Part of the Bay Area News Group

Bartell, Spencer like what they see in new team

By Steve Corkran
Thursday, May 24th, 2012 at 3:42 pm in Oakland Raiders.

The Raiders released veteran cornerbacks Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson this offseason in hopes of upgrading positions they deemed as problem spots last season.
In turn, they signed a host of veterans, including Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer, with the intent of not looking back. Bartell and Spencer are the projected starters for now.
Both say they like the Raiders new scheme, the coaching staff and the chance to play for a new organization. Both players battled through injury-plagued seasons last year, but they say they are healthy now and ready to validate the Raiders’ signing them this offseason.
Here are the transcripts from both players after Tuesday’s practice in Alameda:

SHAWNTAE SPENCER

Was staying in the Bay Area a factor in coming to the Raiders?
“There was several determining factors. That was one of them. I’ve grown quite fond of the Bay Area. I’m familiar with it and it’s always tough up and moving to a new city, learning a new city, and then all the other factors that play into being with a new organization. That was one of the factors, the other was just being reunited with Jonnie Lynn and Jason Tarver and, you know, I’m pretty familiar with the scheme. There’s some things that he’s changed and some things that he’s added in and things like that but that really helped me out as far as the learning curve coming in and being able to be on top and play fast.”

What happened in SF last year?
“I sustained a hamstring injury last year in training camp which kept me out pretty much 3 weeks of training camp so it’s understandable that when you got a new coaching staff and things like that they gotta be able to see you, you know what I mean, you gotta put your resume out there and I didn’t get a chance to do that because of the hamstring injury was so bad. You know, you take the good with the bad, you learn from it and move on.”

What’s it like coming here and having a opportunity?
“Oh, like I said man, it’s a great atmosphere. It’s funny because, a lot of familiar faces. I know a lot of the players, I know a lot of the staff and seeing yesterday, Fred Formosa as the head of security and he was in San Francisco my whole career except last year and things like that. So many familiar faces just all around the building from the video department to the PR and things like that so the adjustment hasn’t been that difficult for me.”

What has to happen for a team to go from the team the Niners were to the year they had?
“San Francisco’s team was loaded. They walked into a great situation. If you look at the talent over there as far as the defensive side of the ball and the offensive side of the ball. It was one of those situations where it never came together in the previous years. And this year the defense clicked, the offense played well and special teams played well and it came together. So, just looking at it here, you can ask league wide, the Raiders are always the most talented team. Size wise, speed wise, skills wise and things like that but it’s just changing the culture, being disciplined, doing the little things right. The turnovers, the penalties, you have to eliminate those things to be competitive in this league. You can’t beat yourself so starting there and starting with learning what coach Allen demands out of each play. Running through the ball, being sound in your assignments and things like that. Once you do those things it all comes down to the game but if you’re beating yourself before the ball’s even snapped, you don’t have a chance. So that’s what he’s really been preaching and that’s what everyone’s buying into right now. We got a great attendance at OTA’s and we had a great attendance thus far through the offseason programs so I think the whole building, everyone should be optimistic.”

What are you seeing as far as a change in culture here?
“I tell you what, man, it’s do it or come stand next to me. Or go home, you know what I mean? And that’s just what it is. It’s very in your face as far as Coach Allen, very, very instrumental on the defense, especially with the secondary, he’s a secondary coach, he knows what it looks like, what it’s supposed to look like and that’s what he’s demanding from us. And I’m sure it’s the same on the offensive side of the ball with the OC and that entire staff over there. It’s no nonsense. You hear different things, you know, when I came in, about previous staffs and things like that and how different this one is. It’s no nonsense. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done. They want everyone to embrace the team concept and playing together and playing within each scheme.”

You know Bartell before this?
“Aw, man, it’s funny because me and Ron might be the two oldest guys here and our birthdays are the exact same day, same year. We got a lot of mutual friends from, you know, Walt Harris who I played with and I know he trained with in Arizona. Nate Clemons and Ron are good friends and Nate and I are good friends so we hit it off right away and the same with Huff. Just a lot of guys that I’ve played with from Terrail Lambert, I’ve played with Curtis Taylor, you know, just familiar with so many others guys. So the transition for me was so very, very smooth.”

