Raiders-Saints pre-game notes


The third exhibition game is the one that coaches typically place the most importance upon, for whatever reason. It’s the time when the starters tend to get their most playing time, and coaches are able to gauge how far their teams have come as the season draws near.

For the Raiders, tonight’s game against the New Orleans Saints comes against the best team of the four the Raiders play in exhibition games.

“This is probably the best test that we can get, playing against a tremendous offensive football team with a quarterback that is one of the best in football,” Raiders coach Hue Jackson said. “It’s a great test for our football team, period.”

Jackson refused to divulge how long his projected starters would play tonight. It’s safe to assume that they should play most, if not all, of the first half, at least.

Given Jackson isn’t into telling fans what to look for tonight, we’ll take a stab at it, based upon what we saw at practice in Napa the past month, as well as the first two exhibition games.

*A whole lot of wide receiver Jacoby Ford and running backs Darren McFadden and Taiwan Jones. All three missed the first two games with injuries and could use some playing time before the regular-season opener Sept. 12.

Jones, in particular, is someone that Jackson wants to see perform in a game. Jones has impressed with his speed, moves and physical style the past week or so. Now it’s time to see how that translates in a game.

*Stephon Heyer, Joseph Barksdale, Daniel Loper and Bruce Campbell getting a final long look to see if they are worthy of a starting job on the offensive line.

Entering tonight’s game, it appears as if Jared Veldheer is set at left offensive tackle and Samson Satele at center. Stefen Wisniewski at left guard, Cooper Carlisle at right guard and Khalif Barnes at right offensive tackle have surged ahead in the competition for those jobs.

Yet, Jackson has been hesitant to name a starting five, which means there’s at least some level of concern about the projected five and hope for Heyer, Barksdale, Loper and Campbell to alter Jackson’s plans.

*The Raiders get a little more creative defensively than they were the first two games.

Jackson and the other coaches no doubt are aware of the fact that Saints quarterback Drew Brees carved up the Raiders in an exhibition game two years ago. Brees completed 14 of 17 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns in a little more than one quarter of play.

A repeat performance is not something Jackson wants to see happen, especially on the heels of such a bad defensive performance against the 49ers eight days ago.

So, look for defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan to slip in a few more blitzes, mix his coverages more and make things as difficult as possible for Brees, without giving away too many secrets.

*Be more aggressive in the so-called red zone.

The Raiders starting offense has managed only two field goals the first two games. Jackson and offensive coordinator Al Saunders would love for the starters to build a little momentum and gain more confidence in the red zone before the regular season.

Jackson just might leave his starters in longer than planned if he feels as if more work is needed offensively and there’s a chance to get another crack at executing the red-zone offense against the Saints.

*Follow me on Twitter: @corkonthenfl


Raiders live in-game chat here during Saints game Sunday


Join Steve Corkran before, during and after the Raiders’ preseason game against the Saints Sunday night.
Steve will begin chatting with fans at 4 p.m., an hour before kickoff at the Coliseum.


Terrelle Pryor transcript after first practice with Raiders


Quarterback Terrelle Pryor signed a four-year contract with the Raiders on Thursday night, made his way to Napa on Friday morning and practiced with his new teammates for the first time.

His first practice featured a handful of reps in full-team drills and included nine passes. Pryor completed only four of his passes and looked rather shaky.

Still, Pryor’s confidence remains intact, and he is certain that he has what it takes to play quarterback in the NFL. That subject was one of many he touched upon during an eight-minute interview. Here is the complete transcript:



Q: How was Day 1?

 A: “It was fun interacting with the other quarterbacks here. It was a good time. It was a lot of information in one day, but I’ll get used to it.”

 Q: What was coach Jackson saying to you?

 A: “He was just helping me out. He’s a great coach. I enjoy him a lot and I look forward to working with him.”

 Q: How much work will you be able to get done before the suspension kicks in?

 A: “I would say the rewind and the problem is that now I’m 17, 18 days, practices behind right now. I’m just playing catchup right now. Some of the stuff is getting there, and I’m starting to get familiar with some of the stuff. But it’s been one day. Give me a couple of days, and I should be able to fill it in and feel a lot more comfortable.”

