Heyward-Bey ordered back in court July 23


Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was informed at a pre-hearing conference Thursday that he is due back in court July 23 for his next go-round as a result of his being charged with driving under the influence.
Heyward-Bey went before Judge Donna Little at Superior Court in San Francisco on Thursday morning. At that time, Judge Little told Heyward-Bey that a jury trial will be set July 23 unless the case is resolved.
Assistant district attorney Alex Bastian said by phone that Heyward-Bey was present Thursday and that Heyward-Bey is slated to appear again in Dept. 17 at the Hall of Justice in less than a month.
The Raiders start training camp in Napa on July 29. Raiders coach Dennis Allen last month said that he and the Raiders are keeping tabs of Heyward-Bey’s legal issue.
“It’s a situation that we’re aware of and we’re monitoring,” Allen said. “We’ll see how the whole legal proceedings carry out and then we’ll kind of go from there.”
Heyward-Bey, 25, was arrested and charged with one count of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and one count of driving while having a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, in the early morning hours April 7. He was arraigned May 31 after blood-alcohol tests revealed 0.12 and 0.13 levels.
Heyward-Bey could not be reached for comment. Last month, he said: “I just kind of regret bringing bad attention to the team.”
He entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment, which he did not attend.
Heyward-Bey’s lawyer, Ivan Golde, said Wednesday that there might be some procedural issues related to the traffic stop and arrest.
“After investigating all the procedures and all the chain of events, it appears not everything was done according to the rule of law, and there may be some questions that need to go before a jury,” Golde said.


Raiders assistant trainer Chris Cortez is a hero


A great story emerged from a potentially tragic one Saturday when Raiders assistant trainer Chris Cortez helped pull a woman out of a sinking car in the Oakland estuary.

Here’s a link to the story on our website, where we re-tell the story Cortez relayed to Jeanette Thompson from Raiders.com in the latest installment of their “Behind the Shield” video show.

Here’s a video from the story that aired on NBC BayArea:


Report: Raiders interested in RB Cedric Benson


With both Steve Corkran and Jerry McDonald on vacation this week, we’re a little slow with this news. Sorry!

It sounds as if the Raiders may not be content with their running back situation behind starter Darren McFadden. ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Raiders are showing interest in free agent running back Cedric Benson.

Benson, who has topped the 1,000-yard mark the past three seasons, has not drawn much interest from teams. He’s had off-field problems each of the past two seasons — assault charges that resulted in Benson being suspended for three games this season.

McFadden, who missed nine games this past season with a foot injury, is at full strength now. However, he’s missed at least three games in each of his first four seasons in the NFL. And, with Michael Bush leaving the Raiders to sign with the Chicago Bears, Oakland is left with second-year man Taiwan Jones and ex-Carolina Panther Mike Goodson as its primary backups at running back. Jones had 16 carries for 73 yards for the Raiders in 2011, while Goodson had no carries with Carolina.

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie has maintained throughout the offseason that he doesn’t have the financial flexibility to sign big-name free agents. Given the lack of interest in Benson, though, it’s unlikely he would be seeking a huge payday.

With that in mind, do you think the Raiders should sign Benson?


Huff looking forward to playing in a ‘real defense’


Free safety Michael Huff seems to have a little extra pep in his steps these days. He’s healthy again, he’s around his teammates and he finally gets a chance to play in a defensive scheme that highlights his abilities.
Huff is of the belief that the Raiders defense was too predictable in his first six NFL seasons and that late owner Al Davis’ heavy hand on the defensive philosophy and scheme limited the players’ ability to perform at peak level.
“We’re just looking forward to playing for a defensive head coach, getting to play a real defense,” Huff said in reference to defensive-minded head coach Dennis Allen. “So, I’m definitely looking forward to that this year.”
When pressed on what he meant by “a real defense,” Huff didn’t mince his words.
“Nothing personal but, obviously, before with Al (Davis), rest in peace, he had his hands in all the defense,” Huff said. “He had all his little things he liked to do. Now with D.A. out there, we got all kinds of blitzes, we got 3-4, 4-3 fronts, just a lot of different variety and a lot of different things going on. So, I’m going to love it.”
Huff’s role in the defense figures to be wide-reaching, with more blitzing, playing more cornerback and taking on a role similar to that of Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson.
“That’s what it seems like, just a lot of variety and doing it all,” Huff said. “You never know where he’s going to line up at. He’s just out there making plays. Hopefully I’ll kind of emulate him and play like him.”
Huff said the Raiders defense was too predictable in the past. Now, opposing offenses are going to be forced to figure out what he and his teammates are doing from play to play.
Accomplishing this goal entails mixing up defensive fronts, well-disguised blitzes and a varied scheme. Allen has said in the past that he wants his defense to be “multiple.”
“Everybody knew,” Huff said. “I’m in the middle of the field, I’m in the post, we’re pretty much man-to-man on the outside, it was pretty simple. We really didn’t blitz much. We let our front four get after them. That’s how it was, so we dealt with it.”

