Training camp observations: July 28, 2014

The Raiders continued their first week of training camp practices on Monday, donning pads once again before they get the day off on Tuesday.

A quick update on team injuries: head coach Dennis Allen confirmed that wide receiver Rod Streater has a concussion and is going through the league protocol to get him back on the field.

Wide receiver Juron Criner was also out of Monday's practice after suffering a hamstring injury, Allen said. Greg Little, who has been impressive in the young camp, left Monday's practice early after tweaking his hamstring.

With Criner, Streater and Little all out with injuries, the Raiders wide receiving corps is getting a little thin. One positive is younger wide receivers like Brice Butler more snaps.

Linebackers Kaluka Maiava and Marshall McFadden remained out, as did tight end Jake Murphy and Shelton Johnson was also out.

Here are some quick hits of what was seen and what impressed from Monday's practice:

  • The pads have given us a better look at the Raiders fifth-overall draft pick of Khalil Mack, and seeing just how explosive he may be. Mack has demonstrated his strong bull rush on numerous occasions to collapse the pocket despite not getting to the quarterback on a consistent basis. Mack displayed his ability to make the "wow" play that the Raiders defense so desperately missed last year when he blew up left tackle Donald Penn to get into the backfield almost immediately for a simulated sack. We will be able to get a better evaluation of his talent when the Raiders go "live" and/or play in a preseason game.
  • Third-year defensive end Jack Crawford had a strong practice, providing his own pressure in the backfield. Crawford beat Jarrod Shaw with a nice move to get to the quarterback on one occasion. Earlier, Crawford bursted through the offensive line to get into the backfield and force running back Latavius Murray to switch directions.
  • Speaking of Murray, he continues to show his explosiveness and the ability to change directions. Murray has impressed me so far but it really is hard to judge the running game without any tackling occurring on the field.
  •  The coaching staff had seven players back practicing kickoff returns Monday: wide receivers Greg Jenkins and Denarius Moore, cornerback Taiwan Jones and running backs Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden, Jeremy Stewart and Kory Sheets. It is a little surprising to not see the speedster George Atkinson III back there, as returning kicks is one of his strong points. McFadden did have problems handling one return as the ball bounced off of his pads and out of bounds. McFadden found redemption during the next special teams drill, having no difficulties at all.
  • Justin "Jelly" Ellis had a good day at camp, pushing around offensive linemen as he held down the middle of the defensive line. One "fun" battle to watch Monday was Ellis going against his fellow rookie, Gabe Jackson. Jackson used that big frame of his to bulldoze Ellis out of the way to open up a large running lane on the left side.
  • Quarterback Matt Schaub continues to impress after having another day with good decision making and no mistakes. The highlight of Schab's day came late in practice when he through an absolutely perfect ball to wide receiver Andre Holmes on a post route for a touchdown in front of cornerback Carlos Rogers. He found Moore on a quick slant from about five yards out for another touchdown a couple of plays later.
  • Another player who has impressed is undrafted rookie Seth Roberts out of West Alabama. Roberts continues to take advantage of the snaps he's getting by catching everything thrown his way. I have not seen him drop a ball during camp yet. He's 6-foot-2, but just 196 pounds but appears to have great hands to pluck the ball out of the air.

The Raiders have Tuesday off but return to the practice field in Napa on Wednesday.

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