Allen on Flynn: 'He's been pretty consistent throughout training camp'
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NAPA – Lamarr Houston knows the Raiders defense well. He doesn’t need five weeks of preseason to get up to speed or each practice to play his best.
He returned to practice on Tuesday and, if he stays healthy through the exhibition season, 12 straight August days missed with an undisclosed injury will be rendered inconsequential.
It won’t affect the defensive end’s play or his quest for double-digit sacks.
That fact didn’t comfort Houston in the least. It certainly didn’t help idle time go by.
He believes it slowed his quest to become a leader of a defense with just two returning starters. Houston has talked at length about taking increased responsibility, and it’s hard to do when you’re hurt.
“As a player, you can’t lead from the sideline,” Houston said. “You need to be out there with the guys, and to earn respect with your actions. It was tough for me to give guys advice and point certain things out when I couldn’t do it myself. It was frustrating, but I’m glad I was able to get back out there. I believe I’ll be able to stay out there now."
Houston wouldn’t commit to playing on Friday against New Orleans, but he should if he’s able to get through Wednesday’s practice unscathed.
Tuesday’s practice was important for Houston’s psyche and the Raiders' defense. The unit must continue its evolution, which is difficult without the man expected to provide the pass rush.
“It was great to get back out there,” Houston said. “There were a lot of things I wanted to work on with the defensive line and the entire unit, things that were necessary for us to progress. Any time you can get out there is important, but today was big.”
While his success is predicated on individual athleticism and skill, Houston said it was important for him to work with the group. Practice film is valuable, and he hasn’t had much since succumbing to injury on Aug. 1.
“To play well as a defense, you have to see the picture and see the picture in motion,” Houston said. “You have to work things out on the practice field, because you can’t assume everything will work itself out. Those days I missed didn’t set me back, but they were certainly days I could’ve used. I’m back now and I’m loving it. I don’t want to miss another day.”