Raiders

Are we closer to T.P. Time?

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Are we closer to T.P. Time?

ALAMEDA -- There's a reason Terrelle Pryor has yet to suit up for a game this season, right?After all, the Raiders third-string quarterback has only been active for one regular season game in his two-year career -- and he false started on his lone play -- and yet, the most intriguing player on the Oakland roster moves the needle like no other. Especially when coach Dennis Allen admitted this week there have been discussions about activating Pryor. Perhaps even for this weekend's game against Cleveland.Except, Pryor has not been told anything of the sort. He has just continued to work on his development, he said."The biggest thing is I know all the plays and the formations and the plays for the week going in for whoever were playing," Pryor said Wednesday. "I try and stay in it as much as I can to help the guys. But on a personal level, its kind of, coach calls it false enthusiasm. As a quarterback, you have to do that."I dont play, and I dont get any time and I dont get any reps in practice, so I have to have false enthusiasm to get the guys going and whenever guys are slacking a little bit and kind of tired, just kind of pick them up. Its tough, but thats the calling for me right now. Ive got to deal with it."The Raiders used a third-round supplemental draft pick on him in August of 2011 -- Al Davis' final draft pick -- after his star-crossed career at Ohio State ended in scandal. With his unique brand of athleticism, but far-from-prototypical-NFL-QB skill set, Pryor has been the ultimate project."Terrelles growingand theres a potential that he might be up in the (Browns) game as the third quarterback, and well just leave it at that," Allen said. "Well see what goes from there."Somewhere down the line we need to see what he can do. Now when that time is, I dont know the exact answer for that yet. But there will be a time where weve got to look at him and see what he can do."Pryor played in all four exhibitions this summer, mostly against fellow third-stringers, and threw for 251 yards on 19 of 32 passing with two touchdowns and an interception. He also was sacked five times but rushed for 121 yards on 14 carries with a score."I wasnt terrible then," he said. "It was just hit and miss, you know? Sometimes I would hit like five in a row then Id miss two. I didnt like that. It also comes with reps. If you dont get a lot of reps you cant prove to yourself you can do it on a consistent basis. One day Im looking forward to that, proving to myself that I can do it."Keep in mind that technically, Pryor is third on the Raiders QB depth chart, behind starter Carson Palmer and backup Matt Leinart. So you could not blame Leinart if he was a bit bemused at the media attention Pryor was receiving Wednesday.But no one has questioned Pryor's work ethic."Theres been zero dropoff," Palmer said. "You know, hes in a tough spot being the third stringer where you dont get a chance to dress out, but (he) studies his butt off, continues to work, gets as many reps as he can in practice, is completely in it."Said Pryor: "He has a lot on his shoulders, especially right now. Hes trying to lead our organization. Were trying to get back on top. Were trying to win some ballgames. My hats off to Carson. He helps an awful lot and Im going to keep sticking beside him and learn from him."At 3-8, the Raiders are essentially playing for pride while playing out the string and planning for the future. Yes, the line is a fine one indeed. At least, straighter than many a pass thrown by Pryor as a pro."Ive been doing a lot of footwork," Pryor said. "Its amazing, the accuracy that I have now. Im able to step into my throws and throw exactly where I want the ball at, and I just keep getting better at that. As a quarterback, you never get to that level where you stop working. Theres always room for improvement and thats all Im looking for."Ive said it before, as long as Im getting better one percent and Im truthful with myself, I can look myself in the mirror, and especially when its time to go one day, I can look myself in the mirror and say that I did everything I can to be ready, and I can live with that.Im going to get better."So should the Raiders give Pryor a look in the final five games or stay the course with Palmer?

Injury report: CB Sean Smith questionable; Washington TE Reed's status uncertain

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Injury report: CB Sean Smith questionable; Washington TE Reed's status uncertain

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Raiders are remarkably healthy heading into Sunday night’s game against the Washington football club.

The entire 53-man roster practiced fully on Friday, before heading to the nation’s capital.

That includes veteran cornerback Sean Smith, who missed the previous game with a neck injury. A shoulder ailment cropped up during the week, which prompted the Raiders to label him questionable heading into Week 3. Smith’s the only Raider on the injury report, and even he’s in decent shape.

“I mean we put it on there because there’s still a little bit of a question,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “You don’t have probable’s anymore. Given the choices, I just left him that way.”

