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.

Inactives: Raiders LG Kelechi Osemele a late scratch due to illness

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Inactives: Raiders LG Kelechi Osemele a late scratch due to illness

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Raiders left guard Kelechi Osemele was questionable to play Thursday night’s game at Kansas City with a knee sprain.

His knee is doing just fine, thank you.

Even still, Osemele wasn’t ready to play. He was a late scratch due to an illness, which sapped him to the point he couldn’t go.

Osemele was listed about the Raiders inactives, announced shortly before kickoff.

That creates a huge void in the offensive line – the Raiders run best between Osemele and left tackle Donald Penn – that will be filled by rookie Vadal Alexander.

Alexander is an aggressive player and a good run blocker, but he isn’t on Osemele’s level. Not having the high-priced player could hinder the Raiders offensive line, which must remain strong for the attack to operate well. The Raiders have allowed a league-low 13 sacks this season. 

Defensive tackle Darius Latham was questionable with an ankle injury, but wasn’t quite ready to play this game. This marks his second contest missed with injury.

Strong safety Karl Joseph was ruled out earlier in the week with a toe injury. Cornerback Antonio Hamilton, Shilique Calhoun, Connor Cook and Stacy McGee are also inactive.

Raiders 'don't mind tough things,' ready for adverse conditions vs Chiefs

Raiders 'don't mind tough things,' ready for adverse conditions vs Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Arrowhead Stadium has literally become a frozen tundra. Heaters under the playing surface malfunctioned on Wednesday night, allowing a layer of ice to form under the tarp in below freezing temperatures.

That information comes courtesy of an NFL Network reporter on site Thursday morning in advance of an evening showdown between the rival Raiders and Chiefs.

The field is expected to thaw by kickoff, but any remaining ice patch would add to the adversity facing the Silver and Black in a pivotal AFC West showdown.

They are the only NFL team to travel more than one time zone to play on “Thursday Night Football,” adding another wrinkle to a game that deserves to be played on regular rest. Instead teams will square off in a made-for-TV event without much time to prepare

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio could’ve griped about an adverse lot, but he refused to line up reasons why his team might not play well.

“We’re going to be excited to play,” Del Rio said. “It’s a tough set of circumstances. We don’t mind tough things. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Beating the Chiefs is a daunting task. The Raiders weren’t up to it earlier this year, when Kansas City came to Oakland and made it their home. The Raiders must even the score or find themselves in a bind. Kansas City would own the divisional tiebreaker with three games remaining, and would be in great position to win the AFC West.

The Chiefs have been Raiders kryptonite in recent seasons. They have won six of seven matchups, a trend the Raiders hope to buck on Thursday night.

“Everyone mentions, ‘They’ve beaten you this many times,’ and these things and all of that,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “When I’m preparing for these guys, it never goes through my head. That stuff never has a determining factor on anything I write down, anything that goes on in my brain or anything like that. I just prepare for them just like I do any other game. I prepare for them the same way that I do for everybody. I’m going to go out there, and I’m looking forward to competing against them though this time.”

Carr won’t compete from under center. The Raiders will stay in shotgun and pistol formations for a second straight week to protect a right pinky finger dislocated in two places against the Carolina Panthers. That shouldn’t limit them much, though it makes life harder on the run game.

The Raiders performed pretty well on the ground against Buffalo, totaling 139 yards on 32 carries. Latavius Murray led that effort, with 82 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.

Murray missed the last game against Kansas City with turf toe, but will be ready to take a heavy load this time around. He has been taking more carries over the last month, with a previously equal running back rotation now shading his way. Murray should be a play a big role in this contest, which should come down to the fourth quarter.

“The Chiefs are a rival that we’ve struggled with,” Murray said. “We know what’s at stake for this season. They stand in the way of our goal of winning the division. We need to take care of them.”

The Raiders must take care of Kansas City on a short week, in loud, hostile environment. Oh, and in the bitter cold. It’s expected to be 20 degrees at kickoff, with wind coursing through Arrowhead Stadium.

The Raiders don’t mind that either. They’re 6-0 in games away from Oakland Coliseum, and are confident they can overcome adversity this particular game presents.

“You just have to get your mind right and go play,” Del Rio said. “We’ll be ready to go. We have a good group of guys. Feel like we’re weather proof. We’ll go play.”