Now that two-a-days were done the players had time to indulge in a little team promotion. With an afternoon practice scheduled, the Raiders bused from Santa Cruz to Jack London Square in Oakland to participate in a “Welcome Raiders” parade. The front office expressed satisfaction with their local popularity in general and said tickets for the Texans game, a benefit for the Children’s Hospital of the Eastbay, were selling briskly with more than 20,000 already sold, according to PR man Gene Perry.
Head coach Eddie Erdelatz said the team appeared to have been inspired by the event and looked particularly crisp and spirited during their workout. Only non-contact blocking and tackling drills were performed, as the coaches hoped to prevent further injuries before the game.
Their hopes weren’t realized, though. Middle linebacker Tom Louderback, who was practicing with a bruised shoulder, exacerbated the injury and was pronounced doubtful for the upcoming contest. On the other hand, the Raider quarterback picture brightened immeasurably when Tom Flores was able to return to practice following treatment of his pulled calf muscle and third-stringer Bob Webb was seen on the field as well.
Looking ahead, the team provided a provisional depth chart for the game that included few surprises, aside from the absence of Flores and Webb. On the offense, Chris Plain and Don Churchwell were at tackle, Lou Byrd and Ron Sabal were at guard, and Jim Otto was at center. At the ends were Alan Goldstein and Gene Prebola. In the backfield behind Paul Larson were Buddy Allen, Tony Teresa, and Billy Lott.
On defense, the front four consisted of Carmen Cavalli and George Fields at the ends, Joe Barbee and Ramon Armstrong on the inside, Louderback at middle linebacker, flanked by Billy Ray Locklin and Bob Dougherty. In the defensive backfield were Joe Cannavino, Alex Bravo, Eddie Macon, and LC Joyner. Larry Barnes was the placekicker, while the punting job was up for grabs among Barnes, Wayne Crow, and Bob Fails.
The Raiders suffered a significant blow on the last day of two-a-day practices. Quarterback hopeful Tom Flores, in a neck-and-neck contest with Paul Larson for the starting job, went down with a pulled calf muscle. Trainer George Anderson wouldn’t put a number on how many days he might miss and head coach Eddie Erdelatz was faced with the possibility of having only one quarterback, Larson, ready to go against Dallas. Third-team signal-caller Bob Webb was still out with a bad knee and Tony Teresa was firmly installed at halfback.
The team had seen fewer new injuries in recent days, but Flores’ setback was a reminder that luck could change. Others who could miss game action because of injuries were defensive end Charley Powell, who was definitely out for the contest because of his strained Achilles tendon, and guards Charlie Kaaihue and Don Manoukian who were still being treated for pulled muscles.
The Raider coaching staff began to turn their focus toward the first preseason game, against the Texans. To that end, head coach Eddie Erdelatz added a final set of plays to the offense’s playbook so Tom Flores and Paul Larson could work with the complete offense installed. The defense was still working with just two of the planned four defensive sets and the full defense wouldn’t be in place until the regular season opener against Houston.
In injury news, the team finally gave up any hope that defensive lineman Jim Woodard would recover from his knee injury in time for the start of the season and sent him home to Texas. That decision left Carmen Cavalli in possession of a starting defensive end spot.
With the first preseason game just ten days away, the Raiders were still far from deciding on a first-team quarterback. Both Tom Flores and Paul Larson were proving to be highly accurate passers in practice and were making the coaching staff’s decision as difficult as possible. A favorite target of both men was Tony Teresa, the former San Jose State quarterback, who had recently moved from defense to offense. Head coach Eddie Erdelatz said the move was only temporary and was intended to give Teresa experience at multiple positions.
It wouldn’t be a camp report without injury news and today was no exception. Middle linebacker Tom Louderback and defensive end Larry Barnes each sustained mild shoulder bruises and would probably have light duty for a few days. More seriously, end Ron Beagle and defensive lineman Jim Woodard were entering their second week off with no end in sight. But on the plus side, halfback Jack Larscheid had fully recovered from his hamstring pull and guards Don Manoukian, Charlie Kaaihue, and defensive lineman Charley Powell were expected back on the field any day.
American Football League commissioner Joe Foss was in town today to visit the Raiders’ training camp in Santa Cruz. Upon inspection, he said the facilities were on par with what he had seen during his visits to other teams. He was also satisfied with the team’s season ticket sales, saying the reported sale of 8,500 was in line with other teams: well behind the Chargers at 18,000, but far ahead of the tail-enders like the Texans.
In player news, further examination of third-string quarterback Bob Webb’s knee revealed that the injury was not as severe as originally thought. Initial reports suggested he had torn cartilage and would need surgery, but now the team thought he could be back at practice in a week.
Meanwhile, head coach Eddie Erdelatz was still moving pieces around on the depth chart. With Marv Lasater gone, Erdelatz moved LC Joyner up to take his place. Newly-signed Tom Louderback was shifted into the starting middle linebacker spot formerly occupied by Larry Barnes. Barnes would now put in his work at left defensive end. On offense, Erdelatz moved second-teamer Brad Myers from halfback to fullback.
