Unsung Miller figures to carry load against Cowboys


Unsung Miller figures to carry load against Cowboys

NAPA -- With the Raiders essentially keeping Darren McFadden under bubble wrap in the exhibition season, Taiwan Jones being unable to practice due to a strained hamstring and Mike Goodson still receiving from Tuesday's nasty-looking neck injury that culminated with him being taken off the field by ambulance, the bulk of the running game will fall onto a fourth-string back.

Re-introducing, then, Lonyae Miller.

"I would expect," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said with a grin, "that he would be tired after Monday night's game."

And really, that's just fine with Miller, a long shot at best to make the final 53-man roster.

"Im just glad to have the opportunity, glad to be out here and being a Raider," Miller said. "Im coming in every day and working hard, pretty much showing what I can do out here.

"Its kind of, 'If you let it be,' and that's kind of where I stand now. Im trying to take what D.A. says in meetings'theres no light at the end of the tunnel' and 'just focus on the dayseize the day,' and thats pretty much been my philosophy throughout training camp. Just take everything day by day and let the chips fall where they may."

Miller, who said he patterns his game after former Denver running back Terrell Davis, played at the collegiate level at Fresno State and scored 20 touchdowns in 45 games for the Bulldogs.

He has appeared in four NFL games, all with Dallas in 2010, and was on the Raiders' practice squad for the last month of the 2011 season.

The irony is thick with the Raiders playing host to the Cowboys in both teams' exhibition opener Monday.

"Yeah, but it's just one of those things, you've got to live in the moment," Miller said. "There's no such thing, I feel, like experience, and you've kind of been there because anything can happen at any given time.

"You know you're always going to get different looks, so (I'm) just trying to take it one day at a time."

Thus far, he's opened some eyes on the coaching staff.

And with more carries, and more success, those eyes will get wider.

"Ive been impressed with what Lonyaes been able to do," Allen said. "Hes a different type of back than the other backs that weve got. Hes a little bit more of a downhill, pounder-type guy. He doesnt have quite the same explosiveness as those other guys but hes been a consistent runner.

"What Ive seen and what hes done in the zone scheme is, hes understood what his reads are, hes made the proper reads, got his pads downhill and made some yards."

And now he'll have an opportunity to prove it Monday against his former team.

Carr discusses contract negotiations with Raiders: 'These things take time'

Carr discusses contract negotiations with Raiders: 'These things take time'

Raiders general Reggie McKenzie plans to extend quarterback Derek Carr’s contract this offseason. That isn’t a new thing, something that has been in the works for some time. He re-affirmed that fact last week, citing his team’s commitment to work out a long-term deal likely the biggest in franchise history.

Carr was reportedly frustrated with the pace of contract talks after the NFL draft – they’re supposed to heat up this spring and summer – but said he believes a deal will get worked out before training camp begins.

That’s his deadline for an offseason deal, the point where he wants focus honed on football.

“I have an agent who is in charge of that and I am confident that he and Mr. (Reggie) McKenzie will work it out,” Carr, a Fresno State alum, told the Fresno Bee. “I am only focused on becoming a better football player and helping my teammates become better players.

“I have complete faith it will get done before training camp. These things take time. The Raiders know I want to be here; this is my family, and I know they want me to be their quarterback.”

The sides have discussed parameters of a long-term deal, with greater specifics to be ironed out in the future. Carr has long said he wants to be a Raider his entire career. The Raiders want him as the public face of their franchise. A new deal is expected by all parties, a sentiment that has never wavered on either side.

Carr is scheduled to make a $977,519 in base salary in 2017, the final year of his rookie contract.

Raiders offseason program intensifies as OTA sessions begin

Raiders offseason program intensifies as OTA sessions begin

The Raiders offseason program is five weeks old. Players have lifted weights. They’ve improved cardiovascular shape. They’ve done drills in position groups and discussed schematics. They’ve added rookies to a group now 90 strong.

On Monday, they can finally put on helmets. They still can’t wear pads or have full contact, but the Raiders can play 11-on-11. Receivers will be covered. Quarterback Derek Carr will throw into traffic. Generally speaking, the competition cranks up a bit.

The NFL collective bargaining agreement has strict mandates regarding offseason activity, and a period formally called “Phase III” allows for more realistic on-field football work.

The Raiders will conduct 10 OTA sessions over the next three weeks. The media can watch three of them. Tuesday is the first, with another in each of the next two weeks. These sessions are technically voluntary, though the Raiders generally hover around perfect attendance. Head coach Jack Del Rio prefers his team be unified in the offseason. Players know it and show up.

There is a mandatory minicamp from June 13-15 which wraps the offseason program and starts a quiet period that extends until training camp begins in late July.

These OTAs offer an opportunity for new players to learn the system, for adjustments to be made and for chemistry to be built heading into a 2017 season where expectations are high.