By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, July 31st, 2009 at 2:49 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Since Trevor Scott was open to talking about his defensive role Friday, it’s worth examining what might be in store for the second-year defensive end out of Buffalo.
We say might because we’ve seen the Raiders do these sorts of things before in practice, then often go back to what Al Davis believes they do best _ create pressure with a natural rush (usually with a four-man line) and depend on a tight man-to-man defense with one deep safety as the last line of defense.
The Raiders blitz during training camp practices. Always have. They blitz during OTAs and minicamps, some of which are open to the media. I’m assuming they do the same in their closed sessions.
Then the game starts, and, well, everyone wants to know why the hell Rob Ryan never blitzes. Ryan did blitz on occasion, but nearly as much as you’d think for a guy who believes so fiercely in pressure.
Conventional wisdom is the Raiders don’t blitz is because it’s an organizational philosophy, with the organization being someone who goes by the name of Mr. Davis. The blitzing in practice, you can surmise, is often done to prepare the offense for what they’re going to see.
With that as a backdrop, Scott was talking about a Friday session in the John Marshall-coached defense which he lined up in various positions and wasn’t in a three-point stance. He even dropped into coverage.
Asked if we might see Scott performing some of those duties this year, Cable said, “You know, we might. I really don’t want to talk about scheme.’’
(We’ll ask Marshall the same thing when he is made available to the media _ and chances are he’s not going to talk about scheme, either).
Scott gave his expanded duties a thumbs up, and also said he had done it in the offseason (not surprisingly, during the days the media wasn’t present at OTAs).
“I love it. It’s a lot of fun,’’ Scott said. “Mixing things up, give me an opportunity to do some different things and do well at ‘em. I like it a lot.”
Scott said he hadn’t played in an upright position since high school. A converted tight end, he promises he still has the hands to catch the ball and go the other way if placed in coverage.
He believes some of these new ideas will be implemented in games, not just in practice.
“Pretty much all the stuff that we run against our offense, we’re going to use on anybody, know what I mean?’’ Scott said. “We’ll give them a look . . . we’re going to run what we’re practicing.’’
More notes and quotes and observations:
– Moving Scott around at 256 pounds is the best way to get the most out of him, because even though he’s packed on some muscle, he’s not built to withstand the pounding of 330-pound tackles against the run.
– Cornerback Chris Johnson is unconcerned that despite a contract which paid him a $4 million signing bonus, and having the endorsement of Davis, he is alternating with Stanford Routt in the base defense.
“We are rotating right now, but at the end of the day I’m going to feel like I’m the starter, regardless of whatever happens,’’ Johnson said.
Johnson played extremely well over the last eight games after the DeAngelo Hall was written off like a Bernie Madoff investment.
“You know Tom Cable thought I could hold this position, and that’s why Mr. Davis felt this contract was a good deal for me,’’ Johnson said.
– Javon Walker remained mysterious about his offseason knee surgery which he said has him feeling better about his health than he has in years.
“I will say it’s new. It’s new,’’ Walker said of the procedure. He declined to be specific or even say where it was performed.
“I don’t know where it was done,’’ Walker said. “I’m clueless.’’
He believes the Raiders will get the receiver they expected when they paid him $12 million last year, a contract that was renegotiated downward and will pay him $4.6 million guaranteed over the next two years.
“When I get back out there, I’m just excited about working with some young guys who are going to push me more than I’m going to push them,’’ Walker said. “I’m also excited about letting Oakland see what Javon has to offer because I’m young, I’m in my prime right now.
“My ability hasn’t changed, my enthusiasm hasn’t changed. I’m just excited to be back to the Javon that was that first year in Denver and the Javon that was in Green Bay and all of a sudden have it translate here.’’
Walker said Thursday he expected to be on the sidelines for another two weeks. He is performing running, cutting and jumping drills with the athletic training staff at what looks like close to full speed with no sign of a limp or discomfort.
– Like a good politician, Ricky Brown feels strongly both ways about whether he’s a strong side or middle linebacker. He’s played both so far, occasionally with the first team.
“I’ve proved that I can be the opening day starter at the SAM linebacker. I think maybe my more natural position would be MIKE, just kind of the way I’m built, having good change of direction and all, but either one’s fine,’’ Brown said.
– Count linebacker and special teams standout Isaiah Ekejiuba as one of the players on board with Cable’s four-days-of-learning approach.
“It seemed like it was weird at first when he talked about the concept, but you go through it and it’s a great concept,’’ Cable said. “We’re doing a lot of learning, get all the mistakes out the way.
“They were talking about a lot of injuries that happen during camp happen the first five days of camp. So right now we’re doing a lot of mental work and leaving the physical work until Monday. And I think that’s going to help, help your body adjust real quick and then when it’s time to go, it’s time to go.”
– Wide receiver Todd Watkins on the Raiders options in route-running as opposed to last season:
“Last year we were like opening a children’s book when we ran our plays,’’ Watkins said. “Now we can take advantage of whatever we see, just simple tags on stuff we already have installed.’’
Watkins said he enjoyed his trip to Mobile, Ala., at the invitation of quarterback JaMarcus Russell.
“We worked out a couple days, and we worked on the things that we wanted to work on, without the pressure of having the coaches out there to nitpick, because we’re the ones ultimately who are going to be out there on the field,’’ Watkins said. “So as long as we’re on the same page, and see the same way, that’s what really matters.’’
Watkins said workouts, when not interrupted by thunderstorms, lasted 90 minutes to two hours. They took place at Williamson High School, where Russell was a local star. They worked with high school players in a clinic-like setting.
“A lot of people knew it was going on, because that’s his community. They know when he comes back,’’ Watkins said.