Training camp roundup, July 31

Javon Walker says his knee is completely pain-free for the first time in years and expects big things from himself this season. Find out what Walker had to say and see what else went on in the Raiders' training camp in SBI's latest update.

Javon Walker's decision to have knee surgery this past offseason caught the Raiders off guard, if for no other reason than they were totally unaware until after the procedure had taken place.

But Walker believes the operation on his right knee very well may have saved his career.

"This is the first time that I've felt this good based off of the problem I was having with my knee, not really knowing. And it go fixed," Walker said Friday. "Right now, they're just holding me back, making sure that everything goes smoothly. It's close. When they let me loose, it's on after that."

Walker isn't expected to practice for at least two more weeks and hasn't taken part in any practices since prior to suffering a season-ending ankle injury against Carolina on Nov. 9.

Even before the offseason knee surgery, there were questions about Walker's future not only in Oakland but in the NFL. Plagued by injuries to his knee that date back to his days in Green Bay, he approached the Raiders about retiring last year only to be talked out of it by owner Al Davis.

He had a minimal impact in the regular season last year, so when the Raiders used two of their first four draft picks to grab wide receivers, including seventh-overall pick Darrius Heyward-Bey.

But Walker insists he can still be the team's No. 1 receiver.

"I'm just excited about working with some young guys who are going to push me more than I'm going to push them," he said. "I'm also excited about still letting Oakland see what Javon has to offer because I'm young, I'm in my prime right now. My ability hasn't changed, my enthusiasm hasn't changed, I'm just excited to be back to the Javon that was that first year in Denver and the Javon that was in Green Bay and all of a sudden translate it to here."

Walker declined to go into detail about the exact nature of his knee surgery or even where it took place – "I don't know where it was done, I'm clueless," he said with a grin.

"I felt with myself and a lot of the guys who I played against and played with, I was never really the Javon Walker since 2007," Walker said. "It was because of a pain in my knee. I finally took it upon myself where I did my research, talked to a couple of people and I did something to where when we let it release – I'm sure you guys heard a little bit about it – it's going to be an amazing, not discovery, but it's going to be something amazing that's going to benefit and help a lot of athletes. Like I said, I'm just waiting to be let go so I can be out there practicing with everybody.

"There's some things when I was practicing that I couldn't do and it would just bother me every day. Where now that I'm back in the stage of rehabbing, all the things I couldn't do last year when I was practicing, I can do now and I'm not even practicing yet."

Other highlights and notes from Friday's practice:

-- Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey worked out and showed no signs of the hamstring injury that hindered him in the offseason. Heyward-Bey also caught his first passes of camp, though he did have a drop while sliding to the ground during individual drills. On at least two other passes, the rookie wideout bobbled the ball before making the catch.

Part of the problem seems to be the placement of Heyward-Bey's hands. Rather than extending his arms out, the first-round draft pick has a tendency to keep his hands close to his body, creating control issues. Former Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown used to do a drill before every game in which he would repeatedly thrust his hands out in front of his body to simulate making a catch. Heyward-Bey would do himself some good by breaking out an old tape of Brown and trying to copy it.


Trevor Scott is expanding his role on the defense.
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-- Second-year defensive end Trevor Scott may be taking on a more significant role in the Raiders' defense this year. Scott, who tied for the team lead with five sacks as a rookie, is listed as Oakland's starting right defensive end but during Friday's practice he moved up and down the line, standing up like a linebacker and blitzing in. That left Tommy Kelly at end in what essentially was a three-man line.

"Mixing things up, give me an opportunity to do some different things and do well at ‘em," Scott said. "I like it a lot."

This is not like the failed Tyler Brayton experiment of a few years ago when the Raiders tried to convert him to a stand-up linebacker. Scott seems more versatile than Brayton and is quick enough to drop into coverage just as comfortably as he does when rushing the QB.

-- While he was in Miami, the knock on center Samson Satele was that he was too small and not powerful enough to handle bigger, stronger defensive linemen in one-on-one matchups. In Oakland, that won't be an issue in the Raiders' zone blocking system.

Satele continues to take all the reps with Oakland's starting offense while John Wade practices with the second unit.

-- At one point during the practice, Javon Walker pulled teammate Will Franklin aside after the young receiver had not run a route correctly. Walker spoke at length with Franklin and offered up a few tips.

"The routes they're running, in no time I'm going to be out there running," Walker said. " If I see something that I know that they're doing I'll talk to them. When I got out there I hope if they see stuff they'll talk to me. And then knowing a lot of them haven't really gotten into the fire on an NFL game I'll tell them stuff that will work based off of everybody's ability being the same, things that will work."


Russell got one up on QB coach Paul Hackett.
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-- Snapshot of the day: Quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett was working with the team's four quarterbacks in a corner of the end zone on one of the two practice fields when he called on JaMarcus Russell to make a quick audible change in protection. When Russell made the call, Hackett gently chided the third-year QB and told him to make a different protection call. But Jeff Garcia, Charlie Frye and Bruce Gradkowski all came to Russell's defense, insisting he made the right call. After talking to the four, Hackett sheepishly admitted his error.

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