You and Ron are in a similar situation. He is excited for the fresh start, you too?
“Yeah, it’s a breath of fresh air. I know that’s something that prior to leaving San Francisco that at the end of the season I sat down and talked to Trent Baalke about and he was gracious enough and nice enough to say ‘you know what let’s do this in a timely manner instead of dragging it out until, you know, August and then releasing me and all that other stuff. So I do appreciate that on his behalf. It was something that for both sides, all parties involved, it was the best thing, it was time. As far as my situation, I’m not too familiar with Ron’s other than he hurt his neck, things like that. But just hearing him talk, he’s so happy, so relieved and things like that. That’s a lot. It means a lot, you know.”

RON BARTELL

Q: How is your neck doing?
A: “Yeah, yeah, I feel great. I’m 100 percent. I feel great and I’m just happy to be back on the field. It’s the first time I’ve ever been injured. You get banged up a lot in this game, but it’s the first injury I’ve ever had where I’ve had to miss a significant amount of time. Luckily for me, it was not a simple injury but a straightforward, or fracture, and everything healed up fine. I’m just ready to play ball and I’m happy to be back.”

Q: Did doctors tell you that you’re predisposed to greater injury as a result of the neck injury last season? Any reservations?
A: “No, no, no, I don’t have any fear at all. The funny thing about it is, when I had the injury, I didn’t actually know that I had fractured my neck. It felt more like a stinger. I walked off corner of the field under my own power and I was actually about to check back into the game, and they just held me out since the game was pretty much over. We didn’t find out that I had the fracture until I got the C-T scan. So, I never had to go through that anxiety of getting carted off the field or losing feeling or paralysis or anything. So, from that standpoint, I never had to experience it. For me, once I got the clearance, I’m fine, I’m ready to go.”

Q: When did you feel all the way back?
A: “The fracture healed, and I was in a brace from the time of the injury, which was after the first game, from September to mid-December, came out of the brace, and they said the fracture had healed. After that, it was just the point of getting back the range of motion and strength. That took about a month or two. So, I would say I’ve been completely (healed) and 100 percent since about March. I feel great. The injury happened early in the year. I didn’t get a lot of wear and tear on my body because I played one game, so I feel fresh, new spirit, just excitement to help get this team back to where it should be. So, I’m just ready to play ball.”

Q: What’s your impressions about what this defense is going to be like?
A: “I love the scheme. I love the scheme. It’s a multiple-look scheme, it puts a lot of different people in positions to make plays. Some schemes are predicated upon D-line, some are on linebackers, some are on secondary play, but it puts everybody, on every level of the defense, it gives you the opportunity to make plays. It gives guys the chance to show their versatility. So, from that standpoint, I’m excited. Coach Tarver, he’s a young, energetic coordinator, we’ve got some good DB coaches, a young staff, so it’s just a lot of excitement right now. From that standpoint, we’re just ready to get everybody on the same page and see what happens.

Q: What’s it like walking into a situation where you have a great opportunity to be a starter?
A: “For me, being in my eighth year, being in St. Louis seven straight years and to see guys come and go, to have the type of injury I had, just from that standpoint, just being able to get back out on the field and compete, that’s all I can ask for. Another chance, another opportunity to play again. The way I look at it, the chips will fall where they may. They’re going to put whoever they feel is best for the job out there on the field. If I’m one of those guys, then more power to me. If not, I’ll play my role.”

Q: Is it invigorating coming to a new team, new scheme, different part of the country?
A: “Yeah. There definitely was some reservation at first because you’re somewhere for such a long time, especially in this business you’re at one place for seven years, you got reservations about moving on. But, for me, it’s a good situation, it’s a good opportunity. There’s some guys on the staff that I’m familiar with, a chance to be around some fresh faces, some young, energetic guys, a whole new city, a whole new part of the country, a new organization, so it brings some excitement for me. I’m looking forward to it.”

