232

Still no WR/KR Ford at practice, Raiders making provisions

Wide receiver/kick returner Jacoby Ford is not at practice today. That makes three straight days of inactivity for Ford, as he battles the hamstring he injured against the Denver Broncos on Monday night.
It also makes it unlikely that Ford will play Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. As a result, rookie Denarius Moore and veteran Derek Hagan are more apt to see playing time at receiver, and Miller, Rock Cartwright or Taiwan Jones are likely to fill the void on kick returns.
It’s conceivable that Miller will see triple duty against the Bills, at receiver, punt returns and kick returns.
On the bright side for the Raiders, defensive tackle Richard Seymour (ribs) is at practice today for the first time all week. That portends his playing Sunday.
Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey is at practice, one day after he tweaked his left knee in practice. He has a pretty substantial wrap on the knee and he wasn’t doing much during the media access window.
Receiver Louis Murphy and safety Mike Mitchell still haven’t made it back to practice, though Mitchell was working with a trainer on an adjacent field. Look for these players to make their 2011 debuts against the New York Jets on Sept. 25.
Safety Michael Huff returned to practice after missing the past two days with a groin injury. He wasn’t doing much while I was allowed access. However, he was in full uniform and likely will give it a go later today.
For the third straight day, three officials are present at practice as part of coach Hue Jackson’s attempt to curtail the penalties issue that has dogged the Raiders for numerous seasons.
The Raiders committed 15 penalties for 131 yards against the Broncos, both figures far and away the most in the league.

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605

Hue Jackson says Raiders focused on winning conference game

The Raiders went 6-0 in games within the AFC West last season and 0-6 in conference games outside their division.
Raiders coach Hue Jackson is intent upon turning around his team’s fortunes in interconference games, beginning this Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.
“I don’t have the blueprint for that just yet,” Jackson said. “I just know that right now we’re trying to approach and prepare a lot different than we have. We were very good a year ago in the division. We started off that way this year. Now the test is to make sure that we win outside the division.”
The Raiders beat the Denver Broncos on Monday night to go 1-0 in the division. Now comes the first of six cracks against an AFC team from outside the division.
“We haven’t had a game yet,” Jackson said. “We have one this Sunday. We’re going to get a chance to show if we’re ready for that task. Obviously, it’s something we need to get done if we hope to attain our goals. It’s very clear in our players’ minds and our coaches’ minds on what we need to do. We’re looking forward to it.”

*Jacoby Ford missed practice Thursday for the second straight day with a hamstring injury he suffered against the Broncos. His status for Sunday is uncertain.
Even so, Jackson won’t say who would return kicks if Ford can’t play. Possibilities include Denarious Moore, Marcel Reece and Taiwan Jones.
Ford was unavailable for comment in the locker room after practice.

*Quarterback Jason Campbell showed up on the injury report with a sore foot. He showed no signs of being limited in any capacity during practice, and Jackson dismissed the injury.
“Oh, that’s just basic running around, practicing, going 1,000 mph, planting, doing all that,” Jackson said. “He’s fine. He’ll be alright.”

*If Michael Huff can’t play Sunday, that means added playing time for Matt Giordano and Jerome Boyd, Jackson said.
Which player would start and how often each would play depends upon the defensive alignment on a given play. Both played extensively against the Broncos.
Giordano recorded an interception and forced a fumble against the Broncos. He said he’s just thankful to have a job after being released by the Raiders on Sept. 3, only to be re-signed a few days later.
“I have good coaches that explain these coverages, thoroughly explain it, and help me out,” Giordano said. “I went out there and played with confidence. Tip of the hat to the coaches because they had me prepared for this. That’s the NFL. You always got to be ready.”

