Raiders Team Report...

Angry Pope

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Raiders Team Report

6/23/2006

By Steve Corkran
Contra Costa Times


PERSONNEL ANALYSIS: Langston Walker has plenty on his mind as he makes the conversion from left guard to right tackle. That's a good thing as far as the Raiders are concerned because it means Walker no longer is consumed by wondering whether he will ever play again. Walker is all the way back from abdominal bleeding that required surgery -- it is believed he sustained the injury as a result of getting hit in the side by an opponent's helmet -- and ended his season before the midpoint last year. It also threw into question his future as a player. He has regained the weight and has been reassured by doctors that he is at no greater risk of injury than his linemates. So Walker now can worry about learning his assignments and making the transition back to his natural position rather than worry about his health. . . .

K Sebastian Janikowski and P Shane Lechler are coming off subpar seasons. To that end, first-year special teams coach Ted Daisher intends to have them kick more in practice and during training camp as a means of getting them more meaningful work. In the past, Janikowski and Lechler have been left alone, for the most part, because they performed so well in games.

SCOUTING REPORT: Justin Fargas has yet to make much of an impression as a running back in his NFL career, and this year figures to be his final shot at doing so. New coach Art Shell says that Fargas has looked good so far and is in line to get a chance at receiving more playing time than he has in any of his previous seasons. The knock on Fargas has been that he runs too upright, gets hit hard too often and is fumble-prone. He has the speed and explosiveness to be a difference-maker if he can harness his talents. The Raiders envision Fargas as a nice complement to lead RB LaMont Jordan, someone who can give Jordan enough of a break each game so that Jordan is fresher and stronger in the fourth quarter. Look for Fargas to be more of a factor offensively this season than he has been to this point.

REHAB UPDATE: OLB Sam Williams' recovery from a torn knee ligament is just about complete, and he is expected at full strength by the time the Raiders start training camp a month or so from now. He missed all of last season after sustaining the injury in a training camp drill last year. A subsequent surgery remedied the problem, though Williams has endured a lengthy rehab process. He said he feels fine and ready to go.

INSIDE DISH: The Raiders likely will miss DT Ted Washington's presence in the middle of their line, but players such as fellow DT Warren Sapp aren't upset about his departure. Washington was a prickly sort on and off the field, and he rubbed many players the wrong way. He also got admonished by the team for his abusive behavior toward the media, something the Raiders were only too glad to distance themselves from.

WIDE RECEIVERS ANALYSIS: A-minus. Randy Moss is as good as they come. Jerry Porter, Doug Gabriel and Ronald Curry could be No. 1 receivers on other teams. The depth is impressive.
 
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