Raiders ready to start hitting

Aug 2, 2009 - 8:46 PM NAPA, Calif.(AP) -- Raiders Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is ready for some real football, and so are the rest of his teammates.

After opening camp with four straight two-a-day practices without contact, the Raiders will practice in pads Monday for the first time. Asomugha expects practice to get heated.

"It will. I guarantee it will," Asomugha said after Sunday morning's workout. "Intensity is good, though, and aggressiveness is good, and maybe there will be a fight or two. Maybe we'll get the juices flowing that way, but it will be good."

Raiders coach Tom Cable used the first four days of practice to review the team's offensive and defensive schemes. Now the "learning phase," as Cable called it, is ending, and the hitting phase is about to begin.

Running back Darren McFadden said practicing four days without pads "just builds the tension up" for Monday's practice in pads. "I'm very anxious. We've been out there kind of half speed. You're ready to get out and get going full speed and see if this learning will pay off for us."

Asomugha said he's looking forward to playing defense against quarterbacks who actually get to throw the ball, unlike the first four days.

"I think guys are really ready to start going and ready to start hitting," he said. "As far as the corners, we don't hit that much anyways, so we're pretty much doing what we'll be doing anyway. It's good that we'll finally be able to get our hands on the ball and be able to judge it and see how well we're actually doing, because right now you really don't know."

Cable said he'll warn his players not to get too physical against fellow teammates.

"We want to light it up and have the purpose, the right kind of purpose behind it," Cable said. "The most important thing is to stress these are your teammates."

GARCIA TAKES A BREAK: Quarterback Jeff Garcia didn't take snaps or take part in any throwing drills during Sunday morning's practice, but he said he's not injured.

"Kind of saving things for tomorrow to get out there and be fresh," said Garcia, 39. "Being a little older these days, kind of letting the other guys get some good work and mental work and physical work. We're not doing a whole lot of throwing anyways."

EXTRA POINTS: Defensive end Derrick Burgess still hasn't reported to camp - it's Day 4 of his holdout. ... Cable said he expects rookie safety Mike Mitchell to push for a starting job. "Has to," Cable said. "Competition starts tomorrow. It's on. And everyone's got to fight for a job. ... So I expect him to push everyone and anyone who's at his position." ... Defensive tackle Ryan Boschetti, a free-agent pickup, has been getting some work at defensive end. "He's done that in his career," Cable said. ... Cable said that the loser of the battle at left tackle between current starter Mario Henderson and challenger Khalif Barnes might move to right tackle, where Cornell Green is working with the first unit. Barnes, though, said he hasn't worked on the right side since college. Asked if he'd be comfortable moving to the right tackle, he said, "To be honest with you, no. ... I've been so used to being in this stance for so long, it'd be awkward to be over there," the former Jacksonville Jaguar said.

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