Handicapping Raiders' Pro Bowl chances


Handicapping Raiders' Pro Bowl chances

The Raiders should want nothing to do with the the Pro Bowl.Yes, it would be nice to be selected for the NFL's annual all-star game. No doubt a free trip to Hawaii in the dead of winter would be a welcome reward at the conclusion of a grinding season.But if you're "playing" at Aloha Stadium on Jan. 29, 2012, that means that neither you nor your team is in the Super Bowl the following Sunday. And that, is the true end game for every player in the NFL.Still, it wouldn't be football without some pigskin prognostications. So, as we enter to the fourth quarter of the 2011 regular season, a look at some Raiders who should garner consideration for the Pro Bowl as fan voting for the exhibition game runs through Dec. 19, with players and coaches voting that week and the initial Pro Bowl teams announced Dec. 27RELATED: Handicapping 49ers' Pro Bowl chances
NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTS--Punter Shane Lechler: The best punter in the history of the game -- just look at the stats -- will be making his TKth trip to the game. And really, the 12th-year veteran might not deserve it anymore than this season, or have you already forgotten that 80-yard bomb he unleashed against Chicago? He is leading the fan voteby a wide margin.
--Placekicker Sebastian Janikowski: Finally, mercifully, the man known as SeaBass and first-round draft pick from 2000 will get his overdue recognition. At least, he should. He's made 22 of 24 field goals and he tied the NFL record with his 63-yarder in the season opener. Janikowski, who also converted a franchise-record six field goals against Chicago despite a gimpy left hamstring, might actually be the Raiders' team MVP. He too is leading the fan voteby a wide margin.
--Strong safety Tyvon Branch: Quietly, at least on a national level, he's put together the finest season of his four-year career. Still, what he lacks in national appeal -- he was only third in fan voting, behind Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu and Buffalo's George Wilson -- he more than makes up for in gritty play against both the run and the pass. That he has only one interception belies his importance. "He is the epitome of a Pro Bowl player in my mind," said Raiders defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan. "Anybody that knows football, sees the impact he has on a game."SERIOUS CONSIDERATION--Defensive tackle Richard Seymour: He not only has name recognition, but stats, as in six sacks. The TK-time Pro Bowler is second in fan voting behind Baltimore's Haloti Ngata and is highly respected among his peers, even if he gets kicked out of the occasional game for throwing a punch.
--Fullback Marcel Reece: A matchup nightmare with his myriad skill set, Reece is no mere lead blocking back. Opposing teams have to actually gameplan for the converted receiver who is third in fan voting, behind San Diego's Jacob Hester and Baltimore's Vonta Leach. Reece missing four games due to injury, though, might work against him.
--Left tackle Jared Veldheer: Just because he's not in the top 5 in the fan vote does not mean he's not deserving. Take a look at the job he did at Minnesota in shutting out Jared Allen. Then throw in the relatively low number of sacks he's surrendered and penalties for which he's been called all season in protecting the QB's blind side. Yes, the second-year lineman He deserves serious consideration.ALSO IN THE MIX--Free Safety Michael Huff: Fresh off being named second-team All-Pro last season, Huff suddenly has name recognition with fans, ranking fifth in the vote behind Baltimore's Ed Reed, San Diego's Eric Weddle, Pittsburgh's Ryan Clark and Indianapolis' Antoine Bethea. It would take a lot of withdrawals and one of those guys going to the Super Bowl to get Huff to Hawaii, though.
--Strongside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley: He's not in the top 5 for outside linebackers but he does have seven seven sacks and there are two Ravens and a Steeler in the top 5.
--Special teamer Rock Cartwright: A highlight of the Raiders season was Cartwright taking the direct snap and rumbling downfield on a game-turning fake punt at Houston. He is third in fan voting, behind the Ravens' Brendon Ayanbadejo and Pittsburgh's Arnaz Battle.
--Long snapper Jon Condo: Hey, Lechler and Janikowski can't do their jobs without Condo, right? Well, he already went to the Pro Bowl two years ago, so that might be held against him.
--Left guard Stefen Wisniewski: That a rookie is fifth in the fan vote speaks to his popularity. His ability to transition from guard to center and back again should only help his candidacy with Li'l Wiz's peers and opposing coaches.
--Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly: A Pro Bowl alternate a year ago, Kelly's play has maintained, if not improved, as evidenced by his 5 12 sacks with four games to play. He'd need some serious help from the coaches and players, though, as he is not in the top 5 of the fan vote.BEFORE YOU ASK --Running back Darren McFadden: He was the most explosive back in the NFL and its leading ground gainer through five weeks and seemed primed for the Pro Bowl. But he has not played since Oct. 23, and while was was still shockingly second in the fan vote to Arian Foster, he has become an object of scorn, of sorts, for frustrated Raiders fans of late.
--Cornerback Stanford Routt: He's acquitted himself quite well, thank you very much, as the Raiders' top cornerback in the wake of Nnamdi Asomugha's departure. But even with a Top 5 "burn rate," he's not in the top 5 of the fan vote.
--Kick returner Jacoby Ford: A threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball, unfortunately for the Raiders, and his Pro Bowl chances, he has not touched the ball since Nov. 10, when he went out with a sprained left foot.

