EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Chargers matchups to watch Monday, 7:15 p.m. (ESPN) at The Coliseum.
Matchup No. 3: Streater vs. Jammer
Matchup No. 1: (coming Monday morning)
Tale of the tape:
Matt Shaughnessy: 6-foot-5, 285 pounds, fourth season, Wisconsin
Mike Harris: 6-foot-5, 310 pounds, rookie, UCLAShaughnessy was on his way to being one of the elite defensive ends in the NFL last year before a shoulder injury suffered in the Raiders' third game ended his season. He is healthy now.Harris is an undrafted rookie free agent charged with protecting Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers' blind side.Is this where the ridiculous meets the sublime for the Raiders? Meh."You can't take anybody lightly," Shaughnessy said this week. "You've got to treat everybody the same and prepare the same way and that's what we're doing this week."Still, it would seem to be a mismatch in favor of Oakland. Even if Shaughnessy, with his 12 career sacks, is known more as a run-stuffing end and Harris, playing in place of the injured Jared Gaither, was a right tackle at UCLA.In the teams' first meeting last year, Chargers left tackle Marcus McNeil had his season ended by an Aaron Curry hit and Kamerion Wimbley went on to record four sacks in the game. Obviously, Harris and Rivers hope the same is not in store Monday night."It's really amazing," Harris told the Los Angeles Times. "It's a dream come true. I've worked my whole life to get to where I want to be, and now my teammates and coaches are counting on me."Starting Monday, I'm going to have a chance to show the world who Michael Harris is, and show the world I belong in the NFL."Or not."I mean, he looked pretty good on film," said Shaughnessy, who had four sacks as a rookie and seven more in 2010. "Obviously, they're very happy with what he's doing, so he's playing."
Raiders rookies have reported to Napa for some pre-training camp instruction. Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu are not among them.
This year’s top draft picks remain unsigned as activity ramps up toward the first full-squad practice on Saturday. Every practice, meeting or moment of instruction is important for young defensive backs expected to make an immediate impact.
It is, however, still early in the season preparation process. Head coach Jack Del Rio isn’t concerned about his first-round cornerback Conley or his second-round safety Melifonwu being away long term.
“These are issues that should get resolved shortly and they’ll join the team,” Del Rio said Tuesday in an interview with 95.7-FM The Game in San Francisco. “It’s one of those situations where, years ago, ...those were issues. Holdouts could last the whole camp and into the season. The structure is in place now (with the NFL’s rookie wage scale), and we expect these things to get resolved shortly and they’ll be getting their work in.”
There isn’t much wiggle room in rookie contract negotiations these days, which is why just four NFL draft picks remain unsigned at this stage.
Conley’s legal issues, however, could be considered complicating. The No. 24 overall pick was accused of sexual assault stemming from an April 9 incident in Cleveland.
The Cuyahoga County District Attorney’s office has said the investigation is ongoing. Conley’s lawyer did not return a call seeking comment.
There is no timetable to complete the process. Conley has maintained his innocence, and passed a lie detector test just before the draft. The Raiders have stood by their selection from the start, confident in their pre-draft research that Conley will be cleared of wrongdoing and be a productive member of the squad.
Del Rio said that’s still the case several months later.
Marshawn Lynch is getting to live out the dream of most pro athletes.
He's getting to finish his career by playing for his hometown team.
One fellow Oakland-native and AFC West rival can appreciate the opportunity in front of Lynch, but also had some fighting words for the Raiders running back.
“For Shawn to finish off this last little stretch of his career here at home, that’s dope,” Chiefs CB Marcus Peters told the Bay Area News Group on July 8.
“It’s going to feel good for him. It’s going to be a good feeling. It’s going to be a good feeling for Oakland. But when [the Chiefs] come here, we’re going to beat the dog s--- out of him,” Peters said.
So you can circle Thursday, Oct. 19 on your calendars. The Raiders host the Chiefs in Week 7. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:25pm PT.