Raiders

Raiders name Bresnahan defensive coordinator

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Raiders name Bresnahan defensive coordinator

March 7, 2011
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ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) The Oakland Raiders promoted assistant Chuck Bresnahan to defensive coordinator Monday, just weeks after bringing him back for a second stint with the organization.Oakland hired Bresnahan last month as a defensive assistant, but did not immediately specify his duties. Coach Hue Jackson said he had talked to some people outside the organization about the job, but stuck with a coach he had worked with before in Cincinnati."The fact that I've had the chance to be in defensive meetings with Chuck and watch him lead the defensive staff made it an easy decision to name him our defensive coordinator," Jackson said in a statement. "I am impressed with his passion, attention to detail and energy. This staff gives us the opportunity to have one of the top defenses in the NFL."The Raiders have made significant changes on their defensive staff since Jackson replaced Tom Cable as head coach in January. Hall of Famer Rod Woodson was brought on to coach the cornerbacks and Greg Biekert was promoted to linebackers coach.Both Woodson and Biekert played for Bresnahan during his stint as defensive coordinator of the Raiders from 2000-03. Oakland won the AFC West in his first three seasons and went to the Super Bowl following his third year in 2002."This is an incredible opportunity for me to come back to the Raiders and work again where we had so many great years," said Bresnahan, who was also a defensive backs coach in Oakland in 1998-99. "It's so exciting to be reunited with Hue Jackson because of the passion and energy that he brings. I'm also thrilled to be a part of this talented staff, many of whom I've shared previous success with."The Raiders have been aggressive so far this offseason about keeping some of their key potential free agents on the defensive side of the ball. Oakland gave cornerback Stanford Routt a three-year, 31.5 million deal, signed defensive tackle Richard Seymour to a 30 million, two-year contract, placed an 11,312,000 franchise tag on linebacker Kamerion Wimbley that has already been signed, and agreed to an 8 million, two-year contract with defensive tackle John Henderson.Oakland has two other key defensive free agents in Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and safety Michael Huff. Decisions on those two players won't be made until after a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.Regardless of what happens with Asomugha and Huff, the Raiders have some talented, young defenders whom they believe can be part of a stellar defense. Oakland's top two draft picks from last year, middle linebacker Rolando McClain and defensive end Lamarr Houston started right away as rookies and showed promise.Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly had his best season with seven sacks and Oakland has high hopes for safeties Tyvon Branch and Mike Mitchell, linebackers Trevor Scott and Travis Goethel, and defensive tackle Desmond Bryant.The primary task for Bresnahan will be improving a run defense that has been a problem for years for the Raiders. Oakland allowed the fourth-most yards rushing last season at 133.6 per game and has the worst run defense in the NFL since Bresnahan left before the 2004 season. Oakland has allowed 140.4 yards rushing per game over those seasons with a league-worst 139 touchdowns on the ground.Oakland did finish second in the league in pass defense and was tied for second with 47 sacks.During Bresnahan's tenure as defensive coordinator in Oakland, the Raiders ranked 17th in rushing defense (117.2 yards per game), tied for 14th in scoring defense (20.5 points per game), tied for 22nd in total defense (331.3 yards per game), tied for 17th in turnovers forced (117) and tied for 12th in sacks (152).Bresnahan spent last season as defensive coordinator for Florida in the UFL. He has also been defensive coordinator for three years with Cincinnati and coached as an assistant with Indianapolis and Cleveland.

Practice report: Conley locking in mentally while rehabbing injury

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AP

Practice report: Conley locking in mentally while rehabbing injury

NAPA – Gareon Conley ran Sunday for the first time in two months. The Raiders first-round cornerback remains on the physically unable to perform list with a shin injury originally suffered during a June minicamp. He wants to get back on the field. He just isn’t ready yet.

Missing training camp certainly sets back a dynamic cover man, but it doesn’t mean Conley can’t make an instant impact. While he hasn’t been seen on the practice field, the Raiders have been encouraged that Conley’s proving a quick learner and an inquisitive mind.

“We’d love to have him out there right now,” Raiders assistant head coach – defense John Pagano said. “When he’s out there, he’ll be out there. Until then, I think he got the reps he needed in OTAs. His mental game has picked up tremendously. He’s always asking questions, even more. It’s hard for a lot of injured players in this league to stand there on the sidelines and be able to just watch and look out there, but he’s always asking. He’s getting those mental reps.

