Raiders sign Trent Edwards, Khalif Barnes

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Raiders sign Trent Edwards, Khalif Barnes

July 30, 2011

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Paul Gutierrez
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NAPA -- Back in 2007, then-Raiders coach Lane Kiffin had an idea.Actually, he had many thoughts when it came to what Oakland should do with the No. 1 overall draft pick. This one, though, had the Raiders selecting receiver Calvin Johnson before scooping up quarterback Trent Edwards later on and Kiffin then implementing his version of the West Coast Offense.Who knew it would take four-plus years -- and the failed JaMarcus Russell Era -- to get the former Stanford signal caller in Silver and Black? Edwards signed with the Raiders on Saturday to compete with Kyle Boller to be the team's back-up quarterback and ignite that old Stanford-Cal rivalry deep in the heart of Silver and Blackdom."Yeah, on my way up here, I had to stop by the facility in Alameda to sign my contract and the last time I was at that facility was right after the Combine (in 2007), right before the draft, when I was coming into the league," Edwards said. "So, I found my way over there. I didn't need directions. I knew how to get there, but it's been a while."I just remember visiting with coach (Greg) Knapp when he was here and they were interested. It felt like I had a good chance coming here(but) I obviously didn't, and now I'm back and excited to be here."Edwards, taken in the third round of the '07 draft, No. 92 overall by Buffalo, played three-plus seasons with the Bills before spending time with Jacksonville last year.He has a career passer rating of 75.4 with 26 touchdowns, 30 interceptions and a 60.5 completion rate with 6,019 yards passing. Edwards has started 33 of the 37 games he's appeared in and his best season was in 2008, when he had an 85.4 passer rating with 11 TD passes, 10 interceptions and 2,699 yards passing on 65.5 passing. Edwards went 7-7 as the Bills' starter that season.Jackson was intrigued."Having an opportunity to sit down and talk to him, he was what I was looking for," Jackson said of Edwards. "I mean, he's a big, strong, physical guy that can throw the ball. Loves football. Very passionate about the game."He's a gym rat. He likes to go in and study from morning to night. It's important to him. He's looking for an opportunity and we're a place that has an opportunity."After his second season, Edwards was seen as one of the brightest young QB's in the game. But his progress was slowed significantly by concussions.Still, he says he is healthy now and ready to compete. His agent, Ryan Tollner, is former Raiders passing game coordinator Ted Tollner so he has some familiarity with Oakland. Especially since the younger Tollner played for Jackson at Cal.Plus, Edwards said he liked Jackson's "energy," while saying he had other options on the table."He's just a guy that has an infectious personality," Edwards said of Jackson. "I enjoy being around guys like that. I enjoy playing for coaches like that. So that's kind of what sold me here."Reports of former Baltimore tackle Jared Gaither's imminent signing with the Raiders turned out to be premature as he reportedly failed a physical and Oakland took a pass and instead re-signed Khalif Barnes."I was laughing (that) everybody said we signed him," Jackson said. "I told you we hadn't."Jackson said Gaither was still a possibility for the future.In other signing news, the Raiders inked linebacker Sam Williams and "exclusive rights" players Desmond Bryant (defensive tackle), Bruce Davis (linebacker) and Marcel Reece (fullback). Plus, they signed undrafted rookie free agent Cal defensive tackle Derrick Hill.

Injury report: Joseph out, Latham questionable for Raiders vs Chiefs

Injury report: Joseph out, Latham questionable for Raiders vs Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Raiders safety Karl Joseph hurt his toe in Sunday’s victory over Buffalo, and was still in pain early the next week.

That gave him virtually no shot to play Kansas City on Thursday night with a short week to recover. The Raiders made his omission official on Wednesday, and ruled the first-round pick out of the AFC West clash at Arrowhead Stadium on their official injury report.

Veteran Nate Allen will take his place in the starting lineup. He played well in Joseph’s stead against the Bills, and has the versatility to play back or closer to the line of scrimmage as Joseph did.

The Raiders defense is still ailing on the interior, with defensive tackle Stacy McGee (ankle) ruled out of his second straight contest.

