*News and notes from Napa: *The Raiders signed CB Lito Sheppard, who participated in practice for the first time. QB Terrell Pryor reported to Napa Thursday night and practiced with the team on Friday. The team also waived QB Jordan La Secla and OL Alan Pelc and placed S Hiram Eugene on Injured Reserve.
The Oakland Raiders held their final practice of Training Camp 2011 on Friday. After four weeks and 20 official practices, the players were excited to conclude their stay in Napa and return to Alameda to finish off the preseason. "The last day of training camp, heading back to Alameda, our home, but boy what a great time it was here," said Head Coach Hue Jackson. "I thought we got a lot accomplished, but by no stretch are we exactly where we need to be but we are working there. I mean the guys are putting their head down and working. I thought it was a tremendous camp, you know as fast as things got put together and had to happen."
Many of the players in Napa completed their first National Football League training camp and left the last practice with a positive feeling about their experience. "It feels good. It feels good that it's over," said OL Stefen Wisniewski. "Definitely physical here at the Raiders and some big strong people over there. The fact that we only have one practice a day certainly makes it a little easier on the body, but mentally I learned a ton and I realize that I still have a lot to learn."
The grind of training camp with early morning, afternoon and evening meetings, and daily practices, tested the rookies and veterans mentally and physically. "It was tough, but at the same time, it was fun," said rookie CB Chimdi Chekwa. "I was excited to do it and it was fun."
T Joe Barksdale is pleased with the improvements he has made throughout the month in Napa. "It feels good," said Barksdale. "I feel like I got a lot better and it definitely gives you something to look forward to next year because the first one always the hardest one. It feels good. Now that camp is over it seems like it flew by (during camp it seems long), but it was a nice experience."
For TE David Ausberry, the Raiders 7th round draft pick out of USC, training camp is just the lead in for the regular season. "It was great. It was a learning experience and I had a lot of fun," said Ausberry. "I'm glad to be part of this organization. But [even though training camp is over], we're still going to practice and we're still going to be in meetings."
"We won't be in the hotel anymore, a little more separation from all the teammates," continued Ausberry. "But I'm happy to get through it, and ready to get this thing started."
The team returns to their headquarters and will transition to their regular season schedule. "I think everything is a little easier once you get into a regular season schedule," said Wisniewski. "You have some more time to work on your own and extra to get better. In camp, everything is kind of scripted for you so it'll be nice to have a little more time because I have a lot to work on."
Although still structured, the post-training camp schedule allows time for the players to learn, improve, and recuperate in their own way. "I think it's going to be a lot better," said Chekwa. "I'll get to rest my body a little bit and go out there and really play some football games so I'm excited about that."
The types of meetings also change slightly as regular season opponents require more game planning and study. "The learning process, as far as the play, slows down a little bit because of game plans," said Ausberry. "I think it'll be a good thing for us now that we know the system and now we're just game planning so it'll be a lot easier on the brain."
On Saturday, the team will report to their Alameda Practice Facility for a walk-through and meetings before taking on the New Orleans Saints at O.co Coliseum on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. PT. Follow along on Raiders.com, Facebook, and Twitter.