*Running back Darren McFadden injured his shoulder against the Broncos, and he was limited in practice Thursday.
Still, it’s likely that he will play based upon the fact he was running plays and showing no obvious signs of discomfort.
Count offensive coordinator Al Saunders among those enamored with McFadden and of the mind-set that he is vital to Oakland’s offensive success.
“We liked having 150 yards of offense, or 190, or however much he ran by himself, whatever that was,” Saunders said. “He’s a special player. He’s gifted, he brings such a dimension to any team.”
Saunders said he has been around a lot of great backs. including Marshall Faulk and Priest Holmes, and that McFadden belongs in the class of the elite.
“He’s one of those guys you put in that class,” Saunders said. “He’s a young kid that has just tremendous speed and tremendous potential. He catches the ball extremely well and he established what he is last year and he’s continuing to follow in that way this year.
“He’s a premiere back because he has that great speed, he catches the football. He’s a three-dimensional guy. He’s not one of those guys that can just like up and run it. He can catch it, he can run it and he can also block.”

*The Raiders returned all eight of their defensive linemen from last year’s team that recorded 47 sacks. They had five agaisnt the Broncos.
What makes the Raiders defensive line unit so special is the ability to use all eight throughout a game, without there being much of a drop-off, if any. Most teams rely upon five, six or seven.
“I’ve been around some teams with six guys, maybe seven,” Jackson said. “To have eight, that is kind of unbelievable.”
Defensive end Jarvis Moss said the Broncos typically used six when he was with Denver. The Raiders mix and match throughout the game, which enables the starters to be fresh late in the game.
Moss said he could see the effect it had upon the Broncos offensive linemen at some point in the third quarter.
“I’s a huge advantage anytime you’ve got eight guys that you trust that can go in there and play and be unselfish with each other,” Moss said. “It ain’t about playing time, it’s about getting the job done and being unselfish, and we did that. It is an advantage, definitely, staying fresh, rotating in, and the same guy’s out there, but he’s facing a fresh guy.”
Throw in outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, and the Raiders have nine bona-fide pass-rushing options at their disposal every game.
“It gives you another flexible player,” Jackson said. “Again, that’s the name of the game. Sometimes the game is a game of matchups. Maybe a guy will play a guy a little bit different than another guy will. We do have that versatility within that group to put several guys down there and let them rush. That’s a good problem to have.”
Defensive line coach Mike Waufle used a similar philosophy when he was first with the Raiders, then carried it over when he was with the New York Giants.
Shaughnessy said the setup enables him and his linemates to go all out every play without having to worry about getting too tired. There’s always someone fresh and ready on the sideline.
“You just go balls out every time, and when you’re dead tired, that’s when the next guy goes in,” Shaughnessy said. “There’s no point in going out there and doing a rep 70 percent and messing it up and then having it be on you when you have someone on the sideline that’s 100 percent and can take care of the same play.”

*Wide receiver/punt returner Nick Miller tends to be a lightning rod when it comes to where fans stand on his value to the Raiders.
He is the full-time punt returner right now. However, with injuries to Louis Murphy, Ford and Darrius Heyward-Bey — he tweaked a knee in practice Thursday — Miller received some reps with the first-team offense.
Now, it’s conceivable that Miller will see some significant playing time against the Bills on Sunday. Jackson likes what he sees in Miller.
“He’s accountable, he’s dependable,” Jackson said. “He’s there, he’s been here, he knows me, he knows our system, knows what we’re trying to accomplish. If and when we need Nick, Nick will always answer the challenge.”

*Backup safety Mike Mitchell said his knee injury is getting better every day and that he might even play Sunday. He said it is up to Jackson whether to turn him loose.
Mitchell said he ran around Thursday and felt pretty good. He missed most of training camp and the exhibition games, as well as the regular-season opener.

