More bone-crunching news from Raiders training camp, where the team had been engaged in joint practices with the San Francisco 49ers. Chaz Schilens, last year's second-leading Raider receiver who this year has been playing like he's determined to be their first, has broken his foot and is out indefinitely.
That'll teach the Raiders to invite the 49ers up to Napa.
Schilens had been running a route in a no-contact practice situation, and evidently just made a bad plant and broke a metatarsal in his left foot. "It’s just a sharp pain,” Schilens told the Oakland Tribune's Jerry McDonald. “Couldn’t run any more so I knew something was wrong. It is what it is."
It's sucky, is what it is. Schilens, or "Shillings", as Jim Plunkett calls him on KICU Channel 36, is one of those high-effort, low-drama seventh-round "steal of the draft" sleepers who completely outperforms his draft slot and relatively meager salary. He was named a starter in Week 9 of his rookie season last year.
To put Schilens' value in perspective, consider that the Washington Redskins' Devin Thomas, the second receiver selected in the entire 2008 NFL Draft, put up barely half of the overall receiving yards last season that Schilens did. Devin Thomas was selected 192 picks before Chaz Schilens.
And if Schilens' rookie season was a pleasant surprise, his sophomore season was shaping up to be blockbuster. In Thursday's preseason opener against the Cowboys, Schilens had 52 yards receiving in just over one quarter of action. He was on pace for a 200-yard game, and that's not even counting the 47-yard pass interference call he drew against fifth-year veteran Gerald Sensabaugh.
The good news is that the Raiders have another featured receiver returning to the squad next week. The bad news is that it's Javon Walker.
Passing game coordinator Ted Tollner now has an especially urgent need to restore Walker to his mid-2000's peak, as the Raiders are likely to be without Schilens through most or all of the AFC West gauntlet that is the first three weeks of their schedule.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who would still take a gimpy-footed Chaz Schilens over an acquitted Brandon Marshall any day.