Boss looks forward to first game

Tight end Kevin Boss made it through his third straight practice and will make his first start as a Raider Sunday against the Jets.

Other than a pair of preseason games where the combined attendance will be less than it will be on Sunday, Boss has yet to see a Raiders game in all its glory.

“I’m looking forward to experiencing it first-hand, for sure,” Boss said. “It’s going to be a great atmosphere. It’s a big game for us so we’re going to try and put on a good show for the home crowd.

Boss signed with the Raiders on Aug. 5 to replace Zach Miller and was injured Aug. 20 after catching a 14-yard pass against San Francisco.

— Hue Jackson just can’t bring himself to give up the element of surprise and say that Taiwan Jones will return kickoffs and Denarius Moore will return punts against the Jets. Guessing at this point the Jets will be surprised (and pleasantly so) if Nick Miller retains both jobs based on the hints Hue was dropping Friday.

“Any time you start a season you want to make sure you get everybody comfortable and ready to play, and we’ve been on the road for two weeks,” Jackson said. “We’ve been in Denver and Buffalo and now we’re home, a little home cooking. Not that I’m tipping my hand by no stretch of the imagination have I made that decision exactly what we’re doing.

“But if we do decide to play those guys, what better than to do it at home in front of our fans and in comfortable surroundings, our stadium, our locker room, everything else. It will be a great start if that’s what I decide to do.”

— It went almost unnoticed last week that rookie third-round pick Joe Barksdale got in some snaps with power formations with Stephon Heyer out with an injury. Sounds like Barksdale did well enough to get more snaps.

“I keep telling you guys, our young players, draftees, are doing a really good job,” Jackson said. “They’re contributing to this football team. I think last week was a good opportunity for him. He came out and did some really nice things and we’ll continue to keep him in there and let him do some things.”

Offensive coordinator Al Saunders on cornerback Darrelle Revis and the Jets’ defense: “Revis is a special guy, and (Antonio) Cromartie is a big, tall player that covers really well. They’re outstanding, and their defense, what they do creatively on defense and what Rex has done over the years is built around guys, much like the Raider tradition, to be able t play press man coverage on the outside and be very creative inside with your line and your linebackers and your safeties.”

— Interesting coaching side note to Raiders-Jets.

In 2004, when it was determined Chuck Bresnahan would not return as defensive coordinator under Norv Turner, the first person the Raiders requested permission to speak with Rex Ryan, under contract with the Ravens. The Ravens said no.

So the Raiders instead contacted Rob Ryan, Rex’s twin brother, and hired him.

In 2011, when it was determined John Marshall would not return as defensive coordinator under Jackson, the first person the Raiders requested permission to speak with was defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman, under contract with the Jets. The Jets _ and Rex Ryan _ said no.

Bresnahan ended up getting the job.

Rex Ryan said he simply was uninterested in letting one of his good coaches go, the same way Brian Billick wouldn’t allow him to explore vacancies with the Raiders and other teams earlier in his career.

Jackson, talking with the New York media by conference call, said, “If the organization has the opportunity to not let a coach move forward in his career they can do so. I understand the rules but I do understand that everyone has aspirations and goals they want to attain and I know that’s something Dennis wants to do.”

Thurman and Jackson worked together at USC.

— Wide receiver Denarius Moore was named the NFL Pepsi Rookie of the Week as voted upon by fans on NFL.com

— Raiderville, a pre-game tailgate party that includes a youth and family area, will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the south side of the stadium in parking lot B. More information is available at this link to Raiders.com.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer