DT John Henderson joined the Raiders recently as a free agent acquisition. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Saturday's practices were the 5th and 6th of 8 "intensive learning" sessions that Tom Cable has chosen to implement for his second training camp as the Oakland Raiders head coach. The weather here in Napa was brisk and overcast, per usual for the 8:30 a.m. practices, but the sun seems to show up in the afternoons with a high temperature of around 80° F.
Returnees and players new to the Raiders are enjoying these sessions as the team "gets back to the basics" early on in camp.
LB Quentin Groves describes the process as being effective for a squad that features a lot of new faces. "With what we are doing right here, we're still going through the learning process and not stressing the body that much," Groves said. "I think that's the biggest thing we need to work out right now. We have to learn because we have so many young guys and new guys, so it definitely helps us out."
Veteran RB Rock Cartwright agrees with Groves, saying that this style of learning really instills in the players what the Oakland Raiders are trying to do this season on both sides of the ball.
"These practices really give guys the opportunity to pay attention to detail. Things aren't just revved up right now," Cartwright explained. "We're slowing it down and teaching guys, and I think that will help out a lot when we do put the pads on."
With all of that said, it's pretty evident that the 2010 Raiders are getting antsy to slap on the pads. Groves is definitely one of those players. "I'm just waiting to get that first crack," Groves said emphatically.
Recently acquired DT John Henderson, who played with Groves in Jacksonville last season, has an interesting pre-game ritual to say the least. Henderson says he hasn't found anyone to help him yet. "I'm still looking, everybody wants to get chance, I'm thinking about holding tryouts," Henderson quipped.
The Raiders will be back on the field at their Napa Valley Training Complex for two more "learning intensive" practices Sunday as Training Camp 2010 continues.