A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Oakland Raiders training camp:
An estimated 1,000 fans attended the afternoon practice, which was ho-hum largely because the collective bargaining agreement prohibits teams from wearing pads during the first two days of camp. That meant no real hitting to speak of. The focus was on the continued installation of their offense and defense. Bottom line: A lot of teaching, a lot of learning, very little meaningful action. Coach Dennis Allen acknowledged as much afterward, saying: “Tomorrow’s the first day we really play football.”
It was not a good afternoon for the receivers. Too many drops. Tight end David Ausberry had a couple, as did tight end Jake Murphy, who after a second one in a seven-on-seven drill stayed on the turf. His head appeared to hit the field, and after a few seconds, he walked with a wobble off the field. Wideout Andre Holmes, who came on strong at the end of last season, also dropped an easy pass. He muffed a couple of others Friday as well.
Not surprisingly, running back Darren McFadden wowed spectators with his speed, bursting into the clear on runs around the end and on flares and screens. That’s nothing new. He does it every camp when healthy. The sight of him leaving a vapor trail makes you shake your head in awe and frustration, because you can’t help but wonder what the oft-injured veteran could do if he stayed healthy for a season. Wideout Greg Little also continued to impress, snagging passes along the sideline in tight coverage.
Punter Marquette King might be the most muscular punter in the history of the NFL. On Saturday, he put on a powerful display, booming balls that had returners turning their backs to the line in hopes of fielding them. Still, the focus for King this offseason hasn’t been on distance; tt has been on direction. The Raiders want him to be able to place balls in specific spots to help vary their coverages and keep returners off balance. King says he’s still a week away from reaching his comfort level, but you never would have known it by his performance.