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388

S Huff, WR Ford and DT Seymour miss second straight practice

Wide receiver Jacoby Ford, defensive tackle Richard Seymour and free safety Michael Huff are among those who aren’t practicing today.
That doesn’t rule out any of the three from playing against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. However, it does make them less likely, given they haven’t practiced at all this week.
Huff is nursing a groin injury that he suffered against the Denver Broncos on Monday night. Ford strained a hamstring and Seymour hurt his ribs in the same game.
Seymour had two of Oakland’s five sacks against the Broncos, so the Raiders would be hard-pressed to replace him from a production standpoint. If he can’t play, it means more playing time for Desmond Bryant and John Henderson.
Nick Miller ran several plays opposite Darrius Heyward-Bey at wide receiver with the first-team offense this morning. The smart money says, Chaz Schilens and Heyward-Bey start, with Denarius Moore and Miller receiving added playing time if Ford can’t play Sunday.
On the bright side for the Raiders, running back Darren McFadden (shoulder), quarterback Jason Campbell (foot), defensive end Jarvis Moss (foot) and cornerback Joe Porter (concussion) are at practice and looking fine.
Three new officials are presiding over practice, at coach Hue Jackson’s request. Jackson said the officials who worked Wednesday’s practice weren’t there to collect dust.
“I told them, ‘Throw a flag, throw it. Don’t hesitate,” Jackson said. “And they didn’t. They were very aggressive, and we only had a few, so that was a good thing. We won the battle (Wednesday). We only had about … three or four. It wasn’t 15, I promise you that.”

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579

Campbell says DHB has had it rough but his confidence at all-time high

Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell has spent most of his football career trying to prove he deserves to be a starter. Hence, it’s no surprise that he is sympathetic to the criticism heaped upon wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey during the first two years of his NFL career.
Through it all, Heyward-Bey has remained upbeat, put his head down, worked hard and done everything asked of him by his coaches.
“That’s always been the case, ever since I was 14 and started playing,” Heyward-Bey said. “You put in the work, things will eventually start paying off. I’m still working. Monday was just me making plays at the right opportunity to help us win a game, and I am going to continue to do that.”
Finally, he is off to a fast start and in position to silence those who have criticized him for dropped passes, poor route running and lack of production the past two seasons.
“His confidence is at an all-time high since I’ve been here,” Campbell said of Heyward-Bey on Wednesday.
Campbell recounted how Heyward-Bey looked great at practice earlier today and is making strides toward being a consistent performer.
“You outta to have seen his practice today,” Campbell said. “The way the guy was going after balls and catching them. … It’s exciting to see because he has so much speed, he has great size and he can make a lot of plays in this league for us. That’s what we’re looking for. I’m excited about the way he’s playing right now.
Heyward-Bey caught four passes for 44 yards against the Denver Broncos on Monday night, both team-highs. Several of his receptions netted first downs and helped the Raiders control the clock at critical times.
“Everyone has been kind of hard on Darrius, and now he’s getting his turn to show what he can really do.” Campbell said. “This is his third year, and most of the time receivers really come into their own in their third year in the league. It’s exciting to see what he’s doing right now.”

*Tight end Kevin Boss returned to practice for the first time since he suffered a knee injury Aug. 20 in an exhibition game against the 49ers.
He was limited, according to coach Hue Jackson, but that beats not practicing at all. Boss was hopeful of making it back in time for the Broncos game. He now is hopeful that he will play against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
“It’s getting close,” Boss said. “It’s getting close. I’m really hoping that I can get out there this week.”
Boss watched the Broncos game on TV and said he felt more nervous than when he’s on the field. He is eager to make his Raiders debut and validate the team’s decision to sign him to a long-term contract during trainng camp.
“It’s definitely not the way I planned, coming out here and getting off to the start I wanted,” Boss said. “It’s kind of one of those deals it’s out of my hands. I trust everything will happen for a reason and I’ll get back out there and won’t miss a beat.”

*Free safety Michael Huff, wide receiver Jacoby Ford and defensive tackle Richard Seymour were among the five players who missed practice Wednesday.
Jackson said he will update the status of his injured players as the week progresses. For now, he isn’t saying whether he expects any of them to play.
It doesn’t look good for safety Mike Mitchell and receiver Louis Murphy making it back for the Bills game. They, too, missed practice and haven’t worked out with their teammates in several weeks. Jackson said they would need to practice some if they are to play against the Bills.