Q: Describe your style of play?
A: “Consistency. I’m a consistent football player. You know what you’re going to get from me week in, week out. I’m going to challenge guys, I’m going to challenge wide receivers and I’m going to be where I’m supposed to be. Just having a guy in a room – we have a lot of young guys – so just to have a guy in the room who has played a lot of snaps, a lot of football, seen a lot of variety of things and just be able to bring a calming influence into the room, that’s what my strengths are. Hopefully, I can help us rank a little big higher in that pass defense, but we’ll see what happens.”

Q: Are you and Shawntae Spencer taking a mentoring role with the young defensive backs?
A: “(We’re) Old men if you let everyone else tell it. Yeah, yeah, me and Shawntae played a lot of football in this league, we started a lot of games, been in a lot of battles. We got some young guys, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Chimdi (Chekwa), a lot of young guys who haven’t played much football. I’m just trying to give them a little tidbits here and there. I don’t want to step on a coach’s toes because it’s their job to coach. I just try to show them what it’s like to be a pro, how to approach practice, how to study film, how to take care of your body, some of the little things that I picked up along the way from a lot of the veterans that I was able to play with. So, if I’m able to rub off on them that way, it will be positive for them.”

Q: What’s your take on the owners voting to make hip and knee pads mandatory beginning with the 2013 season. Your thoughts?
A: “I won’t be wearing them in 2013, 2014, 2015. It takes away from the speed of the game. Hip pads, knee pads, thigh pads, they’re not going to stop you from tearing an ACL. It may stop a couple of soft-tissue injuries, but I don’t see it as a big deal about a knee pad. A knee pad isn’t going to stop a guy from blowing out a knee. So, me, personally, I won’t be wearing them, so I guess I just better put some fine money away.”

Q: It’s possible that the NFLPA will have a say in the matter at some point, given this wasn’t collectively bargained?
A: “Yeah, I would hope so. We’re the ones that have to play the game. I understand making the game safe. I’m all for the players’ safety but, at the same time, a thigh pad or a knee pad, if you get a helmet to the knee, you’re going to blow your knee. I don’t think a knee pad is going to stop that from happening. I’ve seen plenty of guys tear their knees before wearing knee pads. We have to abide by the rules, so hopefully they can work things out and keep things the way they are.”

  • Share/Bookmark

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • Dakota

    Bcz,

    The Lakers did it, but I think that was when the first round was a best of five series.

  • Marks hair

    Those were good times

  • hwnrdr

    Dakota Says:
    May 30th, 2012 at 8:35 am
    Bcz,

    The Lakers did it, but I think that was when the first round was a best of five series.

    Yup, 2001~

  • DMAC

    Good morning/afternoon peoples!

  • DMAC

    C’mon Sonics!
    Step ya game up!

  • R8ER MIKE

    DMAC… good day sir !!

  • RaiderRockstar

    are the Spurs going to sweep OKC, too?

    hot dang!

  • DMAC

    Ok, I’m bringing back the prizes and goodies.

    1st semi to reach 1800 receives an authentic autographed Daryl Blackstock Topps football card.

  • RaiderRockstar

    You People make me sick!

    ***

    LOL, good morning to you too Kentucky!

  • http://demitassechicago.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    CanuckRaider Says:
    May 30th, 2012 at 8:07 am
    Can Beeech and Kell come out to play?
    ——-
    I think that we have all come to the realization that Beeech and KoolKell are really Steve and Jerry.

  • HairyBush

    I’m down with the old timer Spurs showing the Heat how a real team wins.

  • DMAC

    Slow day. Like it or not, here ya go.

    Projecting Raiders starters after two OTAs. (Paul G.)

