Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for August, 2011

Raiders claim off waivers linebacker, waive S Etheridge

The Raiders claimed Jeremy Leman off waivers from the San Diego Chargers. He will wear the No. 53 most recently donned by former Raiders outside linebacker Thomas Howard from 2006-10.
Leman, 26, has spent time on the practice squads of the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings and Chargers since he left Illinois in 2008. He has not appeared in an NFL regular-season game.
Leman also has some familiarity with Raiders defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan from their time together with the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League in 2010. He follows former Tuskers linebacker Darryl Blackstock to the Raiders.

*In other news, the Raiders placed offensive lineman Lou Eliades on the injured reserve and waived/injured undrafted rookie Zac Etheridge. If Etheridge clears waivers, he likely would be placed on the injured-reserve.

*Follow me on Twitter: @corkonthenfl

  • Share/Bookmark

Posted on Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
Under: Oakland Raiders | 763 Comments »

Coach Hue Jackson is upset, and he wants everyone to know

Raiders coach Hue Jackson has become well known for his sunny disposition, can-do attitude and boundless energy. He took a “mulligan” Wednesday, informing everyone that he was “pissed” and not in the mood to be crossed.
Jackson refused to divulge the source of his disconten, though he admitted that the time constraints of being an NFL coach have prevented him from working out as often as he likes and trading barbs with the fellas at the gym.
Being winless in his first three exhibition games isn’t helping matters, either, he said.
“I like to play to win and I haven’t won yet,” Jackson said. “It’s pissing me off. That might be why I’m pissed.”
Ultimately, something set off Jackson, and he wasn’t about to hide his displeasure. No amount of prodding prompted him to say whether it was the way his team practiced, the number of injuries or what.
“He was fired up today,” wide receiver Jacoby Ford said. “I just kind of laid back and just let him be, let him just kind of go off. I stayed away from him. Kind of scared me a little bit.”
Cornerback Stanford Routt said he sensed during practice that Jackson wasn’t his usual bubbly self, saying, “We all have those days. It’s the dog days. We all have to fight through it.”

*Jackson gained a measure of satisfaction in seeing veteran wide receiver Chaz Schilens return, even it it was in a limited capacity.
Schilens worked out with a team trainer while his teammates went through position and full-team drills. He was on the field for the entire two hours and didn’t show any lingering effects from the injury he suffered against the Arizona Cardinals on Aug. 11.
That helped brighten Jackson’s mood, he said.
“It definitely helps,” Jackson said. “It helps me because, as I told (everyone), my thoughts about when these guys were going to be back and being healthy and being on the field was probably about right.
“These guys have been back and they’re out and about. Not totally, but enough to have me know and feel that by next week we’ll have these guys all healthy and in the mix.”
Schilens was not available for comment in the locker room afterward. He has been spotted working out on the field only twice since he got injured.

*Jackson has expressed his concern about his team’s run defense, pass defense and lack of quarterback pressure, at times, throughout camp. Yet, he said, he still isn’t sure what to make of his defense.
“This is how I assess our defense,” Jackson said. “This is a defense that has not had 11 starters playing together on the field yet. And we still won’t. I can’t truly where we are or what we are until we go play a game where all 11 defensive starters are on the football field, playing together, walked out there together and competing together.”
All 11 starters should be healthy for the Denver Broncos game Sept. 12. At that time, Jackson expects to get an accurate gauge of where his defense stands.
For now, he said, he is confident that he has the proper talent on the defensive side of the ball for the Raiders to have a great defense.

*Rookie quarterback Terrelle Pryor worked on his footwork and dropback with offensive coordinator Al Saunders after practice. He, too, was unavailable for comment afterward.
Jackson said it’s possible that Pryor will play Friday night, but only if he feels as if Pryor is ready.
“Do I think he wants to play and compete?” Jackson said. “Yeah, any competitor wants to do that but not at the risk of him not having success or him not being sure or anything like that. I would never want to do that. That could be just as bad as (him) going out and doing something really good.”

*Jackson isn’t backing down from his Build A Bully mantra.
The process won’t begin until the Denver game, when he can turn loose his defense and take the wraps off his offense, he said.
“We’re going to build it,” Jackson said. “Trust me when I tell you. I’m going to build this bully. I know people don’t see it yet but that’s OK. I am going to build a bully, we’re going to be a bully, we have the ingredients to be a bully and I expect this team to be a bully.”