*Wide receiver Derek Hagan said he was prepared to play against the Denver Broncos on Monday night and that the “minor” calf injury he suffered in practice early last week had nothing to do with him being deactivated.
“It’s good,” Hagan said of his calf. “There really was never nothing wrong with it. I was good to go last week for Monday. I practiced all last week, and the calf’s good and ready to go for Sunday.”
Hagan was informed before the game that he wasn’t among the five wide receivers active for the game — Murphy also wasn’t activated because of his injury.
Obviously, it was a surprise to me being inactive. I was expecting to I was going to come into the game and help contribute to this team. Obviously, they put me down for that game but we got 15 more, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next 15.”
Hagan was Oakland’s most productive receiver during its four exhibition games. Yet, Jackson felt as if the Raiders had a better chance to win with Hagan on the bench.

*The Raiders have had three road games so far this season, including two in the exhibition season. None required more than a two-hour plane ride.
Traveling to Buffalo will require a 5-hour-plus flight and take the Raiders three time zones away from California. No big deal, Jackson said.
“We had this schedule a long time ago, and I know our players had it, and we talked about it this morning,” Jackson said. “We’re not going to let the travel or the accommodations or the food or the elements dictate how we’re going to play. We’re going to go play Raiders football the way we know how to play. We’re not going to get caught up in all of that.”

*Rookie quarterback Terrelle Pryor jogged out to the practice field just as his teammates were ending their practice Wednesday.
It’s part of the life Pryor leads these days, as he winds his way through a five-week suspension. Once again, he worked out on one of the three fields here with someone snapping him the ball, someone catching his passes and a third person overseeing his routine.
No word on the status of his appeal. Until further notice, he is not allowed to practice with his teammates or work under the guidance of anyone from the coaching staff.

*The Raiders attempted only 22 passes against the Broncos. Campbell completed 13 of those throws, with most of them being safe, short routes.
Campbell said there will be times this season when the Raiders open up the passing game. There wasn’t a need against the Broncos because running back Darren McFadden was succeeding in running the ball from the outset.
“A lot of it is based the coverages they were giving,” Campbell said. “And the other part of it was, we didn’t have to take the risk. Because we were running the ball very well, getting 9 or 10 yards a pop. And we were running time off the clock because we had the lead.”

*The Raiders are seeking to begin a season 2-0 for the first time since 2002, when they won their first four games and advanced to the Super Bowl.
They have started 2-0 only four times since 1990 — 1993, ’95, 2000 and ’02. Three of those times, the Raiders qualified for the playoffs.

*As soon as safety Matt Giordano intercepted a pass deep in Raiders territory, kicker Sebastian Janikowski had a feeling he was on the verge of attempting a long field goal.
Little did he know, the field goal he attempted would come from 63 yards away and give him a chance to tie the NFL record set by Tom Dempsey in 1970 and matched by Jason Elam in 1998.
“I know (Jackson’s) going to try a long one,” Janikowski said. “He’d been talking about it all week, that he’s going to give me a chance. Every time we cross the 50-yard line, I warm up anyway because you never know what’s going to happen. But Denver, that’s the different story.”
Sure enough, Jackson summoned Janikowski as time wound down in the first half. Janikowski converted the field goal with little room to spare.
Janikowski said he mishit the ball. So, what might happen if he drilled the ball just right?
“Top end? Maybe like a 74(-yarder),” Janikowski said. “Because I kicked a 70-yarder in warm-ups. Seventy-four, seventy-five, if you swing really hard. That’s probably the top.”
That’s in Denver, at high altitude. At sea level, Janikowski said he is confident he could make a field goal from as far as 68 yards.
Janikowski is thrilled to be tied for the record. However, the 63-yarder doesn’t rank as his best field goal since he joined the Raiders in 2000. That distinction goes to the 61-yarder he nailed in the snow at Cleveland in 2009.
Holder Shane Lechler said there isn’t any secret as to why Janikowski can kick the ball so far.
“Heck, it’s just all leg speed,” Lechler said. “Leg speed and contact. That’s really what it is. It’s really identical to hitting a golf ball. Contact is way more important than how hard you swing.”

