Raiders Notebook: Cornerstones Getting Healthy

Raiders Notebook: Cornerstones Getting Healthy


ALAMEDA For the most part, the Raiders walking wounded have a little more bounce to their respective injured steps.Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (ankle) and tight end Zach Miller(foot), neither of whom played in the Raiders 23-20 overtime defeat ofKansas City on Nov. 7, and run-stuffing defensive tackle John Henderson(foot), who has not played since the home opener on Sept. 19, allpracticed limited Wednesday.It was a decent amount, hopefully it will be more Thursday, coach TomCable said of the workload the trio took on in practice. We want tokind of put them through some things today and see how they feelThursday. If they feel like they did at the end of practice, wereprobably going to get more and more out of them.Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring), meanwhile, joined fellow receiver ChazSchilens (knee) on the sidelines as he did not practice either.According to Cable, Heyward-Bey strained the hamstring in practice lastTuesday.
Its just sore, Cable said. Its a real slight strain, not realserious, but its one of those things where of you push it too much tooquick, it could become serious.Schilens has not played as all after undergoing surgery during trainingcamp. He appeared to be making progress before the bye week.Its not so much a setback, Cable said. Its responded really wellwhen were on the field running straight ahead. Its just a matter ofbeing able to cut and coming in and out of cuts. Still not very smooth.And still not very promising news for a receiver.Think the first-place Raiders, riding their first three-game winningstreak since 2002 and armed with the experience of beating the Steelersin their house last season, could enter Pittsburgh a tad overconfident?I wont let that happen, Cable said. We havent done a damn thing,and thats been our motto. We have got to keep grinding and fightingand going to work and cutting it loose and doing what we do.If I ever feel like we lose sight of that, Ill reel them back in. But thats not us. At least, not yet.Cable also acknowledged that there are a few doubters out there. And for good reason.Were 5-4, he said. We missed a kick in Arizona. We didnt score atouchdown in San Francisco. And those two things, from a coachsstandpoint, really gnaw it you because you kind of know what your teamshould be (record-wise, 7-2). But were not. So, in order to accomplishanything, we have got to keep doing our job, which is (keep) gettingbetter.The Raiders, like the rest of the football-watching world, took inSunday nights Pittsburgh-New England game and saw the Patriots offensespread out the Steelers and pick them apart.Naturally, you wonder of a blueprint, of sorts, was provided theRaiders. Thing is, the Raiders are really not built that way on offense.We have to be who we are, Cable said. At the end of the day, be who you are and you might mix in a few things.Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said receiver Hines Ward (concussion) has been cleared to play.But were going to continue to monitor him day-to-day, Tomlin said,as always is the case as guys come off of that kind of injury.

Notes: 'Carr to Crabtree was special' in Raiders win

Notes: 'Carr to Crabtree was special' in Raiders win

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree was a non-factor in last week’s loss to Kansas City, an aberration of the highest order this season.

It proved to be just a one-game lull.

Crabtree was an offensive catalyst yet again Sunday in a 33-16 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He had eight receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown, including a long bomb that changed the game.

Quarterback Derek Carr went big on 3rd-and-5 late in the second quarter, sending a perfectly-arched ball down the right sideline that Crabtree caught over his shoulder at full gallop for a 56-yard gain that set up the Raiders’ second touchdown in five minutes.

Crabtree got it, again on third down, using a quick slant just beyond the goal line.

He refused to speak with the media again, but those around him were again wowed by his impact on the game, especially when Jaguars corner shadowed and largely shut Amari Cooper down.

“Michael Crabtree made some incredible plays today for us,” Del Rio said. “…Throughout the game he came up big for us and I thought he play really, really well for us. Obviously our quarterback is a good player. He did a good job for us hooking up with different receivers, but today Carr to Crabtree was special.”

King shows speed: Raiders punter Marquette King doesn’t have to run much. Players at his position usually don’t, except as a last resort when chasing a return.

