"It's not going to be a number with Tommy," Kiffin said Friday. "It's going to be him being in shape to play, so no matter how low that has to go, he needs to get it done. There's a lot great defensive tackles that weighed 330, 340 so we're not going to say he has to be at 310 because we don't want to do that. If we can get him into game shape, playing and not have to come out during drives when he's 330, then that's great. If it's 320, it's 320. If it's 310, it's 310. We'll find that out as the preseason goes and practice continues."
Kelly has been limited to one practice a day while he continues to work his way back after missing the last half of 2007 with a knee injury that ultimately required surgery. But when he's been on the field, Kelly has shown no signs that the extra weight is slowing him down any.
The Raiders regularly rotate their defensive linemen but the team is hoping that Kelly can stay on the field as much as possible. Oakland had the NFL's 31st-ranked run defense last season and hasn't finished higher than 22nd since playing in the Super Bowl in 2002.
The Raiders bypassed Glenn Dorsey in the first round of last April's draft because of their investment in Kelly, who is playing at his more natural three-technique spot after spending 2007 at defensive end.
"He's a force, he's strong as an ox," Kiffin said. "We've just got to get him into game shape so that he can play a lot of plays for us, so we don't have to be taking him in and out. When he did play in there at times before, he was dominant and there. He was extremely hard for guards to reach, more of a knockback player, kind of a two-gap scheme player in that sense even though that's not what we play. He's an old-fashioned, head up and knock the guy straight backwards guy."
Other news and notes from Friday's lone two-hour practice:
· The Raiders are running a hybrid dime defense that looks a lot like the nickel in that the team deploys two linebackers and five defensive backs in both. Normal dime defenses call for one linebacker and six DBs but Oakland believes Howard has the speed to match up well. Those six interceptions he had a year ago don't hurt either.
When Oakland does go to the dime, Kalimba Edwards comes in as the pass-rushing left defensive end while Stanford Routt is the extra defensive back.
· Justin Fargas broke off a pair of nice runs, including one through the heart of the defense in which the veteran running back made two nice moves to get into the open. Rookie Darren McFadden also had a good run but his best move of the day came on a screen pass from quarterback JaMarcus Russell when he caught the short throw then sped past a trio of defenders for a long gain. Right tackle Cornell Green and right guard Cooper Carlisle both made good blocks to spring McFadden.
· Two receivers headed in the opposite direction: Todd Watkins and Drisan James. All Watkins does is catch the ball. Nearly every thing that's been thrown his way and landed in his hands one way or the other.
He made a nice move to get open deep against defensive back Darrick Brown to haul in a deep throw from Andrew Walter, though Watkins did get away with a little offensive interference on the play. Still, it was yet another highlight catch for the young receiver.
James, on the other hand, had another rough afternoon and dropped two more passes from quarterback Andrew Walter. One of the throws was high but James was still able to get his hands on the ball. The other pass was slightly behind him but was a throw he should have caught.
· Fellow wide receivers Ronald Curry and Chaz Schilens also got into the act. Curry was on the receiving end of a bullet throw from quarterback JaMarcus Russell and worked inside Kirk Morrison and Hiram Eugene to make the catch early in a team drill, then later came back to make another great reception when he went up over Michael Waddell. Schilens ended a 99-yard drive during a team drill by making an outstanding catch over Waddell in the right corner of the end zone, a good sign for a player who has made his share of mistakes in camp.
· The team practiced having the offense begin drives backed up near the own end zone. Russell had the first crack at it but failed to get a first down. Andrew Walter, whom head coach Lane Kiffin says has moved past Marques Tuiasosopo in the battle for the backup job behind Russell, took his turn and drove the offense 99 yards for a touchdown. Walter made some nice throws on the drive, got a big boost on a run by McFadden and then capped it with the touchdown to Schilens.
· Jake Grove dominated William Joseph on back-to-back plays pitting offensive linemen against defensive lineman. Grove, who packed on the muscle in his upper body in the offseason, seems to have the upper hand in the battle for the starting center job.
In the same drill, center John Wade and Josh Shaw squared off and split their two plays, Tommy Kelly got the best of Robert Gallery, and Paul McQuistan and Derrick Gray split their two.
The biggest surprise? Mario Henderson -- who was criticized by Lane Kiffin a day earlier -- holding off Jay Richardson not once but twice. Henderson wasn't dominant but did well enough, which is progress for the second-year tackle.
· Gerard Warren (thigh), Terdell Sands (knee) and John Bowie (knee) did not practice.
Training camp notebook, Aug. 1
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