Kelly, Routt remain part of grand plan


When the Raiders decided to spend a guaranteed $18.125 million on defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, no one was more surprised than Kelly himself.

When the Raiders dropped a first- and third-round tender on cornerback Stanford Routt, probably the only person who didn’t think it was out of line was Routt himself.

Kelly still has a penchant for jumping offsides at his new position at nose tackle and hasn’t been conspicuous in terms of blowing up running plays or rushing the passer.

Routt still has the classic look and speed of a Raiders corner, and breaks up the occasional pass as he did Monday during a 7-on-7 session defending Yamon Figurs. But entering his sixth season, Routt hasn’t established himself in the way his tender would suggest.

Unless the Raiders are simply sending out disinformation, get ready for a lot more of Kelly and Routt. Coach Tom Cable referred to Kelly’s work against the middle of the Raiders defense as “iron sharpening iron,’’ with the quality of play improving both sides.

Cable proclaimed Routt a contender to start with Chris Johnson opposite Nnamdi Asomugha, and talked of his improved professionalism Monday.

“I think there’s been a change in Stan in terms of how he works at it and the intensity that he’s working at it with,’’ Cable said. “It’s just like everybody, you want to see it carry over to the game, but I’ve been very pleased with him thus far.”

If you want to fall into the old Raiders cliché of players looking good coming off the bus, Kelly and Routt are Exhibit A and Exhibit B.

Kelly was discovered as an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi State, Routt a second-round draft pick out of Houston, where he was a sprinter as well as a cornerback.

Kelly is fine with moving to nose tackle, making room at the three-technique spot for Richard Seymour, saying, `We’re both going to get doubled, we’re both going to get chipped.’’

In a lively interview with a few reporters, Kelly was equal parts amusing and candid, allowing he was overweight last season _ “I was carrying a baby in my stomach’’ and embarrassed by having only one sack in 16 games.

(The baby, in this case would have well exceeded the largest human birth on record, because Kelly lost 35 pounds).

The sacks total tied Kelly’s career low in 2007 _ when he missed nine games after a torn ACL ended his season.

“I had to look in the mirror at the end of the season and ask, `Is it them, or is it you?,’ ‘’ Kelly said. “I can’t point my finger on them . . . I just gotta handle me. In the offseason, I’m going to try and get myself back in the best shape I can so they won’t have nothing to say.’’

Kelly came to the Raiders as a 295 pound end and said he got as high as 340 following ACL surgery. He hovered in that range last year.

It was a topic of conversation among offensive linemen, who wondered within their position group what Kelly’s weight would be when he got to camp as far back as OTAs.

“Some guys were like, `He might be 345 or 350, somewhere around there,’’ guard Khalif Barnes said. “But when he came in, the guy looked great . . . he’s looking slimmer, still strong and has that get-off.’’

Kelly said he arrived at OTAs at 315 pounds as opposed to 350 a year ago.

After practice Monday, he was doing squats with weights that looked like bowling balls with oversized handles, and later was seen working his arms with two heavy ropes that looked to have a circumference of eight inches each. He’s also doing boxing drills, the better to slap offensive linemen attempting to get a hand on him.

So instead of getting bigger to play nose tackle _ the position is traditionally occupied by players who look like fire hydrants _ Kelly slimmed down.

“You got to know your own skill-set,’’ Kelly said. “It’s kind of obvious after last year that I can’t play with that much weight and be the best kind of player I can be. You got to do what’s best and what fits you. I’m strong enough and tough enough to play the nose, so I’m not even worried about it.’’

At the time Kelly signed his contract, which topped out at $50.5 million over seven years, he it was the biggest deal ever for a defensive tackle. Considering he was coming off an ACL tear and not coming off a Pro Bowl or anything close to it, it came as a shock.

It came as part of the spending spree which also brought in Javon Walker, Gibril Wilson and a trade and new contract for DeAngelo Hall.

“The night my agent called me, I was like, `What the (bleep)!,’’ Kelly said. “It was a surprise to me, but you’ve just got to take the challenge.’’

Routt, on the other hand, said he expected the first- and third-round tender which will pay him $3.268 million _ a hefty figure for a player who has just four starts in the last two years and 31 overall in 95 games.

“I really wasn’t surprised, based on the longterm deal we were negotiating at the time,’’ Routt said.

Routt didn’t know exactly what to make of Cable’s suggestion that he has an improved attitude.

“I appreciate the kind words, but in my opinion, my approach hasn’t changed,’’ Routt said. “I just go out every day to get better, and whatever happens, happens.’’

