Raiders key matchup No. 3. Huff vs. Wallace


Raiders key matchup No. 3. Huff vs. Wallace

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Steelers matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m. (CBS) at Coliseum.

Raiders SCB Michael Huff vs. Steelers WR Mike Wallace
Tale of the tape
Huff: 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, seventh season, Texas
Wallace: 6-foot, 199 pounds, fourth season, MississippiNo matter where Huff lines up Sunday -- at his regular free safety position or at a cornerback spot -- he is sure to run across the speedy Wallace. Especially if right corner Shawntae Spencer's sprained right foot keeps him out, as expected.RELATED: Are Ross, Huff the cavalry for Raiders CBs?
"Mike Huffs played inside and nickel, hes played corner in the past," said Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver. "Were moving him around. Hes playing some of everything this week, like coach (Dennis) Allen said, and were trying the guys out, seeing what they can do, and when somebody goes down, its a great opportunity, see who rises."Theyre on the roster for a reason, so lets see who rises and well put them in positions where they've got to know where their help is, and thats the key. They've got to know where their help is and do their job on those plays."With Ron Bartell on the shortened IR with a broken shoulder blade and Spencer dealing with his foot, the Raiders only have four healthy cornerbacks in Pat Lee, Joselio Hanson, Phillip Adams and Coye Francies.So Huff, rumored to be making the move had Hue Jackson been retained, helping out at corner has some merits. Even if he struggled two years ago in Jacksonville in the slot, and against Pittsburgh, Wallace is seen by many as the fastest receiver in the NFL.RELATED: Where is Huff playing in the secondary?
Two years ago, Wallace averaged 21 yards per reception and caught 10 touchdown passes. Last season, he caught 72 passes for 1,193 yards and eight TDs.He's been slowed by a tweaked groin thus far this year and still has nine receptions for 111 yards and two scores.As the No. 84 overall pick of the 2009 draft, Wallace was the 11th receiver taken (the Raiders' Darrius Heyward-Bey was the first, at No. 7)."He hasn't missed a beat when it comes to knowing what to do," Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said of Wallace. "He's making plays and he's just fine."Paging Huffmaybe.

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.