Colts' Addai expects to be ready for Raiders


Colts' Addai expects to be ready for Raiders


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Colts running back Joseph Addai expects to return Sunday at Oakland after missing the past eight games with a nerve injury in his left shoulder, the first positive news on the injury front for Indianapolis in quite a while.

"I feel like it's a great chance. I feel like I'm heading in the right direction," Addai said Thursday, one day after participating fully in practice. "I felt good. I didn't set myself back. Really, I'm just happy to put on a uniform and just get back into it."

Linebacker Clint Session also is likely to play after missing the past seven games with a broken arm and a dislocated elbow. Their returns coincide with the Colts losing wide receiver Austin Collie for the season. He sustained a concussion last Sunday against Jacksonville.

PREVIEW: Playoff pressure for Raiders, Colts

Addai has 5,280 yards from scrimmage and 46 touchdowns in five seasons. He rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown against Washington this season before hurting the shoulder.

"He understands all the nuances," coach Jim Caldwell said. "He is very, very smart. He's a guy that can make you miss, but also has power and catches the ball out of the backfield. He's also a very good pass protector."

The Colts average 95 yards rushing with Addai and 78 without him. Indy also has a higher average per carry and generally controls the clock better when Addai plays.

"He brings so many intangibles," Caldwell said. "He certainly does make a difference."

Caldwell didn't say whether Addai would start, or how carries would be distributed if he were available. Donald Brown is coming off a career-best 129-yard performance, and the ground game has been effective the past two weeks.

CAPSULE: Indianapolis (8-6) at Raiders (7-7)

"A lot of it just depends on where he is when we finish the week," Caldwell said. "We'll get a real good sense of that. After we make that assessment, we'll make a determination on how Joe will play for us."

Addai said it has been difficult to watch the team struggle. The Colts were 4-2 with him, but lost four of their next six without him, before bouncing back to defeat Tennessee and Jacksonville and brighten their postseason possibilities.

"The biggest thing is that you've always got to go back and understand that football does have injuries," Addai said. "Not being able to be out there with your teammates, that's frustrating, but you've always got to take a positive from a negative. The only thing I could do is keep on trying to get better."

Addai was especially happy to see the Colts churn out 155 yards on the ground in their 34-24 win over Jacksonville.

RELATED: Addai stats splits game logs news

"It's always good when you see us able to run when we're called upon to do that," he said. "Hopefully, it will carry on to the Oakland game. Each game is a confidence builder. We were able to get some runs, get some passes, and be an all-around team, just doing things that we couldn't always do in the past."

Addai said the timing of his return is ideal because wins over Oakland and Tennessee would give the Colts the AFC South title and a home playoff game.

"We're sitting in a good situation," he said. "We're in control of our own destiny. It's always good to have people that's been out come back in. I think it will help as far as trying to get up to that next level, and that's getting into the playoffs."

Penn still haunted by only sack allowed in 2016; 'That play sticks with me'

Penn still haunted by only sack allowed in 2016; 'That play sticks with me'

Editor's Note: The above video is from Dec. 24, 2016.

Donald Penn was nothing short of awesome last season. The veteran Raiders left tackle proved impenetrable, allowing just one sack and 27 quarterback pressures in 676 pass-blocking snaps.

He ranked high among the NFL’s best left tackles at 33, engulfed a career renaissance that began after joining the Raiders three years ago. Penn made the Pro Bowl. He was a vital piece of a 12-4 team that helped the Raiders reach the playoffs.

He hasn’t reveled much in that. Penn’s driven by opportunities missed, and one mishap that haunts him still.

Penn locked horns with Indianapolis linebacker Trent Cole off the left edge during a Week 16 contest against the Colts, and slipped as he was tracking his man away from the pocket. Penn’s feet got tangled and the big man fell. Cole remained upright, darted in and sacked quarterback Derek Carr.

It was Penn’s only sack allowed all season. And Carr got hurt. He suffered a broken fibula that ended his season and realistic hopes of a Raiders playoff run.

