ALAMEDA -- Newly acquired Aaron Curry will start at weakside linebacker Sunday in place of Quentin Groves, Raiders coach Hue Jackson said Friday.
"Hes the starting Will (weakside linebacker) on this football team," Jackson said. "Right now. I didnt bring him here to look at him, to figure it out, or anything like that. Hes the starting Will on this football team. Period.
When asked about the challenge of acclimating Curry to Oakland's system, Jackson expressed total confidence.
I think its easy. Theres some terminology stuff that we work through. But well work from sunup to sundown to get him ready," he said. "In my mind, Im not making a trade to ease a guy into anything. We made a trade because I feel like this guy can help our football team, and hes going to be the starting Will.
Aside from the new team, Curry will be moving to a new position. He's taking the challenge in stride.
"Not a big deal," Curry said about the move from strong-side linebacker to weak-side. "It would seem like it but as far as the scheme goes, no matter what you name the linebacker its pretty much what I played when I played up north. Its just going out there, similar keys, some different fits but its all going to boil down to getting to the football."
Groves, among others in the team's linebacking corps, has been under the spotlight for Oakland's inability to stop the run. Sunday against the Texans, Groves failed to cover Lawrence Vickers out of the backfield on Houston's second-to-last drive, but the fullback dropped the pass from Matt Schaub despite being wide open for a sure touchdown.
Groves also was guilty of failing to hustle to the sideline on Houston's final drive, resulting in a flag being thrown for 12 men on the field. But the penalty was declined by rule because Texans guard Mike Brisiel was called for a face mask penalty.
Curry fell out of favor in Seattle this season, losing his starting spot to K.J. Wright. The former Butkus Award winner at Wake Forest has just 5 career sacks and only 22 tackles this season.
Friday Jackson emphasized his level of confidence in the 6-2, 225-pounder.
I like him. Im glad hes here. Hes going to play Will linebacker for us," Jackson said. "Im very excited to have him. As I said yesterday, I dont get into what all happened wherever he was. I just know what I know and what I see, and thats how I go about it. Hes on our team. I brought him here for a reason, and hes going to play.
Curry is the seventh former first-rounder on the Raiders' defensive side of the roster, alongside Richard Seymour (No. 6 overall, 2001), John Henderson (No. 9 overall, 2002), Michael Huff (No. 7, 2006), Kamerion Wimbley (No. 13, 2006), Jarvis Moss (No. 17, 2007) and Rolando McClain (No. 8, 2010).
He emphasized Friday that he's ready to play football, regardless of the color of his jersey, or the short time he's been in Oakland.
"When you look at it from the outside in it looks weird but Ive been practicing all week whether I was wearing blue or whether I was wearing black," Curry said. "Ive been working on my linebacking skills for the last four weeks, just honing all my skills and learning everything about football, not just about where I was playing in our defense. So Im prepared to play football. When it comes down to it, who has the ball?"
When asked to pinpoint what Curry does well, Jackson painted with a broad brush.
I think he tackles really well. I think he takes on stuff at the point of attack. I think he rushes the quarterback extremely well," Oakland's head coach said. "I know a lot of people say there are weaknesses here and there, based on what you hear. Thats not what I saw.
"Obviously we want to make sure that we show off his strengths and not his weaknesses, but what Ive seen today in practice and what Ive seen on videotape is exactly what Im getting, and Im looking forward to it.