Raiders notes: 1st, 2nd team defenses step up

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Raiders notes: 1st, 2nd team defenses step up

Aug. 11, 2011

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Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.com

OAKLAND -- Hue Jackson admitted Wednesday morning he was not sure how he would divvy up playing time for the Raiders' exhibition opener. Especially to his starters.Well, it essentially went like this -- the first-string defense, which returns 10 of 11 starters, played one series, giving up one first down and 19 yards, 15 of which came on one Kevin Kolb scramble on 3rd and 10.The defensive starters: DE Lamarr Houston, DT Tommy Kelly, DT Richard Seymour, DE Matt Schaughnessy, WLB Quentin Groves, MLB Rolando McClain, SLB Kamerion Wimbley, CB Chris Johnson, CB Stanford Routt, FS Michael Huff, SS Tyvon Branch.Meanwhile, the first-string offense was on the field for two series, going 48 yards and getting a 39-yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal to start the scoring, before moving the ball from its own 1-yard line to the Arizona 34 before stalling and punting.

The offensive starters: LT Jared Veldheer, LG Daniel Loper, C Samson Satele, RG Cooper Carlisle, RT Khalif Barnes, TE Kevin Boss, QB Jason Campbell, FB Marcel Reece, RB Michael Bush, WR Chaz Schilens, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey.Barnes had a rough go of it. The seventh-year veteran was called for three -- count 'em -- three false starts. After his final call, he was in deep conversation with new offensive line coach Bob Wylie and rookie Joseph Barksdale.Good show for the second-team defense, stopping the Cardinals on 4th-and-goal from the one.Not such a good show for second-year cornerback Walter McFadden, who was flagged for two pass interference penalties and burned on a couple of notable occasions. Rookie DeMarcus Van Dyke was also used a few times by Larry Fitzgerald, as well as being beat on John Skelton's 18-yard TD pass to Stephen Williams.Safety Hiram Eugene, who was signed to a four-year, 10.25-million contract this offseason, was injured and carted off the field in the opening minutes of the second half. Trainers appeared to be working on his left knee, though late in the third quarter there had been no update on his injury.You think Janikowski likes kickoffs moving up five yards to the 35-yard line? His opening kickoff appeared to split the uprights. Yeah, that would have been a 65-yard field goal.Coincidence? The Raiders first two players introduced in pregame ceremonies were Routt and Johnson, perhaps sending a message to the departed Nnamdi Asomugha?

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.”