Camp Report (86): Boss, Bush make debuts


Camp Report (86): Boss, Bush make debuts

Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comPractice No. 9Summary: A new face and an old one were welcomed to camp on Saturday as newly-signed tight end Kevin Boss got in his first work as a member of the Raiders and running back Michael Bush signed his one-year tender and finally reported to camp, 10 days after he could have, five days before he would have been considered a hold-out. Both saw some action in live drills -- not a lot -- but enough to get a feel for things. And after a week in which the offense got the better of the defense most of the time, the defense answered with aplomb. The Raiders also signed three receivers -- Derek Hagan, Chad Jackson and Shawn Bayes -- and a fullback -- Bryson Kelly -- while coach Hue Jackson said recently-signed guard Justin Smiley told him earlier in the day he was retiring. Oakland will take Sunday off and practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in anticipation of Thursday's exhibition opener against Arizona at the Coliseum.Injury report: Sixteen players sat out practice with various "nicks," receivers Jacoby Ford (broken left hand), Louis Murphy, Eddie McGhee and Derrick Jones (Achilles'), fullback James McCluskey, tailbacks Taiwan Jones (hamstring) and Darren McFadden (fractured eye socket), offensive linemen Bruce Campbell (knee), Lou Eiliades and Alan Pelc, defensive backs Chimdi Chekwa (shoulder), Mike Mitchell and Joe Porter and defensive linemen Trevor Scott (knee), John Henderson and Jarvis Moss.RELATED: Raiders add three free agents
Offensive play of the day: On the second-to-last 11-on-11 play of the day, Jason Campbell hit Shaun Bodiford on a perfectly timed slant pass from the right side from 10 yards out and for a touchdown. Bodiford beat cornerback Stanford Routt and safety Tyvon Branch on the play and yes, Bodiford was out there with the first-team offense on the play.Defensive play of the day: As a strong safety, Tyvon Branch is not supposed to have soft hands. But after dropping back into coverage and then reacting to a Trent Edwards pass over the middle, Branch showed 'em. His interception of Edwards was clean and pretty. Especially for a strong safety.Eye on reps: Take it for what it's worth, but the first-team offensive line had a beefier, more experienced look to it as rookie Stefen Wisniewski moved from center to left guard for the second day in a row, though he did move back to center later on. The first-team O-line on this day, then: (left tackle) Jared Veldheer, (left guard) Wisniewski, (center) Samson Satele, (right guard) Cooper Carlisle, (right tackle) Khalif Barnes.Rookie report: Let's just call this this Denarius Moore Corner, for now. The fifth-round receiver's latest highlight reel play was another beauty. This one was a long bomb from Kyle Boller, in which Moore split rookie cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke and veteran safety Hiram Eugene for the touchdown. As coach Hue Jackson said earlier this week, there goes that man again.Notable: Blood from that noted Harvard-Hillsdale College feud spilled on the practice field when defensive tackle Desmond Bryant tangled with left tackle Jared Veldheer late in practice. OK, I kid about the collegiate feud. But the lightning quick rumble between the two behemoths was entertaining, nonetheless.Quotable: "We're going to be a tough, rugged football team that walks with a swagger and plays the way the Raiders used to play. That's what I want. That's what I demand. And that's what my players are going to give me." - Raiders coach Hue JacksonNext practice: Monday, 3:30 p.m.

Carr admits back injury had an impact: 'I had to deal with it'


Carr admits back injury had an impact: 'I had to deal with it'

Derek Carr was asked several times during the 2017 season whether a Week 4 back injury impacted his throwing motion, his play, his ability to produce. The Raiders quarterback dismissed the inquiries each time, proclaiming full health.

That wasn’t the whole truth. Three transverse process fractures in his back did affect him. Carr didn’t admit that. He didn’t want to use injury as an excuse. His play, Carr figured, should stand on its own.

Now, with the 2017 season in the rearview, Carr was a bit more candid about his physical state.

“When you break three bones in your back, it doesn’t feel good,” Carr said in this week’s episode of the Raiders Insider Podcast (Subscribe right here). “I’m thankful God healed me to the point I could walk around and be able to practice. Injuries will never be something I talk about, especially during the season, but since it’s after the season, the (back issue) was one of those things that was there.”

