason. With JaMarcus Russell’s lost season still a bad taste on the tongue of ticket-buying Raiders fans, the worst news for the team’s public relations staff (other than another column by my colleague, Lowell Cohn) would have been a protracted holdout by McFadden, the No. 4 overall pick from Arkansas. With McFadden and his peeps and Al Davis… Read More »

Crossed fingers for Kelly and Sands

For tomorrow’s newspaper, I wrote about the Raiders’ offensive tackles, making the case that their play could make or break the offense in 2008. But while most eyes are trained on Kwame Harris, Cornell Green and Mario Henderson, the defensive tackles bear some scrutiny as well. This position group could be a pillar of strength for Oakland, or a pillar of papier-mache. If the defensive line is in better shape than its offensive counterpart, it’s because of depth. At defensive… Read More »

Clean picks, and other phenomena from Thursday’s practice

Before Wednesday afternoon, the press corps hadn’t seen many interceptions from the Raiders’ defense. Granted, we haven’t had access to most of the practices. But among the ones we had seen, there were only a few picks. And those had all been tipped before intercepted. In the second Wednesday session, though, cornerback DeAngelo Hall and linebacker Thomas Howard both came up with clean steals (the former against JaMarcus Russell, the latter against Andrew Walter). Apparently, it opened some floodgates. Thursday,… Read More »

2-minute drills in the afternoon

JaMarcus Russell seems to be finding his rhythm. He made a couple of eye-opening throws at the Raiders’ afternoon practice. One of them wasn’t even complete. In fact, he overthrew his receiver by five yards. But it was a 50-yard, picture-perfect laser that Jeff George would have be proud of. The other toss came on a scramble. Chased to his right, Russell zipped a 40-yarder downfield to Drew Carter. The pass had a little wobble to it, but got out… Read More »

Hot and cold at Raiders mini-camp

There are some obvious tools of the trade when covering a three-day NFL mini-camp: notebook, pen, recorder, sunscreen, hidden FBI listening device (just kidding, Al Davis!). Fortunately, I had a thermometer with me today as well, and was able to gauge the temperature of various Raiders. Here’s who’s hot and who’s cold as we wait for the afternoon practice: HOT AS KARACHI IN THE DRY SEASON: Thomas Howard The most entertaining drill I saw the last couple days was a… Read More »

Notes from the field: June 3

A contrast in coaching points: When Will Buchanon allowed himself to get hemmed in at the sideline on an incomplete pass, wide receivers coach James Lofton told him, “Will, you gotta save the outside room. Don’t run to the sideline.” His tone was stern. But it was a little different than defensive coordinator Rob Ryan telling one player near the start of practice: “If it says block the end, block the (bleeping) end. Do it right.” Other notes from Tuesday’s… Read More »

That QB looks a lot like Marques Tuiasosopo

It’s Tui Time. Again. Few returns could have been harder to predict than Marques Tuiasosopo’s reunion engagement in Oakland. OK, Jeff George’s brief resurfacing in 2006 was even weirder. But Tui was a great candidate to leave the Raiders running and never return. He rode the bench for two years, played sparingly (and let’s be honest, not very well) in 2003 and again in 2005, and disappeared again in 2006. Time and again Tuiasosopo was pushed back to second or… Read More »

Only Asomugha and Jordan missing from mini-camp

It feels like early spring on a cool, breezy day here in Alameda, but it looks like early August on the field: a (nearly) full squad of Raiders, wearing only shells but sweating and grunting through a double-dose position drills and 11-on-11 scrimmages. Coach Lane Kiffin has to be happy with the turnout. The only significant absences in the first session of this three-day mini-camp were cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and running back LaMont Jordan. A few other guys – Tommy… Read More »