Raiders notes: McFadden's toe on center stage

Raiders notes: McFadden's toe on center stage

Dec. 30, 2010

RAIDERS PAGE RAIDERS VIDEO
Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.com

ALAMEDA Running back Darren McFaddens sore left big toe might make him a gametime decision Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

McFadden, whose 1,157 rushing yards represent the fifth-highest totalin franchise history, also had painful bouts with turf toe as a rookie.

NEWS: Raiders Injuries

Id say its similar to it, but not near as bad at all, McFaddensaid. It brings back memories, but at the same time its something youlearn to deal with. You know how to approach it.

Im going to do my best right now. I have full intentions on going out there and playing, so Ill see how it goes.

McFadden also spoke of being named an alternate for the Pro Bowl,behind the likes of Jacksonvilles Maurice Jones-Drew, Houstons ArianFoster and Kansas Citys Jamaal Charles.

STATS: NFL leading rushers

I looked at the year those guys had, he said. They all had greatyears. I couldnt be disappointed. If anybody deserved to go, it wasthose three guys.

Placekicker Sebastian Janikowski, though, was a bit miffed over being passed over for the Pro Bowl. Again.

Its the same story every year, he said.

Asked whats keeping him from going to Hawaii, Janikowski shrugged.

If you can answer that question for me, that would be great, because Ihave no idea. I lead the league in field goals, scoring. Its happenedbefore. Same story.

Its disappointing but, hey, Im going to move on. Im not going to(worry) about it. We got one more game to go and were going to try tobeat Kansas City.

With 135 points, Janikowski has set a Raiders single-season scoringrecord and his 59-yard field goal last week against Indianapolis is thesecond-longest in franchise history, behind the 61-yarder he kicked atCleveland last season.

RELATED: Sebastian Janikowski career stats

But any conversation about Janikowskis season has to include his threemisses at Arizona, including a chip-shot 32-yarder that would have wonthe game for the Raiders in a 24-23 defeat to the Cardinals in Week 3.

I wanted to get some more wins but, hey, if we can finish 8-8 and come(rolling) in next year, he said, were definitely going to be aplayoff team.

Tight end Zach Millers road to the Pro Bowl may have opened up withSan Diegos Antonio Gates being placed on season-ending Injured Reservetoday. Jacksonvilles Marcedes Lewis was the second tight end selected,but Miller was the first alternate.

It would be great, Miller said. Its always been a goal of mine. Imjust happy that I was still voted as high as I was, even though I wasplaying through a lot of injury, missing a lot of time with the tornplantar fascia.

Miller has a team-leading 55 catches for 654 yards and a career-best five touchdowns in 14 games.

Obviously, I want to be one of those guys picked on the roster, butwith the injuries this year and missing time, I feel like I ended upwith a pretty good season, he said.

According to a Tweet from the Chargers, Gates would be eligible to play (in the Pro Bowl) if healthy by January 18.

Besides McFadden, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Richard Seymour (hamstring)was the only other Raiders player to not practice Thursday.

Hes improving, coach Tom Cable said of Seymour, but again, that onewell have to see where hes at tomorrow and then maybe Sunday.

The Raiders fly to Kansas City Friday.

The Chiefs will induct former coachnoted Raider hater Marty Schottenheimer into their Hall of Fame on Sunday.

REWIND: Marty draws Raiders' ire

Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was brought into the NFL from USC by Schottenheimer when he was in Washington.

He put me in this league so I have a lot of respect for him, Jackson said. He taught me a lot of football.

Reminded of Schottenheimers disdain for the Raiders, Jackson laughed.

He does hate the Raiders and on Sunday, Im going to hate him, Jackson said with another laugh. Thats part of the business.

Raiders OTA observations: Conley, rookies must earn their stripes

Raiders OTA observations: Conley, rookies must earn their stripes

ALAMEDA – Rookies have been immersed in the Raiders system most of this month, but still have a lot to learn before training camp begins this summer.

There’s significant work ahead this spring during OTAs and mid-June’s mandatory minicamp, and young players will do so from the second and third teams. Even the highly touted ones.

First-round draft pick Gareon Conley played slot cornerback with the second unit and outside cornerback on the third during Tuesday’s OTA open to the media. It’s a position the slick, speedy cover man will vacate posthaste, but the Raiders prefer rookies earn their stripes.

