Raiders notes: Who runs the no-huddle?

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Raiders notes: Who runs the no-huddle?

OAKLAND -- So, who's at the helm when the Raiders offense goes into full no-huddle mode, quarterback Carson Palmer or offensive coordinator Greg Knapp?"There's communication between (Carson) and Greg Knapp," said Raiders rookie coach Dennis Allen. "But at the end of the day, Carson makes the final decision on what plays we'll run based off the gameplan and what we feel like we can do to exploit their defensive structure."Of course, Palmer is calling the plays off a "menu," of sorts, provided by Knapp. Such was the case in the second half of Oakland's 26-23 overtime win over Jacksonville on Sunday."We tired them out a little bit, especially in their secondary," Palmer said. "They went down a corner(back) and only had like three real corners left. So, we got them tired, kept things off balance, and it was a great halftime adjustment by coach Knapp and the rest of the crew."Speaking of halftime adjustments, Knapp made an attitude adjustment on his offense in the locker room."Coach Knapp was not happy at halftime, so to speak," Palmer said. "We had a great gameplan coming in (but) we werent executing as individuals and it starts with me being the quarterback. Youve got to executethe game plan."Coach Knapp let us have it, and offensively that fires us up and (we) took it as almost a threat. He was all over us and sometimes you need that from your coach. He picked the right time and let us have it. We came together and found ways to move the ball and found ways to score in the second half."The Raiders seemingly caught a break when Jaguars star running back Maurice Jones-Drew's day ended after just two carries with an injured left foot.Jones-Drew, a native of Antioch who prepped at De La Salle High in Concord, is now 1-5 in Bay Area games since living the East Bay for UCLA."It was a routine tackle and (I) just got rolled up," he said. "I didnt know what it was. It felt like it was kind of just a little boo-boo."It just didnt feel right. I didnt want to go out there and hurt our team if Im not feeling right."Jones-Drew, like the 50 or so friends and family who came to the game, was a mere spectator the rest of the game. The player, though, watched the second half on crutches and in a boot.Allen said the only injury of note to emerge from the game to his team was an elbow injury suffered by defensive tackle Desmond Bryant. He had an ice bag on his right arm as he left the locker room.And Allen left no doubt who emerged victorious in the trenches between the Raiders offensive line and the Jaguars defensive line."They won the battle up front, theres no question about it," Allen said. "We werent able to run the ball effectively. We had too much pressure on the quarterback. That will be something that we will have to look at. We have to get that corrected moving forward."The Jaguars entered the game allowing an average of 4.7 yards per carry; Darren McFadden averaged 2.8 against the No. 30-ranked rush defense in the NFL.Plus, Palmer was sacked twice times and the Jaguars also had six QB hits.
And finally, Allen, on when he used his last timeout, with 3:53 remaining in regulation, and whether he thought of having Sebastian Janikowski attempt a 43-yard field goal -- the unit was on the field before the timeout -- despite being down by seven points, or going for it on 4th and 10: "I thought that we had enough time that we could kick the field goal, (though) we still needed a touchdown to win the game. With it being 4th and 10, my thought process was originally to kick the field goal knowing that we had played pretty good defense there in the second half. I felt like we would get another opportunity to get the ball back. Thought differently and we decided to go for it and obviously we got helped out by the pass interference call in the end zone. That was the big play in the game."Aaron Ross was flagged for the PI in the end zone as he covered Darrius Heyward-Bey, setting the Raiders up at the 1-yard line. Two plays later, Palmer went in over center for the keeper and touchdown before Sebastian Janikowski's PAT tied the score at 23-23.

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.”