Injury report: Raiders rule DT Stacy McGee out vs Buccaneers

Injury report: Raiders rule DT Stacy McGee out vs Buccaneers

BRADENTON, Fla. – Defensive tackle Stacy McGee has been the best Raiders interior pass rusher this season. He has 2.5 sacks, just below Khalil Mack’s team-leading trio.

The Raiders haven’t gotten great pressure up the middle and must generate some without McGee on Sunday in Tampa Bay.

McGee was formally ruled out following Friday’s practice at IMG Academy, on the team’s official injury report.

He was the only player ruled out of Sunday’s game. Everyone else listed on the injury report was considered questionable. That list includes offensive tackles Menelik Watson and Vadal Alexander, special teams players Brynden Trawick (shoulder) and Taiwan Jones (knee) and receiver Andre Holmes.

The Raiders are fairly healthy for this stage in the season, though McGee will be missed.

“Stacy has been playing really good football for us,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He’s banged up this week. I think more likely next week for us with him. But yeah, next guy up. That’s what we do. So Darius Latham will play more, Denico (Autry) will play more, Big Dan (Williams) will play more. Those guys have to do their thing. We expect to play good defense and we know we got ourselves a challenge ahead.”

The interior defensive line has reinforcements on the way. Mario Edwards Jr. is inching closer to a return. The team brought him out to Florida this week, and while he hasn’t been seen during the open portions of practice, he is doing rehab work with trainers.

“He’s just on the side,” Del Rio said. “Until we get the clearance for him to join us in practice, he’ll continue with the trainers. .. They haven’t given him the green light, so he’ll continue to work with them until then.”

Raiders Status Report

DL Stacy McGee (knee)
RB Taiwan Jones (knee), OT Menelik Watson (calf), S Brynden Trawick (shoulder), WR Andre Holmes (hip), RT Vadal Alexander (ankle)

Buccaneers Status Report

RB Doug Martin (hamstring), DT Clinton McDonald (hamstring)
DE Robert Ayres (ankle), C Joe Hawley (ankle), DT Gerald McCoy (calf)

Broncos RB Anderson undergoing knee surgery


Broncos RB Anderson undergoing knee surgery

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that Broncos running back C.J. Anderson will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Thursday and that the extent of the damage will determine how long he's out.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team hasn't addressed specifics of Anderson's knee injury while awaiting medical reports.

Earlier Thursday, Anderson disputed a report that he had told people close to him that he was done for the season.

Anderson was injured on an 11-yard run Monday night against Houston but returned to the game and ran 14 more times for 84 yards and a TD, finishing with 107 yards in his best performance of the season.