NAPA – Raiders rookie defensive end Max Valles tipped a Matt McGloin pass late in Tuesday’s practice and defensive tackle Shelby Harris snatched it out of the air.
Harris eventually coughed it up, bit to focus on that ignores a larger point. It was a nice play from a second unit defensive line that has made quite a few in recent days. Valles, Harris, Ricky Lumpkin, Stacy McGee and Denico Autry performed well in Friday’s exhibition victory over the St. Louis Rams, and have shown the Raiders might have more defensive line depth than originally thought.
That position was believed to be thin, without much beyond starters Khalil Mack, Justin Tuck, Dan Williams and Justin Ellis. The defensive line generally requires a steady rotation, and added contributors would help the effectiveness of everyone in that position group.
“I think there are some good battles there for roles, for positions on the team,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “Whether we’re talking about starting roles, backup roles, we play a couple of different defensive groupings so guys have a chance to fight their way into different groupings. I think the depth is pretty good. I think we’re working at it and competing and challenging each other. I think there’s growth in the group taking place.
“They’re gaining confidence because they’re seeing how doing things certain ways is leading to success. We should continue to grow.”
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Andre Holmes out: Raiders receiver Andre Holmes, in competition to snag a roster spot as the fourth or fifth receiver, missed Tuesday’s practice. He took a shot from rookie cornerback Dexter McDonald on Sunday in a practice without pads, and left a few plays later.
Del Rio said his ailment didn’t have much to do with the incident, and that he didn’t expect him to be out long.
“I don’t know that anything directly from that fall is causing him trouble,” Del Rio said. “He’s going to bounce back in short order.”
Injury update: The same cast of characters continue to miss time. Tight end Clive Walford and linebacker Sio Moore remain out with injury, and Del Rio considered them day-to-day, but admitted that “it’s been day-to-day for a number of days.”
When asked if any injuries could impact players starting the season, Del Rio played coy.
“I couldn’t answer that because I’m not looking at a list,” Del Rio said. “I probably wouldn’t answer even if I was looking at a list. I think we’ll get a few guys back here shortly and some may linger a little bit.”
Leaders emerging: “There are a few guys that are leaders because they’ve been here a long time, or they’ve been in the league a long time,” Del Rio said. “Then, you start to see who the other core leaders of your team are as they emerge and develop. That’s all good stuff.”
Other notes from Sunday’s practice:
-- Del Rio said the practice quality was far better following the Monday day off, and that leaders are starting to emerge on the team.
-- The Raiders waive receiver Austin Willis, a shorter receiver with return skills, and signed receiver Devon Wylie, a shorter receiver with return skills. Wylie was also given Willis’ No. 13 in time for Tuesday’s practice.
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-- Rookie interior lineman Jon Feliciano took snaps at right guard on Tuesday, after spending most of camp as a second-unit left guard and center. Feliciano has excelled as a left guard, but that would put him behind immovable object Gabe Jackson. Feliciano is competing to be a swing interior lineman.
-- Running back Trent Richardson worked a bunch at kickoff returner on Tuesday. He also took some reps as a first-team running back during team drills.
-- Neiko Thorpe continues to take some limited reps with the first team in the nickel package. He is competing for playing time with Keith McGill at this stage.
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-- Nothing has changed along the starting offensive front, with tackle Menelik Watson and guard J’Marcus Webb manning the right side.
-- The back end of the receiver depth chart is turning into a real competition, with a lot of mixing and matching. Seth Roberts, Kris Dunham and Brice Butler are all in the race, and were working with Rod Streater on the second team.
Daily transactions: Raiders signed WR Devon Wylie; waived WR Austin Willis
Returned to practice: None
Did not practice: LB Sio Moore, RB Roy Helu Jr., FB Jamize Olawale, LB Josh Shirley, WR Andre Holmes, TE Clive Walford
Next practice: The Raiders practice in pads on Wednesday morning at the Napa Valley Marriott.