Raiders quartertback Carson Palmer first sounded the alarm when he said he is concerned about the inability to work much with injured wide receivers Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore. Well, as it turns out, he isn’t the only one worried about the effect it’s going to have once they return.
On Tuesday, offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and Moore said they, too, are worried about not being able to get in as much time as needed in training camp and the first three exhibition games.
“It’s been a huge setback,” Knapp said, “because Denarius, I was very excited to start working with last year in the OTAs, watching all the games last year on tape. To miss the timing of that guy with our quarterback, it’s been tough. It’s been tough, I’ll be honest with you.”
Moore has missed all three exhibition games and hasn’t practiced since Aug. 4 because of a lingering hamstring injury. Ford has been sidelined with a left foot injury since the Arizona Cardinals game Aug. 17.
“I’m very concerned,” Moore said. “As far as getting timing down with the quarterback, that’s very important. And actually being out there and repping each play, getting each concept down. It’s just mental errors, too, that you have to be aware of.”
Moore said he is making progress. He added that he is hopeful that the time he spent with Palmer last season and the offseason workouts will expedite the reacclimation process.
“Yes, it is some confidence right there but, then again, that was last year,” Moore said. “This is a new year, and you’ve got to prove yourself again. That’s what my mind-set is right now, just hurry up and get back out there so I can showcase it again.”
The flip side to the equation is that rookies Juron Criner and Rod Streater have received increased reps and playing time in games with Ford and Moore out so much.
That, in turn, should reap dividends for the Raiders in the long run, Knapp said.
“It has given the opportunity for these young guys to grow and, in the long haul, when Denarius comes back healthy actually might have been a blessing for us.”
Coach Dennis Allen said Ford still isn’t able to run on his injured foot. However, Ford was able to catch some balls from the JUGS machine, and he watched practice without the protective boot on his foot.
— Ford, Moore, defensive tackle Richard Seymour, linebacker Aaron Curry, center Stefen Wisniewski and cornerback Pat Lee did not practice Tuesday.
Tight end Richard Gordon returned to practice after missing some time with sore ribs.
— The Washington Redskins released veteran tight end Chris Cooley on Tuesday morning. When asked about the potential of pursuing Cooley, Allen issued his standard response.
“We’re going to look at anybody that comes available, and I don’t care what the position is,” Allen said. “If we feel like a guy can make us better, then we’re going to look at it. I wouldn’t single out the tight end position.
“What you do in the NFL is, you try to get better every single day, and part of the deal is, when people come across the waiver wire or people get released from other teams, you’re looking. So, yeah, we’ll look look. We’ll look at anybody.”
Allen anointed Brandon Myers the leading candidate to replace released starter Kevin Boss at tight end. Second-year players Davis Ausberry and Gordon remain in the mix for the job.
At one point, it seemed as if Ausberry was being groomed for the role. However, his play has been inconsistent in training camp and the three games so far.
“David’s been a little up and down,” Allen said. “He’s really made some nice plays athletically and then he’s had his mental lapses. But he’s still a young player, and he’s a young player with talent, and I’m excited about getting an opportunity to work with him.”
Cooley is subject to the waiver process, which means he can be claimed by another team within the next 24 hours. If he clears waivers, he is free to sign with any team, including the Redskins.
— Doesn’t sound as if there’s any reason for concern regarding kicker Sebastian Janikowski and his sore groin.
So said Allen, once again.
“I don’t anticipate that being any issue at all,” Allen said.
As for kicking Thursday night, Allen said Janikowski is healthy enough to do so, but that doesn’t mean that the Raiders will rush him back, given the opener is less than two weeks away.
— Knapp knows all too well how loud it gets at the CenturyLink Field in Seattle, the site of the Raiders final exhibition game. If Knapp has his way, it will be plenty loud for the Raiders on Thursday.
“Oh, goodness, I’m hoping it does,” Knapp said. “I would love it to be. We’ve been working on silent cadence in practice for that reason. Spending my year up there in 2009, I did find out some information how they developed that stadium and the echo they created. It is deafening. It’s hard to concentrate in there
“And that’s one reason why, what was it, the Giants had 15 false starts in one game? It’s deafening. So, I’m hoping that we do get that effect because that would be good for our ball club.”
— Knapp found out all he needed to know about rookie wide receiver Rod Streater during one particular sequence early in training camp.
“I’m surprised at how much moxie he’s got for a rookie,” Knapp said. “I kind of knew early on. There was a situation at camp, about week 2, where I lost my vocal chords on the kid and later in that practice, he comes back and makes a big play.
“I pulled him aside and said, ‘That’s exactly what you need to do. If you make a mistake, don’t let somebody yelling at you, somebody booing you or somebody critiquing you on the sideline affect how you do the next down.’ For a rookie, he shows a lot of moxie.”
Streater has caught 18 passes for 165 yards in three exhibition games, tops on the Raiders.
— Criner flashed during offseason workouts every day the media were permitted to watch the proceedings. It wasn’t until Saturday night against the Detroit Lions that we were treated to his penchant for making the difficult look routine.
For good reason, too, Knapp said. It’s easy for young players to shine in offseason workouts, it’s quite another once the learning curve gets accelerated in training camp.
“Yeah, that is a common thing with young guys, especially receivers,” Knapp said. “In the OTAs, when we’re in start-up mode, brand new offense, you don’t teach a whole lot. You just teach the core stuff and get a lot of feel for the core stuff. Once we go to training camp, though, we got to expand our book.
“So, a lot of information came his way and there was a little more thinking going on. But in the last seven days here, you can see how his game has improved. He’s not thinking as much, so he’s executing at a higher level.”
Sure enough, Criner caught two passes for touchdowns against the Lions. Both times, it was his ability to turn a difficult throw into a reception that keyed the plays.
For his part, Criner said he realized that it would take time to learn the offense and reach the point where he could let his ability take over, without thinking so much.
“Yeah, that’s kind of what was expected,” Criner said. “The coaches know that the guys have got a lot of information coming in, coming into a totally new, different style of offense and offensive play. So they’re going to be on you about (missed assignments) and stuff, but they definitely understand that we’re getting it down. But at this point we should be pretty much familiar with the playbook.”
— Roscoe Parrish made his Raiders debut at practice today. He said it was an easy call signing with the Raiders once they called Monday upon his release from the San Diego Chargers.
Now, he is primed to take over the punt-returning duties and do whatever else is asked of him by the Raiders. He also is capable of returning kicks and playing slot receiver, roles he handled from time to time during his seven years with the Buffalo Bills.
Yet, he makes no bones about it, returning punts is his speciality, and that’s what the Raiders are looking for most from him, at least in the short term.
“I’ve been (returning punts) since growing up and just coming over here when they need a returner is kind of like, a good feeling because that’ what I do,” Parrish said. “Just be back there and make plays and just not going to take anything for granted, just go out there. I don’t know how much I’m going to play Thursday. Look forward to being in that black and silver.”
Allen said he is intrigued about Parrish’s punt returning skills, ever mindful of Parrish’s past success in that regard.
“I like the fact that there for a couple years he was in the tops of the league in terms of being able to return the ball,” Allen said. “The fact that he can get under it and catch it and make a move and get upfield and gain some yards for us in the return game. And that’s an area that we got to get better at.”