Terrelle Pryor has spent most of the past 11 months or so learning what he can from the likes of Carson Palmer, Jason Campbell, Kyle Boller and Matt Leinart, as well as numerous Raiders coaches.
In his quest to absorb even more insight into the nuances of succeeding at quarterback in the NFL, Pryor reached out to former Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon.
“We’re talking in contact with Rich Gannon and we’re going to get together with him,” Pryor said. “We’ll create something that has to do with going by Knapp (Greg, offensive coordinator) and coach Flip’s (John DeFilippo, quarterbacks coach) scheme. Obviously I’m going to take the playbook and grab a couple of receivers, maybe some younger high school guys, maybe some NFL guys and just run the script that I have and have them run the same routes and go through my reads.
“Can’t get that enough. Like I said I don’t take a lot of reps so I have to rep it by myself even if it has to be with a ghost to do my footsteps that’s what I’ll have to do. I’ll get better. I’ll be working hard.”
Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Pryor is making consistent progress in his first full offseason. Pryor arrived via the supplemental draft in late August last year and spent most of his time catching up.
“He’s made progress,” Allen said. “Still a long way away, but he’s made significant progress and the thing that I’ve liked about him has been his demeanor and the way he’s been willing to work and get better. As long as he does that, he’s got enough athletic talent that eventually he’s going to become a player.”

Defensive tackle Travis Ivey suffered a concussion while lifting weights the other day, Allen said. Ivey got hit in the head by a weight bar. Ivey’s injury isn’t serious, according to Allen.
Linebacker Aaron Curry’s knees are bothering him, Allen said, so he was held out of practice Wednesday as a “precautionary” measure.
Wide reciever Denarius Moore spent the day watching practice from the sideline, while recovering from the right hamstring injury he suffered Tuesday.
Allen said that Moore will be fine and ready to roll by the start of training camp in Napa on July 29.

Middle linebacker Rolando McClain recorded an interception of a Palmer pass late in practice. Those are the kinds of plays Allen is counting upon from McClain in his third season.
McClain declined an interview request after practice.

Allen remains convinced that running back Darren McFadden is nothing short of 100 percent and ready to pick up where he left off last season before a foot injury ended his season after only seven games.
“He looks extremely good to me,” Allen said. “He looks fast. He looks explosive. He knows what to do. He knows how to do it. And as we all know the key is, can we keep this guy healthy? And if we can, I would expect him to have a good year.”
McFadden has looked sharp at practice since he returned in early May. There aren’t any lingering signs of the foot injury that forced him to miss most of the final 10 games, and he is doing everything one would expect from an elite back.
“I feel better and better every day, it seems,” McFadden said. “A lot of my soreness is gone. I don’t really get sore after one hard practice to the next. So that’s the good thing for me; it’s a good sign that I can go out there two or three days back-to-back and keep going.”
More important, McFadden said, he won’t enter training camp with any concern about his durability or status.
“It’s great to be able to do it because, coming back from an injury like that, a lot of it probably plays on your mind,” McFadden said. “You’re wondering if you can do the things that you did at first. Just being out here and running around, I see that I can do those things full speed, so I don’t think it will be a problem for me.”

With Moore sidelined most of the past two days, rookie Rod Streater received increased playing time in practice. Call it a reward for a job well done to this point, Allen said.
“He’s earned the right to get the reps,” Allen said. “He’s done a nice job. He’s a young guy. He’s continuing to improve but he’s obviously caught our eye enough to think he’s earned the right to get a couple of first-team reps.”
When asked for a scouting report, here’s what Allen said of Streater:
“He’s caught the ball extremely well, he’s run very good routes, he knows how to get open and he has been explosive as a receiver,” Allen said. “Again, he’s still a young guy, he’s still learning, he’s still making those rookie mistakes. But from an athletic standpoint, from a skill set standpoint, he’s really impressive.”