Burgess taking slow steps to recovery

Defensive end Derrick Burgess practiced for the first time during training camp on Monday but did not take part in any team drills and isn't sure whether he'll play Saturday when the Raiders open the preseason against Arizona.

"I'm taking it day by day," Burgess said. "We're going to see how I feel and see when I'm good to go. I got through individuals today and we'll see how I feel going on."

Burgess had been on the physically unable to perform list since the start of training camp after undergoing hernia surgery in the offseason. In his place, the Raiders have primarily used Chris Clemons and rookie Jay Richardson, both of whom have looked good at times.

Kiffin said the Raiders will take a cautious approach with the Pro Bowler, both in terms of playing in games and practicing.

"The last thing we want to do is to throw him into team (drills) having not been out here," Kiffin said. "We wanted to do individual today, which is very important for him to get his techniques back and get honed up on that. We'll gradually integrate him further and further."

DEFENSIVE COACHES TUTOR WR'S: In one of the more unique drills of camp, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and linebackers coach Don Martindale spent a portion of Monday's practice teaching Oakland wide receivers the finer art of punching the ball out of an opponent's arms.

The thinking is that when Oakland's quarterbacks throw an interception -- and there have been plenty of those in camp -- the receivers need to get the ball back. And so the drill went, with receivers punching the ball loose then recovering it.

One of the best matchups involved 5-foot-10-inch, 190-pound Carlos Francis trying to get the ball away from 6-5, 230-pound Mike Williams. Francis didn't get the ball but his effort drew praise from Ryan.

SAFETY DANCE: It's looking more and more like the Raiders will use the 4-2-5 as one of their main packages. While Stuart Schweigert and Michael Huff continue to take the majority of reps in Oakland's base 4-3, the addition of Donovin Darius has opened things up and allows Rob Ryan to use all three at once.

Darius did take some reps with Schweigert and the rest of the starters when Oakland went to the 4-3 on Monday. With Huff on the sidelines, Schweigert intercepted a pass from Josh McCown. Huff, however, was back on the field a few moments later.

The 4-2-5 is basically a nickel package but the Raiders have varying looks. The Wolverine package utilizes all three safeties, whereas the base nickel package has Chris Carr or Stanford Routt playing instead of Darius.

QB'S DAY: Andrew Walter continues to run Oakland's first-team offense but one has to wonder how much that will continue. Walter has struggled in team drills and his passes have been off target.

During a 7-on-7 drill Monday, Walter made probably his two best throws of camp. The first was a long touchdown pass to Justin Fargas where linebacker Robert Thomas had good coverage. The second was a touchdown pass over the middle to Johnnie Morant. Walter later had a touchdown pass to Alvis Whitted.

Daunte Culpepper made some nice throws but also was tripped up when center Jesse Boone stepped on his foot.

Josh McCown ran a two-minute drill with the first-team offense and led them on a long drive that ended with a 49-year-old field goal from Tyler Fredrickson.

ETC.: The Raiders placed linebacker Isaiah Kacyvenski on injured reserve and signed defensive tackle Larry Brown, who was with the team in the offseason. Brown played for Oklahoma State in college and originally signed with Oakland after the draft. He was waived June 12.


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