Fully a week into training camp, the Raiders held their first scrimmage and head coach Eddie Erdelatz was cautiously pleased. “For the first time out it wasn’t too bad,” he said. At quarterback, Paul Larson looked a sharper than Tom Flores, completing 11 of 21 passes with many of the incompletions coming from receiver drops. Flores had a rougher time, connecting on just 5 of 14, throwing three interceptions. Third-stringer Bob Webb got off to a good start, connecting on the longest play of the day, an 18-yard pass to Charlie Hardy, but disaster struck when he went down with a knee injury. Trainer George Anderson said he may have torn cartilage and could need surgery, which would shut him down for the year. At other positions, tight end Gene Prebola, defensive end Carmen Cavalli, and cornerback Eddie Macon looked particularly good. Observers thought the defensive line played well as a group, but Erdelatz downplayed it, saying, “The defense is always ahead of the offense at this stage of the game.”
Once the scrimmage was over, it was time for another round of cuts, reducing the number of players in camp to 56. On their way out were tackle Cloyd Boyette, halfback Purcell Daniels, halfback Wes Fry, Jr., son of Raider player personnel director Wes Fry, Sr., tackle Willie Hudson, a former honorable mention AP Little All-American for Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, who was in camp without a contract after getting cut by the Chargers, and Hudson’s former college teammate, tackle Rich Max.
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After a day’s rest, the squad returned to practice to find a newcomer in their ranks. Tom Louderback, a 6’2″, 230-pound guard/linebacker out of San Jose State. A two-year starter for the Spartans, Louderback made second-team UPI All-Coast in 1954. He was picked in the tenth round by the Redskins in 1955, but didn’t make it out of training camp and spent the rest of the year with Hamilton in the Canadian leagues. He signed with the Browns a year later, but joined the US Navy before the season. Mustering out in 1958, Cleveland cut him in September, after which he earned a starting linebacker spot with the Eagles, where he spent the next two seasons. He was now in Oakland to try his hand with the new league.
Meanwhile, two more players left camp. Citing personal reasons, backs Marv Lasater and George Blanch packed their bags and departed. The Raiders had had high hopes for Lasater, offering him a nice bonus to sign, but once in camp his lack of speed seemed to doom his chances to stick. Blanch had been installed on the third team and probably got out the door just before the headsman arrived.
On the field, head coach Eddie Erdelatz continued to push his charges hard and was very pleased with what he saw. “If they keep coming at this rate,” he said, “we’re going to fool a few teams.” Erdelatz was generous in his praise for members of the offensive line including tackle Chris Plain, guards Don Manoukian and Ron Sabal, and center Jim Otto. Defensive secondary members Alex Bravo, John Brown, LC Joyner, Eddie Macon, and Tony Teresa, were also mentioned by name as were receiver Charlie Hardy and defensive end Carmen Cavalli.
Over in sick bay, Charley Powell‘s strained Achilles tendon had healed enough to allow him to practice, but linebacker Buddy Alliston had pulled a groin muscle and took Powell’s place on the bench to recuperate.
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Hard work continued at Raider training camp. As the first week came to a close it was evident that getting the players in shape was the first goal of the coaching staff. Eddie Erdelatz was happy so far. “We’ve got our toughest week behind us now,” he said, “I’m satisfied with the improvement and I think we have accomplished our mission this first week. These players want to play and they have a great attitude, which is very important. They are hearing me, so to speak, and from what I observed they like this type of camp. After one week I think we have good backfield speed, which will improve as our timing is perfected. Our line has average speed, but again, this will improve as the big guys get into better shape, and the squad is beginning to work as a team.”
Tom Flores, who was the early frontrunner for the starting quarterback position, and end Charlie Hardy were standout performers on offense, while Wayne Crow and Tony Teresa were looking good on defense.
Still, the injuries kept coming. This time around it was running back Brad Myers. Myers, who hadn’t been mentioned in previous reports, was a 6’1″, 195-pound back out of Bucknell. He ended his collegiate career as the Bison’s career leader in rushing yards and points and made honorable mention Associated Press Little All-America in 1952. He was picked in the ninth round of the 1953 draft by the Rams and had a nice rookie season, but went into the army afterward. Upon returning to Los Angeles in 1956, he couldn’t quite regain his old form and an injury ended his season early. He was traded to the Steelers, but was cut in camp, then ended up with the Eagles in 1958, but played sparingly. Now with the Raider, he joined the many players who had succumbed to a muscle pull and was unable to practice for now.
There was also one defection on the day. Idaho end Walt Denny (misidentified in the Tribune as Idaho State end Jim Denny, of whom there is no record) decided he had had enough and left camp voluntarily.
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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.
Head coach Eddie Erdelatz announced that halfback Wayne Crow, who was now fully 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 utilized most effectively 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 Cloyd 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 be focused 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.