By Jerry McDonald
Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver apologized Monday for making an obscene gesture towards an NFL official and the club said any discipline would be handled internally.
When cornerback Mike Jenkins broke up a pass intended for Pittsburgh running back La’Veon Bell in the third quarter Sunday in a 21-18 win by the Raiders, Tarver protested a penalty for a hit on a defenseless receiver.
A film clip caught Tarver twice giving an obscene gesture and appearing to deliver a matching expletive. The flag was picked up when a second official said there was no foul.
In a statement released by the team, Tarver said, “I apologize for my action on the sideline of yesterday’s game. It was in the heat of the moment, and I regret drawing attention away from the Raiders players and what they accomplished.”
Raiders coach Dennis Allen referred to Tarver’s apology when asked about the incident at his weekly press conference and added, “The only thing I’ll say is I think he’s done an outstanding job with our defense. I think he’s a fiery and emotional guy and our players have really taken to that. I think they’ve embraced that type of attitude and he has the defense playing at high level right now.”
Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN.com, “It was an emotional outburst by a coach in the heat of a game. We don’t condone those actions and we’ll handle it in-house.”
Former NFL director of officials Mike Pereira wrote on his Fox Sports blog that he contacted the league office regarding the incident and anticipated Tarver would receive a fine.
In 2010, the NFL fined Titans defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil $40,000 for the same obscene gesture, although he had previously incurred a $20,000 fine for unsportsman-like conduct toward an official.
The NFL typically allows teams to discipline coaches, stepping in only if it feels the punishment is not sufficient.
A league spokesman referred all inquires about Tarver to the Raiders, saying the club would handle discipline.
• Left tackle Jared Veldheer was visiting a doctor in Los Angeles to check on the progress of his surgically repaired left triceps.
“He’ll have a check-up and we’ll have a little bit better understanding what the time frame is for him to be back after today,” Allen said.
Linebacker Miles Burris (knee) is expected to come off the Physically Unable to Perform list Wednesday and practice for the first time this season after having knee surgery last January.
The Raiders then have three weeks to determine whether to put Burris on the 53-man roster, waive him, or put him on injured reserve.
Left tackle Menelik Watson (calf) could practice Wednesday as well, Allen said.
• Even accounting for more conservative play-calling with an 18-point lead, Allen said there were plays to be made in the second half when the Raiders managed only 35 yards of offense and one first down.
But he also defended protecting a lead when the defense was playing as well as it was.
“I think you’ve got to understand how you’re going to win games, and when the defense is playing really good, you’ve got to protect the football and you’ve got to let your defense go out and win the game for you,” Allen said.
• Right tackle Matt McCants more than held his own with Pittsburgh left outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley. Woodley, the Steelers’ leader with five sacks, had no tackles and one quarterback hit.
McCants said Sunday he had room for improvement and noted the Steelers had attempted only one blitz on his side in the game.
“Every time we put him in there he continues to do some good things,” Allen said.
McCants has started the last three games in place of the injured Tony Pashos (hip).