Raiders wrap up three-day mini-camp

Bill Callahan wrapped up his first mini-camp as head coach of the Raiders but not before sending a very clear message to Oakland's rookies and newcomers. As the team broke from practice on Sunday, Callahan had the team's newest players line up on the sidelines for an extended running session while veterans looked on and hollered their approval.

''We want them to understand how to acclimate to the National Football League,'' said Callahan. ''There is a respect here. They have to pay their dues. They're going to have a lot of expectations placed on them.''

As will the rest of the Raiders. Though they traded away their popular head coach and though their starting quarterback remains AWOL from the team's offseason workout program, this is still a club many expect to contend for the AFC championship.

Callahan, who took over as head coach when Jon Gruden was traded to Tampa Bay, was far less animated than his predecessor while overseeing the Raiders' three-day workouts. Whereas Gruden barked instructions and would even get physically involved in drills, Callahan took a less vocal approach.

Instead he busily worked his way from drill to drill, watching practice and taking notes. But that could all change over the next few months when the Raiders have an additional voluntary camp and then a mandatory gathering in June.

''It's been a very productive camp for us,'' said Callahan. ''We exposed (the rookies) to a lot of our procedures and the way we do things around here. We wanted to get that ingrained in them and we did.''

Running back Tyrone Wheatley did not take part in the Sunday workouts. Callahan said the team wanted to rest Wheatley, who was hampered much of last season with various leg injuries.

Quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo, who has been running the offense while Rich Gannon remains holed up in his Minnesota home looking to renegotiate his contract, took advantage of his time to get some much-needed work in. Though Tuiasosopo is destined to open the season as Oakland's No. 2 quarterback, he nevertheless impressed Callahan with his work during the mini-camp.

''We didn't take anything out of the offense,'' Callahan said. ''We didn't take a single play out. We challenged Marques to see what he can do. He's a creative quarterback, a very creative quarterback on the move.''

Tuiasosopo ran the offense through red zone drills and the two-minute drill, getting touchdown passes to rookie tight end Doug Jolley and wide receiver Reggie Barlow.

Oakland's linebackers, which include newcomer Bill Romanowski and rookie Napoleon Harris, also drew praise from Callahan during the mini-camp.

''I thought Travian Smith and Eric Barton had outstanding camps,'' said Callahan. ''I feel really good with how we upgraded our linebacking situation.''


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