*Long-time sportswriter Bob McGinn reported today that Pryor scored a 7 on the Wonderlic test administered to college players with NFL aspirations.
Now comes word from ESPN’s John Clayton that Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert administered the test on Pryor and confirmed that Pryor scored “significantly higher” than what McGinn reported.

*Ford has not played in any of Oakland’s exhibition games because of the broken left hand he suffered early in camp. Jackson said he isn’t sure if he is going to let Ford play Friday.
“I’m prepared enough where I can actually go out there and just kind of hit the ground running,” Ford said. “That’s something me and Darren (McFadden) have both talked about, just because we both know what it’s like to be out there and play. As far as missing this game, I’d be fine, but if I have to play a little bit, I don’t mind at all.”

*Speaking of Ford, Jackson said Ford is going to return kicks this season and might even be on the field for punt returns in certain situations.
“I got one guy in my mind, and he’s the best in football. His name is Jacoby Ford,” Jackson said, when asked about who is his kick returner.
Ford said he appreciates the confidence Jackson has in his return ability.
“He’s giving me the kudos, I’ll accept it,” Ford said. “That’s the just the kind of confidence he has in me. I’ve got his back and he’s got mine. We just kind of complement each other that way.”

*Starting tight end Kevin Boss said he suffered a sprained knee ligament against the 49ers.
He is doing some light jogging these days and hopes to be healthy enough to play in the opener.
“Right now, we’re just focusing on getting back as soon as possible,” Boss said. “We haven’t talked about it but that’s my plan, to be back for that.”
Boss said he feels blessed to have come away from the helmet-to-knee shot with only a sprained medial collateral ligament.
“It’s definitely frustrating, but I’m trying to look at the bright side of it,” Boss said. “It could have been a lot worse. Luckily my leg wasn’t planted. So I’m trying to look at it that way, but it definitely has been frustrating, but I’m going to be back soon and be ready.”

*Some coaches tend to sit on players who are in danger of being cut for fear of exposing them to other teams, who might claim them off waivers based on an impressive showing in an exhibition game.
“I don’t subscribe to that,” Jackson said. “We’re going to play our players who are supposed to play in this game based on our organization’s view of what we think is best for our team.”
The Raiders play their final exhibition game Friday night against the Seattle Seahawks. That leaves ample time for a player to change the coaches’ mind before the final roster cutdown less than 24 hours later.
“It can change,” Jackson said. “As you know, a lot of stuff can happen in the last preseason game, things that are very unfortunate. Somebody could get nicked or whatever all that is. You never know.
“We’re just going to keep working it. When it’s all said and done the guys that are here after this preseason game are the guys we think can help this organization win a championship. That’s all that we’re after.”

  • Share/Bookmark

Posted on Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
Under: Oakland Raiders | 35 Comments »

WR Schilens back on field, G Wisniewski returns to practice

Oft-injured wide receiver Chaz Schilens was spotted on the practice field a short time ago, in full uniform and going through agility drills with a trainer.
That represents progress for a player who has battled a slew of injuries since he joined the Raiders in 2008 as a seventh-round draft pick out of San Diego State.
Schilens suffered an injury Aug. 11 against the Arizona Cardinals on an end around. He missed the rest of that game and has not practiced since. Wednesday marked only the second time in three weeks that he has been seen working out, while his teammates practiced nearby.
The Raiders are counting upon Schilens to be one of their primary receivers this season, if not their No. 1 wide receiver. At this point, they would be thrilled just to have him healthy and available to play at any level in the regular-season opener against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 12.
Schilens has appeared in 29 of 48 games during his three-year NFL career. He missed eight games in 2009 and 11 last season. He has caught 49 passes for 631 yards and five touchdowns overall.
The emergence of veteran Derek Hagan and rookie Denarius Moore as viable options in the passing game lessens the importance of Schilens rushing back for the regular season. However, the Raiders still feel as if Schilens has the potential to be their top receiver at some point.

*Projected starting left guard Stefen Wisniewski was back at practice after missing one day with what coach Hue Jackson described as a “ding.”
Wisniewski has his right knee wrapped, though it’s unclear whether that is the source of his discomfort. He appeared to be moving around fine and ready to proceed with his quest to nail down a starting job his rookie season.

