Are Ross and Huff the cavalry for Raiders CBs?

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Are Ross and Huff the cavalry for Raiders CBs?

ALAMEDA -- No doubt with starters Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer injured, the Raiders are thin at cornerback. So thin that Oakland signed Brandian Ross off Green Bay's practice squad and starting free safety Michael Huff took some snaps at corner on Wednesday.So how comfortable, or uncomfortable, is coach Dennis Allen with the Raiders' current depth at cornerback?"Listen," Allen said, "it is what it is. Our deal is, weve got NFL football players and we got to go out and play at a certain level and we hold all our guys accountable at the same level."Currently, the Raiders have healthy cornerbacks in Pat Lee, Joselio Hanson, Philip Adams and Ross. Even Coye Francies was out with a concussion suffered Sunday in Miami.So the Raiders even considering moving Huff to a corner makes some sense."Hell probably take some reps there this week," Allen said.So what makes Huff so unique among safeties that he might be able to make the move?"Speed and athleticism," Allen said. "Thats the biggest thing. Youve got to be able to run and play out there on the edge and he can certainly do that."There had been rumblings out of Hue Jackson's staff that they were considering switching Huff. And this regime?"No, no," Allen said. "That really wasnt a consideration."What made the Raiders consider Ross, though, was his physicalityand the familiarity general manager Reggie McKenzie had with him from their days in Green Bay together."He's a big guy (and he) has got some coverage skills," Allen said. "He's a guy that Reggie knew from being there with him, so he was a guy we thought could come in and compete."Ross said he planned on playing against Pittsburgh on Sunday, regardless of any learning curves."It's just different fronts," Ross said. "As far as coverages, coverages don't change that much throughout the league. It shouldn't take long."That's the plan -- try to pick up (the schemes) ASAP so I can help get this first 'W' here."Said Allen: "I think well have to wait and see how this week plays out. I dont know that right now just because today was kind of the first day he came out to practice. So were going to evaluate that as we go through the week and see where hes at."

Relocation approval 'offers more clarity' when Raiders recruit future free agents

Relocation approval 'offers more clarity' when Raiders recruit future free agents

PHOENIX -- The Raiders are entering a limbo period, with just a few seasons in Oakland before relocating to Las Vegas. NFL owners formally approved a move on Monday, though the Raiders don’t want to leave the East Bay until a new stadium is ready in 2020.

While there are contingencies to leave the market early based upon how fans react to the Raiders remaining in Oakland after committing to Las Vegas, that isn’t what the Raiders want. After years of stadium uncertainty, they leave the NFL owners meetings with clarity regarding their long-term future.

General manager Reggie McKenzie believes that should help free agents considering silver and black. The uncertainty prompted questions in recent years that McKenzie can answer when recruiting veteran talent now that relocation has been approved.

“By Mark saying that the plan is for us to be in Oakland for two more years (at least), but we will be in Vegas, I think it offers more clarity,” McKenzie said. “It lets the players know. It’s better than two months ago, when everyone had questions. When you were talking to a free agent, they know we want to move but weren’t sure if it was going to pass. They didn’t know. Now they know a decision has been made by the league to let us move.”

That will help McKenzie more in the future than present. Roster turnover is high these days, meaning most currently employed by the Raiders won’t play for the home team in Las Vegas. Only David Amerson, Kelechi Osemele and Marquette King are would be under contract when the team wants to move.

The Raiders are working on extensions for Derek Carr, Gabe Jackson and Khalil Mack, with others possibly locked up down the line.

In addition to playing with Carr and Mack and for head coach Jack Del Rio, there’s another attraction to signing with the Raiders. There’s no state income tax in Nevada, meaning a contract there is worth more than the same deal in California. The Golden State generally takes 13.3 percent of significant income earned there.

There will be other issues about playing in Las Vegas, where gambling is legal, a drink can be had 24 hours per day and vices abound in a place called Sin City.

The Raiders will construct a support system to keep players focused, and are ready to handle any questions players and their families may have about an upcoming move.

“Now there are questions from the drafted guys about when they become free agents, because they might be in Vegas. That’s going to be different. There are questions that way, but it’s not going to alter the way we go after players. Some of the guys, parents and agents may have questions, but I don’t think it’s anything out of whack.”

 

NFL centralizes replay reviews, Del Rio wants more freedom in challenges

NFL centralizes replay reviews, Del Rio wants more freedom in challenges

PHOENIX – Fans won’t see special teams players leaping over the long snapper in an attempt to block a field goal or extra point. Seattle’s Kam Chancellor made some big plays with that technique, but won’t have the chance anymore.

The NFL outlawed that option on Tuesday as one several rule changes enacted at the league meetings.

“There are some safety concerns,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “that are legitimate.”

The NFL also centralized replay reviews, taking that power away from officials on the field. NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino and associates at the NFL’s command center will handle reviews in an effort to add consistency to important calls.

Del Rio hoped replay challenges would be expanded further, but a proposal by Seattle and Buffalo allowing coaches to challenge any play save scoring plays and turnovers, which are automatically reviewed, did not pass.

“I think there are a number of coaches who feel like, if there’s an obvious error, we should have a mechanism to correct it,” Del Rio said. “We catch most of them, so you’re talking about a small percentage. It’s hard to move the needle for such a small percentage. That’s the problem. The fact is, if it’s important enough that we’re willing to use that challenge, we’d like that right and ability. Things happen, and you don’t want to lose a big game, a game that decides whether you advance in the playoffs or make the playoffs and it’s something you could overturn, that you could challenge or change. Why not?”

Here's a list of new rules and bylaws adopted by the league on Tuesday.