*More on the injury front: Jackson said running back Darren McFadden, cornerback Chris Johnson and defensive end Jarvis Moss were limited in practice. Updates won’t be provided until Thursday, at the earliest.

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310

TE Boss returns after missing 23 days with knee injury

Starting tight end Kevin Boss is at practice today for the first time since he suffered a left knee injury.
Boss got hurt against the 49ers on Aug. 20 in an exhibition game. He has spent the past three weeks or so rehabilitating.
The news isn’t so good for free safety Michael Huff and wide receiver Jacoby Ford. Both players who got hurt against the Denver Broncos on Monday night aren’t practicing today.
We won’t know about their availability for Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills until we get a chance to speak with coach Hue Jackson in about 90 minutes.
Defensive tackle Richard Seymour, receiver Louis Murphy and backup safety Mike Mitchell also aren’t practicing today. Seymour is the only one of those three likely to play Sunday.
Jackson apparently is serious about rectifying the penalties issue. He has three officials working practice, which is rare for a team to do during the season.
The Raiders committed 15 penalties for 131 yards against the Broncos. Both are far and away the most in the league.

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109

Janikowski AFC Special Teams Player of the Week

Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his three-field goal performance in a 23-20 victory over the Denver Broncos on Monday night.
Janikowski’s perfect night included an NFL record-tying 63-yard field goal at the end of the first half, three field goals without a miss and five touchbacks in as many kick-offs.
Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey said it’s time to start worrying about Janikowski kicking a field goal anytime the Raiders reach the 50-yard line.
“It’s huge to have that,” Gailey said in a conference call with the Bay Area media Wednesday morning. “The thing that has amazed me through the years is, yes, he has a powerful leg but he’s extremely accurate. Everybody wants to talk about how far he kicks it, but he gets points. Almost every time, I’m not saying he’s 100 percent, but he’s great at his trade. It’s a huge weapon for a team to be able to depend on points like that.”
Practice starts in about 15 minutes, as the Raiders work out at the time their game against the Bills starts Sunday.

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452

Raiders coach Hue Jackson not sleeping, thinking about Bills

Raiders coach Hue Jackson waited one month and one day for his first NFL victory of any kind. That it came in Oakland’s regular-season opener certainly takes away the sting of losing all four exhibition games.
Yet, one could hardly tell that Jackson had just guided the Raiders to their first season-opening victory since 2002, their first win in a Monday night game in eight tries and the first prime-time victory in 12 games.
“I haven’t slept, the (postgame) meal was horrible, I’ve been watching Buffalo, so I don’t feel good right now because (the Bills) beat the team that they played really badly,” Jackson said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. “Right now I’ve got some issues and I have to address them. It will take me probably until Sunday to feel good again.”

*Chief among those issues are:
Reducing the penalties. The Raiders committed 15 infractions for 131 yards in their 23-20 victory over the Denver Broncos on Monday night.
The penalties were of a wide variety, with eight coming on offense, six on defense and one on special teams. The Raiders surged into the lead in defense of the titles they captured last season for leading the league in penalties and yards penalized.
They are four penalties ahead of the co-runners-up and 29 yards ahead of the runner-up 49ers. By comparison, the New York Jets played penalty-free football against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.
“When we get really good, we’re not going to talk about penalties in this room,” Jackson said. “That’s not going to be the issue. … I’ve got to get the curse stopped. Just like we broke the Monday night curse, I’ve got to get this one turned the other way, and that’s going to take time.”
It might take all season, Jackson admitted, but the seemingly never-ending problem will get solved.
“I’m not here to tell you it’s going to stop next week or the week after, but I want you to know and I want our fans to know that we’re working at it,” Jackson said. “I’m not just going to just sweep it under the carpet and say, ‘OK, it is what it is,’ because we won the game. I don’t think that’s right. There’s 15 – too many penalties for this football team. And it starts with me, down through our coaches to our players. We have to get this corrected and we will.”

