Raiders Notebook: Cornerstones Getting Healthy

Raiders Notebook: Cornerstones Getting Healthy


ALAMEDA For the most part, the Raiders walking wounded have a little more bounce to their respective injured steps.Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (ankle) and tight end Zach Miller(foot), neither of whom played in the Raiders 23-20 overtime defeat ofKansas City on Nov. 7, and run-stuffing defensive tackle John Henderson(foot), who has not played since the home opener on Sept. 19, allpracticed limited Wednesday.It was a decent amount, hopefully it will be more Thursday, coach TomCable said of the workload the trio took on in practice. We want tokind of put them through some things today and see how they feelThursday. If they feel like they did at the end of practice, wereprobably going to get more and more out of them.Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring), meanwhile, joined fellow receiver ChazSchilens (knee) on the sidelines as he did not practice either.According to Cable, Heyward-Bey strained the hamstring in practice lastTuesday.
Its just sore, Cable said. Its a real slight strain, not realserious, but its one of those things where of you push it too much tooquick, it could become serious.Schilens has not played as all after undergoing surgery during trainingcamp. He appeared to be making progress before the bye week.Its not so much a setback, Cable said. Its responded really wellwhen were on the field running straight ahead. Its just a matter ofbeing able to cut and coming in and out of cuts. Still not very smooth.And still not very promising news for a receiver.Think the first-place Raiders, riding their first three-game winningstreak since 2002 and armed with the experience of beating the Steelersin their house last season, could enter Pittsburgh a tad overconfident?I wont let that happen, Cable said. We havent done a damn thing,and thats been our motto. We have got to keep grinding and fightingand going to work and cutting it loose and doing what we do.If I ever feel like we lose sight of that, Ill reel them back in. But thats not us. At least, not yet.Cable also acknowledged that there are a few doubters out there. And for good reason.Were 5-4, he said. We missed a kick in Arizona. We didnt score atouchdown in San Francisco. And those two things, from a coachsstandpoint, really gnaw it you because you kind of know what your teamshould be (record-wise, 7-2). But were not. So, in order to accomplishanything, we have got to keep doing our job, which is (keep) gettingbetter.The Raiders, like the rest of the football-watching world, took inSunday nights Pittsburgh-New England game and saw the Patriots offensespread out the Steelers and pick them apart.Naturally, you wonder of a blueprint, of sorts, was provided theRaiders. Thing is, the Raiders are really not built that way on offense.We have to be who we are, Cable said. At the end of the day, be who you are and you might mix in a few things.Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said receiver Hines Ward (concussion) has been cleared to play.But were going to continue to monitor him day-to-day, Tomlin said,as always is the case as guys come off of that kind of injury.

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.

They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.

Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.

“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”

While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.

The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.

“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.

"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.

Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.

Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.

“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”

Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.

“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”