King ran forward this time, prompted by a uncharacteristically poor Jon Condo snap. He didn’t have room to punt so he took off running, converting a 4th-and-24 with a 27-yard run down the sideline. It was a move that showed great athleticism, one he

“I just picked the ball up and started running,” King said. “After I passed the orange sticks, I got a little light-headed and realized ‘I’m really running the ball right now.’ It’s been since high school that I ran from the punting formation. I came in as a wide receiver for Fort Valley State and was really good at punting so they stuck with me.”

King ran out without getting hit – a plus in the coaches minds – and extended a drive that ended with a game-icing touchdown from Latavius Murray.

Too many field goals: Sebastian Janikowski had four field goals on Sunday night, which isn’t always a positive sign for the Raiders offense. They let too many touchdown-scoring chances escape, which bothered offensive players despite the fact they scored 33 points.

“When we’re in the red zone, we want points,” Murray said. “That’s most important, but we need touchdowns over field goals. We have a lot of work to do and we’ll keep striving to get seven points over three.”

Winning turnover battle: The Raiders forced three turnovers against Jacksonville and didn’t give up any.

David Amerson had an interception. So did Reggie Nelson. Andre Holmes recovered a punt muffed by Rashad Greene. That’s a recipe for success, something that’s become common for this Raiders team.

They’ve forced three turnovers without coughing it up three times this season. They’ve ended up with a plus turnover ratio six times in seven games.

Notes: Raiders LB Bruce Irvin recorded his fourth forced fumble of the season against Jacksonville, which are the most by a Raiders since Nick Roach equaled that total in 2013. …DE Khalil Mack had his second sack in as many games, and now leads the team with three. … Nelson nabbed his second interception this year and has 32 since 2007, a total that leads all active safeties. …RB Latavius Murray has five touchdowns in seven games, the highest total in that span since 2005. … The Raiders are 4-0 on the road, a mark that hasn’t been matched since 2000.

Del Rio gets a game ball in triumphant return to Jacksonville

Del Rio gets a game ball in triumphant return to Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jack Del Rio spent nearly nine full seasons as Jacksonville Jaguars head coach. He had three winning seasons and two playoff appearances in that time, before he was fired during the 2011 season.

He hadn’t been back to Jacksonville in a professional capacity since, but returned Sunday with a new team ready to face his old one.

The Raiders head coach publicly downplayed the impact of this return, and did so again Saturday in a speech to the team. He wanted players to locked on the game, not storylines surrounding the head coach.

“Jack said to focus on being a great teammate and having each other’s back,” Raiders cornerback David Amerson said. “With him coaching here before, we definitely wanted to have his back. We wanted to get him this ‘W,’ it was big for him and our team.”

As much as Del Rio wanted to turn attention away from his return, coming back to Jacksonville was a big deal.

His family united at EverBank Field on Sunday, a place where they had so many memories as the children grew up. He has friends in town and within the organization. He brought the Jaguars back to relevance, and it has fallen on hard times since he left.

The Jaguars are 18-57 since Del Rio left, mark set after the Raiders’ 33-16 victory on Sunday afternoon.

His players understood the moment and honored it once victory was secure. Quarterback Derek Carr gave Del Rio a game ball after his triumphant return to old stomping grounds.

Jacksonville’s a place Del Rio will remember always fondly.

“(There were) a lot of great memories here,” Del Rio said. “It was a great place to spend nine years raising the family and being blessed with the opportunity to lead the Jaguar franchise. I was very appreciative of that time. I met a lot of good folks here; a lot of good memories, a lot of good friends. It is good to come back here and get a good effort in this stadium.”

That’s as reflective as Del Rio would openly get during this process, which comes as no shock to the players who work with him every day.

“Coach is cool, calm and conservative,” edge rusher Khalil Mack said. “The motto is the same each week, even here (in Jacksonville). We want to come out and dominate. That was the whole focus for him. He didn’t worry about coming back. Everybody knew he had history here, but we were concentrated only on getting that win.”