*Defensive tackle Richard Seymour is supposed to be healthy, according to Jackson, yet he was working off to the side during practice.
It’s more likely that he is working through a hamstring injury, which is what Raiders play-by-play announcer Greg Papa said is the reason for Seymour missing practice the past several days as well as last Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

*Tight end Kevin Boss (knee), linebacker Sam Williams (undisclosed), safety Mike Mitchell (knee), cornerback Jeremy Ware (ankle) and receiver Louis Murphy (hamstring/groin) also missed practice.

*The Raiders are at 80 players right now. Today marked the final full practice for the 26 players who will be cut, traded or placed on injured-reserve between now and Saturday afternoon, the deadline for teams to be at 53 players.
Rookie quarterback Terrelle Pryor won’t count against the roster as of Monday because he will be placed on the suspended list. The Raiders don’t have to account for him on their 53-man roster until he returns from his five-game suspension Week 6.

*Rookie undrafted linebacker Chris Francis also returned to practice after missing one day. He is a long-shot to make the 53-man roster but a solid candidate to be placed on the practice squad if he gets cuts and clears waivers.

*Remember to join the live chat with defensive tackle Tommy Kelly at 3:30 p.m. today. Feel free to submit questions and follow along as Kelly answers questions from viewers.

*Follow me on Twitter: @corkonthenfl

  • Share/Bookmark

Posted on Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
Under: Oakland Raiders | 340 Comments »

Live chat with Raiders’ Tommy Kelly Wednesday, 3:30 p.m.

Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly will be on hand to answer questions from fans on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. PDT during a live chat, moderated by Steve Corkran.

  • Share/Bookmark

Posted on Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
Under: Oakland Raiders | 720 Comments »

Cornerback Chris Johnson says he’s back, Satele waxes poetic about J. Campbell

Starting cornerback Chris Johnson was a surprise participant at practice Tuesday, given he had surgery approximately two weeks ago.
He had been running off to the side at practice the final few days in Napa. Now, he is functioning at near or close to full strength.
Johnson said “hands down,” he is playing in the regular-season opener against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 12.
He won’t play against the Seattle Seahawks on Friday night, though, just to make sure his undisclosed injury heals all the way.
“I’ve felt better the last couple weeks than I’ve felt in the last two years,” Johnson said. “So, it’s a big improvement I feel in my body. I’m just ready to go.”
Johnson’s return comes as welcome news to a Raiders fan base concerned about the play of rookie DeMarcus Van Dyke during his absence the past two games.
Don’t be so hard on Van Dyke and the other young, inexperienced cornerbacks, Johnson said. It takes time to mature into a reliable cornerback in the NFL.
“When I first came in, it was the same way,” Johnson said. “It just takes one or two plays for you to just knock a ball down or pick the ball off, and they’ll respect you. If you don’t do that, they’re going to continue to pick on you in this league.
Speed is one thing that Van Dyke and the other cornerbacks have in their favor, Johnson said.
“Our guys, they can run with anybody, so we just have to turn our heads. People see we’re there. All you’ve got to do is turn your head and it’s a pick. I

*Jackson said there are a handful of things that surprise him after a little more than a month of working with his players throughout training camp and three exhibition games.
“A lot of things have surprised me,” Jackson said. “I’m 0-3. We’ve had some injuries.”
Beyond that, Jackson added, he has been impressed by the way his players have worked hard throughout camp and responded well to his being the coach.

*Defensive tackle Richard Seymour is just fine, according to Jackson. Seymour just falls into the category of valuable players that Jackson doesn’t want to overexert before the season or expose to injury.

*Rookie Chimdi Chekwa has been splitting time at cornerback and safety, just as have Michael Huff and Tyvon Branch.
Huff and Branch aren’t changing positions at the moment, Jackson said. However, it’s conceivable that Chekwa will convert to safety full time before long.
Chekwa said he is adapting to the new dual role, playing a position he has never played.
“It’s brand new,” Chekwa said. “They put me at safety last week. They’re trying different things, putting us in different places, seeing what we can do.”
Already, Chekwa is learning that safety is quite different than cornerback.
“Definitely,” Chekwa said. “Eye discipline is real big. You got to have eye control at any position on defense, but at the safeties it’s a lot different because you see so much more, and that’s something I learned in the past week.”