 Q: What do you hope to accomplish your rookie season?

 A: “I don’t know. Just help out and help to win. Get in, get my feet wet a little bit and just really learn off of Jason Campbell and the other quarterbacks here because they’ve been around the block.”

 Q: How much fun have you had the past two days?

 A: “I wouldn’t say fun because I traveled yesterday for about, what, 17 hours. They had delays because of that Irene and bringing with it the weather. I don’t know if I call that exactly fun, but it’s fun that I was able to get an opportunity to come out here and now I’m out here. So, it’s fun that I’m back on the practice field.”

 Q: Were you nervous the first day of school?

 A: “Not nervous, but you’re getting so much information and you’re just trying to … my mind wants to accomplish it, I want to accomplish it. But it’s just overwhelming.”

 Q: Were you OK with coach Jackson throwing you right into the mix?

 A: “The biggest thing was I had to get the cadence down. I was learning the cadence. At first, coach was playing around with me, saying he was going to embarrass me and stuff like that. I had fun. I’m learning and I like the way coach makes his quarterbacks learn.”

 Q: How important is it to be low key at first?


A: “This right here probably isn’t the best thing right here. But, just pretty much be quiet, talk when I’m supposed to talk and just learn. I’m behind the 8-ball and I’m just trying to learn and get as many things done as I can possible.”




Q: How disappointed are you at being suspended?

 A: “It’s a disappointment because I’ve never sat out any games, even when I was hurt. I tried as much as I could and I played, even when I was hurt. Not being allowed to play in a game and miss games, I don’t really know. When you ask me next time, I probably could be able to tell you what it feels like. Right now, I’m just trying to play catch up and get the information as much as I can.”




Q: Was the judgment fair?


A: “It’s what the call was. Like I said before, I didn’t have to be in the supplemental draft, and I was allowed in. I’m just going to take the opportunity. I’m not going to bad mouth it or give my opinion on the good side, bad side. It goes both ways. I’m just glad they gave me the opportunity. That’s all I can really answer on that.”




Q: What do you say to critics who say you can’t play QB at this level?


A: “Ask coach Jackson.”




Q: He said you’re a QB?


A: “Yeah, ask him after a couple of practices.”




Q: Feel as if you have something to prove?


A: “No, I don’t have … Obviously, anytime you come in fresh, you have something to prove. I’m just trying to get better. I’m not here to answer any critics. I’m just trying to answer myself. I’m the biggest critic. I don’t really hear the other critics anyway. I’m the biggest critic and I’m just trying to prove it to myself. That’s all I’m trying to do.”




Q: What have your conversations with managing general partner Al Davis been like?

A: I haven’t met him yet face to face. I’ve chatted with him a couple times on the phone. He’s just an aggressive guy and he loves to win. That’s what I get out of him.

Q: Impressions of Jason Campbell, and what is the relationship like?


A: He’s great. That goes for all the quarterbacks, they’re great, helping me and just trying to catch me up as fast as possible. Jason Campbell he’s a great quarterback.




Q: Jason said guys teasing him for looking like your older brother, you feel that way?


A: He carries himself like a professional. I can’t speak any more highly of him. That’s all you can say. He just carries himself like that, acts like that. He’s a great person. I look forward to working with him.




Q: Are you determined to be QB in NFL?


A: Yes.




Q: Hue said he will play to strengths, what are yours?

 A: That’s why we’re out here on the practice field trying to find it out. I don’t know. I don’t know what he’s envisioning.

 Q: What were strengths at Ohio State?


A: A lot. It’s too hard to break down for you in the time I have. I’m sure you’ll see it whenever I get on the field and have a chance.


Q: Thoughts on how Raiders been playing on offense and how you can contribute?

A: I haven’t really thought much of that because they have a quarterback right now. Right now I’m behind the eight ball trying to catch up. I have a lot of catching up to do.


Q: Have you watched much of them of late?

