Safety turning heads at Raiders' camp

Quentin Moses had another solid practice and continues to draw praise from Raiders coach Lane Kiffin. But there is another young player to keep an eye on in Kiffin's and everyone else's estimation...

The player to keep an eye on is B.J. Ward, a second-year safety who has been turning heads with his solid play during the first week of training camp.

Ward, who played sparingly as a rookie for Baltimore in 2005 before spending all of last season on injured reserve due to lingering migraine headaches, has been all over the place. He delivered a hit on wide receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins that sent the rookie flying into a hand-held video camera used by the team to tape practice. He hammered Ronald Curry in a non-contact drill, sending Curry's helmet flying off. Twice he's intercepted passes from Josh McCown and has one off Andrew Walter.

For a guy fighting for a roster spot, the 25-year-old is off to a fast start.

"I think that's just my nature, man, what I'm out here to do," Ward said Monday. "I'm pretty much behind all these guys so I've got to assert myself and do whatever I can to make plays. However it is, whether it's special teams or hitting somebody or getting an interception, the plays have to be made and I have to stand out in some way, shape or fashion."

He's definitely done that. The hit on Higgins broke the camera, which carried a $14,000 price tag. The hit on Curry upset some of the offensive players, though Curry later told Ward to keep doing what he was doing.

"The thing with B.J. is there is a ton of ability," Kiffin said. "We've got to see if he can do it on a consistent basis. I tell our guys, 'Make it so we can't cut you,' when I meet with them individually. ‘You make it so we can't cut you. Don't ever give us any reason, whether it's your body language or the way you practice or the way you do your playbook or the way you hold yourself, the way you act outside of this building. Don't ever give us a reason to cut you. Make it really hard on us.' B.J.'s starting to do that."

Ward still has an uphill road to climb. The Raiders have Michael Huff, Stuart Schweigert and Donovin Darius ahead of him on the depth chart, along with the other defensive backs trying to find a spot on the 53-man roster.

"Everybody tends to see only the good things," Ward said. "I have messed up a couple of times, whether it was bad with my eyes, or I didn't hit the right gap, or whatever. But those are little things that can be corrected and as long as I get better, and don't make the same mistake, I'll be all right."


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