Aug 272016
 

Most of the news out of Raider camp was about injuries. While the team had revised its estimate of the time Jim Woodard would be out downward to about a week, end Ron Beagle was facing the possibility of calling it quits due to a knee injury of his own. Beagle had hurt the knee a year earlier while playing for his service team at Camp Lejeune and had had surgery, but the old injury had flared up in camp and was not responding to treatment. Beagle worried that his time was up. “A pro club doesn’t carry an injured player too long,” he said, “It just isn’t financially sound.”

Head coach Eddie Erdelatz, who had coached Beagle during his days at the Naval Academy said he would “give him every opportunity, because when he’s right he’s tops.”

While Beagle considered his future, two more players left camp voluntarily. Brothers Clark and Dave Holden left together without giving a reason, but it was generally thought they were going to be in the next batch of cuts anyway.

On the practice field the coaches made a minor adjustment in the offensive lineup moving Billy Lott from halfback to Dean Philpott‘s fullback spot and installing Ray Peterson in the vacant halfback slot. Meanwhile, tryouts for the placekicking and punting duties continued and had come down to a competition between linebacker Larry Barnes and defensive back Bob Fails, both of whom were showing well in practice.

Oakland Tribune

Aug 262016
 

Head coach Eddie Erdelatz announced that halfback Wayne Crow, who was now recovered from an ankle injury suffered a few days earlier, would likely play on defense for the Raiders. Blocked at quarterback by Tom Flores and Paul Larson, and slower afoot than Buddy Allen and Billy Lott, the current pack leaders at halfback, Crow would be most effectively utilized at cornerback.

Meanwhile, practice went on. Flores, who had been slowed recently with a pulled muscle, was thought to have the upper hand over Larson at quarterback, but Larson was working hard to keep up, putting in extra time at the end of sessions. Not that this came without its costs. During one such workout with Larson end Irv Nikolai turned an ankle and was not at full strength thereafter. Other injured players were tackle Claude Boyette, victim of a muscle pull and guard Charlie Kaaihue with an injured ankle. But the most serious injury so far belonged to defensive tackle Jim Woodard. Aggravating an old knee injury, Woodard, according to the team, could be out several weeks recuperating and was due for a more thorough examination to determine the extent of the damage.

Erdelatz attributed most of the injuries to a lack of conditioning and was frustrated at how they hampered practice. “It’s hard to schedule (a) scrimmage because the injuries prevent us from running the squad in teams. Today, for instance, we wouldn’t have had enough men to stage an effective scrum.”

There was one departure from camp when guard Tom Cousineau left for personal reasons. Erdelatz said he didn’t expect further cuts until at least the 16th.

In other news, assistant general manager Bud Hastings announced that former Cal backfield coach Wes Fry was named the team’s player personnel director. Fry was expected to focus primarily on college scouting, but his most immediate task was to review camp cuts from the San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins. According to guidelines set up by the league, the Raiders had first rights among AFL teams to any 49er cuts and half of any players set free by Washington.

Oakland Tribune

Aug 252016
 

Faced with an overwhelming number of hopefuls, the Raider coaching staff ran the players through a number of tests and drills, such as a timed 50-yard dash, and used the grades to make a first round of cuts. Sixteen players got the axe (counting three who left camp voluntarily), including the supremely confident Sandy Lederman, and George Washington’s Ed Hino, who was thought to be a leading contender for the quarterback position early on. The complete list is below.

Among the players who rated highest in the speed category were backs Buddy Allen, Alex Bravo, John Brown, LC Joyner, and Wayne Schneider, and end Dan Edgington.

At the quarterback spot, Tom Flores and Paul Larson appeared to be leading the field. Head coach Eddie Erdelatz said Tony Teresa, a fine two-way quarterback with San Jose State, would be playing halfback. Also garnering early praise from the coaches were halfback Billy Lott, defensive back Eddie Macon, linemen Chris Plain, Don Manoukian, and Don Churchwell, and ends Gene Prebola and Charlie Hardy.