More news and notes:

—Updates for the second session can be found on my Twitter page, but won’t be available Tuesday or Wednesday. I’ve been farmed out for two days as a sub to cover the 49ers.

Steve Corkran will handle blog items in my absence.

-– RB Darren McFadden (hamstring) did not practice, nor did WR Paul Hubbard (hamstring), TE Tony Stewart (undisclosed), QB Charlie Frye (wrist), LB Sam Williams (concussion), and DE Jay Richardson (knee).

WR Jacoby Ford (quad) and WR Chaz Schilens (foot) did not practice in the padded session but Cable said they would work in the afternoon session.

Frye and Richardson are scheduled to see specialists.

— Practice began with a live goal line session with the offense at the 2-yard line. Jason Campbell fumbled the snap back to the 4, but the offense scored in two plays with Alex Daniels carrying 3 yards to the 1 and Michael Bush scoring the touchdown, breaking the tackle of Rolando McClain at the goal line.

— McClain and Sebastian Janikowski returned to practice after missing two sessions each for personal issues. McClain declined comment following practice.

— Bush left the field house carrying a box with a brand new bowling ball. A grudge match with fellow pinmeister Mario Henderson, perhaps?

“I don’t know, but if it happens, I’m ready,’’ Bush said.

— Center Samson Satele victimized for a sack of Campbell by Junior Siavii against the Cowboys, was willing to fall on the sword.

“Just go off of what you saw,’’ Satele said. “If it’s me it’s me. It is what it is. It’s preseason.’’

— Judging from the way reps were distributed, Bruce Gradkowski stepped back into his backup role ahead of Kyle Boller.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • RaiderRockstar

    would we be ok without J-Rich in the DE rotation?

    how long is he expected out with that surgery ???

  • RaiderRockstar

    One of his biggest knocks is he was a drive killer..seemingly at the worst times.

    Sounds familiar, unfortunately.


    Rich: he didn’t impress me against Dallas

    nobody wanted him for even a 5th rounder on draft day

    Al Davis probably could have got him for next’s year’s 6th instead of a 4th in 2012…

    he’s certainly an upgrade over JaMarcus.

    3600 yards & 20 TD’s would be awesome this year, if he didn’t have 18 turnovers to go with it

  • # RaiderRockstar Says:
    August 17th, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    One of his biggest knocks is he was a drive killer..seemingly at the worst times.

    Sounds familiar, unfortunately.


    Rich: he didn’t impress me against Dallas

    nobody wanted him for even a 5th rounder on draft day

    Al Davis probably could have got him for next’s year’s 6th instead of a 4th in 2012…

    he’s certainly an upgrade over JaMarcus.

    3600 yards & 20 TD’s would be awesome this year, if he didn’t have 18 turnovers to go with it
    Kind of a catch22.
    We’re at the “certainly an upgrade over JR”, which isn’t exactly warm and fuzzies, ya know?

    I mean, isn’t everyone an upgrade over JR?

  • Speaking of the game, why the hell did Cable take out DHB after one play?
    Made no sense. He needed to get him past his jitters and settle in.
    After that big buildup, now he’s back to being antsy, and wanting to prove himself.
    You blew it, Cable.

  • PassTheCheetos

    a turd sandwich would have been better than jamarcus.

  • Like I said, had you posted my real address you would have serious cause for worry.
    I suggest you shut up while you’re ahead.
    I did already Fat boy.

  • # KoolKell Says:
    August 17th, 2010 at 3:11 pm


    I posted Your name & addrdes, you called Jerry and got me banned.

    Why would I get banned for posting a phantom address, fat boy?
    Quit acting stupid.
    You posted someone’s address from a phone number on your caller ID..YOU ADMITTED IT, YOU MORON.

    Wasn’t my address, YOU MORON.

    The fact you posted anyone’s address got you banned, I assume. Probably was encouraging you to get off your azz and go work.

  • DirtyRaccoon

    …Client @jayrichardson98 knee surgery was a success, he’ll be back on the field kickin ass & takin names in no time.
    19 minutes ago via UberTwitter
    Retweeted by JayRichardson98
    Reply Retweet

  • DirtyRaccoon

    Afternoon, Richochet, KK, RR, BCZ24, NATION.!

  • DirtyRaccoon

    4 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2800 sq ft. In Pleasanton, Old man.

    You? You live next to the freaking airport, lol…the whole street is a sty…THE WHOLE STREET..
    House across the street has weeds waist high. With the ugliest checkerboard pattern of pinkish puke..little dive market just doors away..airport on the other side..


    DUDE, you just decribed my house! No Sh!t.

  • Lakota