Nearly five months have passed since that fluke play. Carr is healthy and a full participant in the Raiders offseason program. The Raiders offensive line might be better after allowing a league-low 18 sacks last season.

There’s plenty to be excited about as the Raiders enter OTAs and a mandatory minicamp. Penn can’t help but lament that isolated incident when Carr went down.

“You have to be an athlete. You try not to think about it too much,” Penn said Tuesday. “You wish you could go back and get it back. I’ve taken that same set I don’t know how many times, on the same field and never just slipped out of nowhere. I’m not going to put it on myself. I should have been able to do something better. You know me, I’m never going to blame the slip for happening. I should have blocked him and held on to him and taken him down with me. That play sticks with me.”

That isn’t all bad. It fuels Penn to continue growing as a player, even at 34 coming off an excellent Pro Bowl season.

“I’m going to try to do what I can do better and make sure it never happens again,” Penn said. “I’ve never gotten a quarterback hurt in my life since I’ve been playing. That was a first. That’s something I take pride in. I’m going to try my hardest to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Penn wants a different ending to this season. Last year the Raiders lost the AFC West crown and a shot to win the team’s first playoff game. Penn suffered a knee injury the following week that kept him from playing in the postseason.

The goal is to realize vast potential now that the Raiders offense is back healthy again.

“I’m all about karma and stuff like that,” Penn said. “Maybe (God is) trying to tell us that this is our year. We have to put in the work to get it. I know D.C. is happy, I’m dang sure happy to get him back. We’re growing and masterminding this offense trying to make it as explosive as possible.”


Raiders OTA observations: Conley, rookies must earn their stripes

Raiders OTA observations: Conley, rookies must earn their stripes

ALAMEDA – Rookies have been immersed in the Raiders system most of this month, but still have a lot to learn before training camp begins this summer.

There’s significant work ahead this spring during OTAs and mid-June’s mandatory minicamp, and young players will do so from the second and third teams. Even the highly touted ones.

First-round draft pick Gareon Conley played slot cornerback with the second unit and outside cornerback on the third during Tuesday’s OTA open to the media. It’s a position the slick, speedy cover man will vacate posthaste, but the Raiders prefer rookies earn their stripes.

“All of our young guys are going to earn their way,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “We have a good football team. We’re going to let them earn their way. We’ll let them compete. We’re early in the competition, so we’ll just go through the offseason and continue to get (Conley) involved and get him reps. These guys will ascend and take their positions as they earn it. We’re really happy with the way he’s started.”

The Raiders didn’t feature a single rookie on their first units Tuesday. Second-round safety Obi Melifonwu, fourth-round offensive tackle David Sharpe and middle linebacker Marquel Lee were featured on the second unit.

Here are some other observations from Tuesday’s OTA sessions.

-- Del Rio said Marshall Newhouse had the inside track to be the team’s starting right tackle. The versatile veteran worked there with the first team, joining a front five otherwise intact from a season ago.

-- Second-year pro Connor Cook, who switched from No. 8 to No. 18 this offseason, ran the second offensive unit. E.J. Manuel worked with the third team.

-- Inside linebacker Ben Heeney worked on a side field with a trainer during Tuesday’s practice, as he continues to rehab from surgery to repair an ankle broken early last season. Jelani Jenkins also did side work after practicing on Monday.

Cory James and Tyrell Adams worked with the first unit at inside linebacker.

-- Veteran running back Marshawn Lynch was limited to individual drills for a second straight day as the Raiders ease him back into football activity.

-- Offensive lineman Austin Howard is working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery, and only practice during individual drills.

-- Cornerback Sean Smith had offseason surgery, but was a full participant in Tuesday’s session.

-- Third-round defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes remains away from the Raiders complex due to an NFL rule preventing players from schools still in session to work with their teams. He won’t re-join the squad until training camp. Undrafted rookie Nicholas Morrow is in a similar spot, but will return next week.

-- Edge rusher Shilique Calhoun played last season at 250 pounds, but looks decidedly bigger now. He told the team website he’s up to 270 pounds.