*Jackson was asked about the long-term outlook of safety Mike Mitchell and wide receiver Chaz Schilens. Once again, Jackson dismissed their injuries as nothing major and said both will be back soon.
A person close to Mitchell said his injury involves one of his knees, though he isn’t sure if Mitchell required surgery to repair the cartilage damage.

*Center Samson Satele said part of the reason for the offensive line’s early success, despite all the players rotating in and out of the lineup and playing multiple positions, owes to coaches who constantly remind the offensive linemen that Raiders quarterbacks were hit 121 times in 16 regular-season games last year.
“Hue is trying to build a bully, so we’re trying to live up what he wants us to be,” Satele said. “We can see it when we watch film. Last year or the year before that, we were a bully but this year, we’re a little more grumpy, I guess.”
And, just what does a bully look like from Satele’s standpoint?
In short, it means being physical, sustaining blocks and keeping Campbell upright and free to play quarterback without worry of being pounded.

*Campbell comes across as even-keeled, which he is, for the most part. However, there are times when Campbell loses his cool, Satele said. When he does, look out.
“Yes, he gets mad,” Satele said. “One thing about him, that’s our mom. You don’t want to see our mom mad. He’s a great leader but once he gets mad, he opens up some eyes.”
Campbell has opened plenty of eyes with his leadership and comfort level this season. Last season, his first with the Raiders, Campbell was learning a new offense, trying to gain the respect of his teammates and constantly fending off Bruce Gradkowski for the starting job.
Not this season, by all accounts.
“You can see it,” Satele said. “It’s the way he’s calling the plays, it’s the way he’s leading us out there. Bringing us back to the huddle during practice, saying we’re too slow getting up to the ball. Staying in the huddle; guys used to leave out of the huddle last year when he’s not even done with the call. This year, he’s keeping them in. You can just see little things like that. You can see how comfortable he is back there, with us giving him the time to throw that ball.”

*Now that the Raiders are at their year-round facility in Alameda for the rest of the season, things take on a more-intense feel. Tuesday’s first roster cuts helped underscore the fact that the regular season is drawing near.
“We are getting closer to the season,” Jackson said. “We’re getting closer to doing what we really get paid to do every
day, which is trying to win football games. Not that we’re not trying to win the preseason games, but once you come back here, the anxiety, the pressure of what we’re about to go do and embark on really heightens. Now, all of a sudden, it’s for real. Every game now has a won and loss that goes in that box and that’s what we’re truly doing it for.”

*Rookie left guard Stefen Wisniewski missed practice Tuesday. No big deal, Jackson said.
“One of those little dings,” Jackson said. “He’ll be fine. Any time we get a player with a little something, we’re going to be very cautious with him, but he’ll be OK.”

*Now that cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is gone, seventh-year cornerback Stanford Routt has assumed more of a leadership role as the senior member of the secondary (Note: that title goes away if Lito Sheppard makes the 53-man roster).
Through it all, Routt said he hasn’t changed all that much, though teammates tend to look to him more now than in years past, especially the rookies and second-year cornerbacks.
“It hasn’t changed my approach or my feelings toward the game,” Routt said. “That’s moreso something that (the media) make a big story about. It’s just football. Just go out there, you line up on the guy in front of you, you cover. It’s going to be either a run play or a pass play. At the end of the day, it’s just football.”
Jackson said Asomugha’s departure via free agency has forced all the veteran defensive backs to step up and assume larger roles.
“Moreso than anything, it’s brought the group closer together to understand it takes all of them,” Jackson said. “It doesn’t take one guy. It’s going to take all four of them to be at their best in order for us to have success.”

