Raiders lose a week of development

The Raiders accomplished so much during their off-season program the player's union has decreed they did too much.

Two days after the conclusion of their final voluntary minicamp, the Raiders were informed they were losing the final week of their off-season program -- comprised mostly of daily weight lifting.

"I was notified that the player's union believes our total commitment to improving our football team has resulted in some violations of rules regarding practice standards," coach Lane Kiffin said in a statement released by the team. "The union has complained about the high level of intensity, player aggressiveness, and fast pace of our practices and as a result, has taken away the final week of our off-season program."

The league's Collective Bargaining Agreement states off-season practices "shall be at a level conducive to learning, with player safety as the highest priority and not at a level where one player is in physical contact with another."

There are bans on bump-and-run coverage. Blocking drills between offensive and defensive linemen are not allowed in organized team activities, although they are allowed in minicamps.

Practice tempo, as well as intensity, has been something Kiffin has stressed since his first day as head coach.

As for the contact, linebacker Kirk Morrison, asked about it before penalties were assessed, said it was a natural byproduct of a good practice.

"We just play with a fast tempo, and whatever happens with a fast tempo happens," Morrison said. "We're running around, we're practicing, finishing our technique. It's so fast-paced it's hard to stop. You get guys running at full speed, and guys are going to put a hand on you."

The Raiders had better than 90 percent attendance rate, with the most notable exceptions being defensive tackle Warren Sapp and defensive end Derrick Burgess. Both attended the mandatory minicamp and nothing else.

While Oakland's defense is in its fourth year under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, the Raiders offense was putting in a new system which Kiffin termed a "hybrid." It stresses cut-blocking and one-cut running.

The Raiders broke in two new quarterbacks in free agent Josh McCown and overall No. 1 draft pick JaMarcus Russell, with incumbent Andrew Walter facing an uphill battle after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery.


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