*Finding some success in the passing game. Quarterback Jason Campbell completed 13 passes against the Broncos. Problem is, those 13 passes netted only 105 yards and only one traveled more than 9 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.
It wasn’t for lack of effort, Jackson said.
“Well, we tried,” Jackson said. “Whether there was a miscue here or a miscue there, it didn’t happen. That’s the truth to the matter. It’s something we’ve got to get better at, there’s no question. We need to get better in that area and we’ll continue to work hard at it.”

*Finding potential replacements for wide receiver Jacoby Ford (hamstring) and free safety Michael Huff (groin).
Both players suffered injuries against the Broncos, and they weren’t able to finish the game. Jackson isn’t sure about the severity of the injuries.

*Jackson can take solace in knowing that Matt Giordano is available if Huff can’t play against the Bills on Sunday.
The seasoned veteran intercepted a pass against the Broncos, forced a fumble and nearly recovered a fumble on another play.
All this despite being waived by the Raiders when the roster was cut down to 53 players, only to be re-signed a few days later.
“The day we cut him, I had a great conversation with him in my office,” Jackson said. “I wasn’t going to be surprised if he showed back up here and neither was he. He told me this was a a place he wanted to be if he could get back.
“I’ve competed against him on other teams. He’s a tremendous football player. When he got cut the numbers just didn’t add up for him. Obviously, after going back through the roster it did. I’m glad to have him back. He made some tremendous football plays, he’s a tremendous football player.”

*The Raiders used running back Darren McFadden in the Wildcat formation on the first play from scrimmage against the Broncos. Don’t be surprised if you see it again this season, Jackson said.
McFadden pitched the ball to Ford, who bobbled the ball before being tackled near the line of scrimmage. That was the end of the experiment Monday.
“We might see a little bit of everything,” Jackson said. “I keep telling you, we’re not going to be a vanilla offensive football team. We’re going to continue to grow and get better.”

*The players were off Tuesday, so there wasn’t any media access. Beat writer Jerry McDonald wasn’t able to make it to the Raiders locker room after the game Monday night because of deadline issues. Therefore, we’re leaning on Jackson today, with a few quotes culled from the Broncos public relations department.
The Raiders return to practice Wednesday morning. Yes, morning. The Raiders play the Bills on Sunday at 1 p.m. EDT, so Jackson is beginning practices at 10 a.m. PDT to correspond with the starting time of the game.
He employed a similar strategy in practice last week, switching to night practices as a means of getting his players accustomed to playing at night.
“I’m going to do everything I can to put this team in the best opportunity to win a game,” Jackson said. “Will we practice in the morning? You better believe we will. And we’ll start early and we’ll prepare ourselves to play at the time we’re going to play in Buffalo. And that’s what we’ll do. And our guys understand it, and they’re looking forward to it.”

*Jackson said he didn’t have an update on the status of tight end Kevin Boss and backup safety Mike Mitchell. Both players missed the Broncos game because of knee injuries.

