The Oakland Raiders continued training camp with their fourth day of pads and players but were without a couple of key players. Missing Thursday's practice was safety Karl Joseph, tight end Clive Walford and running back Taiwan Jones. All three of them were able to finish practice on Wednesday so it came as a surprise. Head coach Jack Del Rio was not scheduled to talk with the media Thursday (he will Friday), but a Raiders spokesperson didn't have a comment as to why Joseph didn't participate.
Also missing was cornerback SaQwan Edwards and tight end Colton Underwood, who also missed Wednesday's practice.
Now that the injury situation has been updated, let's take a quick look at some observations.
- The fourth straight day of added practice also had the players amping up their intensity with two fights breaking out during the span of Thursday's practice. The first came as left tackle Donald Penn threw linebacker Ben Heeney during team drills. The defense took exception to the move and defended their starting middle linebacker until starting quarterback Derek Carr stepped in to play the role of "peacemaker". "That's my job," Carr said after practice. "I've got the red jersey so they can't hit me." A second fight broke out later in the day when backup running back Jalen Richard and defensive end Damontre Moore go into it with punches being thrown while Richard's helmet was off. Carr mentioned after practice that he likes chippyness on the field, but there's no place for fights.
- When Richard wasn't getting into it with Moore, he was continuing to impress me on the field. His burst through the hole is quick and he hits top speed fast. He remains one of the players I look forward to seeing play in game. He also had a play where he beat linebacker Shilique Calhoun to for a touchdown reception out of the backfield.
- Cornerback David Amerson has started right back to where he left off last season where he earned a nice contract extension. He's making plays in the secondary and did so again on Thursday when he made another nice diving pass defensed on a pass from Carr to wide receiver Michael Crabtree. He hasn't slowed down one bit since signing his extension.
- Wide receiver Amari Cooper has looked good ever since being drafted by the Raiders but has received criticism for drops on catchable balls. The second-year receiver had one of those on Thursday as he beat cornerback Sean Smith over the middle of the field but dropped the pass. The good news is this is the first one we've seen from the talented receiver this camp.
- Slot corner DJ Hayden was able to make his presence felt during special teams when he got around the edge and blocked a field goal attempt.
- It was safety Dewey McDonald who got the reps with the first-team defense with Joseph out for an unknown reason.
- Backup cornerback Dexter McDonald seemed to be all over the field today, knocking away some passes. He had a good day after struggling somewhat at the beginning of camp.
- Backup quarterback Matt McGloin looked much better today, avoiding the interceptions that have plagued him at the beginning of camp. He had nice touch on the touchdown to Richard, and also through a good deep ball to both Andrew Holmes and Johnny Holton deep down the sideline.
- Connor Cook also had a better day throwing the ball as the passing game all around was much crisper. The ball came out of his hand much tighter and he got the ball to the receivers quicker. It's good to see improvement from the young quarterback.
The Raiders get back to the field Friday morning starting at 11am again.