    Under new head coach Dennis Allen, the Raiders have had a voluntary veteran mini-camp, a rookie mini-camp and two weeks of voluntary OTAs (they are off this week but return for a third week of OTAs next week).
    So with all of that as a backdrop, why not take a look at what the Raiders’ starting lineup might be if the season started today? A few names might jump out at you as being, to quote general manager Reggie McKenzie, “out of whack,” but keep in mind this is all based on attendance and players’ current health. Yes, it truly is “if the season started today.”
    So yeah, what better time to take a look into that certain silver and black crystal ball…
    OFFENSE
    QB — Carson Palmer (there’s no question this is his team now)
    RB — Darren McFadden (as always, looks phenomenal in May)
    FB — Owen Schmitt (has only has one week of OTAs under his belt, but it’s one more than Marcel Reece)
    WR — Darrius Heyward-Bey (arrest for DUI puts the pressure on DHB to perform ASAP)
    WR — Denarius Moore (solidly spectacular, or spectacularly solid?)
    Slot — Jacoby Ford (seems healed but could be pushed by rookie Juron Criner)
    TE — David Ausberry (added bulk without sacrificing touch)
    LT — Jared Veldheer (will the ZBS agree with him protecting Palmer’s blind side?)
    LG — Cooper Carlisle (going to be pushed to the extreme by rookie Tony Bergstrom)
    C — Alex Parsons (getting all-important reps with Stefen Wisniewski still recovering from shoulder surgery)
    RG — Mike Brisiel (helping fellow linemen learn the nuances of ZBS)
    RT — Khalif Barnes (thinned down and ready for all comers)

    DEFENSE
    DE — Lamaar Houston (needs to step up his production in all-important third season)
    DT — Tommy Kelly (not all that excited about potentially playing some nose tackle in 3-4 looks)
    DT — Desmond Bryant (of course this is Richard Seymour’s spot, but he has yet to make an OTA)
    DE — Dave Tollefson (and this is Matt Shaughnessy’s position, but we won’t see him until Napa)
    WLB — Aaron Curry (was also seeing reps at middle linebacker, hmmm.)
    MLB — Travis Goethel (with suspension looming for McClain, Goethel is next best option on roster)
    SLB –Philip Wheeler (energy and excitement with aplomb)
    CB — Shawntae Spencer (physical veteran should feel reborn with move across the bay)
    CB — Ronald Bartell (ridiculous physical specimen who will add physicality to position)
    FS — Michael Huff (remember when the rumor was that Huff was going to switch to cornerback?)
    SS — Tyvon Branch (growing into role of a team leader on defense)

  • http://www.raiders.com Raider O

    RR,

    LOL
    As you can tell, I wanted us to trade for him, but we don’t have the cap room because our punter has a $5.65 million cap hit.
    Don’t worry, he is the best punter of the game! Too bad we have the worst STs unit in the game too. They allowed 593 yards last season.

    Let’s see, a PB CB and a Ballhawk with 19 INTs the last 3 years for $6 million, or the best punter in the game and a sorry STs unit?

    Good Morning.

  • RaiderRockstar

    I don’t know man, he was cut because he wouldn’t travel and play in 2 upcoming road games, which was in his contract to begin with. He told them he is focusing on his return to the NFL and would only play in certain HOME games. I’m not defending TO’s character, but if the guy had a contract to play in certain games and they cut him because he wouldn’t play in other games, then he isn’t wrong they are.

    ***

    co-signed with Bcz. Terrell Owens may only have a year or two left, but he most certainly would be a Top 4 WR on any NFL team in the league.

    Anybody thinking T.O. would be outplayed by all 4 [DHB, Moore, Ford & Criner] Raider wides is seriously drinking the Kool-Aid

    his production is needed, but his mouth isn’t. I don’t like the fact that Owens even signed with the Allen Wranglers to begin with. I don’t like the fact that he tried the reality TV show or appeared on Dr Phil. Even if he did no wrong, being cut by the IFL looks bad on a resume!

    I wish Owens would just shut up and play ball. I like the fact that he gets it done on the field. he’s a workout warrior and is willing to show our youngsters the ropes. Palmer called him a great player and a great teammate, but said there wasn’t room on the Raiders roster. I guess he likes Murphy as our 5th and McGee, Calhoun or Streater [pick one] as our 6th!

