Raiders key matchup No. 2: Heyward-Bey vs. DeCoud


Raiders key matchup No. 2: Heyward-Bey vs. DeCoud

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Falcons matchups to watch Sunday, 10 a.m. (CBS), at the Georgia Dome.
Matchup No. 3: Tyvon Branch vs. Tony Gonzalez

Matchup No. 2: Raiders WR Darrius Heyward-Bey vs. Falcons FS Thomas DeCoudTale of the tape
Heyward-Bey (85): 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, fourth season, Maryland
DeCoud (28): 6-foot, 193 pounds, fifth season, CaliforniaATLANTA -- It was a safety in Pittsburgh's Ryan Mundy who knocked Darrius Heyward-Bey out the last time the Raiders' receiver played in a game. Heyward-Bey was concussed, strapped down to a gurney, carted off the field, spent the night in the hospital and missed the following game.So yeah, you might want to forgive him if he hears footsteps the next time a safety, like Thomas DeCoud, comes bearing down on him on the Georgia Dome's unforgiving artificial turf. Except, Heyward-Bey insists he's actually kind of looking forward to getting that first hit out of the way."I'm not really worried," Heyward-Bey told reporters Friday. "Everybody who plays football wants to get that first hit in, and you go from there. When it happens, it happens, and you move on to the next play."Heyward-Bey, who was injured on a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit in the end zone that cost Mundy a 21,000 fine, has caught nine passes for 98 yards and a touchdown in three games. And while he may not come across the path of DeCoud in the Falcons' deep split-safety secondary all that often, DeCoud is more ballhawk than thumper so Heyward-Bey has to be mindful of that as well.RELATED: Raiders injury report
DeCoud's four interceptions are tied for the NFL lead with Chicago cornerback Tim Jennings."Even though (DeCoud) is a young guy biologically, he has got a lot of games under his belt," Atlanta coach Mike Smith said of the 27-year-old DeCoud."And he has really done a nice job playing the ball this season and I think it is evident by the way he is taking the ball away."From the Raiders' perspective, they are just happy that Heyward-Bey is healthy. His being on the field and healthy at the same time with a healthy Denarius Moore for really the first time this season is the bonus."It's always great to have an extra weapon there in the huddle with you," Moore said. "Just him on the other side of the field being able to stretch the field and then put him anywhere, along with the rest of the wide receivers."It's just a feeling that you have, just to see your best friend right there beside you, knowing that he's there to help you."And Heyward-Bey's presence should help the running game."We need a receiver that can get out there and stretch the field for us, just get some of the guys out of the box," said running back Darren McFadden. "He's a great contributor."RELATED: Raiders lacking in explosive plays
Said offensive coordinator Greg Knapp: "Their defense plays a lot of zone down (in the red zone) and we're trying to find some seams and have to break a tackle. And (Heyward-Bey's) size provides that for us after he gets the ball in the seams."

Raiders' Sean Smith charged with assault

Raiders' Sean Smith charged with assault

Raiders cornerback Sean Smith has been charged with assault, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced on Thursday.

The charge is for assault of his sister's boyfriend in Smith's hometown of Pasadena. Smith allegedly beat and stomped the boyfriend's head on the morning of July 4, 2017 in Old Town Pasadena, the district attorney said.

Smith faces formal felony counts of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury to the victim.

The 30-year old plans to fight the charges levied against him. 

"Sean maintains his innocence at this time," Smith's attorney, Daniel Rosenberg told NBC Sports Califorinia on Thursday evening. "We are going to be entering a plea of not guilty and fighting these charges."

A warrant was filed on Aug. 16. Smith's arriagnment is scheduled for Sept. 29. 

Smith was not present at Thursday's Raiders practice, the last session of training camp. He surrendered to Los Angeles County authorities, posted an $80,000 bond and has been released from custody.

If convicted as charged, Smith could face a maximum sentence of seven years in California prison. 

A Raiders spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The case is still under investigation by the Pasadena Police Department. 

This is another blow in a rough summer for Smith. He has struggled on the practice field during training camp and faces an off-field legal issue. Smith is guaranteed $9.5 million for the 2017 season. 

More to come...

After speaking with Marshawn Lynch, two things are crystal clear

After speaking with Marshawn Lynch, two things are crystal clear

NAPA – Marshawn Lynch spoke with the media Thursday for the second time as a Raider. He was quick-witted, disarming and, as always, not suitable for work.

It was five minutes of peak Marshawn, where he brought light to his charitable endeavors, called himself the “daddy” of his position group and cleverly sidestepped all things nation anthem.

He was asked four questions on other topics before elephant in the room was mentioned. It didn’t stick around long.

“I think the elephant left the room because a little mouse ran in here,” Lynch deadpanned. “Didn’t they say elephants are scared of mice or something? That [expletive] left the room, cousin.”

[RATTO: Lynch reminds media how much control he exerts over any interaction]

Two more related questions came down the pike. The first was about Del Rio letting players be themselves. He answered a different question instead.

“Yeah, because on ‘doctor-24,’ it’s a designed way that you’re supposed to run it but I have all freedom to go any way that I choose to run it,” Lynch said. “I would say, yes.”

The final anthem-esque query was deflected in a similar fashion.

“When we run ‘74’ or something like that, where I have to scan and read on both sides, that is pretty difficult. For the most part, I’m a veteran so I can make it work.”

Two things were crystal clear after speaking with Lynch.

He didn’t miss football one bit during his year in retirement. Lynch said this spring he decided to return after the Raiders were approved to relocate away from his native Oakland. He wants to represent his hometown well and give them something to cheer before the team leaves for Las Vegas.

That’s why he’s fired up even for Saturday’s exhibition against the Rams – he’s expected to make a cameo in that game – his first in Oakland wearing silver and black.

“It’s truly a blessing and just to have the opportunity to go and do that is a good [expletive] feeling,” Lynch said. “It’s a good [expletive] feeling.”

Lynch has always been active in the community, and hopes him playing here will bring more visibility to what’s being done to help kids in Oakland.

“I plan on continuing to do what I do in the community,” Lynch said. “It’ll probably be that now that I’m here, more people that are in the community might actually come out and support what it is that we’ve got going on.”