The first crack at a possible starting lineup on offense was:

E Charlie Hardy
E Dan Edgington
T Chris Plain
T Don Churchwell
G Charles Kaaihue
G Don Manoukian
C Jim Otto
QB Tom Flores
HB Buddy Allen
HB Billy Lott
FB Dean Philpott

Over in the trainer’s corner, Wayne Crow, the first training camp casuality, appeared to have recovered from his ankle injury and was expected to return to camp almost immediately. However, five other players were sent to sick bay with ailments of their own, including end Walt Denny (hamstring pull), halfback Jack Larscheid (hamstring pull), tackle Fred Fehn (unidentified muscle pull), defensive end Charley Powell (strained Achilles tendon), and tackle Jim Woodard (strained right knee). Fehn was expected to be out the longest, at two weeks. The other four were expected to miss no more than a few days.

Roster Cuts:

T Charles Bates
LB Tom Davis (voluntary)
HB Al Feola
HB Max Fields
HB James Hall
QB Ed Hino
HB Vin Hogan (voluntary)
T Curt Iaukea (voluntary)
HB Stan Jones
E Joe Kominski
QB Sandy Lederman
E Mose Mastelotto
QB Ron Newhouse
HB Andrew Pierce
E Gordon Tovani
E Willis Towne

Oakland Tribune

Aug 242016
 

With the first day of training camp under his belt, new signee Sandy Lederman was undaunted by his competition at quarterback.

“If I get a good shot at the job,” he said,” I’m sure I can throw better than anyone in camp. I played against (Paul) Larson when he was at Cal and I figure I’m a better passer. I’m not just bragging. Paul is a great athlete, but he is more a halfback than a thrower. He runs a team real well and had a flair for signal calling, but when it comes to passing, and that is the big thing in the pros, I figure I have an edge. I don’t know too much about Flores, but from what I saw in that first drill he can really wing that ball.

Continue reading »

Aug 152016
 

The Raiders added another quarterback to the roster, signing 5’11”, 185 pound Sandy Lederman just prior to the opening of training camp. Lederman played his college ball at the University of Washington and had a somewhat rocky tenure there. A passer of significant physical gifts, he suffered a broken leg in 1954 that put a premature end to his junior season and the following year he was temporarily booted from the team by head coach John Cherburg because of “attitude” troubles. He went unselected in the 1956 draft but did participate in Chicago Bears training camp before washing out with an injury. Upon recovery, he spent time with the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian leagues, but disappeared entirely from the pro ranks shortly thereafter. Before showing up in Oakland he had competed for a job with the Chargers, but was eventually cut by head coach Sid Gillman.

Oakland Tribune
Long Beach Press Democrat

Jul 292016
 

With just a couple of days to go until the opening of training camp, the Raider brass shared some thoughts about the team.

Owner and general manager Chet Soda spoke about how far they had come in just a few months. “We had an office with two chairs and couple of telephones on the floor (in the beginning)”, he said, “but we didn’t have much chance to use the chairs. We sat on the floor keeping the phones busy attempting to catch up with the rest of the league.”

Head coach Eddie Erdelatz was just happy to make the acquaintance of some of his players, having seen only a handful of them play in person. “I hope most of them are strong enough to make us wince when we shake hands,” he said, “Even if it hurts, it will be an improvement over talking to them on the phone and working them into a system on paper. Now we will find out how the men will fit the system.

“Next year will be different and easier. We will know our players and the other teams. Our problem will be modifying and improving — much simpler than starting with nothing but two chairs and a pair of phones.”

As for early activity in training camp, Erdelatz explained that “we won’t have time at first for much instruction. We have to find those who can play and concentrate on them. Practice will be closed to the public for the first week or two. We can’t afford to waste a second because we have to be ready to play the Dallas Texans in Kezar Stadium, July 31.

“We know we obtained several men from the league pool who can play, but we have a lot to find out about most of the others. This is certainly one case when the lineup isn’t set in advance, when every position is really open.”

He felt that just about anything could happen once the season started. “We don’t know enough about what we have, or enough about the opposition, to be pessimistic,” he said. “The first few games will be interesting from a technical point. None of the teams will know just what preparations to make for the others. It will be a challenge.”

Erdelatz said he didn’t plan to be particularly strict about discipline in camp saying, “We won’t do any spying or have things like bed checks. Football at every level from Pop Warner league through professional requires sacrifice and if a player doesn’t realize this then he won’t do the club any good. This type of player can be spotted without bed checks and the like.”

The coaching staff planned to conduct morning and afternoon workouts each day.

Oakland Tribune

Jul 262016
 

Mel Venter, a radio personality most noted for his days as the leader of KFRC’s “Breakfast Gang” morning show, was named to provide color commentary alongside Bud Foster on KNBC’s Raider broadcasts.

Oakland Tribune