Raiders' Jackson says Ford best KR in football

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Raiders' Jackson says Ford best KR in football

Sept. 1, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVE
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Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comALAMEDA -- Five different Raiders players have combined to return 13 kickoffs in three preseason games, from Shaun Bodiford (4) to Nick Miller (4) to Denarius Moore (3) to Chad Jackson (1) to Taiwan Jones (1).So, who's Oakland's top returner as the Raiders head into their exhibition finale Friday night at Seattle and prepare for their season opener Sept. 12 in Denver?"I got one guy in my mind and he's the best in football," Raiders coach Hue Jackson said this week. "His name is Jacoby Ford."Agree or disagree, Ford has also been conspicuous by his absence. He has been sidelined since July 30 with a broken left hand, suffered on the first day of padded hitting in training camp.Jackson's praise had to feel good to Ford, considering he has yet to play in an exhibition this summer, though he did dress and take part in pregame warmups Sunday at the O.co Coliseum."He's giving me the kudos; I'll accept it," Ford said. "That's just the kind of confidence he has in me. I've got his back and he's got mine. We just kind of complement each other that way."Compliments are also free-flowing and easy to find after Ford's electrifying rookie season in 2010, in which he set single-season and franchise records with three touchdown returns on kickoffs. On the year, he returned 53 kickoffs for 1,280 yards, averaging 24.2 yards. He ranked sixth in the NFL in kick return yardage.And coming out of the NFL lockout, there had been much talk of Ford taking over punt-return duties as well. Talk that has been squelched of late, what with Ford slowed by injury. Still, he was fielding punts in the last week of camp."Just to show them I can go out there and do it," Ford said. "I'd like to be able to do it sometime."I wouldn't want to do it every time," though, he added. "Just kind of situational, just every once in a while. Nothing too much. I wouldn't want to wear myself out."Said Jackson: "He has the potential to be (our punt returner). Will we stick him back there? I don't know. We'll see. Maybe that will be our spot-duty deal as we go. But he has the potential to do it."Jackson had also not decided yet whether Ford would play against the Seahawks, or just hit the regular season ground running. Literally, and figuratively.Thus far, Bodiford is averaging 25.8 yards per kick return, Miller 16.0 yards and Moore 28.7 yards.

Raiders OC Todd Downing: New weapons will 'make me look good'

Raiders OC Todd Downing: New weapons will 'make me look good'

STANFORD – Todd Downing has long been responsible for intently analyzing college quarterbacks entering the NFL Draft. He certainly did so during two seasons as Raiders quarterbacks coach, adding input to personnel department evaluations on young signal callers.

This offseason, he’s using a wide-angle lens. Downing is the Raiders offensive coordinator now, promoted to the position after Bill Musgrave was allowed to leave on an expired contract.

Coaches enter the draft evaluation process relatively late – they have a season to coach, after all – but Downing prides himself on working hard in evaluating talent. Working with general manager Reggie McKenzie’s staff, coaches feel like their voice is being heard.

That’s important to a coordinator especially, who must make a scheme work with talent around him.

“Reggie and his staff have always done a tremendous job of listening to our vision for the offense or the defense,” Downing said Thursday at Stanford’s pro day. “It’s been a joy to work with those guys over the past three years.

“(Head coach Jack Del Rio) really expects us to be accountable for our position group. Now that I’m the coordinator, there’s more of a broad scope when looking at offensive talent in the draft. When you work that hard (evaluating players), I think the scouts know that your opinion is well grounded, and that validates it a little bit.”

Downing is always on the lookout for weapons, especially while making tweaks to the Raiders offense. The Silver and Black found a few, adding tight end Jared Cook, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, offensive lineman Marshal Newhouse and quarterback EJ Manuel.

Quarterback Derek Carr helped him get some. The full-time East Bay resident has been active recruiting free agents, trying to improve an already strong Raiders offense.

“You guys know how passionate he is about this game, and about this team and backing up this franchise,” Downing said. “(His involvement in recruiting) didn’t surprise any of us. He’s pretty hands on when it comes to football. He lives in the area, so he hopped in when we needed it and it paid off.”

Cook and Patterson especially could add dimensions to a well-rounded Raiders attack. Cook has made some big plays in the past, and should be a reliable receiving tight end the Raiders have lacked in recent seasons.

“He has a skill set that will be fun to play with (schematically),” Downing said. “We’re excited to see what he can do, and I know Derek is excited to add him. He has a history of making plays in this league, and that’s something we’re excited to have.”

Patterson’s primarily known as a kick returner – he’s a two-time All Pro on special teams – but the Raiders hope he’ll be active on offense.

“With guys like that, you just find a way to get them the rock and let them do the rest of the work,” Downing said. “They make me look good. I can call a simple play and he takes it the distance and it looks like I designed something special.”

Week after signing with Vikings, ex-Raiders RB Murray undergoes surgery

Week after signing with Vikings, ex-Raiders RB Murray undergoes surgery

A week after signing a deal with the Vikings, former Raiders running back Latavius Murray has undergone ankle surgery.

The Vikings made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.

Minnesota issued the following statement regarding the surgery:

"Vikings RB Latavius Murray had successful ankle surgery today. The surgery was performed by Dr. Bob Anderson in Charlotte, North Carolina. We were aware of the required surgery prior to signing Latavius on March 16. Latavius is expected to fully recover and be available for training camp."

Murray's deal with the Vikings is reported worth $15 million over three years, but can reportedly be voied after the first year.

Drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Murray became the Raiders' primary running back midway through the 2015 season. In his three years in Oakland, Murray carried the ball 543 times for 2,278 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2015.