Oakland Raiders Mini-Camp Recap: Improvement?

Gil BecerraCorrespondent IMay 11, 2009

The Oakland Raiders three day, five practice mini-camp is now complete. The Raiders will be back in a month for OTA's. The mini-camp provided a little taste of where the current players are. There are only a few guys showing us what they will be during the season while others have plenty of rust to take off prior to preseason games.

Starting Quarterback JaMarcus Russell was all over the place. The Raiders kept the routes short. In general passes were to running backs from the backfield or tight ends in the middle of the field. Whenever he tried to throw the ball somewhat deep he missed, badly. Russell over throw, under throw and threw towards the receivers feet.

I know it's only May, but that has to be a bit worry for some. The point of having that cannon arm is to put it to use. Russell at this point cannot hit anyone in stride 20+ yards down the field.

Garcia showed some of the same errant throws, again, it is only May. Brad Gradkowski fumbled snaps from center often along with making bad throws. Andrew Walter is officially in the dog-house as he didn't get any play. Not going to quarterback school is coming back to bite him in the ass because he's way better then Gradkowski.

Darrius Heyward Bay (DHB), was taken to school on Friday by Nnamdi Asomugha. He showed he can catch on Friday by making adjustments in the air, only have to bad showing on Saturday dropping two passes in a row.

He had one bounce off of both hands also. Bay, cramped up on Saturday missing the PM practice along with Sundays practice. Maybe it was possible due to  fatigue. He made a few good catches on Friday when Nnamdi was not covering him.

Chaz Schilens looked good making good blocks down field. Looks to be our best blocking WR. If he remains healthy and keeps up the blocking, I would not be surprised if Schilens gets the nod as the Raiders number one receiver.

Louis Murphy was dealing with cramp issues on this weekend as well. Murphy played at Florida. The conditions in Alameda, Ca are not bad in May. Especially this past weekend.

Javon Walker took it upon himself to have surgery on his knee and not tell anyone. He made comments that he's been about 65 percent with his knee since in Denver. Ouch! He contemplatedretirement because of pain in his knee, not the Vegas beating.

I don't know how this will play out. Arman Shields, did not participate as well. He is dealing with a undisclosed injury.

Todd Watkins, Jonathan Holland, Sammie Parker and Drison James got some reps in. Parker is in for a tryout along with James. We have 10 wide receivers listed on raiders.com including two undrafted Free Agents. Johnnie Lee Higgins was not mentioned as one of the WR's catching passes.

All three Running-backs split carries with the first team. Darren McFadden was the only mentioned on the notes and the news is he is looking good. Lorenzo Neal and Luke Lawton split reps with them also. Neal showing he can catch out of the backfield.

Zach Miller was out due to his sports hernia surgery he had. There is no need to be worried about him. Unrestricted Free Agent Chris O'Neill from Boise State impressed with his catching ability. He will compete with Tony Stewart, Darrel Strong and Brandon Myers for PT.

Mario Henderson got the his share of reps with the first team at Left Tackle. He looked good and looks to be the Left Tackel at the moment. Cornell Green was given first Team reps at Right Tackle. I don't know why?

Khalif Barnes got second Team reps at Left Tackle. He was asked about playing Right Tackle and mentioned he's never come out of that stance from the right side. If he were to play Right Tackle, it will be a learning process for him. Robert Gallery and Samson Satele sat out the Mini-Camp while rehabbing from their injuries.

Tommy Kelly, jumped offsides acouple of times but made up for it by constantly being in the backfield. For these being non-contact drills, he knocked over Carlisle a few times to get to the Quarterback.

Terdell Sands
is said to have shaved off some pounds. He is back to his weight from 2006 when he was a force in middle taking up space. He might have figured it's time to earn that money. Anyway, good to hear he's ready for the fall.

There was not too much mentioned regarding the Defense ends other then Derrick Burgess not practicing due to his "stomach flu." Trevor Scott replaced Burgess at defense end with the first team.

Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard took up their normal spots with Jon Alston joining them as the other Outside Linebacker. Ricky Brown was used as a back-up Middle Linebacker for Kirk. Slade Norris played Outside Linebacker.

While undrafted Outside Line backer David Nixon impressed the staff. Howard mentioned how Rob Ryan would blitz during camps but it would stop come the regular season.

Will Al Davis let John Marshall use some of the fancy Linebacker blitz packages from the mini-camp in September?

Nnamdi Asomugha showed the rookie what it takes. By taking advantage of the hints given. He took some of the later practices off, he is the best corner in the NFL, no need to worry whatsoever.

Chris Johnson looked sharp breaking on routes. Maybe his time at Prime-U working with Deion Sanders, Michael Crabtree and Antonio Cromartie has been helping. He is Raiders-style of play corner. He will get tested alot this upcoming year.

Tyvon Branch and Hirman Eugene got to play with first Team while Michael Huff and Michael Mitchell ran with the second Team. Mitchell had to be reminded by Coach Cable to not hit anyone during these non-contact drills. He can't wait for contact drills, after watching his high-light reel, I can't blame him.

Frantz Joseph and Desmond Bryant were reportedly having issues just keeping up with everyone. Then again its still only May, lets hope that's the issue.

No news on Matt Shaughnessy through all my reading.

From the look of things, Schilens looks to be the #1 Wide Receiver, Mario Henderson looks to be our Left Tackle and the safety spot might be for Hiram Eugene to lose. McFadden should get the starting knod, Russell needs some WD-40 for his arm and our Defense Tackles are looking good.

Let's see what next month goes...