*Follow me on Twitter: @corkonthenfl

  • Share/Bookmark

Posted on Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
Under: Oakland Raiders | 84 Comments »

Wisniewski, Seymour and Mitchell still out; C.J. returns to practice

Left guard Stefen Wisniewski, defensive tackle Richard Seymour, safety Mike Mitchell and wide receivers Chaz Schilens and Louis Murphy were among those who weren’t at practice Tuesday.
Wisniewski was in uniform but not taking part in drills. He has a wrap on his right knee, though it’s uncertain what the nature of his injury is or if coach Hue Jackson just opted to give him a day off.
Seymour was out of practice Friday in Napa. but he wasn’t injured, according to Jackson. Seymour also sat out the Raiders game against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night with what Raiders play-by-play announcer Greg Papa described as a hamstring injury.
More later, when we have access to Jackson after practice.
On the bright side, cornerback Chris Johnson and defensive tackle John Henderson returned to practice after lenghty absences. Johnson was doing everything asked of the other defensive backs before media access ended at 11:45 a.m. He underwent surgery for an undisclosed injury about 10 days ago.
Henderson has been bothered by a sore foot for part of training camp. He is being counted upon to be a key part of Oakland’s defensive line rotation.
Other players who weren’t at practice: receiver Shawn Bayes, tight end Kevin Boss, fullback James McCluskey, safety Zac Etheridge, cornerback Jeremy Ware, linebackers Sam Williams, Chris Francis and Bruce Davis II, and guard Roy Schuening.
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor was in uniform and taking part in the quarterback drills for the second time since he joined the Raiders on Friday. Jackson said it’s possible that Pryor will play against the Seattle Seahawks on Friday night.

  • Share/Bookmark

Posted on Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
Under: Oakland Raiders | 305 Comments »

Raiders roster moves are in

The Raiders pared their roster to 80 on Tuesday morning by making the following transactions: FB Bryson Kelly, wide receivers Steve Goulet and Damola Adeniji, offensive linemen Ben Lamaak and Lou Eliades, safety Josh Bullocks and defensive tackle Derrick Hill were waived; offensive lineman Alan Pelc and linebacker Travis Goethel were placed on injured reserve.

Off to practice.

  • Share/Bookmark

Posted on Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
Under: Oakland Raiders | 91 Comments »

Raiders pre-practice notes from Alameda

The Raiders now are in Alameda for the rest of the season. Their first full practice at the year-round facility begins in about 30 minutes.
Media access likely will be limited to a maximum of 30 minutes, or whenever the Raiders break into full-team drills, whichever comes first.
Therefore, it’s going to be more difficult to relay information on how players get hurt, which player is working with which unit, how many snaps a player is getting, etc.

*Today represents the first mandatory roster cuts for all NFL teams. Some teams already have announced their player moves, with all teams required to be at a maximum of 80 players by this afternoon.
I will send out a list of the players via Twitter from the practice field once access begins. The Raiders have until Saturday afternoon to pare their roster to 53. That gives coach Hue Jackson two more practices and Friday night’s game to get a little longer look at the players on the bubble.

*Jackson sounds as if he has settled upon a starting offensive line of Jared Veldheer, Stefen Wisniewski, Samson Satele, Cooper Carlisle and Khalif Barnes.
Not sure why he is hesitant to go public with it, other than the fact he might want to see if a player gets injured this week or he isn’t sure whether Bruce Campbell is a better option at right guard, and Stephon Heyer or Joseph Barksdale is a better candidate to play right offensive tackle.
We’ll see if we can glean more information on that topic today.

*Should be interesting to see what kind of interaction there is Friday night between former Raiders coach Tom Cable and the Raiders players and coaches.
Cable now is the Seattle Seahawks offensive line coach. Most of the players from last year’s team went on the record in favor of his return. In the end, managing general partner Al Davis opted to promote Jackson from offensive coordinator.
The Seahawks game also gives former Raiders guard Robert Gallery and tight end Zach Miller an opportunity to catch up with players and coaches from the team they began their NFL careers with. Both signed with the Seahawks during the offseason.

*Follow me on Twitter: @corkonthenfl

  • Share/Bookmark

Posted on Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
Under: Oakland Raiders | 61 Comments »

Raiders-Saints follow-up

Not a lot of new information to be had during a conference call with coach Hue Jackson with Bay Area media, but here some updates and impressions:
Read the rest of this entry »

  • Share/Bookmark

Posted on Monday, August 29th, 2011
Under: Oakland Raiders | 725 Comments »

