Sheppard, Moore aim for Raiders secondary

September 2, 2011, 8:05 pm
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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.