*Sebastian Janikowski kicked a field goal from 70 yards in pre-game warm-ups Monday night. Based on how he felt, he told Jackson that he felt comfortable from 65 yards in the game.
Jackson said he wasn’t thinking about whether Janikowski would make the 63-yarder he attempted just before halftime.
“I have had people text me, ‘Coach, there was no emotion on your face,’ ” Jackson said. “What for? I knew the guy was going to make it. There’s no doubt. I was thinking what we were going to do at halftime.”
Janikowski said tying or breaking the NFL record — he tied Tom Dempsey and Jason Elam — was one of three goals he had when he entered the league in 2000. Playing for 10 seasons and winning a Super Bowl are the two other goals.
Two down, one to go, he said.
“To be honest, I didn’t hit it that good,” Janikowski said after the game. “It barely got over the bar.”
Campbell said the Raiders weren’t concerned about running the ball so much on the final drive of the half because they were confident that they could get within Janikowski’s range without risking an interception.
“We see that in practice all the time,” Campbell said after the game. “This guy kicks 65-, 70-yard field goals. We knew if we could set him up on the right hash, his preference, it gives him the opportunity to kick that field goal.”

*Credit offensive coordinator Al Saunders for prompting Jackson to throw the red challenge flag on the Broncos fumble that was awarded to the Raiders after a review.
Jackson wasn’t sure whether to throw the flag until a replay surfaced that showed definitive evidence of the ball coming out before the runner’s knee hit the ground.
“The replay wasn’t being shown,” Jackson said. “Then, at the last second, as they were breaking the huddle, and I was starting to sweat a little bit, trying to get this replay because, obviously, we can’t see anything down there, he goes, ‘Hue, the ball’s out, throw it.’ And we worked as a team.”

*Third-year receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey led the Raiders with four receptions for 44 yards Monday night. Several times, he turned third-down plays into first downs.
Jackson said Heyward-Bey is just scratching the surface of what he can do as a receiver.
“No, I don’t think so,” Jackson said, when asked if this was Heyward-Bey’s best game as a pro. “I know we talk about DHB a lot, but DHB made some clutch plays last night. I don’t think it was his best game. I know what you’re thinking, when he caught it and ran with the ball. No, that’s Darrius. Darrius is playing football the way he can play. … I expect more from him. There’s a lot more in there. … He’s truly coming on.”

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288

Update on injuries to WR Ford and FS Huff

Raiders coach Hue Jackson just wrapped up his news conference with the Bay Area media in Alameda.
Among the many topics he addressed, Jackson said wide receiver Jacoby Ford suffered a hamstring injury and free safety Michaell Huff came away from the Broncos game with a strained groin.
Jackson said he won’t update the injuries until later in the week.
I’m covering for beat writer Jerry McDonald today, as he returns from Denver and prepares for a short week before the Raiders travel to Buffalo for a game against the Bills.
Therefore, I will be working on a story for the paper first before I file a story off Jackson’s news conference. The players were off today.
Practice will resume Wednesday morning, with the Raiders flying to Buffalo on Friday afternoon.

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728

Raiders-Broncos post-game observations

Not sure if the way the Raiders played against the Denver Broncos on Monday night is exactly what coach Hue Jackson had in mind when he said he wants to build a bully, but Jackson no doubt will take the 23-20 victory without hesitation.
The Raiders beat the Broncos despite committing 15 penalties for 131 yards and passing for only 105 yards. Just the same, they rushed for 191 yards, held the Broncos to 38 yards rushing and sacked Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton five times.
Jackson said the process of building a bully started Monday night. It’s evident that the Raiders make significant progress in terms of establishing a physical, pounding rushing attack, as well as relying upon a defensive line rotation that keeps up the pressure from start to finish.
It’s also evident, as Jackson cautioned long ago, that the process of building a bully is going to take longer than one game.
So, count Monday night’s game as a nice start.