There is slightly better news for Darius Latham, who was deemed questionable after missing two light practices but returning in time for limited work on Wednesday. Getting him back would help a thinned rotation that heavily features Denico Autry, Dan Williams and Jihad Ward, who has struggled some of late.

The Chiefs have a healthy team despite the short week. Receiver Jeremy Maclin will return from a groin injury. Edge rusher Tamba Hali will play despite limted practice work, and defensive tackle Dontari Poe is questionable with a back issue.

Raiders Status Report
Doubtful

LB Shilique Calhoun (knee), S Karl Joseph (toe), DT Stacy McGee (ankle) Questionable
DT Darius Latham (ankle), LG Kelechi Osemele (knee), LB Cory James (shoulder)

Chiefs Status Report

Questionable
DT Dontari Poe (back), DE Kendall Reyes (knee)

NOTE: Kansas City’s WR Jeremy Maclin, OLB Tamba Hali and CB Phillip Gaines did not receive an injury designation, meaning they will play.

 

Mack, Irvin feed off each other, form dynamic duo in Raiders pass rush

Mack, Irvin feed off each other, form dynamic duo in Raiders pass rush

The Buffalo Bills were running right through the Oakland Raiders early in Sunday’s contest, a never-ending assault that took its toll on defenders in silver and black.

That was the case for the most optimistic, steadfast member of that unit.

“We were giving up big plays, and I was frustrated,” star edge rusher Khalil Mack said. “Actually, I was pissed off.”

Bruce Irvin sensed a disturbance in the force. The veteran pass rusher knew how to fix it.  A little pep talk would get Mack going again.

“We feed off each other’s energy. … That dude pulls me up. I was feeling a little down towards the middle of the game, and he was like, ‘Come on. We need you. Come on. Let’s go. He pulled me up and kept pushing.”

That wasn’t the turning point in yet another comeback win. It wasn’t the only reason why defense locked Buffalo down during a run of 29 unanswered points.

It showed how strong a friendship Mack and Irvin have formed since the spring, one that helps get the best out of the other. Bonds formed from insatiable work ethic, one evident even in the offseason program.

“We’re both so hungry to be great that it just brought us together,” Irvin said. “When I got here, we talked right away. Khalil and (quarterback Derek Carr) were the first two guys I sat down with, and I told them I was coming over to play with Khalil, to help turn this thing around and become one of the top units in the league. Khalil and I just bonded quickly, and it was like we had been friends forever. It’s like whole thing was meant to be.”

It has turned out to be a productive pairing. There are 15 sacks, 94 other quarterback pressures and eight forced fumbles between Irvin and Mack this season.

Mack has the bulk of those numbers, especially during a second-half run where he has been outright dominant and jumped into the conversation for defensive player of the year. Mack has been involved in four turnovers the last two games, including game-sealing strip sacks while recovering his own fumble in consecutive weeks.

“You all don’t want to talk to Robin,” Irvin quipped. “Batman’s right over there.”

Irvin has used that line after two home victories in a row. The fifth-year pro is more than Mack’s sidekick. He’s on a roll himself, with sacks in three straight games. He uses speed and agility to create pressure off the strongside edge, dealing with left tackles on a consistent basis.

“I’m in a good groove right now,” Irvin said. “Mentality, physically, I’m in a very good place right now. It’s really showing on the field these past couple weeks.”

Irvin has been a productive defender either making plays on his side or driving traffic back towards Mack. It works both ways, with Mack drawing significant attention that often leaves Irvin in more favorable matchups.

The combination has been impactful, especially on a defense that doesn’t’ get pressure from other sources. They’ve been productive in the clutch as well, with six sacks coming in the fourth quarter. Mack has big plays the last two weeks, and Irvin has a big sack late in a victory over Houston in Mexico City.

The Raiders defense is improving, and having Irvin rushing strong recently helps Mack and the entire Raiders defense.

“He’s always been in a good groove, but there are things going well for this defense,” Mack said. “I’m on the other side, and you have coverage going well. (Opponents) try to do all the chipping and those things that play a factor in doing what we do. The fact that he’s rolling right now is not a surprise.”