Training Camp Observations: Aug. 4, 2014

The Raiders returned from their day off on Sunday to a crisp practice, once again in pads. Head coach Dennis Allen was pleased with how they returned after having a more sloppy practice after their last day off.

The Raiders no longer have season ticket holders in attendance but the team did host Military Appreciation Day on Monday. In attendance were over 300 active and retired service men and women from three different military branches.

As for an injury update, tight end David Ausberry didn't practice but Allen said he tried to give it a go before practice but decided that he should sit this one out. Linebackers Kaluka Maiava, Sio Moore and Marshall McFadden, as well as cornerback Shelton Johnson still remained out with their injuries.

Here are some quick observations from today's practice:

  • Third-year linebacker Miles Burris continues to look very good out there in his competition for the starting job against Sio Moore. Burris has excelled in the running game, plugging up holes nicely on multiple occasions. Burris has also looked good in defending the pass and is benefiting from added reps with Moore out with his rib injury.
  • Justin "Jelly" Ellis continues to impress me with both his run defense and pass rush. I knew he would be able to clog up the rushing lanes nicely but he has found a way to get back to the quarterback on a consistent basis. Jelly could turn into a key defensive piece for the Raiders, especially if he continues to develop.
  • Cornerback Tarell Brown continues to look good in practice and should have had an interception of his own today. Brown played a ball from Matt Schaub to Marcel Reece perfectly but couldn't come away with the interception. Brown has been the most consistent cornerback for the Raiders so far.
  • Rookie linebacker Khalil Mack made two plays that wouldn't "wow" a fan but are two plays you like to see form a rookie linebacker. On one play, Mack was out wide and rushing the quarterback but Schaub let the ball go quickly but not in time for Mack to get a hand up and bat the ball down. On another play, Mack came across the field from the other side of the formation to fill a rushing lane and get a simulated tackle on the ball carrier. These are two recognition plays that are nice to see from Mack.
  • Wide receiver Andre Holmes continues to stand out at training camp. Holmes beat rookie cornerback Keith McGill for a touchdown deep from Schaub. Allen said after practice that Holmes has exceeded what they thought they were getting when they signed him after practice.
  • Second-year tight end Mychal Rivera caught another deep pass when he beat rookie safety Jonathan Dowling. Second-year quarterback Matt McGloin dropped a ball in nicely on the throw. Rivera has looked good in camp and has shown his potential as a receiving tight end.
  • The starting defense had some struggles towards the end of camp with defending the screen. Running back Darren McFadden busted one for a nice gain, while fullback Marcel Reece had a nice gain a few plays later on a screen to the same side. The Raiders don't want to find themselves having difficulty defending the screen the same way they did last year against Jamaal Charles and the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Raiders return to the field on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m.

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