*Running back Darren McFadden rushed for a game-high 150 yards in his first game action this season. He missed all four exhibition games because of a fractured orbital bone, as well as Jackson’s reluctance to expose his star back to further injury before the real games started.
Jackson’s hunch that McFadden would be ready for the Broncos game paid off in spades. McFadden ran over, through, around and past Broncos defenders for three quarters before punctuating his night with a 47-yard run to the Broncos 1-yard line that set up the game-clinching touchdown.
After that, Jackson turned to 245-pound backup Michael Bush to throw around his muscular body at a beleaguered Broncos defense.
That strategy worked to perfection, as it has so often in the past. The Broncos wanted nothing to do with Bush plowing straight into the line, and Bush was able to churn out enough yards to help the Raiders run out the clock.
McFadden and Bush combined for 180 yards. It’s mind-boggling to imagine what the Raiders can do once they figure out a way to incorporate rookie running back Taiwan Jones into the mix.
Jones didn’t play Monday night, but he won’t sit idle for very long based on the explosiveness he showed in the exhibition season.

*The Raiders snapped an eight-game losing streak in regular-season openers. They last won a season-opening game in 2002, the season they advanced to the Super Bowl.
The Raiders also won a Monday night game for the first time since 2002, snapping a string of seven straight losses.
Finally, the victory before a national TV audience ended an 11-game losing streak in such games.

*The Raiders made two roster moves after initially reaching the 53-man limit Sept. 3. One of those involved re-signing veteran safety Matt Giordano.
Giordano validated that decision by forcing a fumble, intercepting a pass, forcing Orton into a hurried throw on a third-down play and nearly recovering a fumble.
Giordano and Jerome Boyd played a great deal Monday night and showed that they can be counted upon to make plays in subsequen games.

*Linebacker Darryl Blackstock is another one of the handful of veteran free agents signed before this season started. He, too, made his presence felt right away.
Blackstock blocked a Broncos punt in the first quarter that set up a Raiders score.

*Broncos punt returner Eric Decker returned a punt 90 yards for a touchdown that cut the Raiders lead to 16-10.
Decker had two more opportunities to turn around the game, but both times he was tackled in the open field by special teams standout Rock Cartwright.
That’s the primary reason the Raiders brought back Cartwright for a second season. What he lacks in size, he more than makes up for in experience, knowledge and determination.

*For some reason, Jackson made veteran wide receiver Derek Hagan one of the seven Raiders inactive Monday night.
Jackson said throughout training camp that he would play players based on their performance in practice and exhibition games.
Rookie receiver Denarius Moore is the only other receiver who played at or near Hagan’s level the past six weeks or so. Yet, Hagan wasn’t deemed valuable enough to play Monday.
Still awaiting word from Jackson and Hagan on the thought process that went into the move. Hagan injured his calf in practice early last week, but he was at full strength by the end of the week.

*Third-year wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey had one of the better games of his NFL career. He caught four passes for 44 yards and turned two of those into key first downs.
He also caught a deep pass from quarterback Jason Campbell, but he wasn’t able to stay in bounds. The stats for Heyward-Bey weren’t eye-opening, but he made a significant contribution in the passing game and didn’t drop any passes.

*Kicker Sebastian Janikowski tied an NFL record with a 63-yard field goal just before halftime.
His previous best was 61 yards in 2009, on the road, against the Cleveland Browns. The record-tying field goal proved to be the difference in the game.
That’s what prompted managing general partner Al Davis to use a first-round pick on Janikowski in the 2000 NFL draft.
ESPN showed footage of Janikowski converting a 70-yard field goal in pre-game warm-ups. His deep kick-offs also prevented the Broncos from returning any of his five kicks.

*Veteran offensive lineman Stephon Heyer had a Raiders debut to forget.
He subbed for starter Khalif Barnes at right offensive tackle on a handful of plays and also played the position a handful of times when Barnes was used as an extra blocker.
In one forgettable sequence, Heyer committed false-start penalties on back-to-back snaps. He later whiffed on a block on a play in which Campbell got sacked and fumbled.

*The Raiders finished one sack shy of the league lead last season. They got off to a nice start Monday with a five-spot.
Defensive tackle Richard Seymour recorded two of the five sacks. Tommy Kelly and Matt Shaughnessy added one each. The fifth was credited as a team sack.

*Follow me on Twitter: @corkonthenfl

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