Gutierrez: Raiders' finale has different vibe

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Gutierrez: Raiders' finale has different vibe

Sept. 2, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVE
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Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comALAMEDA -- Traditionally, the final exhibition game is a time for starters to rest.But this locked-out NFL offseason was anything but traditional. Throw in the fact that the Raiders have had an uneven, at best, preseason and you get the sense their first-stringers might actually see some meaningful snaps tonight in Seattle."There might be some merit to playing guys a little bit more in the last game," an agitated rookie coach Hue Jackson acknowledged this week.Beyond that?"(It's) another dress rehearsal," he added. "I like to play to win and I haven't won yet. It's pissing me off. That might be why I'm pissed. But other than that, I think it's another opportunity for us to get ready for the season. I think our players understand that. At least, they (should) know that, and that's what we need to do."
The Raiders are 0-3 against Arizona, the 49ers and New Orleans and are searching for some momentum heading into the season opener at Denver on Monday Night Football Sept. 12.Plus, they are trying to integrate several injured starters, such as tight end Kevin Boss (knee), running back Darren McFadden (eye orbital), receiver Jacoby Ford (hand), defensive tackle Richard Seymour (hamstring) and cornerback Chris Johnson (undisclosed). Few, if any, are elected to play, though."We know this is an important game," Ford said. "Even thought it is preseason, it's still important to us. We want to go out there and make a statement and show who we can be on offense and definitely show who we can be on defense and special teams. Just go out there and make a statement."So we're probably going to look at it as a statement game."Then there are these tasty little nuggets -- former Raiders coach Tom Cable is the Seahawks assistant head coachoffensive line while tight end Zach Miller and left guard Robert Gallery joined Cable in the Emerald City this summer.Jackson said he had not spoken to Cable since Cable was not retained and Jackson was promoted by Al Davis but said they would surely talk if their paths crossed.Plus, quarterback Terrelle Pryor should see action before his five-game suspension begins Saturday."We're still in the process of teaching this young man how to do it," Jackson said. "He's done a good job; he's very attentive. He's done everything we've asked him to do."Plus, tonight's final practice game of the NFL calendar has other story lines when it comes to guys on the bubble, trying to make one last impression on Jackson, his staff and Davis when it comes to selecting a roster of 53 players."It can change," Jackson said. "A lot of stuff can happen in that last preseason game, things that are very unfortunate. Somebody could get nicked."When it's all said and done, the guys that are here after this preseason game are the guys we think can help this organization win a championship. That's all that we're after."

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.

They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.

Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.

“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”

While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.

The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.

“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.

"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.

Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.

Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.

“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”

Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.

“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”