Denver’s Adam Gotsis kneed Carr in the back during a third-quarter sack. The fractures occurred there, and removed Carr from that 16-10 loss. The original prognosis had Carr out 2-4 weeks. He missed but one game and never stopped to rest. He missed a Wedneday practice, was limited the rest of the week and was questionable for a game backup EJ Manuel ultimately played.

Carr pushed to get back in the lineup. He didn’t miss another game, but that doesn’t mean the back injury was behind him.

“I had to deal with it,” Carr said. “I had to do certain things to manage it, but I just didn’t talk about it. I didn’t want it to be an excuse. It was a want more than anything else. I didn’t want it to be a reason. I couldn’t let that be a reason why I couldn’t do A, B or C.”

Carr’s back wasn’t the sole reason for lackluster offensive output, but it played a part. The Raiders dealt with flux in play calling and scheme preference, especially in the run game. On-field struggles splintered the locker room some, and an ironclad confidence began to soften.

Carr stands three-plus weeks from last season’s end. Distance provides perspective, and Carr wishes he could’ve done something to pull his Raiders out of a tailspin.

“I’ve looked back at the season over the past couple weeks and wondered if I could have done something or said something or acted upon something at a certain time,” Carr said. “You’re always looking to get better. …

“I’ve looked back (at) the way things were handled, things that went down and said, ‘Man. I wish I could’ve had the knowledge I have now. I would go back and fix that.’ That’s how things work. You gain experience from every situation you go through and try to be better the next time.”

Carr excited to work with Gruden: 'I want him to be tough on me'


Carr excited to work with Gruden: 'I want him to be tough on me'

Jon Gruden has been interviewed several times since becoming Raiders head coach. Quarterback Derek Carr hasn’t listened to most of those sessions, and certainly doesn’t seek them out.

One landed in Carr’s inbox recently, and something Gruden said really resonated.

Gruden’s message, paraphrased: If Derek Carr is not successful, then I’ve failed as a coach.

There are two comments in that one. Gruden considers Carr extremely talented, and he’s taking responsibility for unlocking the quarterback's vast potential.

Gruden will be hands on in Carr’s development, with all the coaching intensity and fire and eyebrow raises that have become Gruden’s signature.

“He’s going to demand of me. He’s going to push me,” Carr said on this week’s episode of the Raiders Insider Podcast, which will drop Tuesday morning (Subcribe right here). “He’s going to make me be the best version of myself.”

Carr had a direct answer to skeptics wondering aloud whether he can thrive under Gruden’s particular coaching style.

“I want him to be tough on me,” Carr said. “For anyone who thinks I want him to be a different way has no clue about me or how I play football or how I prepare to play this game. I don’t need to tell stories about how I prepare or manage myself.

“(Jon) and I are going to get along great. I hope that he demands of me. I hope he’s hard on me. I don’t need to know he loves me. He has already told me that about 20 times. I appreciate that and we’ll be friends forever, but I know he’ll be demanding and tell me what I need to do. Let’s go fix problems that I have and let’s do what I need to do to win championships. Hopefully that will give people some insight and hopefully that’s the story that gets out, because that’s the truth.”

Carr met his new head coach briefly before his introductory press conference, but has known Gruden since filming the Gruden QB Camp segment back in 2014. They got along great then, and in each interaction since.

“We have so much more in common that people realize,” Carr said. “I think it would blow some people’s minds. Him and I are very similar in the way we go about our business and how we carry ourselves. It’s an exciting time.”

Carr’s excited to have some stability in his football life. The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback will start his fifth NFL season with his fourth head coach, fourth go-round with an offensive coordinator and third offensive scheme. Gruden signed a 10-year contract. OC Greg Olson signed a four-year pact. They’ll be here a while, and Carr’s excited about that.

“It’s going to be really nice,” Carr said. “To know Jon signed on for a 10 years and (Olson) signed on for a long time shows me a couple of things. No. 1: that they believe in me. I don’t think Coach Gruden would’ve quit his day job, which I’m thankful he did. To get (Olson) out of a good spot in L.A (with the Rams), shows that they believe in me and that’s awesome. And, No. 2: I’m going to have two people I can talk to in a different language for years to come. We can grow within the relationship, and hopefully we’ll all ride off together. It’s set up that way right now, and we have a lot of work to do to reach that point.”