NAPA – P.J. Hall created pressure in the Raiders' offensive backfield during Tuesday morning's practice, with Maurice Hurst collapsing in from his left flank.
Jon Gruden was pleased. He singled out both rookie defensive tackles after the play, praising their hustle in making life difficult up front.
Hurst and Hall found a spring in their step, but tried to avoid overt signs of excitement. They simply slapped five and went back to work.
The pair played well in the preseason opener against Detroit. Hall had a sack, a batted pass. Hurst had two quarterback hits.
"First play P.J. came in, he got a sack. He batted a ball down, so he was disruptive," head coach Jon Gruden said. "I thought Maurice had some really good rushes. He didn't get a sack, but he got home. Yeah, I was pleased with it. I think it's an area that we've gone out to try to improve and we have a long way to go. But, there were some good signs."
Both guys made an impact, which fits well with how they practice.
Gruden knows Hurst and Hall could be regular fixtures in the defensive line rotation and wants them ready to go for the regular season, so he'll continue to push and prod and ask for better.
Hall and Hurst enjoy the high expectations, and relish the opportunity to go through the rookie experience with another talented lineman.
"It's awesome," Hurst said after the Lions game. "There's not a better way to have it, having another guy out there in the same position as you. Getting to go through growing pains together."
Calhoun pushing for a spot?
Shilique Calhoun showed well in the Lions game and continues to create pressure up front, giving the Raiders another option when looking for depth rushing off the edge. He was an afterthought last year, released before the regular season and then added to the practice squad after being selected in 2016's third round. He has had a resurgence of sorts under Gruden's staff, but has to improve throughout the preseason to earn a roster spot.
"We're just looking for more consistency and more out of him," Gruden said. "He's a guy that has had an interesting career here. He's been on the practice squad, he's been brought back, he's paid the price in the offseason, but he's on our radar now."
Cornerback Daryl Worley didn't practice the day after a random collision with fellow cover man Rashaan Melvin. His injury status is uncertain.
Receiver Martavis Bryant remains out with headaches. Receiver Seth Roberts was also out, and has been since before the preseason game. Safety Marcus Gilchrist (foot) and offensive linemen Jordan Simmons and Breno Giacomini remained out of practice.
Jon Feliciano left practice early for an unknown cause.
Safety Obi Melifonwu has been out a week now, and The Athletic reports he will see a specialist to further evaluate his health and a possible to link to hip surgery he had last season.
Donald Penn was activated off the physically unable to perform list, but practiced a lot for his first session back. He had good moments and bad at right tackle, a new position for him.