By trading for Palmer, Jackson sends a message


By trading for Palmer, Jackson sends a message

ALAMEDA -- So how was Hue Jackson's bold move to trade for quarterback Carson Palmer taken in the Raiders locker room?"That you better keep your (stuff) wrapped tight," said defensive tackle Tommy Kelly. "I mean, Hue made it real clear, man, he ain't waiting on nobody. Either you get on the train, or you get left behind."

Yes, Jackson served notice. Not only to the rank-and-file players, but also in the leadership."He's going to do whatever he has to do and evaluate every position in terms of trying to get the team better," said defensive tackle and team captain Richard Seymour. "And I think that's what this business is all about. It's a production business, and our job is to go out and perform and anytime you have an opportunity to acquire someone like Carson and his pedigree, obviously management felt like they just wanted to pull the trigger on it. Guys like that aren't just hanging around."But it's not just Jackson being so active in swapping potentially two first-round draft picks for a franchise quarterback two days after the previous starter in Jason Campbell was lost for at least six weeks, and possibly the season, with a broken right collarbone. It's how busy Jackson has been as a mover and shaker in the wake of Al Davis' death.In fact, you could build a strong case that Davis would have admired the commitment with with Jackson has moved.Last Thursday, Oakland acquired a former No. 4 overall pick in linebacker Aaron Curry for a seventh-round draft pick and cut a Raiders legacy player in Bruce Davis. And Curry started against Cleveland three days later.Monday, the Raiders cut defensive back Joe Porter to make roster space for rookie quarterback Terrelle Pryor and then signed safety Chinedum Ndukwe before releasing Jerome Boyd and then signing him to the practice squad. And in the middle it all was Oakland placing defensive end Matt Shaughnessy on season-ending Injured Reserve with a bum shoulder, creating roster space for Palmer."That's just how the whole league works," said right tackle Khalif Barnes. "It's not anything personalthere are guys who are going through that all year. You can't worry about things like that. You just have to go out there and play. Anytime you're suiting up, going out there to play, that's all you can do, that's all you can control. You can't control anything else."Wake-up call, anyone?"It means we're going for it, man," said safety Tyvon Branch. "That shows the confidence they have in this team. When you get a team like this, you don't want the opportunity to slip away."Receiver Louis Murphy agreed, especially when it came to Jackson dealing for Palmer with Campbell down and the NFL trade deadline at 1 p.m. PT Tuesday."We had to do something," Murphy said. "So, I mean, it sends a message that he still wants us to win, wants us to continue on our championship run."Said fellow receiver Jacoby Ford: "It just shows you that Hue definitely wants to win. He's definitely going to put us in the right position to win and he's going to bring the right guys in to win. He's competitive. We're all behind him as far as being competitive."As it stands now, the Raiders are without first-, second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-round picks in next April's draft, though they could potentially get a compensatory draft pick or two for losing Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller and Robert Gallery as free agents this summer.Still, the flurry of moves, particularly the blockbuster Palmer deal, was a shot across the bow of anyone on the roster contemplating cruising."What do you think?" a grinning Jackson said when asked if it did indeed send a message. "No doubt. I told them I am going to do everything I can -- the organization has backed me -- to give this team the best opportunity to win football games, and that's all you can ask for. As a head coach, when you have ownership, Mark Davis, Amy Trask and the rest of this organization stand behind you and say, 'Hey look, whatever we think it takes to win, that's what we're going to do,' and thats what we're doing, I think the players appreciate that."Because it gets no better than that. You come to work everyday knowing that you're fighting for something. And we're fighting for a championship."Then leave it to Kelly to sum it all up."I thought we were going to get (David) Garrard," Kelly said, "but we got Palmer. So hey, man, can't do nothing but be happy."And be on notice.

Notes: Raiders 'getting close' to being a stout run defense

Notes: Raiders 'getting close' to being a stout run defense

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t run much on Sunday, but were certainly effective when they did.

They churned out 105 yards on just 16 attempts, a 6.6 yards per carry average that would make any defensive mind cringe. Had the Jaguars run more before the Raiders took control late in the first half, a 33-16 result might’ve been closer at the end.

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio’s glass was half full Monday afternoon despite that showing, and he focused on the positives gleaned from analyzing game tape.

His biggest takeaway: The Raiders are oh, so close to being stout against the run.

“I think it’s really coming together and getting close to being really, really good,” Del Rio said during his press conference at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, where the Raiders will prep for next week’s game at Tampa Bay. “I don’t like to see any runs go through us. We’ll continue to work where we need to. The attention to detail, the physicality of the guys in the trenches, we have the right people to be really good up front.”

The Raiders are near the bottom in run defense, allowing 128.3 yards per game and seven rushing touchdowns through seven contests. They were gashed for 180-plus yards by Kansas City and Tennessee thus far, and have given up triple digits five times thus far.

Del Rio sees improvement stopping the run, which will be aided by players maintaining gaps and operating as 11 players working together as one unit.

Several players were encourage by greater cohesion against Jacksonville, something that hurt the Raiders in previous games.

“What I keep saying is the work is there, is being put in,” Del Rio said. “The care is there. I mean, our guys care. We’re staying together, I really see it. Throughout the staff, with the players, everybody is hanging onto the rope. Everybody is pulling the rope in the same direction. We’re going to make improvements with that approach. We’ve got good people that care. If you have good people that care to stick together, then good things are going to happen.”