  • RaiderRockstar

    I wanted us to trade for him, but we don’t have the cap room

    ***

    @Kentucky

    We could have found a way to trade for Samuel, if we wanted to. I don’t think money was the main issue. It never is. We could have restructured a few more contracts [McFadden, Heyward-Bey, Kelly, etc] and made it happen.

    Reggie & Dennis are comfortable with Bartell & Spencer as starters and youngsters DVD & Chekwa backing them up …

    get over it!!

  • http://www.raiders.com Raider O

    RR,

    I like Reggie and DA, but try to remember that they are both rookies at their new positions. Expect some mistakes.
    Samuel and Bartell with Spencer competing with DVD and Chekwa would have been ideal.
    I worry about the CB position and lack of TOs from the secondary. Our Ballhawk is Gio, so excuse me for being uncomfortable.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Our Ballhawk is Gio, so excuse me for being uncomfortable.

    ***

    LOL, fair enough. and good points

    Kentucky – you have every right to be concerned and I appreciate having you on the blog. you’re a funny dude

    I don’t think you should get all riled up about the secondary until you’ve seen them take the field. Same with JFB. Just because you’re getting roasted in Madden by Manning & Rivers doesn’t mean thats the way it’ll happen when the actual games are played.

  • http://www.raiders.com Raider O

    And before Riff starts talking about the pass rush, and how much that will help create TOs, let me remind you that we were top 3 2 years ago in sacks, but we didn’t have a lot of TOs.

  • DMAC

    Another way to create turn overs are to get our linemen to bat down balls at the line of scrimmage and try to make a play on them.
    As tall as our linemen are, they should be able to knock down at least 2-3 balls a game, but it doesn’t happen? Why not?
    What was that game last year where the D’line batted down hella balls?

  • DJ Johnny

    O, Why are people calling you Kentucky? I thought you were from Ohio.

  • RaiderRockstar

    @Kentucky

    a secondary’s best friend is the pass rush. Look at the G-Men for example. pass rushers are a MUST in this league and that’s exactly why they always cash in during free agency or get drafted so high in April. even one dimensional guys like a one-trick pony or a guy that sucks against the run. If you can get after the QB, you are wanted.

    your example from a few years ago was under Al Davis defense. a Allen/Tarver hybrid scheme should look much different than that. Let’s wait & see. you might be surprised.

  • http://www.raiders.com Raider O

    LOL RR. I don’t get roasted in Madden regardless of who I have on my roster. Btw, I haven’t played in over 5+ months.

    Let me explain it more RR:
    Say Bartell and Spencer were playing well, Bartell had 0 INTs the last 2 years before he got injured (I know DMAC, he is like Nnamdi), and Spencer had 5 last 2 years before he was benched, Branch had 2 the last years, and I think Huff has 5-6 last 2 seasons.
    That’s an avg of 5 INTs per season total from all these players.

  • DMAC

    O Dog

    Not many ball hawkers on the team w/ the exception of Gio. lol (its true)
    The D needs to gang tackle and force turn overs by stripping their opponents.
    We should be collecting at least one fumble a game from Mathews and the DisChargers.

  • http://www.raiders.com Raider O

    DJ,

    I’m from SD CA, but I also lived in Ohio and KY. Ohio is my second home, and KY was my 1st US experience, but it was brief (6-8) months.

  • DJ Johnny

    O, Ok I got it.

  • RaiderRockstar

    That’s an avg of 5 INTs per season total from all these players

    ***

    @Kentucky

    you’re assuming we’re gonna see the same Bartell who played for the Rams, the same Spencer who played for San Fran and the same Huff & Branch who played for Marshall & Bresnahan [under Al Davis]

    I don’t think thats fair or accurate. McKenzie has never been a GM before. Allen has never been a HC before. Tarver has never been a DC before. none of our players have played under these coaches for this team in this capacity. Tarver was asst LB coach in SF when Spencer was a starting CB for them!

  • RaiderRockstar

    KY was my 1st US experience

    ***

    O is called “Kentucky” because he has roots in Podunk

    Podunkers unite!