"When he’s able to come back, he’ll be at a fast level. Injuries are part of the game, you deal with it and you just have to make sure, as a rookie, you’re taking those mental reps.”

Conley has been on the practice field with his position group most days, with a play sheet in hand to follow along. He has also lifted weights the past two days and worked on the JUGS machine Wednesday.

Nearly a month remains until the regular season starts, leaving Conley time to get back in the mix.

QUICK SLANTS

-- Cornerback Sean Smith took some reps with the first unit on Wednesday, though most of them came as an outside corner in the nickel package. TJ Carrie slid inside in those instances, and generally remained outside in the base defense.

Smith had his second straight quality practice, a sign he might be rebounding after a rough week where he practiced with the second unit and didn’t fare well at Arizona. The Raiders hope he can build on good work and be steadier in coverage.

“I think he’s growing every day,” Pagano said. “There’s always highs and lows in this game. You don’t want to make it, as we term, inconsistent. We’re always looking for the consistency. It’s how you build. It’s how you learn. It’s how you come off those things. There’s always room for improvement in the backend, in the front, all across our defense. There’s guys we’re asking them to go out there and make plays. Has he been improving at practice? Yeah. Then our job is to take that practice stuff and take it to the game field and have that consistency and that carry over to those types of games.”

-- Offensive line coach Mike Tice praised Ian Silberman’s play in a position switch to center. He has seen extensive reps there in camp, including a massive amount in the preseason opener at Arizona. Silberman will play some left guard in coming weeks to establish versatility and give him a shot to make the team.

-- Undrafted rookie Nicholas Morrow played with the first unit in sub packages, as the Raiders continue searching for coverage options in those personnel groups.

-- Jon Feliciano worked with the first unit on Wednesday at left guard. He will be a primary backup at every interior line spot. He is working back from a knee injury that kept him out until last week.

Tice finds silver lining on Raiders' offensive line as Penn's holdout drags on

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AP

Tice finds silver lining on Raiders' offensive line as Penn's holdout drags on

NAPA – Donald Penn won’t step foot in the Napa Valley Marriott this year. Unless something truly shocking happens, the Raiders will break training camp Thursday afternoon without seeing the Pro Bowl left tackle on the practice field.

Penn wants a new contract, one worth more than the $5.8 million base salary he was scheduled to make under his current deal. Penn has outperformed that pact, and is willing to wait for a new one.

It’s been 20 days with no movement.

That has forced offensive line coach Mike Tice to make other plans. He has to move on with the players he had in camp, even with the virtual certainty Penn will return before the regular season starts.

Marshall Newhouse is the Raiders left tackle. Vadal Alexander is on the right. That’s who Tice has to work with. He has to prep them for the regular season opener Sept. 10.

“Where I’m at right now is I have to get us ready to go out and beat Tennessee,” Tice said after Wednesday’s practice. “So right now, I have Marshall on the left and I have Vadal on the right and I have David doing a little bit more each day, playing both sides. That’s what we have. I can’t sit here and wonder when DP is going to come back. Right now I’ve moved forward with Marshall is on the left and Vadal is on the right and David is swinging.

"That’s reality right now. I can’t think that there’s going to be something else there until it’s there.”

When Penn eventually shows up to work at the Raiders complex in Alameda, Tice will add him to the mix. The Raiders have now had plenty of time to prepare for an instance in which their Pro Bowl tackle is not physically able to perform. 

“Injuries happen during the season and you have to have a plan to have a player ready to play at each position and sometimes multiple players ready at the same position,” Tice said. “With Donald not here yet, we’re able to have Marshall over there. He’s done a nice job. He’s gotten better. The challenge you have with a veteran guy that comes in, he’s been coached by other coaches to do things a different way and it takes time for a veteran to learn the ways to do things the way that we want to do them as Raiders. That’s probably the biggest challenge.”

Penn isn’t the only offensive lineman to miss time. David Sharpe and Jylan Ware have missed some time with injury. Kelechi Osemele has taken some time off this camp. Jon Feliciano only returned from the physically unable to perform list last week. Tice has mixed and matched just to get through practice.

“We’ve had some days where we’ve had to make it happen with 10 or 11,” Tice said. “When you have that, you get the ability, you have the ability, you have the opportunity to develop your depth. In the long run, it’s actually a good thing.”