ALAMEDA — Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell is arranging a week of practice for any of the team's other quarterbacks and all the wide receivers and tight ends, at an undisclosed location.
Russell wasn't about to divulge many details. He said he just wants to make sure the quarterbacks and receivers are on the same page when training camp begins July 30 in Napa.
"We're going to get the receivers and tight ends a week away from everything, just go along by ourselves and accomplish something that would make us a lot better during the year," Russell said after Wednesday's practice during organized team activities. "Just work on our own, with nobody out there but us, get ready for camp, get ready for a new year."
That's music to Raiders coach Tom Cable's ears as he yearns for Russell to grow into his role as a starting quarterback and team leader. Cable has made it known that he wants Russell to work harder and grasp better the things necessary to be a successful NFL quarterback.
"It's a big step," Cable said. "It's kind of what we've been talking about all along, and to hear about that is, obviously, a positive from a coach's standpoint. It will be good to hear how that goes and what his plan is."
Ellis' quiet debut
Veteran defensive end Greg Ellis met with the Raiders on Friday, signed a contract Monday and practiced Tuesday.
It's all been quite a whirlwind for a player who spent his first 11 NFL seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.
On Wednesday, Ellis worked at the left defensive end spot normally held down by Derrick Burgess. Cable said Ellis is competing for a starting spot, presumably at the right end spot manned by Jay Richardson the past two seasons.
It's unclear how Ellis feels about his change of address and scenery. He left the field Wednesday without stopping to speak with the media.
Ellis is wearing the No. 99 that used to be the property of defensive tackle Warren Sapp and was donned by rookie Matt Shaughnessy the past eight weeks or so. Shaughnessy switched to No. 77.
Rookie receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey aggravated the hamstring injury that sidelined him for half of the mandatory minicamp in May and most of the earlier OTA days.
Heyward-Bey favored his right leg as soon as he landed after jumping in an attempt to reach a high pass from Russell. He retreated to the locker room soon thereafter.
Cable didn't know the extent of Heyward-Bey's injury when he addressed the media.
Rookie safety Mike Mitchell (sore) and wide receiver Chaz Schilens (sore) were held out of practice as a precautionary measure, Cable said. Cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Chris Johnson, defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, Burgess and Richardson weren't at practice for personal reasons. "... The 2009 Raider Nation Celebration-Family Fun Day is Aug. 8 from 1-5 p.m. at the Oakland Coliseum. Current and former Raiders players and coaches, as well as the Raiderettes, are scheduled to take part in the festivities. The event is free and is highlighted by a Raiders practice.
— Steve Corkran