Starting Monday, or whenever Richard Seymour arrives from the New England Patriots, you won’t have the Raiders to push around anymore.
That was the prevailing notion among Seymour’s new teammates as one of the NFL’s best and most versatile linemen was acqured by trade for a first-round draft pick in 2011.
The Raiders inability to defend the run over the past six years has been well documented. They’ve never been better than 22nd since 2003 in rushing defense while the Patriots are usually among the leaders.
Perhaps most important, Oakland has been gashed for 122 rushing touchdowns during that span _ the most in the NFL. The Patriots, during that same 96-game period, have given up 56.
“We’re going to get it fixed right now and I think he’s the answer for it,” middle linebacker Kirk Morrison said.
Said coach Tom Cable with regard to Seymour and the run defense: “I think a guy that has proven for, what, seven, eight years now that he’s a terrific run player, can hold the point and separate, get off blocks and make tackles in doing so. I think that gives us a real key piece.”
Seymour will immediately be installed at right end and also play some defensive tackle. He’s 54 pounds heavier than Trevor Scott, the second-year end who held that position through the preseason.
“When you commit somebody of that size to the running game it can only help,” left end Greg Ellis said. “Not just that he’s a pretty big physical guy but the fact he’s been playing the 3-4 and he’s been playing over offensive tackles for the majority of his career. Now he’ll be going against tight ends so you have to say
that should be a win for us.”
Linebacker Ricky Brown agreed.
“He’s considered the best two-gap player in the league, and he’s played in a system where he’s played a gap to his left, a gap to his right, now having him in a single gap, I think he’s going to be a dominant player for us,” Brown said.
Seymour, in theory will enable the Raiders to do defensively what they were never able to do with Warren Sapp _ move him to different places along the line and create mismatches as well as a ripple effect that helps the group as a whole.
“You get a quality player who has done a lot both as a run player and as a pass rusher. In the 3-4, when they reduce down, he’s played as a three technique, he’s been an inside rusher in nickel and all those things,” Cable said. “So there’s a lot of variation to what he brings to the table for us.”
Bringing Seymour aboard was enough to get the usually reticent Tommy Kelly talking.
“You can’t help but admire his game,” Kelly said. “There’s a player that myself, I kind of want to be like. It gives me a chance to see him up close and personal, see how he practices, how he prepares. You play with real good players, especially defensive tackles, defensive ends, you take something from their game.”
Kelly, having played both inside and outside, likes Seymour’s ability to adapt.
“He brings a lot of versatility to the defense,” Kelly said. I mean, if we can’t stop the run now, with that big (expletive) on the edge . . . it definitely upgrades us.”
More news and notes, Seymour and otherwise:
— “Inside, outside, however you want it. He brings it on. (He’s an) excellent complement to the team and hopefully we can shore things up on the defensive side of the ball with him on the field,” defensive tackle Gerard Warren on Seymour.
— Wide receiver Chaz Schilens wants to be back for the second game of the season.
“Without getting into anything too specific, I’d say it’s on schedule. Everything is settled, the bone is healing well,” Schilens said. “It’s not up to me. It’s kind of up to how much pain I have in my foot and how much pain I can deal with.”
— Center Samson Satele is taking news of Chris Morris’ asension as the starter in stride.
“It’s the case now and you know whatever coach wants, the team wants, I’ll do it, but I’ll be waiting for my chance and once I do, I won’t look back,” Satele said.
Satele played against Seymour’s New England teams twice a year, and blocked against him when Seymour moved inside on passing downs.
“He’s a big guy that can move and it’s a good pickup,” Satele said. “He’s a nasty player. It’s good he’s on my side now.”
— Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski said he talked to Jeff Garcia and believes Garcia might still want to play if the situation was right. Gradkowski is well aware of the role he and Charlie Frye will play as Raiders quarterbacks.
“We’re just here to help JaMarcus,” Gradkowski said. “JaMarcus is the show.”
Frye said he remained confident of a roster spot, but noted, “Nothing surprises me after I got traded after the first game with Cleveland.”
Frye last season was the first NFL quarterback to start a regular-season opener and be traded the following week.
— Six players were brought back to the practice squad _ linebackers Slade Norris and David Nixon, wide receiver Jonathan Holland, defensive end Greyson Gunheim, fullback Marcel Reece and safety Jerome Boyd.
— Those who did not practice Sunday were running back Justin Fargas, linebacker Isaiah Ekejiuba and Schillens. Linebacker Kirk Morrison (elbow) and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha were limited. Tackle Khalif Barnes went through some drills with the linemen.
— Defensive tackle William Joseph was released to make room for Seymour.
— Brown was working at strong side linebacker Sunday.
— Cable said he has a good idea of his lead running back, but probably won’t announce it until Thursday after he’s talked to Darren McFadden, Fargas and Bush.