Personnel will determine 4-3 or 3-4 defense

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Personnel will determine 4-3 or 3-4 defense

It's the equivalent of the old chicken-or-the-egg conundrum -- will the Raiders switch to a 3-4 base defense, or will they stay in their 4-3?It depends, new coach Dennis Allen said today at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, on the personnel the Raiders have on their roster. Then again, the rookie coach also said he would adapt to what he had at his disposal.Chicken, meet egg.

"Those are really all the things we're still working through," Allen said. "We'll see, after we go through free agency, after we go through the draft, which grouping gives us the best chance to be successful. I would expect that we'll be very multiple in that regard."Allen ran a 4-3 as Denver's defensive coordinator last season and, with their current crop of defensive linemen, the Raiders are better suited to run the same as they have no true nose tackle to anchor a 3-4.The new coach should have a better handle on things on April 2 -- the date he said new coaches can first have players into their respective facilities."That's when we'll expect to have a full load of players in," Allen said, "and get an opportunity to start working with them and start talking football."Until then, Allen will continue to pow-wow with his handpicked defensive coordinator, Jason Tarver."I'll be involved," Allen said. "I'll be involved in both aspects of the team. Offense, defense, special teams, all of it. But I would say, especially this first year, I'll probably spend a little bit more time with the defense."Jason Tarver is an extremely bright young coach. He was a part of the San Francisco 49ers' defenses, and I thought they were extremely well coached, extremely talented. When I interviewed Jason, there was no doubt in my mind that this is a guy who had answers for everything. I'm extremely excited about working with him, and I think, with him and the defensive staff as well as myself being involved in the defense, I'm excited about our opportunities."No matter the alignment.

Carr, Murray treat Raiders' linemen to Warriors game, witness history

Carr, Murray treat Raiders' linemen to Warriors game, witness history

No NFL regular starting quarterback has been sacked fewer times than Derek Carr. Latavius Murray has 11 touchdowns in as many games, with steady production running between the tackles.

These Raiders aren’t dumb. Carr and Murray know their success comes in large part from the big boys up front.

They acknowledged that with an early holiday gift. Carr and Murray bought five offensive linemen courtside seats to Monday’s game between the Warriors and Indiana Pacers.

Donald Penn, Gabe Jackson, Menelik Watson, Rodney Hudson and Austin Howard all attended that game and enjoyed watching Klay Thompson put up 60 points in a blowout Warriors win.

Afterward the Raiders had a shootaround on the Oracle Arena floor, without much success. Howard missed a dunk, an effort he says was complicated by wearing slacks and dress shoes. Murray missed a layup. “I was fouled,” he said with a smile. Donald Penn missed a free throw, though “my shoulder hurt.”

Then Carr stepped up and buried a 3-pointer much to the remaining crowd’s delight.

Taking care of offensive linemen is common in these parts. Last year Carr bought his line flatscreen televisions. Amari Cooper gave everyone Beats headphones. Warriors tickets were on the docket this year, in addition to a dinner at Carr’s house last week.

The Raiders were able to have a little fun after Monday’s practice as they prepare for a road game at Kansas City on Thursday night.

Injury report: Joseph skips another practice despite Raiders taking it easy

Injury report: Joseph skips another practice despite Raiders taking it easy

ALAMEDA – The Raiders are taking in easy in practice prior to Thursday night’s game against Kansas City. They conducted a walk-through on Monday and Tuesday, the only day to increase intensity during this compacted work week, they practiced without helmets.

A lightened load is designed to help the Raiders be as physically ready for the rival Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday in a battle for control of the AFC West.

“I think you do the best you can to recover as we begin our preparations,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “That’s just part of it. I know late in my career, if you played on a Thursday, you’re going to take some soreness into the game, typically. The older guys for sure. Some of the younger guys even.”

The Raiders don’t need many repetitions at this stage, and can prep largely through mental work.

It’s also a bit easier because the division rivals know each other well, especially after meeting in Week 6. That should ease some burden of playing a huge game on a short week.

“I think both teams, from that standpoint, it helps a little bit,” Del Rio said. “You’re not scrambling to get to know somebody. I think both teams experience that.”

The short week takes a physical toll on healthy and hurt players alike. There isn’t enough recovery time for either. Those healthy are sore. Those hurt likely won’t have time to make it back.

That seems to be the case for rookie strong safety Karl Joseph. His injured toe has kept him out two light practices, making it tough to see how he could be ready to go on Thursday.

Defensive tackles Darius Latham and Stacy McGee were also out, along with edge rusher Shilique Calhoun.

Raiders participation report
Did not practice:
LB Shilique Calhoun (knee), S Karl Joseph (toe), DT Darius Latham (ankle), DT Stacy McGee (ankle)
Limited participation: LB Cory James (shoulder), LG Kelechi Osemele (knee)

Chiefs participation report
Limited participation:
OLB Tamba Hali (knee)
Full participation: WR Jeremy Maclin (groin), NT Dontari Poe (back), DE Kendall Reyes (knee), CB Phillip Gaines (knee)