“All of our young guys are going to earn their way,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “We have a good football team. We’re going to let them earn their way. We’ll let them compete. We’re early in the competition, so we’ll just go through the offseason and continue to get (Conley) involved and get him reps. These guys will ascend and take their positions as they earn it. We’re really happy with the way he’s started.”

The Raiders didn’t feature a single rookie on their first units Tuesday. Second-round safety Obi Melifonwu, fourth-round offensive tackle David Sharpe and middle linebacker Marquel Lee were featured on the second unit.

Here are some other observations from Tuesday’s OTA sessions.

-- Del Rio said Marshall Newhouse had the inside track to be the team’s starting right tackle. The versatile veteran worked there with the first team, joining a front five otherwise intact from a season ago.

-- Second-year pro Connor Cook, who switched from No. 8 to No. 18 this offseason, ran the second offensive unit. E.J. Manuel worked with the third team.

-- Inside linebacker Ben Heeney worked on a side field with a trainer during Tuesday’s practice, as he continues to rehab from surgery to repair an ankle broken early last season. Jelani Jenkins also did side work after practicing on Monday.

Cory James and Tyrell Adams worked with the first unit at inside linebacker.

-- Veteran running back Marshawn Lynch was limited to individual drills for a second straight day as the Raiders ease him back into football activity.

-- Offensive lineman Austin Howard is working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery, and only practice during individual drills.

-- Cornerback Sean Smith had offseason surgery, but was a full participant in Tuesday’s session.

-- Third-round defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes remains away from the Raiders complex due to an NFL rule preventing players from schools still in session to work with their teams. He won’t re-join the squad until training camp. Undrafted rookie Nicholas Morrow is in a similar spot, but will return next week.

-- Edge rusher Shilique Calhoun played last season at 250 pounds, but looks decidedly bigger now. He told the team website he’s up to 270 pounds.

 

Cooper seeks counsel from former All-Pro Lions WR, Raiders guest

Cooper seeks counsel from former All-Pro Lions WR, Raiders guest

ALAMEDA -- Todd Downing and Calvin Johnson go way back. The Raiders offensive coordinator got to know the retired Detroit receiver during four seasons coaching Lions quarterbacks, a relationship benefitted current Silver and Black receivers this week.

Johnson is in Alameda as a special guest and advisor for the first week of Raiders OTAs, offering tips and tricks learned during an excellent career.

“(Downing) thought it’d be a great idea for our wide receivers to just pick his brain and have him be around and give us a point here or there,” Del Rio said. “Talk about some of the things that he did so well in his career and how we might be able to have some of our guys learn from that. It’s great to have him out here.”

Amari Cooper gravitated towards Johnson, and has spent significant time picking his brain

“I’ve just been asking him a whole bunch of questions,” Cooper said after Tuesday’s OTA session. “How does he run certain routes? What was his regimen like? And how he was so productive? He’s a really cool guy. He’s been giving me some really great feedback, so he’s nice to have around.”

Johnson’s a unique talent, a difficult cover at 6-foot-5, 236 pounds. Cooper operates in a smaller frame and has different receiving strengths, but still found wisdom in working with Megatron.

“He just gave me some really good tips on like how I can run some of my routes,” Cooper said. “…he’s a different receiver than I am, obviously. But I really admire the way he high-points the ball and that’s something that I try to do as well.”

Cooper does most everything well, and has had a productive start to his NFL career. He’s just the third receiver in NFL history to exceed 70 receptions and 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons – Odell Beckham and Marques Colston are the others – and made the Pro Bowl after both campaigns.

He continues to tinker with his approach and offseason workouts, trying to finish seasons stronger and become an even more dynamic player. Cooper has no problem learning from others, especially the greats.

“I seek advice all the time,” Cooper said. “My rookie year, when I was fortunate enough to go to the Pro Bowl, I asked Adrian Peterson like when did he start working out, how did he go about his offseason. And I tried to pattern after him a little bit.”

Cooper is smarter and working better thanks to information absorbed from others, which he hopes will help him become a deadly weapon.

“I know he’s just scratching the surface of what he wants to accomplish in this league,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “Very prideful. Amari has always been very serious about the game and works hard at everything, really. His conditioning level and understanding what he needs to be able to do to play at a high level. Again, talking and having a guy like Calvin here as we’re getting started in these OTAs, to be able to share some of the insight of what he experienced playing that position is very valuable for us.”