  • RaiderRockstar

    if McClain gets a clean slate and you guys are assuming he’s going to help stuff the run, shed blockers, cover better, make plays behind the LOS, force fumbles, etc … why can’t we imagine Huff & Branch doing the same?

    time for some INT’s from Mike & Tyvon !!

    McClain’s problems were due to poor coaching, right?

    isn’t that who gets all the blame?

    if that’s true, I’m expecting miraculous transformations for EVERYBODY on defense, not just that turd we’ve got who happens to wear #55

  • DJ Johnny

    The 15-1 2011 GB Packers gave up the most passing yards in NFL HISTORY.

    Is this what the “new” NFL is supposed to look like?

    It did come back to burn them against NYG in the playoffs.

  • DJ Johnny

    1777.RaiderRockstar Says:
    May 30th, 2012 at 10:15 am
    KY was my 1st US experience

    ***

    O is called “Kentucky” because he has roots in Podunk

    Podunkers unite!

    I used to live in Clarksville,Tennessee. Is that “podunk”?

  • RaiderRockstar

    I used to live in Clarksville,Tennessee. Is that “podunk”?

    ***

    @DJG

    with a population that exceeds 132k ?

    I’m not sure man. I think compared to many of the city slickers in here yes – that would be fitting

    welcome to the club!!

  • DJ Johnny

    So much for Oakland becoming ‘Green Bay West’. Outside of Underwood and Pat Lee we have hardly seen any evidence of this GB West.

  • http://www.raiders.com Raider O

    DMAC & RR,

    I understand your points, and I agree that the DL can play better and help the secondary, and I agree that the new coaching staff have their own new scheme.
    IMHO you can’t teach a guy to become a Ballhawk. You can improve his awareness and coverage skills, but you can’t teach a guy to be ED Reed. Bartell and Spencer are 30 yo Vets who played for different coaches and schemes, but the results are similar.

  • DJ Johnny

    Thanks RR. I feel privalaged. When I lived there it was under 50k.

    Weird people there though.

    What is “podunk” in Cali.? Barstow?

  • RaiderRockstar

    @DJG

    in the census taken 12 years ago, Clarksville was 68% white

    expect some racial slurs from Sully and/or Kell

  • Marks hair

    Our d is still a mess.. We need to be the healthiest team in the nfl to make the playoffs this yr.

  • http://www.raiders.com Raider O

    RR,

    I enjoyed living in “Podunk”. People are easy going, friendly, the food is great, and I love southern and MW women, they know how to treat a man. I like the accent too.

  • Dan78

    Oh fudge the same thread

  • DJ Johnny

    1785.RaiderRockstar Says:
    May 30th, 2012 at 10:38 am
    @DJG

    in the census taken 12 years ago, Clarksville was 68% white

    expect some racial slurs from Sully and/or Kell

    Yes. I know it’s my fault too lol.

  • RaiderRockstar

    What is “podunk” in Cali.?

    ***

    @DJG

    209, baby!

  • RaiderRockstar

    new post. live chat today !!

  • DMAC

    New post suckas

  • DJ Johnny

    I’ve moved around alot throughout this great land. Clarksville was when I was a little kid. Lotta “kin” down there. Our fam has a weird Tennessee-Chicago connection.

    This is the kind of stuff you risk getting from me when there’s no new posts.

    The nite crew has not been taking the lack of new posts very well.

  • DJ Johnny

    And yet dumb ole DJ keeps on posting away.

  • Marks hair

    But we’re only 5 away from 1800

  • Intrepid

    The Judge Says:
    May 30th, 2012 at 7:02 am

    David Gilmour and Jimmy Herring

    and

    Best Band is certainly Pink Floyd—————————–best? never. damn good, though. are you familiar with syd barrett? one of these days boy.

  • Pingback: geri chairs

  • http://www.preciousbedding.com Donna

    The Raiders are now 3 – 8. Looks like what they saw didn’t come to fruition. That game today with the Bengals was pretty sorry. They threw all over us. Andy Dalton was looking like Aaron Rodgers today.