Sheppard, Moore aim for Raiders secondary


Sheppard, Moore aim for Raiders secondary

Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comSEATTLE -- The Raiders secondary has taken a beating, both on the field and in fans' minds, through Oakland's first three exhibition games. And for good reason. Oakland has surrendered a combined 841 yards through the air to Arizona, the 49ers and New Orleans.Help, the Raiders hope, arrives in the form of a veteran tonight in Seattle and in an undrafted rookie free agent who has impressed throughout camp. Both Lito Sheppard and Sterling Moore are down to their final chances to make good enough impressions to stick to the Raiders' final 53-man roster before Saturday's 1 p.m. PT deadline.Sheppard, 30, is a two-time Pro Bowl cornerback who was also named All-Pro in 2004 and just signed with the Raiders last Friday but did not play in their 40-20 exhibition loss to the Saints on Sunday."'I'm ready to play," Sheppard said earlier this week. "I don't know how much or less, the whole game or what-not. I'll tap my head, tell them to give me a breather or two. I'm prepared to play however much they need to see to get me ready."I'm behind a couple of weeks as far as conditioning and actually doing the football thing (but) I'm not far. I was definitely working when I wasn't here, but it's just about doing actual football techniques and running the defenses. But other than that, I think I'm progressing pretty good."Raiders rookie coach Hue Jackson, for one, is anxious for Sheppard."Excited he's here, dying to watch him play and compete and we'll see where it goes from there Jackson said."Obviously, he can't go play a whole game (conditioning-wise), but he can play some. I think he needs to go out there so his teammates can see him compete and I get a chance to see him compete for the Raiders. I think he'll do a good job."Then there's Moore. Undrafted out of SMU, the Antioch Deer Valley High School product -- same as rookie running back Taiwan Jones -- has had more positive play at cornerback than recent draftees Walter McFadden, Jeremy Ware and DeMarcus Van Dyke, many observers claim."I think I've done everything I can," Moore said. "Of course, I've had some errors here and there, but I think that's common with any rookie. But I feel I went out there and performed. There's things that I need to improve on, so I'm going to go out there and try and put everything together and have a complete game."Moore, 21, has two tackles, a sack, one quarterback hit and three passes defensed this preseason.He also had an inkling he'd be with Oakland this summer as he worked out for the Raiders before the draft and was in contact with them during it."Before their last pick came in, they called me and said, 'We're going to go in a different direction but we definitely have our eye on you and we want to communicate with you when all this is settled,'" Moore recalled. "So I had something to look forward to."Moore might as well have been talking about tonight in Seattle.

Broncos buck Osweiler with rude welcome back in Denver

Broncos buck Osweiler with rude welcome back in Denver


DENVER -- The Denver Broncos ruined Brock Osweiler's homecoming Monday night, incessantly hurrying, hitting and harassing their former teammate in a 27-9 win over his Houston Texans.

Coach Gary Kubiak returned to the sideline following his second health scare in three years, and he had to like what he saw as the Broncos (5-2) snapped a two-game skid in sending the overwhelmed Texans home at 4-3.

C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker energized Denver's sputtering ground game, both running for a touchdown. Anderson gained 107 yards on 16 carries and Booker had 83 on 17 hand-offs.

But the big story was Trevor Siemian, Peyton Manning's surprise successor, outplaying Osweiler, who was groomed to be Denver's next QB but instead bolted to Houston in free agency.

Osweiler left for bigger numbers in Texas - both in his bank account and his stat sheet - but he spent this night quickly getting rid of the ball, constantly overthrowing DeAndre Hopkins in double coverage and otherwise running for his life from Von Miller & Co.

Although he avoided sacks, Osweiler was just 22 for 41 for 131 yards with no TDs and no interceptions. Siemian was 14 of 25 for 157 yards, a TD and no interceptions.

Osweiler's fumble at his own 25-yard line was scooped up by Chris Harris Jr. on the first play of the fourth quarter. That led to Brandon McManus' chip-shot field goal that made it 24-9 and snuffed out Houston's hopes of a comeback.

Anderson scored on a 7-yard run and Siemian hit Demaryius Thomas from 4 yards out as the Broncos took a 14-6 halftime lead.

Osweiler took a couple of big shots from safeties Darian Stewart and T.J. Ward in the first quarter but the Texans led 6-0 on a pair of 43-yard field goals by Nick Novak.

Novak's 29-yarder made it 14-9, but Stewart punched the ball from running back Alfred Blue's grasp and linebacker Todd Davis plucked it out of the air. That led to Booker's 1-yard TD run.

Kubiak missed Denver's last game when doctors ordered him to take a week off after he was transported via ambulance to the hospital following Denver's last home game, on Oct. 9, with a complex migraine condition, which can mimic a stroke. Kubiak had a mini-stroke in 2013 while coaching the Texans.

Like Osweiler, this was his first game against his former team.

STREAK BREAKER: Denver's dazzling defense is a real dawdler , having allowed scores on five of six opening drives coming into the game. That didn't stop them from deferring when they won the toss. The Texans went three and out on their first two possessions, the first time all season the Broncos hadn't allowed points on their first two defensive series.

OH NO, OKUNG: Broncos left tackle Russell Okung cleared concussion protocol to make the start. But he was rusty a week after his pair of penalties resulted in a nullified touchdown and a safety in a 21-13 loss at San Diego. This time, he was whistled for a pair of holds that negated a nifty first-down run by Booker and a 28-yard grab by Thomas.

INJURIES: Texans right tackle Derek Newton was carted off the field with what looked like serious injuries to both knees in the first half. He crumpled to the grass while blocking Miller. Newton was dropping back to pass block midway through the first quarter when his left knee buckled first and then his right knee gave way. For Denver, linebackers Brandon Marshall (leg) and Dekoda Watson (head) left in the second half.

RING OF FAME: The Broncos honored former safety John Lynch, linebacker Simon Fletcher and kicker Jason Elam by inducting them into their Ring of Fame during halftime ceremonies. Lynch, who played in Denver from 2004-07 after 11 seasons in Tampa Bay, will be inducted into the Buccaneers' Ring of Honor next month.

Four-time Pro Bowl RB Arian Foster announces retirement from NFL

Four-time Pro Bowl RB Arian Foster announces retirement from NFL

MIAMI  -- Four-time Pro Bowl running back Arian Foster has announced his retirement midway through an injury-plagued season with the Miami Dolphins.

Foster, 30, tried to come back from a torn Achilles tendon, but was slowed this season by groin and hamstring injuries. He disclosed his decision Monday on the website Uninterrupted, and the Dolphins confirmed it.

The retirement is effective immediately.

Foster signed a $1.5 million, one-year contract with the Dolphins in July after seven years with the Houston Texans. He holds the Texans' franchise record with 6,472 yards rushing.

This season he rushed for 55 yards in 22 carries. His playing time was curtailed with the emergence of Jay Ajayi, who tied an NFL record by surpassing 200 yards rushing each of the past two weeks.