Training camp roundup, July 30

If the Raiders are to end their six-year playoff drought, they must first go back to the basics. That's the philosophy of head coach Tom Cable, who had his team working on the simplest of fundamentals on the first day of Oakland's training camp.

While the final details of Darrius Heyward-Bey's contract were being ironed out, and as two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Derrick Burgess remains a holdout while the Raiders try to trade him, the rest of Oakland's players opened training camp with a non-padded practice centered largely around a series of drills meant to help the learning curve for some of the team's younger players.

In one of the 11-on-11 drills, quarterback JaMarcus Russell took the snap from center but didn't even take two steps in his drop before the play was whistled dead. The same scenario played out repeatedly throughout the morning practice, players barely getting out of their stance before someone blew a whistle.

Imagine a walkthrough workout being halted prematurely.

It's all part of head coach Tom Cable's plan to have the Raiders get back to the basics of the game before moving forward.

Darren McFadden and the Raiders eased their way into training camp.
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"It was a learning day for us," second-year running back Darren McFadden said. "It's something that coach wants to get out there and just kind of learn the plays, so when we do come back full speed we'll be able to run them."

Cable is running his NFL training camp as the Raiders head coach and opted to have the team open training camp with four straight two-a-day practices. Rather than doing it to get the players into shape, Cable says he planned the schedule that way in order to help some of Oakland's younger players.

"You just want to see if both sides of the ball can make the right communication and the right adjustment to what they see," Cable said.

Backup quarterback Andrew Walter, who is also on the trade block, said Oakland's younger players will benefit most by the new approach.

"A lot of times the rookies, they get into their third and fouth day and forget what happened in camp earlier," Walter said. "This should help them."

The slower pace was a definitive change from recent years when the Raiders hit training camp running.

This year, Cable won't have his team ramp things up until Monday when the Raiders will practice in pads for the first time.

"It's good that he's doing it that way so when Monday comes we'll have a sense of what's going on," quarterback JaMarcus Russell said. Anything that helps those guys know what they're going to do by the time Monday comes next week when we're full pads and full go, then you'll see the difference."

Other news and notes from Thursday:

-- Defensive end Derrick Burgess remains absent from camp. Already, the subject is a sore topic for Cable.

"He's not here," Cable said curtly following a question about Burgess. "I'm not going to discuss it."

-- Second-year player Trevor Scott took all the reps at right defensive end with Oakland's first-team defense. Jay Richardson had been the starter there but Scott tied for the team lead in sacks as a rookie and looks even and faster this season.

-- Samson Satele took part in his first full workout since being obtained from Miami and practiced primarily with Oakland's starting offense. John Wade, who is also in contention for the job, started with the backup offense.

Ricky Brown took reps at middle linebacker and strongside linebacker.
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-- Linebacker Ricky Brown took reps with Oakland's starting defense, both at strongside linebacker and at middle linebacker.

Brown feels comfortable at both but believe's more naturally suited to play in the middle. Kirk Morrison rotated in and out with Brown, then Brown later rotated with strongside linebacker Jon Alston.

-- Defensive lineman Tommy Kelly jumped offsides three times throughout the morning practice.

- Quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett took all five quarterbacks to a quieter corner of the fields and tutored the quintet on their footwork.

-- Wide receiver Javon Walker was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list and will be out at least 2-3 weeks.

"Seems to be on schedule and all that," Cable said. "We want to make sure. I think if you remember last year, he hurried it a little bit and it became an issue."

-- Fullback Oren O'Neal suited up and practiced for the first time since Aug. 23 when he blew his knee out during the opening kickoff of the Raiders' exhibition game against Arizona. O'Neal, whose injury was once thought to be career-threatening, will only work take part in one practice each day.

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