By Steve Corkran
Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 at 3:02 pm in Oakland Raiders.
If you’re looking for signs of how things might change in light of the passing of managing general partner Al Davis, the first evidence came in the form of increased blitzing against the Houston Texans on Sunday.
However, the trade for outside linebacker Aaron Curry on Wednesday is proof that some things aren’t going to change anytime soon.
Curry was the fourth pick of the 2009 NFL draft by the Seattle Seahawks. The Raiders used the No. 7 pick of that draft on wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Many of the so-called draft experts regarded Curry as the best athlete in the draft that year. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King said Davis wanted Curry in a big way.
Well, the Raiders now have Curry. That gives the Raiders seven first-round draft picks on defense and 12 overall on their 53-man roster.
It remains to be seen how Curry will be used. He is fast, athletic, talented and versatile. At the same time, he arrives with a reputation for lacking football instincts.
Raiders coach Hue Jackson didn’t mention the trade during his news conference after practice. None of the players seemed aware of the transaction, either.
BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK AT RAIDERS-TEXANS GAME ON VERSUS
The good folk at Versus television not only are featuring a behind-the-scenes look at the Raiders-Texans game Thursday at 7 and 10 p.m. PDT on “Turning Point,” but they provided a sneak peek for you to look at beforehand.
Here is the link, with a huge thank you to Versus for providing the advance clip. Enjoy:
PENALTIES PROBLEM PERSISTS
Try though he may, coach Hue Jackson can’t seem to get a handle on the Raiders penchant for committing penalties at an alarming rate.
They committed 11 for 89 yards against the Houston Texans on Sunday. That upped their totals to 50 for 445 yards through five games.
The Raiders lead the league by six over runner-up Tampa Bay and by 85 yards over the Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals.
Once again, Jackson enlisted the services of three local officials at practice Wednesday.
BROWNS WOWED BY MCFADDEN
Add the Cleveland Browns to the ever-growing list of believers in Raiders running back Darren McFadden being, perhaps, the league’s best all-around back.
Browns linebacker Scott Fujita played against McFadden during the early part of McFadden’s career, when he looked nothing like the explosive player he was at Arkansas. He said the McFadden he sees on videotape now is an eye-opener.
“He looks like a different guy,” Fujita said. “He is running hungry and he is playing with a lot of swagger right now. He is such a big, physical guy, if you let him get to the perimeter and he gets in the open field, the things he’s doing with the ball
right now are very impressive. He’s obviously got big home-run speed and he just seems so strong, taking on tacklers and stiff-arming the hell out of everybody.”
Browns coach Pat Shurmur is equally impressed. He says McFadden can’t be stopped. The key is limiting the damage he does.
“I don’t know why he wouldn’t be (regarded as) one of the best runners in the league,” Shurmur said. “He’s very, very dangerous. When you give the ball or toss the ball or throw the ball to somebody that can go the distance, then you’ve got a running back that can change the game. That’s what he gives the Raiders.”
RAIDERS INJURIES UPDATE
Here’s Jackson’s recitation of the injury report from practice Wednesday: “Murphy, full. Satele limited. Cartwright did not participate. Reece did not participate. Gordon did not participate. Myers, full. Campbell, full. McClain did not participate. Seymour, limited. Shaughnessy did not participate. Chekwa did not participate. Giordano, full. Huff, limited. CJohnson, limited. Mitchell, full.”
In summary, the six who didn’t participate, at this point are the ones who aren’t expected to play Sunday against the Browns. That could change if any of them return to practice Thursday or Friday. Jackson doesn’t like using players in games if they don’t practice the week before.
SEABASS TAKES IT NICE AND EASY
Kicking a football 50 yards or longer is no different to Sebastian Janikowski than one from 30 or 40 yards, he said. He takes the same approach, same leg swing, everything.
That works for him, whereas few others have been able to match his distance, consistency and accuracy. He converted all three of his field-goal attempts from 50 yards and longer Sunday, making him 5-of-6 from that range this season.
“I had a good warm-up and kicking in a dome was really nice,” Janikowski said. “It’s always better there. I was stroking the ball really nice. I didn’t know it was going to be 3 for 3 on 50s.”
For his efforts, Janikowski was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
“It feels really good to know that you go on the other side of the 50(-yard line), you got a guy, if you look at him, he goes, ‘OK, you say go kick it,’ ” Jackson said. “That’s how good he is. I don’t want to jinx him. The guy’s a tremendous player, and I have so much confidence in him.”
Shurmur calls Janikowski a threat any time the Raiders reach midfield.
“You can’t let them cross midfield,” Shurmur said. “That’s the thing. He’s got a strong leg. I watched the game the other night, the Houston game, and watched it on TV. It’s just amazing how string his leg is and how accurate it is from a long way away. You just have to count on the fact that once the Raiders cross midfield they have a chance to get three points.”
PRYOR MAKES 2011 DEBUT
Rookie quarterback Terrelle Pryor practiced with his teammates Wednesday for the first time since his five-game suspension ended.
Jackson said he is eager to get a long look at Pryor and get a feel for what he can do. Quarterback Jason Campbell said Pryor isn’t afraid to assert himself in meetings.
“He talks,” Campbell said. “He’s really quiet but, at the same time, he still talks. He’ll come up with suggestions. He’ll write it on the board – ‘I think we should do this on this play.’ So I said, ‘What are you our consultant now?’ ”
Pryor talks in meetings, but he has spoken with the Bay Area media only once since he was taken in the third round of the supplemental draft in late August.
For the second time this week, he declined an interview request. He said today that he was late for a meeting.
NON-STORY GETS LEGS
Three weeks ago, people latched on to New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez eating a hot dog on the sideline of a game against the Raiders in 2009.
The non-story of the week this week is that the Raiders had only 10 players on the field for the final play of the Houston Texans game Sunday.
It’s a non-story because free safety Michael Huff intercepted Matt Schaub’s pass in the end zone to preserve the Raiders 25-20 victory.
Now, had Schaub completed the pass for a game-winning touchdown, it would have been quite a story, indeed.
“I’m just glad it worked out the way it did,” cornerback Stanford Routt said. “If it didn’t, boy, that’d be an ugly Monday morning.”
Again, the Raiders still won the game, folks, and improved to 3-2. That’s the real story.
For the record, it was backup safety Jerome Boyd who was supposed to be on the field for the final play. He and safety Mike Mitchell were assigned to double team tight end Joel Dreessen. As it were, Mitchell handled the job by himself.
Boyd said he saw two defensive linemen run on the field before the final play and only one coming out.
“It was just a miscommunication,” Boyd said. “I didn’t want to be an extra person on the field.”
End of non-story.
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