The Oakland Raiders' offense looks so good; there was even time at the beginning of practice for back-up kicker Swayze Waters to catch a pass. Darrius Heyward-Bey showed off his soft hands in what Jerry MacDonald called the second straight media session in which DHB looked better than Louis Murphy. What a difference a year makes, last year, DHB looked terrible throughout.
DHB says it's not the number change that is the biggest difference in his game this year, but credits his weight gain as a cause for his improved play, "Just putting on a little weight, getting a little beefy," said the second year wide receiver when asked what was different about his game this year.
Chaz Schilens returned to the football field for the first time since the week 17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
"Yesterday me and Louis [Murphy] told [Schilens] that we need him, we need him to be out there if we wanna be a good offense," said Heyward-Bey. "Having Chaz out there, having Louis in the slot, and me outside, we need the three of us if we want to be a good offense in the passing game, so having Chaz back is wonderful."
"It's been a while for me," said Schilens. "I just wanted to get back out here as soon as possible and start working back into it. That was really it. I'm glad they let me come back out here. It feels good."
Today marked the second straight day of practice for Schilens, and MacDonald reported that he looked sharp, "Schilens was planting and driving hard off his left foot during drills as well as seven-on-seven sessions and team sessions. He wasn't limping or favoring the foot in any way," MacDonald wrote on his blog. TFDS reporter Patrick A. Patterson tweeted, "Schilens looks sharp."
Schilens was asked what the procedure was that was done to his foot.
"They fixed it. They fixed it. They did some stuff in there," Schilens replied. "They put another screw in there, a different one, and did some other stuff. The important thing is I had more time to heal. I didn't have the pressure of trying to get back in a game situation. I've just been taking it pretty slow."
Update: Schilens recently told Raiders play by play man Greg Papa that the procedure took bone marrow from his hip and inserted it into his foot. It is supposed to help cushion the blows caused by running, planting, and driving off of the foot. Schilens said the foot feels great and he is not bothered by it at all this year.
Schilens said he was limited last year, and told the media he didn't even want to think about last year.
He said he feels really good right now and is excited about the opportunity to play in this new Raiders offense, "I'm excited. I'm excited to be on this offense I'll tell you that. I think we're legit and we're taking steps forward every day, not backwards. Working on turnovers; working on big plays. The offense is great. I'm just looking forward to it, being out there, and being part of the team."
Schilens added that he likes the addition of QB Jason Campbell, "He's a good quarterback. He's smart, intelligent, throws a good ball. He works hard at learning the offense. I'm happy, I'm happy with him."
Heyward-Bey said there is more of a sense of team unity this year then there was last year, "It's more of a team this year, everybody wants to get together, go over to San Fran and get some dinner and I don't know if that's because Jason came or...the teammates we have here, we all want to come together and be one. The guys who have come in over the last year are really saying, you know, ‘Let's go out.'"
Patrick A. Patterson asked DHB this, "You look a lot more comfortable out there, as far as with your catches and everything, how has that evolved for you?"
"I'm just out here just playing football; that's something I wrote down, ‘just play my game, just play' and that's what I've been doing."
More to come later, check back...
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