That means the Raiders are going to have some healthy scratches a week after Smith was the only injured player sitting out.

Washington has some impact players on the mend. That included tight end Jordan Reed, who is questionable with a rib/sternum injury. He stands 6-foot-2, 246 pounds and is the type of receiving tight end that gives the Raiders fits. He has 1,638 yards 17 touchdowns the last two seasons, using good hands and a large frame to create mismatches in the secondary.

It’ll be key for the Raiders to defend him well if he’s active, with Nicholas Morrow as a primary coverage option.

“We’re prepared to face him,” Del Rio said. “We think he’s a good player. We’ll approach it that way and adjust if he doesn’t go.”

Washington also lists starting inside linebacker Mason Foster and running back Rob Kelley as questionable.

Raiders Injury Report
Questionable
CB Sean Smith (neck/shoulder)

Washington Injury Report
Questionable

TE Jordan Reed (rib/sternum), LB Mason Foster (shoulder), RB Rob Kelley (rib), S Monate Nicholson (shoulder), CB Josh Norman (shoulder)

Karl Joseph living up to first-round billing with early impact for Raiders

Karl Joseph living up to first-round billing with early impact for Raiders

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Raiders safety Karl Joseph notched his first career forced fumble in Week 2’s blowout victory over the New York Jets. It came on his first sack, where he bent around a tackle into the pocket and devoured his pray.

Joseph recovered the ball, and the Raiders quickly scored a touchdown. The second-year pro enjoyed that moment, but left the game with regrets.

"I should have definitely had more sacks than I did,” Joseph said. “I feel like I should have had three.”

Joseph had quarterback Josh McCown in the crosshairs three times, and feels like he should’ve finished each one. The game plan provided opportunity. Joseph blitzed six times – fellow safety Reggie Nelson attacked thrice – and pressured the quarterback four times.

It was a relatively new responsibility, considering he blitzed nine times all last year. Joseph will be first to say he was a different player then. He was less explosive, more tentative and a smidge less confident, lingering effects from an ACL tear during his final college season. Joseph was cleared to play as a rookie but wasn’t all the way back, doubly hampered by missing an offseason program where rookies grow quick.

"I wasn’t completely myself,” Joseph said in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports California. “I feel a lot more like myself this year. I obviously feel better physically, and the year of experience in the system has definitely helped. So has adjusting to the NFL life. That’s been an easier transition for me.”

Joseph is playing more like his highlight reel from West Virginia, where he proved a heavy hitter and a solid cover man worthy of last year’s No. 14 overall draft pick. The Jets game isn’t the only evidence of that.

Joseph had an excellent training camp, flashing an aggressive style and solid timing making plays in practice. That translated to the regular-season opener at Tennessee, when he saved a touchdown on consecutive plays. The first came on an open-field tackle. The second was a leaping pass breakup in the end zone, proof positive that Joseph was ready to make a big impact.

"He’s really good close to the line of scrimmage,” defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said. "He’s a really good tackler in the open field. He also plays well on the back end. I think his development is right on time right now.”

The Raiders recognize that, and are using him like a queen on the chessboard. He can move back or forward, as an attacker or the last line of defense. He’s a rover at times, with an ability to create havoc at all levels of the defense.

Joseph is an excellent fit for the defensive scheme, bring a tone-setting physicality to the secondary. He is learning, as part of his development, that the nuclear option isn’t always best. There are times when it is, and Joseph enters those scenarios without fear.

"You can’t play worried about getting hurt. That’s not the way I play,” Joseph said. “It’s about being smart. I had to adjust my game coming into the NFL. Every hit can’t be a big hit. Sometimes you have to be smart and just wrap people up, but you can’t ever play scared.”

He isn’t afraid to take risks or attack when asked, and is already making a major impact on this year’s defense. That isn’t a surprise. It’s expected of first-round picks.

"That’s what he’s supposed to do. He’s supposed to make plays,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He’s a guy we selected because we thought he’d be a guy that could come in and impact on our defense. In the first two games of this year he’s played well. There are still things, like I tell you all the time, that have cleaning up to do, work to do, things to improve on, but he’s off to a good start and obviously it follows up from a good offseason. Healthy, a lot of good work and confidence that he’s gaining as we go.”