Raiders notes: No Murphy, Boss or Banta-Cain


Raiders notes: No Murphy, Boss or Banta-Cain

Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comALAMEDA -- Tully Banta-Cain visited the Raiders on Thursday but he was not on the field for the team's second consecutive under-the-lights practice.RELATED: Ex-Pats, 49ers LB Banta-Cain visits Raiders
The free-agent linebacker who has spent seven of his nine NFL seasons in New England, including the past two years, would fill a need for depth with the Raiders. But he has played outside linebacker in 3-4 defensive schemes throughout his career; the Raiders employ a 4-3 defense.Should the Raiders sign Banta-Cain, who also spent two seasons with the 49ers, Oakland would have to make a corresponding roster move. But everyone currently on the roster was on the field for practice, except for the same three injured players who missed the previous practice.Of course, Oakland could wait until after the first game to sign a veteran, as the salary would not be guaranteed then.

Same trio sit out -- Receiver Louis Murphy (groinhamstring), safety Mike Mitchell (leg) and tight end Kevin Boss (knee) were all missing from the start of practice.Coach Hue Jackson has said for a while now that Murphy would not play in the season opener Monday night at Denver. And with the likelihood of Boss' availability dwindling by the day, expect Brandon Myers to start at tight end. Getting his work in -- Nick Miller, purportedly a likely roster casualty should the Raiders sign another player, was splitting time with Jacoby Ford returning kickoffs. Miller is already the team's punt returner, but Jackson had yet to commit to him.

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.”