News & Notes from Thursday's Practice

S&BI brings you the news and notes from Thursday's practice. Injuries are the hot topic as a number of players continue to sit out while others are limited in their work. Also, the team moves forward on special teams following the release of Yamon Figurs.

-- The team practiced in full pads as they prepare for their home opener this Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.

-- The biggest news out of practice is the unavailability of a number of key players, specifically Robert Gallery and Richard Seymour. Both are suffering from hamstring injuries, as are Walter McFadden and Hiram Eugene.

-- Not a good sign that Gallery is still out. If he is unable to play against the Rams, free agent guard Daniel Loper is listed to start in his place. Loper was signed this offseason after playing last year for the Detroit Lions.

Said Cable, "we got to keep him on the field and keep him healthy because when he is, he's been very good, very productive and you miss him when he's not there."

-- The offensive line has taken most of the criticism after an embarrassing performance in the season opening loss. Cable was protective of his line, but did admit that their play has to improve, specifically at the tackle spots.

"We've got to play better at tackle," Cable said. "That's the bottom line here. We'll do that. We'll keep working at it, putting it together, using different ways to help them. We'll just come up with a process to help [Mario Henderson and Langston Walker] with their issues."

-- Left tackle Mario Henderson, who has taken much of the criticism for his play against the Titans, talked about the negative talk he's received:

"I've still got to work. Move forward. I've just got to block out that negativity. It's tough, tough. I ain't going to lie. It's tough, man."

-- On Jared Veldheer, Cable was not ready to say whether the rookie center would be making his second career start. Vledheer, of course, struggled mightily against the Titans, particularly on his snaps.

-- Walter McFadden has been out since injuring his hamstring in the final preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. Hiram Eugene was back on the field, although limited in his work.

-- Others who were unavailable for practice: Chaz Schilens (knee) and Travis Goethel (back).

-- Others who were limited in practice: Michael Bush (thumb), Nnamdi Asomugha (groin) and Chris Johnson (stinger).

-- Desmond Bryant was at full go for the second consecutive day.

-- Michael Bush wore a protective glove over his left hand.

-- Following yesterday's release of Yamon Figurs, rookie Jacoby Ford handled kickoffs with Rock Cartwright. Johnnie Lee Higgins will now assume punt return duties.

-- Hall of Famer and former coach of the Oakland Raider John Madden was in attendance. So too was Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Joe Torre. Torre is in town as his Dodgers take on the San Francisco Giants.

-- Finally, the team announced that since tickets for the opener had not sold out 72 hours in advance of Sunday, the broadcast would be blacked out to local markets.

This marks the eighth straight blackout in a row and the first blacked out home opener since 2004 against the Buffalo Bills.

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