A: Yeah. I watched the offense sitting at home on TV. But you can’t really break things down because you don’t know if someone ran the wrong route or the throw. You can’t really break things down like that. You have to be in the film room and know exactly what the plays are and see what really went wrong and not judge off of TV.




Q: How fearful were you that you would not be in supplemental draft?

A: I was fearful because I didn’t want to sit out a year. Things worked out for the best. I’m happy about that.

Q: What did you tell NCAA about all the cheating you did at OhioState?


A: I’d prefer not to answer questions about the NCAA.


Q: This feel like a fresh start personally and professionally?

A: Yes sir. I’m just happy to be here and ready to start fresh and ready to learn as much information as I can possible. I can just breathe and feel a lot better. I’m happy. I’m ready to get going.




Q: Last time you played something other than QB?


A: I think it was my freshman year. I always played running back because I had a lot of speed and always go on these sweeps and stuff right and left and things like that. I love playing the quarterback position and I can’t envision myself playing anything else. I truly enjoy it.




Q: What No. 6 instead of No. 2?


A: Coach won’t let me wear No. 2. Why, I don’t know? You tell me. He won’t let me wear No. 2. I’m just going off what coach tells me.




Q: When you ran so fast at your workout, did you hear talk that Raiders would take you?


A: Nah. I had no clue what was going on. I was getting ready for the draft process.




Q: Can you compare this challenge to anything else in your life?

A: In terms of what.

Q: Starting as fourth QB and trying to accomplish what you want?


A: I don’t understand.




Q: Uphill battle?


A: It’s a challenge anytime you want to go somewhere and you aren’t there quite yet. Even when you get there it’s still a challenge to stay where you’re at. I’m just looking forward to getting better. I’m No. 4 right now. That’s OK. I have a lot to learn. This is my first day.







Raiders place Eugene on injured reserve

Note: Something happened to the original post. So, here goes with a rewrite.
The Raiders placed safety and core special-teamer Hiram Eugene on the injured-reserve list Friday, meaning he is out for the season.
Eugene suffered a dislocated hip in the third quarter against the Arizona Cardinals on Aug. 11 and needed surgery to repair the damage.
The cruel irony is, the Raiders weren’t supposed to be on the field when Eugene got hurt. They were on defense because they “chose” to kick off to start the game and the Cardinals “chose” to receive the kick to start the second half. Chose is the word used by the referee to explain why the Raiders kicked off to start both halves.
The Raiders won’t have a difficult time replacing Eugene defensively. Stevie Brown or one of several other options can take his place. Replacing Eugene on special teams won’t be as easy.
Eugene carved out a niche as a dependable special teams player in recent seasons, especially on punt and kick coverage. Several players are vying for the role now.

Terrelle Pryor, Lito Sheppard both practicing with Raiders today


This news in from Steve Corkran, who is in Napa with no internet access right now:

Terrelle Pryor is wearing No. 6 and taking some reps at quarterback now for the Raiders. Also, just-signed Lito Sheppard is also participating in drills. Sheppard is donning Nnamdi Asomugha’s old No. 21 jersey.

To make room for both Pryor and Sheppard on the roster, the Raiders have released ex-San Jose State quarterback Jason La Secla as well as offensive lineman Alan Pelc.


Raiders sign two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Lito Sheppard


The Raiders just announced that they’ve signed former Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings cornerback Lito Sheppard to a free-agent contract.
Here’s the short story we’ve just posted online. Jerry will update this with more details and reaction from Napa.

NAPA — The Raiders announced the free-agent signing of two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Lito Sheppard Friday morning.
Sheppard, a 30-year-old former first-round pick of Philadelphia, is expected to be at Raiders practice in Napa Friday. He spent the 2010 season with the Minnesota Vikings and was an unrestricted free agent.
Sheppard should provide some stability to the Raiders’ cornerback corps. Projected starter Chris Johnson recently underwent an undisclosed surgery but the Raiders say he should be ready for the opener at Denver. Rookie DeMarcus Van Dyke has missed the last two practices with an undisclosed injury.