Training camp observations: July 27, 2014

The Raiders put on the pads for the first time for Sunday's training camp practice with fans once again in attendance.

Linebacker Kaluka Maiava was absent from practice once again after leaving practice early on day one with a hamstring injury. Tight end Jake Murphy, who left practice early on Saturday with a possible concussion, also did not return to the field.

The good news is rookie cornerback Keith McGill returned to the field for his action after starting camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. It's key for all rookies to get as many reps as they can on the field, so it's a positive to have their fourth-round selection back on field.

Wide receiver Rod Streater was having a solid camp but unfortunately was forced to leave the practice field early on Sunday after going down hard during a play. There were no further updates on Streater's status or injury after practice, other than that he went down hard and missed the end of practice.

  • Pads on for the first time meant that we could actually evaluate some blocking drills. On the offensive side of the ball, fullback Marcel Reece excelled in his blitz blocking, sticking safety Tyvon Branch a couple of times. Lineback Sio Moore stood out on the defensive side of the blocking drill, getting around running back Jeremy Stewart on a couple of occasions.
  • Wide receiver James Jones showed off his hands on numerous occasions throughout the practice. He put on a nice double move in the beginning of practice to turn cornerback Chimdi Chekwa around to make a nice catch over the middle. He then leaped up over both cornerback T.J. Carrie and safety Brandian Ross to come down with a high ball from rookie quarterback Derek Carr.
  • Starting quarterback Matt Schaub had a great day throwing the football, clearly standing out as the best quarterback for the day. He made the correct reads on blitzes and got the ball out quickly to find the open wide receiver. He did miss a couple of deep throws but so did Carr. One of those throws still resulted in a completion, but he under threw the ball causing Brice Butler to slow down and not catch the ball in stride for a would-be touchdown.
  • Carr continued to throw the ball well, but missed more throws than he did in the previous two days. He continued to seemingly throw fastballs on short routes which receivers had difficulty handling. He and a couple of receivers, Greg Little and Mike Davis, also failed to get on the same page on a couple of routes. That said, Carr has a great arm and has looked good overall in camp.
  • After struggling with drops just a day ago, wide receiver Denarius Moore had a good day catching the ball. He used a nice move to beat Chekwa deep down the field for a perfectly thrown ball by Schaub for a touchdown. He also made a nice catch on the sideline that was challenged by a defender. He also performed better on punt return duties.
  • Fifth-overall pick Khalil Mack seems to be the real deal. We finally got to see him in pads and he looked just as quick and explosive as he was without pads. His hips stay nice and loose in coverage and he is incredibly quick off the snap, allowing him to use his speed to get around blocks. It will be interesting to watch him when the team goes "live" and full contact.
  • Backup running backs Kory Sheets and Latavius Murray have impressed during their limited snaps in camp. Sheets has shown some nice hands in the passing game, while Murray appears to be running hard after his injury in camp last season that landed him on the injured reserve. Murray has also displayed some soft hands to handle throws out of the backfield.
  • Undrafted rookie free agent Seth Roberts has made his limited time count, hauling in a couple of nice passes. He's shown great ability to haul in receptions but is on the smaller side, at just 196 pounds. He'll be a player to keep an eye on in preseason games if he keeps up this production in camp.

The Raiders return to camp Monday at 3:00 p.m.


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