NAPA –- Clive Walford has practiced twice since the full squad assembled for Raiders training camp. The young tight end missed nine sessions at the start of camp due to a hamstring strain suffered in pre-camp workouts reserved for rookies, quarterbacks and previously injured vets, but stepped right in and performed well in practice and play.
The third-round pick worked in well last week at the Napa Valley Marriott and again during Friday’s 18-3 exhibition victory over the St. Louis Rams.
After that win, Walford was put back on the shelf. He missed Sunday morning’s un-padded practice with an undisclosed ailment suffered in the game.
“He wasn’t able to go today,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He’s tending to his business, getting himself right.”
There’s no telling how long Walford will be out. The Raiders have an off day Monday before three straight camp practices heading into Saturday’s game at Minnesota. Walford fared well without much practice time, but will need steady work to develop into the immediate impact player the team believes he can be.
Walford played 22 offensive snaps and had three more on special teams against St. Louis. He blocked for the run 12 times and ran routes on nine others. He was targeted twice and made both catches. His finest play came in the second quarter, when he nabbed in a 22-yard reception down the right hash marks that put the Raiders in the red zone.
Back in ‘camp mode’: The Raiders’ schedule has varied some over the past week, with training camp practices interrupted to prepare for and recover from Friday’s exhibition opener against the St. Louis Rams.
The Raiders got back to work on Sunday. They have three practices after an off day Monday, and will throw the pads back on and get back at it. The Raiders want to continue to grow down the home stretch of their stay in Napa, which ends no later that Aug. 25.
“We’re just back at work, you know, just back into camp mode,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “It’s really more about preparing for the season and us, the drills and the fundamentals and the basics of what we want to be good at, and that’s really what I’m after.”
Catch of the day: There were several contenders for this honor, which goes to Kenbrell Thompkins for making a difficult catch so easily. He snagged a pass from backup quarterback Christian Ponder on the sideline while jumping backward and away from his defender. He caught it with his right hand and covered it with his left before falling to the turf.
Injury update: The Raiders came out of Friday’s game relatively healthy. Walford and linebacker Josh Shirley were held out of Sunday’s work.
Receiver Rod Streater was taken off the active/non-football injury list and practiced. Tight end Lee Smith and safety Brandian Ross also returned after missing some time with injury.
Linebacker Sio Moore, running back Roy Helu Jr. and fullback Jamize Olawale remained out. Helu looked agile during side work with a trainer.
Other notes from Sunday’s practice:
-- Cornerback DJ Hayden seems to have re-joined the first team. He started Friday’s game and played with that unit again in Sunday’s practice. Keith McGIll struggled at times with the second unit against the Rams. He and Neiko Thorpe rotated in at outside corner in the nickel package, with TJ Carrie moving to the slot.
--Quarterback Derek Carr’s last throw in the exhibition opener was an interception. His first in a team drill Sunday was a perfectly spiraled rainbow that connected with Amari Cooper for a long gain. He also went deep to Michael Crabtree, at times throwing in his direction trusting the veteran will make a play on the ball.
-- Streater primarily worked with the second unit in his first practice of training camp, though he took some snaps with the first unit.
-- Safety Larry Asante worked some with the first team, and continues to make plays in practice.
-- The quarterback hierarchy still hasn’t changed. Christian Ponder is still running the second team. Matt McGloin runs the third unit, with undrafted rookie Cody Fajardo mostly glued to the sideline.
-- Del Rio praised recent play of receiver Brice Butler, who was buried in the receiver group early in camp. He could see more snaps as the preseason wears on.
Daily transactions: None
Returned to practice: WR Rod Streater, TE Lee Smith, S Brandian Ross
Did not practice: LB Sio Moore, RB Roy Helu Jr., FB Jamize Olawale, LB Josh Shirley
Next practice: The Raiders have an off day Monday, and a padded practice on Tuesday afternoon starting at 4:25 p.m.