By Steve Corkran
Friday, September 20th, 2013 at 11:37 am in Oakland Raiders.
ALAMEDA — Coach Dennis Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver regularly heap praise upon right defensive end Lamarr Houston at every turn. Slowly but surely, others outside the Bay Area are taking notice.
Houston has a golden opportunity to bolster his stature, given the Raiders play in front of a national TV audience Monday night and Denver Broncos standout left offensive tackle Ryan Clady is out for the season with a foot injury.
Houston figures to see a whole bunch of Chris Clark, a fifth-year player making his first start at left tackle in the NFL and first of any kind since 2011.
General manager Reggie McKenzie on Wednesday also made it clear just how much the Raiders value Houston by saying they are attempting to sign him to a contract extension right now.
Allen said Houston, in his fourth year, still has room for improvement.
“He’s coming into his own as a veteran, but he’s still relatively young,” Allen said. “There’s a lot of growth and a lot of improvement that he can make. … It’s just a matter of how hard are they going to work at it, and Lamarr’s worked extremely hard at it.”
Houston has taken on more of a leadership role this season on the heels of the departures of veteran defensive linemen Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour. He also switched from the left side to the right.
“He has the skills to play almost anywhere along the front,” Tarver said. “He has skills to drop into coverage if we needed him to. … He’s running that show up there up front, so we’re excited with where he’s going.”