Schilens sits out practice with sore foot
AP Sports Writer
NAPA, Calif. (AP) – The Oakland Raiders offense never really recovered after starting receiver Chaz Schilens went down with a broken left foot in training camp a year ago.
That’s why it was mildly concerning when Schilens had to sit out practice Friday because of soreness in that same foot. Coach Tom Cable said there’s no further damage to the foot but that it will have to be managed throughout camp.
“It’s sore,” Cable said. “We’re going to have to work with him to find out what his workload is, what he can and can’t do. We’re going to have to deal with it, probably from here on out, just what it is. That’s a little bit of a work in progress to find out, how much can he do each day.”
Schilens came out of practice Thursday night because of the sore foot and sat out Friday as well. He had X-rays on the foot to show that there was no new damage.
He hopes to be back on the practice field Saturday, although he likely will be limited to one practice a day for the time being.
“It’s not that great, but we can manage it,” he said. “It’s something I can manage.”
Schilens missed the first eight games after breaking his foot early in training camp last season and was never completely healthy after his return. He had 29 catches for 365 yards and two touchdowns, but needed another operation after the season to help the foot fully heal.
“Last year was kind of a bummer,” Schilens said.
It got off to a promising start. He was the best receiver in training camp a year ago and had five catches against Dallas in his only exhibition game appearance. Then came the injury in a joint practice with the San Francisco 49ers.
The offense struggled without him and his return was so highly anticipated the Raiders issued a press release when he returned to practice. With no proven receivers on the roster, Schilens is being counted on heavily to help revive the passing game with new quarterback Jason Campbell.
“I think it’s important for our team,” Cable said. “It gives us another weapon that I think has done enough to kind of prove to us that he brings a lot to the table. So, very important.”
Schilens was a seventh-round pick out of San Diego State in 2008. He has 44 catches for 591 yards and four touchdowns in his two NFL seasons. While those numbers are nothing spectacular, only one receiver on Oakland’s roster has even more production. Johnnie Lee Higgins has 47 catches for 676 yards and four scores in three seasons, but is not a sure bet to make the roster this year.
The top three receivers are Schilens and second-year players Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy. The Raiders were criticized for drafting Heyward-Bey seventh overall a year ago ahead of more accomplished receivers such as Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin. Heyward-Bey’s performance during the season only increased the criticism.
He frequently dropped passes in practice and games, and finished the season with nine catches for 124 yards and a touchdown before missing the final five games with a foot injury.
He has looked much improved during offseason workouts and early in training camp but has not proven that will carry over into games.
Murphy, a fourth-round pick, had 34 catches for 521 yards and four touchdowns but also struggled to hold onto passes as a rookie.
“I know Louis can make plays, I know Darrius is coming around. I think it’s going to be a combination of all three of us,” Schilens said. “We’ll just go from there.”