Raiders

Locked out, Raiders take workouts to pool

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Locked out, Raiders take workouts to pool

May 27, 2011
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LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) Rookie center Stefen Wisniewski is trying to learn the Oakland Raiders' offense without a playbook.And if that's not bizarre enough, the second-round draft pick from Penn State spent a couple of hours Thursday working with teammates at an indoor pool in suburban Atlanta.Such is life during the NFL lockout."It's crazy. I haven't even been out (to Oakland) because the lockout ended the day I was drafted," Wisniewski said. "So it's a blessing that (quarterback) Jason (Campbell) has been here to go over the blocking schemes and stuff like that. Getting on the field has been great."Defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who lives in the metropolitan area, organized the mini-camp.Wisniewski would likely be working at the Raiders' team headquarters in Alameda, Calif. - alongside his uncle, assistant offensive line coach Steve Wisniewski. Now Stefan Wisniewski isn't even allowed to talk to him."I haven't tried to contact him and he hasn't tried to contact me," Stefen Wisniewski said. "It's weird, but this is a strange time in the NFL."Oakland linebacker Quentin Groves can't imagine what it's like to be a rookie under these circumstances.No official mini-camp. No official offseason training activities."It kind of takes away from the rookie experience with the vets yelling at you. 'Hey, rook. You got all that money. Now it's time to show up,'" Groves said. "Now you're talking about these rookies just getting thrown into the fire. Mini-camp, OTAs - those things give you a little bit of a chance to get adjusted to the speed of the game, but if you take that away, all you have is training camp."And what if we don't have training camp? They'll just get thrown out there on the field. That'll be tough."About 25 players participated in the pool session, which was designed as a cross-training recovery workout after two days on the field and in the weight room."It's just getting them moving, getting their heart rate up and then we finish off with the (heavy resistance rubber) band work," said Competitive Edge Sports founder Chip Smith, who's hosting the camp with Seymour. "Some of these guys can't swim. That's OK. We put flotation devices on them, but hopefully we teach them a life skill."Wisniewski can swim, so that's no concern. Getting an understanding of the playbook is a different matter.That's where Campbell comes in. After playing last year under offensive coordinator-turned-head coach Hue Jackson, Campbell knows what's expected of Wisniewski on the field."I tried to go off some of the stuff Hue does in practice and some of the plays I've run before that I know he's real high on," Campbell said. "It's just a way to introduce it to the young guys for the terminology but also to reintroduce to myself and the other veterans."Linebacker Kamerion Wimbley learned enough from the pool session that he plans to follow the offseason training patterns of Groves and Campbell and make water activities a weekly routine."It's a total body workout," Wimbley said. "You work every muscle you can possibly think of. Your heart is pounding hard, and it's a very strenuous cardiovascular workout. There's everything tested in this workout."

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.”