Raiders

Raiders key matchup to watch: No. 1 -- Huff vs. Manning

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Raiders key matchup to watch: No. 1 -- Huff vs. Manning

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the final part in a series that spotlighted three Raiders-Broncos matchups to watch Thursday, 5:20 p.m. (NFL Network), at the O.co Coliseum

Raiders CB Michael Huff vs. Broncos QB Peyton Manning

Tale of the tape
Huff (24): 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, seventh season, Texas
Manning (18): 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, 15th season, Tennessee

ALAMEDA -- The last time Michael Huff faced Peyton Manning, Huff was just starting his baptism by fire at cornerback against a trio of elite quarterbacks.

After making the switch from free safety to corner in Week 3, against Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger, Huff went up against Manning. Then Huff stared down Atlanta's Matt Ryan.

"Got thrown in the fire," Huff said before facing Manning, who, in turn, absolutely torched the Raiders secondary that day, passing for a season-high 338 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 4.

Eight games later, Huff has found a comfort zone with interceptions of Ryan and Baltimore's Joe Flacco.

"A lot more comfortable," he said. "That was my second game out there, still going through the growing pains. Obviously a lot more comfortable now than I was back then."

Even as general manager Reggie McKenzie still thinks of Huff as a safety. The experience can only help him when he moves back in the secondary, right?

"Oh yeah, it will help me grow," Huff said. "It will help me grow at safety in the future, kind of knowing what things to look at now at corner as opposed to safety. Safety, you’re kind of locked in and focused on just the quarterback and formations and things like that. (At corner), you look more at splits, leverage and things like that. Hopefully I can take that to safety."

But while Huff will be playing against Manning, the Broncos first-year quarterback who seemingly already has comeback player of the year honors wrapped up while making a run at what would be a record fifth MVP trophy, is also facing history.

Just don't bring that up to Manning, who has passed for 3,502 yards with 29 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His 104.6 passer rating is his best since a 121.1 in 2004.

"I really have tried to kind of live in the moment and try to kind of focus on the now," Manning told Denver reporters this week. "I really haven’t had a whole lot of time to reflect upon years past. Obviously, this has been an entirely new year and there’s been so much on my plate this year -- plenty to focus on -- so it’s not something that I think about a lot.

"Certainly, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, it’s very humbling to be mentioned amongst some of the all-time greats and some of my favorite quarterbacks, guys like Dan Marino and John Elway. It’s very humbling to me. I’m just grateful to be playing the same position as those guys. That’s how I’ve always approached it."

And Huff's approach as the Raiders try to break their first five-game losing streak since 2007?

"Just got to find a way," Huff said. "Obviously, it’s tough, especially in a short week. He is their offensive coordinator so obviously they’ll know what they’re doing. We’ve got to find a way. We’ve got to step up and make plays. Leaders, like myself and Tyvon (Branch), we've just got to find a way to rise up and make plays."

Or, at least make more than they did back in September.

Notes: Del Rio wants Raiders to reflect inward after ugly loss in Washington

Notes: Del Rio wants Raiders to reflect inward after ugly loss in Washington

ALAMEDA – Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio gives his players Monday off. Tuesday is generally an in-season rest day, but the Silver and Black get the day after a game to be away from the facility.

“There’s some raw emotion on the day after the game, so I think that helps you maybe teach a little better,” Del Rio said in his Monday press conference. Things need to be taught. That’s one of the biggest benefits to the structure.”

Del Rio called this a "miserable Monday," where his team will be widely criticized for a disatrous 27-10 loss to Washington. 

They’ll spend one more day reviewing it during what Del Rio dubs “Tell the Truth Tuesday." It won't be terribly fun, especially after getting outplayed and outcoached.

It’s a day for corrections, development and one last look back before pouring focus forward the Denver Broncos.

The Washington loss only counts as one. It can become two if that game’s hangover lasts all week. Del Rio is good keeping his players locked on the next task.

He’ll also have to keep them from pressing like they did in Washington.