Good things are starting to happen for the Raiders pass rush. They flustered Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles most of the day and, while the only had one sack, Bortles was hit seven times and pressured on 11 other occasions.

The pass rush is starting to crank up, but Del Rio still wants more in the middle.

“We feel like we’ve got a couple guys that can really get there,” Del Rio said. “We’re still looking for a little more interior push and I think as we get that, I think it’ll make the entire rush look at a lot better. But, we’re getting good energy, good effort from those guys.”

Edwards Jr. headed for Sunshine State: Raiders defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr. has spent the season on injured reserve, but was eligible to start practicing last week for a Week 9 return. That hasn’t happened yet, though Edwards Jr. will join the team in Florida this week and is expected to start side work that would be a precursor of a return to practice.

The delayed start might mean he won’t be ready to face Denver when eligible and that he might return later in the season, though that remains undetermined.

Riley-Smith combo works well inside: The Raiders inserted veteran linebacker Perry Riley into the starting lineup over rookie Cory James, a move that paid immediate dividends. He worked well with Malcolm Smith on the inside, and formed a solid duo against the run and pass the Raiders will stick with in the immediate future.

“Those guys have a lot of skins on the wall, so to speak,” Del Rio said. “They’ve been through a lot of battles. So the experience is there. We really like Cory. Cory is a good, young player, but to have those two guys and the experience that they have and the number of battles that they’ve been in, they communicated well together. The idea going into the game was we’re going to play all three, but the way we started, we started well and those two guys played well. We just basically left them (out there), let them go.

This ‘n’ that: Stacy McGee suffered an ankle injury in Sunday’s game, and Del Rio didn’t provide an update on his status. Kelechi Osemele tweaked his knee against Jacksonville, but was able to return to the game and should be fine. ...Michael Crabtree was flagged for a throat slash after his Sunday touchdown despite the fact he’s paying homage to the HBO character Kenny Powers with his fingers. Del Rio said Crabtree and the Raiders must be smarter about avoiding unnecessary penalties. The Raiders were flagged 11 times for 117 yards on Sunday.

Raiders snap count: Riley over James; Murray a feature back

Raiders snap count: Riley over James; Murray a feature back

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Malcolm Smith was fully recovered from a quadriceps strain, ready to assume his typically extensive workload at weakside linebacker.

That allowed the Raiders to make a personnel change in the middle. They started relative newcomer Perry Riley at middle linebacker over rookie sixth-round pick Cory James, a young player forced into action due to Ben Heeney’s ineffectiveness and health.

Riley has six seasons and 72 starts to his name, given the Raiders experience at a position expected to make reads and checks and communicate information to teammates before the snap.

Riley fared well in that spot in Sunday’s 33-16 victory over Jacksonville, with a pair of tackles in 100 percent of the defensive snaps. He was Pro Football Focus’ highest-rated Raiders defensive player, with positive marks against the run and pass.

It was uncertain how much Latavius Murray would play in his return from turf toe, but the Raiders did not attach a short leash. Murray played 42 snaps and had 20 touches in this game.

He was the feature back in this one, a new approach after the Raiders used a near-even split with DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard. That wasn’t the case this time. Washington got the start but played just 13 snaps and six touches. Richard only had two touches in limited action.

Murray sparked the Raiders run game, with 18 carries for 59 yards and two touchdowns. The work left him no worse for the wear, a positive sign for a team that needs Murray running strong.

Let’s take a look at the entire Raiders snap count:

72 – OL Donald Penn, OL Gabe Jackson, OL Austin Howard, OL Rodney Hudson, QB Derek Carr
71 – OL Kelechi Osemele
68 – WR Amari Cooper
50 – WR Michael Crabtree
49 – TE Clive Walford
47 – WR Seth Roberts
42 – RB Latavius Murray
25 – FB Jamize Olawale
17 – WR Andre Holmes, Mychal Rivera
13 – RB DeAndre Washington
12 – OL Matt McCants
11 – OL Denver Kirkland
5 – WR Johnny Holton
4 – RB Jalen Richard
1 – OL Jon Feliciano

67 – CB Sean Smith, S Reggie Nelson, CB David Amerson, LB Perry Riley
66 – S Karl Joseph
63 – LB Malcolm Smith
60 – DE Khalil Mack
57 – LB Bruce Irvin
52 – CB DJ Hayden
42 – DL Denico Autry
34 – DL Jihad Ward
21 – LB Shilique Calhoun, DL Justin Ellis
20 – DL DL Darius Latham, DL Dan WIlliams
7 -- DL Stacy McGee
4 – S Keith McGill
2 – CB TJ Carrie

29 – Darren Bates, Nate Allen
25 – Andre Holmes, Jamize Olawale
24 – Shilique Calhoun
23 – Johnny Holton, Mychal Rivera
16 – Cory James, Sebastian Janikowski
14 – Antonio Hamilton
13 – Jon Condo, Marquette King
12 – Clive Walford
11 – Jon Feliciano
10 – Jalen Richard
9 – DJ Hayden, Karl Joseph
7 – Matt McCants, Denver Krikland, Gabe Jackson, Kelechi Osemele
6 – RB DeAndre Washington, Donald Penn
4 – TJ Carrie, Dan Williams, Darius Latham, Denico Autry, Bruce Irvin, Khalil Mack
3 – Justin Ellis
1 – Jihad Ward, Amari Cooper, Austin Howard
NOTE: Snap counts taken from official NFL game book