Raiders-Saints postgame highlights, notes and quotes

That building a bully thing that coach Hue Jackson talks about apparently is going to take a little more time than expected to get off the ground.
The Raiders allowed 514 yards and 40 points in a 20-point loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night at the Oakland Coliseum. In the process, the Raiders dropped to 0-3 in the exhibition season.
More important, the Raiders got pushed around defensively for the second straight game. Last week, the 49ers piled up 402 yards offense. The Saints blew past that figure long before the game ended Sunday.
“I’m not going to make any excuses about the way we’re tackling,” Jackson said. “We need to tackle better. You guys watched the game just like I did. You seen every play, from one to the last. We need to tackle better. Simple as that. We need to go tackle better.” The Raiders were without defensive tackle Richard Seymour and cornerback Chris Johnson against the Saints, but it likely wouldn’t have mattered based on the way Saints quarterback Drew Brees marched his offense up and down the field without getting hit.
Brees wasted little time going after right cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke, Johnson’s replacement. Brees completed a pass for 37 yards on the first play and four times for 73 yards on the opening drive.
“He’s got to learn from it,” Jackson said of Van Dyke. “He’s a rookie and he’s a very talented young man. He’s learning the NFL game. Until he starts making those plays consistently — and he made some, and he missed some — until he makes them consistently and he’s out there, he’s going to get targeted. That’s the way this league is. Wherever you’re bleeding, people will keep scratching at the area, so we’ve got some things to fix.”
On the second drive, Brees victimized cornerback Stanford Routt, free safety Michael Huff and strong safety Tyvon Branch. Later, he picked on strong-side linebacker Kamerion Wimbley.
It was as if Brees were playing catch in the backyard, without a care in the world and no threat of being sacked or pressured.
By the time he called it a night, Brees had completed 15 of 23 passes for 189 yards without being sacked or intercepted.
“Great quarterback,” Routt said. “Easily, one of the best quarterbacks in the league. But we’ve got to be one of the best defenses in the league. We’ve got to stop it. Plain and simple.”

*Recently acquired quarterback Terrelle Pryor and cornerback Lito Sheppard did not play, as expected. They joined the Raiders at practice for the first time Friday and didn’t know enough of the respective schemes to play right away.
It’s likely that both will see some action against the Seattle Seahawks on Friday night in Oakland’s exhibition finale in Seattle.
Interestingly, Pryor was in uniform for the game, which indicated that Jackson was prepared to play him at some point, likely if the first three quarterbacks received enough playing time.

*Jared Veldheer, Stefen Wisniewski, Samson Satele, Cooper Carlisle and Khalif Barnes, from left to right, started on the offensive line for the Raiders.
Stephon Heyer, Bruce Campbell, Daniel Loper and rookie Joseph Barksdale received significant reps in backup roles. Heyeer replaced Barnes, Barksdale also played at right tackle.
Wisniewski moved from left guard to center once the other starters departed for the night.

*Sunday night marked the 2011 debuts for rookie running back Taiwan Jones, and it was quite a memorable one for the local kid out of Deer Valley High School.
Jones rushed for a game-high 81 yards on 13 carries. The highlight came on a 22-yard run that ended with his celebration in the end zone.
“He did it,” Jackson said. “That’s what I talk about. It’s performance. What you do in practice needs to show up on the field, and that’s what the young man did, and that’s what I’m looking forward. When I talk to our team, that’s exactly what I need to see, those things you do in practice, they need to show up in the game. And for that young man tonight, he did it.”
Jones burst around right end, received a block from wide receiver Derek Hagan and used his feet to do the rest. No Saints defender got a hand on him as he glided into the end zone.
“The hardest thing was trying to slow myself down,” Jones said. “I was so anxious and excited that I was able to showcase my talent against another team that I was a little too fast sometimes. I just had to slow things down, take a deep breath and try to be patient.”
Jones said he purchased approximately 30 tickets for family and friends for the game.
Darren McFadden has missed all three games, the first two while recovering from a broken orbital bone. Jones was out for an extended period with a hamstring strain.

*The Raiders have until Tuesday afternoon to pare their roster to a maximum of 80 players. Likely candidates include: offensive linemen Lou Eliades and Ben Lamaak, punter Glenn Pakulak, wide receivers Steve Goulet and Shawn Bayes, fullbacks James McCluskey and Bryson Kelly and defensive linemen Jamie Cumbie, Derrick Hill and Mason Brodine.
Teams have until Sept. 3 to pare their rosters to 53.

