Raiders notebook: McClain misses another practice

Raiders notebook: McClain misses another practice

Dec. 3, 2010
GUTIERREZ ARCHIVERAIDERS PAGE RAIDERS VIDEOPaul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.com

ALAMEDA -- Rookie Rolando McClain's ailing left foot took a turn for the worse Friday morning as the middle linebacker missed his second consecutive day of practice.

Raiders coach Tom Cable said McClain, 22, has arthritis in his foot and he is listed as "questionable" for Sunday's game at San Diego. If McClain cannot play, fifth-year veteran Ricky Brown will start in his place.

"He was better last night, but worse this morning," Cable said of McClain. "So it will be day-to-day and we'll probably wait until Sunday morning."

RELATED: Rolando McClain stats

McClain, the No. 8 overall draft pick out of Alabama in April, has 57 tackles, the third-highest mark on the team, with half of one sack and an interception. He has started every game thus far this season.

And while he may not be the instant play-making disruptive force so many imagined, he is an important cog of the Raiders defense.

"He's gotten better, I think, as the year went on," said cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. "In training camp, we knew that he was going to be a good player and a guy that we could put a lot on. Throughout the games, I've noticed from him that he's got a lot of confidence.

"If there is something that the coaches might be hesitant in calling, or a certain play because it puts him in a tough spot, he always tells them, 'No, I can take care of it.'"

"So he shows that maturity on the field - 'I'm not a frightened rookie. I can make plays.'"

Asomugha said his sore right ankle, sprained on Halloween, has improved and he has no doubt he'll play against the Chargers.

Receiver Chaz Schilens (knee) practiced limited for the third day in a row -- a feat he has not accomplished since late last season, by all accounts -- and he is a gametime decision, according to Cable.

"We"re getting more and more work each day with no setbacks, so that's a positive," Cable said of Schilens, who has yet to play this season. "You definitely have to take (Schilens) day-to-day.

"The limited amount of work he's working, he's at full speed."

Schilens declined to speak to reporters following practice.

Cable re-affirmed that Jason Campbell is the starting quarterback. The coach was asked, with Bruce Gradkowski done for the season on IR if he would hesitate to pull Campbell in favor of Kyle Boller against the Chargers.

"Well, Kyle will be the back-up quarterback," Cable said, "and he's ready to go if needed."

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Campbell, no?

Cable also would not commit to Darrius Heyward-Bey starting at receiver, even as he is healthy.

"I don't know that," Cable said. "We'll get to all that as we know the health (of the rest of the team) there."

Cable, when asked if the Raiders can beat the Chargers without running the ball effectively: "No."

The Raiders injury report - practiced limited and questionable: WR Chaz Schilens (knee), TE Zach Miller (leg), DT Richard Seymour (knee), CB Nnamdi Asomugha (ankle), SS Tyvon Branch (shoulder).

Did not practice and questionable: MLB Rolando McClain (foot).

Did not practice and doubtful: CB Chris Johnson.

McKenzie, Del Rio ‘unified since Day 1,’ ushering Raiders into next phase

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McKenzie, Del Rio ‘unified since Day 1,’ ushering Raiders into next phase

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Jack Del Rio have done three pre-draft press conferences now. They’ve got the routine down, knowing when to deflect questions, when to put people off the scent and, more importantly, how to seem unpredictable.

They were in lockstep again Friday, less than a week before the 2017 NFL draft.

During their first, McKenzie offered one criticism of his head coach.

“Can you guys get Jack out of my office?” McKenzie said in 2015, with tongue firmly in cheek.

The rhetorical question was answered with a laugh. McKenzie was acknowledging how much Del Rio and staff wanted to support the scouting process. McKenzie ultimately pulls the trigger on draft day, but Del Rio has a loud voice in the room as he looks for players who fit his locker room and his schemes.

McKenzie has open ears, taking advice from the entire coaching staff while arranging his draft board. This time of year especially, coaches and scouts are working together.

“It’s been unified since Day 1,” Del Rio said. “Reggie and I are very unified and much on the same mission and that is to bring a world championship home to this organization. Everything we’re doing is attacking that, adding these impact players where we can.”

The pair was focused on improving a lackluster roster that featured Derek Carr and Khalil Mack but finished 3-13 the year before. Now their partnership is entering Phase II.

They must decide which players to add, and decide which previously drafted players to keep. There are some obvious extensions in the works, with Carr, Mack and Gabe Jackson. They had to let some homegrown talent go in free agency as they attempt to upgrade depth and build a championship roster that can build on last year’s success.

“There’s a whole different phase that we’re about to go through as an organization as you begin to mature, some of those players have to be re-signed or not. Those are decisions you have to make in all of this. This is year three for us working together and I feel like the relationship with the scouts and the coaches and the sharing of information is excellent. We want to continue to work that way.”

Locals among cornerbacks who can help Raiders early in NFL Draft

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AP

Locals among cornerbacks who can help Raiders early in NFL Draft

The Raiders have an opening in their secondary.

Finding a slot cornerback is a top priority with DJ Hayden now in Detroit. TJ Carrie is an option there, but the Raiders could add a young, versatile talent capable of taking a more prominent role down the line.

That’s true despite the fact Sean Smith signed a free-agent deal through 2019 last year and David Amerson received a contract extension through the 2020 season. Those contracts, however, become pay-as-you-go deals after this season.

The dead money goes away, freeing the Raiders to look for long-term upgrades if they see fit.

Head coach Jack Del Rio loves creating competition and depth, especially at such an important position in today’s NFL. The Raiders like larger, physical cornerbacks with ball skills, and there are plenty in this year’s draft.

Many analysts have the Raiders taking a cornerback at No. 24 overall, and that’s a realistic possibility. They could certainly look to help last year’s No. 24-ranked secondary in the early rounds.

Let’s take a look at some top options available in this week’s draft:

Good fits:There are quite a few quality cornerbacks who could be available at No. 24 overall, even if there’s an early run on the position.

Oakland native and Washington alum Kevin King visited the Raiders during the pre-draft process, and certainly fits what the Raiders like in a cornerback. He’s confident and aggressive, unafraid to use great physical traits to make plays on the ball. He’s tall and long and isn’t afraid to tackle.

USC’s Adoree Jackson has the quality ball skills the Raiders like, and is adept high-pointing the ball. Analysts say he can play several coverage techniques and has the agility to make up for mistakes. He can work in the slot, but at 5-foot-10 isn’t as tall as the Raiders like. They’d have to take him in the first round. He may not last beyond that.

San Jose native and Colorado product Chidobe Awuzie is another interesting local defensive back ready to turn pro. He can play outside or in the slot, and analysts say he has excellent one-on-one coverage skills but needs tackling work. He was a solid slot blitzer at Colorado, and could fill an immediate need crucial against so many three and four receiver sets.

Louisiana State’s Tre’Davious White has experience playing the slot, and could help right away there before transferring outside if asked. He can cover extremely well, though analysts say he isn’t much of a tackler. He might be a tweener as far as the Raiders are concerned, not worthy of the No. 24 pick but long gone before the Raiders pick in the second round.

Central Florida’s Shaquill Griffin visited the Raiders this spring, and rightfully so. A willing run defender with good ball skills and tackling ability who could be available in the third round should intrigue them.