Editor's note: Scott Bair is in Alameda Tuesday through Thursday for the Raiders' three-day minicamp. Stay logged on to CSNBayArea.com and tune in nightly to SportsNet Central and Yahoo SportsTalk Live for comprehensive coverage.
ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterbacks have, generally speaking anyway, been throwing the passes well. Their receivers have struggled to secure them.
A fair to significant amount of catchable passes have fallen incomplete over the first two day of this mandatory minicamp, except maybe those thrown to Rod Streater.
It’s not the consistency in the passing game the Raiders want to see this fall. It’s nothing they’re losing sleep over this summer.
“It’s not where we need to be yet. It’s typical to me at this time of year,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “Still getting some timing down between the new quarterback and new wide receivers. It’s about where I expected it to be.”
The same can be said of a few ill-timed fumbled snaps during Wednesday’s practice, which featured mistakes on both sides of the ball.
“It’s mini-camp. It’s OTA football,” head coach Dennis Allen said. “Those are the things that – I’d much rather have those things go on now than when we get to middle of the season. That’s one of the things we have to continue to work on and continue to improve.”
Some other observations from Wednesday’s minicamp practice:
-- The Raiders got into their first scuffle of the offseason (when press was allowed to watch, at least), when left tackle Donald Penn and linebacker Miles Burris locked horns on a running play their way.
The two refused to let go and scrum formed around them, but peace was achieved quickly and maintained through the rest of practice. There are a few of these exchanges on most every team and are generally inconsequential.
-- Burris is getting a ton of action with the first-team defense on the weakside, and coaches have been pleased with his performance.
-- Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden are the top running backs heading into camp, but the team will need help behind them to maintain a steady rushing attack. Second-year pro Latavius Murray seems to be No. 3 at this point, with Kory Sheets also playing well.
Olson’s take on both players: “We’re looking for big things from Latavius Murray right now, coming off the foot injury. He’s shown, to me, the biggest upside right now in what we’ve seen thus far, if he can stay healthy. Kory Sheets has played a lot of football coming straight to us from Canada and he’s shown some flashes. I think there’s probably a role for him. He’s not your big back, he’s more of a back that you can move back in the slot and can help you in the passing game.”
-- Tight ends David Ausberry and Mychal Rivera have been running with the first team, and both have receiving talent. Neither player, however, excels as a blocker. The Raiders are still looking for a blocking tight end to stand out among a young group.
(Rivera and Ausberry) are serviceable blockers, but they’re not dominant blockers,” Olson said. “There aren’t a lot of those in the NFL at the tight end position. If you’re looking for a true (blocking-first player) we’re hoping the other two tight ends, (Nick) Kasa and (Brian Leonhardt), might be able to fill that role. We won’t know that until we get to the fall when we get the pads on and are able to strike somebody and play in a live game situation. We’ll found out a little bit about the tight end situation in the fall.”