*Trent Edwards and Kyle Boller were locked in a tight competition for the backup spot at quarterback to unquestioned starter Jason Campbell.
That might have changed Sunday night. Boller completed 5 of 7 passes for 69 yards and looked morer poised in the pocket. At one point, he released a deep pass for Hagan, knowing full well he was going to get flattened.
Sure enough, Boller wound up on his back, but Hagan caught the ball and turned it into a 35-yard gain.
Edwards didn’t have the benefit of working with many first- and second-team players, as did Boller. Still, he looked unsure on several plays and was sacked three times. He also lost a fumble out of the shotgun.
Pryor has to serve a five-game suspension to begin the season, so he is out of the equation until Week 6. At that point, Jackson will be forced to decide whether to carry four quarterbacks or to cut Edwards or Boller to make room on the roster.

*Jackson faces his toughest calls on the final roster when it comes to his defensive backs.
As of now, it appears certain that cornerbacks Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson, as well as safeties Michael Huff and Tyvon Branch and key backups Mike Mitchell, DeMarcus Van Dyke and Stevie Brown are going to make the 53-man roster.
From there, Jackson has to decide how many more to keep from a group that includes 2010 draftees Jeremy Ware and Walter McFadden, 2011 draftee Chimdi Chekwa, Sheppard, veteran safeties Matt Giordano, Jerome Boyd and Josh Bullocks, undrafted free agents Zac Etheridge and Sterling Moore.
Several of those guys have to go at some point. The question is how many? And whom?

*Jason Campbell turned in a sharp performance in what might have been his final showing of the exhibition season.
Campbell completed 12 of 17 passes for 150 ayrds and one touchdown. He had one pass intercepted, and it looked as if it might be a touchdown until safety Malcolm Jenkins deflected it to a teammate at the last second.

*Darren McFadden and Jacoby Ford warmed up before the game and were in uniform. However, Jackson opted against playing them, apparently for fear of losing them in advance of the season-opener.
That’s not such a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Jackson already knows what he has in those two players. He gained far more insight into players such as Jones and receivers Denarius Moore and Derek Hagan through their added playing time.
“I made a decision last night that I wasn’t playing those two young men,” Jackson said. “I wanted them to come out and warm up, and I was going to put them in cellophane, just like I said I would. I wrapped ‘em up, kept them over there.”

*Speaking of Hagan, is there any way Jackson can keep him out of the starting lineup against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 12?
Jackson says he will base starting jobs and playing time off his players’ performance in practice and games. Well, then, is says here that Hagan and Moore should be the opening-day starters.
Hagan caught all six passes thrown his way Sunday night and racked up 121 yards. Moore caught three passes for 23 yards and continued to show that he is far from your average rookie.
“The young man can play,” Jackson said of Hagan. “He’s proven that, week in and week out. He’s a verteran player. He works at it. I like all our guys. I like the guys that are out there competing and playing. Trust me, we have some very talented individuals. But he’s done well, he’s reperesented himself well.”
Hagan said there isn’t any secret to his success. It’s pretty simple.
“I just think it just comes down to hard work,” Hagan said. “That’s it. I’ve always been working hard since the day I got into the league. That’s something I just try to continue to do, is just work hard and get better on a daily basis. Whether it’s just watching film with the coaches or watching film on my own, I strive to be the best, whether it’s on offense or special teams, because I know I can do both. So, coming out here today and making plays, it felt good but hopefully we can keep this thing going.”
Campbell said he has established a rapport with Hagan and knows full well what he’s capable of doing in this offense.
“He’s really come along … ,” Campbell said. “He’s always telling me in training camp, ‘J, all I need is an opportunity. The Giants, I was with them and I didn’t really get a chance to get in there and get that real opportunity. I’ll make plays and I feel like I can make this team.’ So, with that being said, he went out today and did what he had to do, personally, to make plays and show his ability and show his experience.”

*Looking for a silver lining from tonight’s game? The Raiders committed only five penalties for 45 yards. That’s a long way from the 10 for 84 they committed against the Arizona Cardinals on Aug. 11 and much closer to what Jackson wants to see.

  • Share/Bookmark

Posted on Sunday, August 28th, 2011
Under: Oakland Raiders | 1,373 Comments »