Raiders Camp Notes: The Battles

The Raiders have several positions up for grabs, and a representative at Raiders camp gained some insight into these "who's hot, who's not" categories before the Vikings' Monday Night matchup with Oakland.


Second-year QB Andrew Walter has struggled in camp with his mechanics and footwork and appears to be at least a year away from seriously competing for the starting job. Walter was moved up to the No. 2 spot, yet some team insiders wonder if he really earned the promotion.

Meanwhile, starter Aaron Brooks has had an inconsistent camp.

Running Back: RB Justin Fargas remains the top backup to starter LaMont Jordan. Fargas is expected to see an increase in carries this season in order to keep Jordan fresh. Journeyman RB Rod Smart seems to have to have the No. 3 role locked up.

Wide Receiver: Veteran WR Jerry Porter returned to practice during the second workout this past Tuesday and has been running with the second team offense in back of Doug Gabriel. It's not known whether that's because he's coming off of a calf injury or not.

Undrafted free agent rookie WR Will Buchanon has been one of the brighter stories of camp thus far. While he's a long shot to make the final roster, he could find a spot on their practice squad in the fall.

Backup WR Ronald Curry (Achilles), who was removed from the PUP list late last month, could return to practice as early as next week.

Tight End: Behind starter Courtney Anderson and top backup Randal Williams are five players, including former University of Utah WR John Madsen. He's a bit light for the position but has shown good athleticism in practice.

Offensive Line: Rookie RG Paul McQuistan has been pretty solid during camp practice, most notably in the run blocking area. McQuistan adds some badly needed toughness to their starting five.

LT Robert Gallery, while seeming more comfortable playing on the left side, hasn't performed at a high level yet. He struggled at times during their first preseason game and has been inconsistent in camp.


Defensive Line:
The front four is set and the top backups inside look to be mammoth DT Terdell Sands and second-year pro Anttaj Hawthorne, who has put together a solid camp and has been one of the pleasant surprises on the defensive side of the ball.

Starting LDE Tyler Brayton seems move comfortable playing on the line instead of playing outside at linebacker.

Former Vikings DE Lance Johnstone is being used as a situational pass rusher in passing situations.

Linebacker: Replacing Brayton at strongside linebacker is oft-injured Sam Williams, who has shown the ability to make plays in practice. Backing up Williams is SLB Grant Irons, whose had a strong camp.

Rookie WLB Thomas Howard has shown steady improvement as camp has progressed and practice observers note that he's been their best linebacker the past week or so.

The reason why the coaches moved second-year LB Kirk Morrison inside from the weak side was to get Howard on the field as soon as possible and to take advantage of his speed.

Veteran MLB Danny Clark could be in store for a pay cut next season since he's projected as a backup. He's set to make $2.275 million in 2007.

Defensive Back: After struggling as a rookie, second-year CB Fabian Washington has put together a very strong camp and has solidified a starting job opposite veteran CB Nnamdi Asomugha. Veteran CB Tyrone Poole looks to have the inside track on the nickel job over oft-injured veteran CB Duane Starks.

First-round pick SS Michael Huff has been running with the starters for the past week and looks to have won the starting job, though the team won't confirm that status.

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