“We were really looking for that spark, probably pressing early in the game,” Del Rio said. “Offensively, we got out of rhythm. We threw, in the first four drives, two picks and two three-and-outs. We weren’t in rhythm, obviously. They executed. It really wasn’t anything overwhelming. They played some solid, basic coverage and we didn’t execute and they did. It’s just one of those days. It’s an opportunity to learn. Recognize what went wrong.”

Explaining what went awry will be key this Tuesday. There was a lot. Quarterback Derek Carr tried to put the team on his back, to no avail. Carr had a rare dud, and took full responsibility for the loss after the game.

“That’s good for all of us,” Del Rio said. “To me, that’s what we need to do. It starts with me, obviously there are a lot of things that each guy can look at and say ‘this is what I can do better.’ That’s what I want. I want us to reflect inward and see how we can do things ourselves better and then pull together as a team. Stick together, pull together and go forward. That’s what you do.”

Keeping an eye on Crabtree:
Receiver Michael Crabtree took a big hit to the chest from Montae Nicholson on Sunday night and did not return to the game. That leaves his availability in some question.

“We’ll take a close look at him and make sure there’s nothing significant going on,” Del Rio said. “I know the doctors cleared for him to travel with us coming back which was good. He took a good shot. It was a clean hit, a good shot. Crab’s a tough guy so I’m sure he’ll bounce back.”

More Marshawn?
Raiders lead running back Marshawn Lynch only touched the ball seven times at Washington. He had six carries for 18 yards and an eight-yard catch. That isn’t enough for this Raiders offense to function well, but Sunday was a unique circumstance. The Raiders fell behind early and couldn’t sustain drives.

“When you have as many three-and-outs and you only take 50 snaps of offense, you can talk about all the things that you left on the drawing board that you would have liked to have gotten to,” Del Rio said. “Certainly, there was a lot of offense that we had designed to get to, including touches for him, but 0-for-11 on third down says all you need to know. When you’re talking about, does your running back get a chance to run it as much as you’d like, when you’re 0-for-11 on third down you’re not going to get a lot of opportunities anywhere with your offense.”

Norman targets Crabtree, Cooper in postgame rant after Raiders loss

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USATI

Norman targets Crabtree, Cooper in postgame rant after Raiders loss

Josh Norman isn’t afraid to speak his mind, especially about opposing receivers who he feels slight him in some way.

Raiders wideouts Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper were his latest targets, subjects of a postgame rant following Washington’s 27-10 victory over the Silver and Black.

Washington’s premier cornerback said the duo talked trash to him during pregame warmups about big numbers they planned to post against Washington’s secondary.

That didn’t happen in an awful day for the Raiders offense. Crabtree had one seven-yard catch on the night and two drops. Cooper was even worse, with a six-yard catch on five targets and a crucial drop.

That gave Norman license to fire at the typically reserved Raiders receiving corps. Norman says he took the pregame exchange personally.

"What was personal, other than them getting their tails whupped?" Norman said, with quotes via ESPN.com. "I mean, first and foremost, you don't come up in here and say what you're going to put up on somebody. Two hundred yards? (Crabtree) didn't catch two balls. He only caught one, huh? So please, whatever you do, do not run your mouth if you're a wide receiver and expect to show up on Sundays, because I'm telling you, we are here and we are waiting.

"Don't come out here and tell me what you're going to do. Show me. You're going to have to run through me to get that."

It’s hard to imagine the quiet, often stoic Cooper inciting a rivalry with words. Crabtree has had a previous squabble with Seahawks corner Richard Sherman back when he was with the 49ers, but even he's typically quiet during the course of a game.

"Sherm was right,” Norman said. “(Crabtree) ain't going to say he's sorry, but I don't think he's sorry," Norman said. "He sucked, to be honest with you. You don't come out here and do that extra stuff, man. We don't play that out here."

Norman had several public exchanges with rival receivers, and may find motivation from these beefs.

"Whatever that young cat said, Coop, go and take it back," Norman said. "Crabtree? I have nothing to say to you. Yes, I may be Cover 2, but I'm Cover 1 too. I'm Cover 1, Cover 2, Cover 3 and Cover 4. All of them. All of the ingredients to make a perfect attack. We do all the extra stuff. When you come out on this field, you going to see about us."