Raiders

Brown speaks on Saints BountyGate

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Brown speaks on Saints BountyGate

Tim Brown chuckled a bit. The former Raiders receiver and three-time Hall of Fame finalist was asked his opinion of the Bounty controversy surrounding the New Orleans Saints."My answer," Brown said after stifling his laugh, "may surprise you a little bit because, I don't want to say that it's part of the game but I think it was sort of done a different way back in the day. If you got a guy out the game, that was a big deal."Maybe (the Saints) just took it too far."Brown, in town for the Raiders' Commitment to Excellence Award dinner at the Oakland Airport Hilton honoring recipient Rock Cartwright, spoke of the sport's nature in explaining his feelings."Football is a dirty, hard game," he said. "I mean, it's a hard game; it shouldn't be a dirty game. And if they can show any plays that were dirty, illegal (by the Saints), then I think (critics) got a point. But if somebody hits somebody a little harder, it's still football.NEWS: Another contract restructured -- Curry the latest
"Look, there were times where I made deals with guys on the field -- 'Look, brother, if you want to save your knees, you better not take my head off when I come across the middle.' Some guys went for it, some guys didn't Rodney Harrison never went for itthat's just how the game was played."Brown also spoke of such plays that went down in his playing days."It's like what the Denver Broncos did to Chester McGlockton when they ruined his career here -- they took him out and it was dirty," Brown said. "There wasn't anything legal about what they were doing. It was illegal playsthey broke his ankle. They were diving on the back of his ankle."That kind of stuff, and what we cried about back then is, that needs to be punished. And they did, they got 50,000 fine. So what. The team probably paid it, Chester didn't play the next week, they came back here for a the playoff game, we still beat them but they didn't have to deal with Big Boy that week."You show me some dirty plays that New Orleans has and I'll tell you how bad they should be punished."So how fine is that line between being dirty and just playing hard?"That line is a lot thicker than you think," Brown said. "You can tell very quickly who is being dirty, and who is playing hard. Rodney Harrison was not a dirty player. He was just a dog. He was a dog, and you knew if he got his hands on you he was going to slam you to the ground. That's not dirty, that's part of the game. There's nothing illegal about thatit is now. You can't slam now. Rodney would have been out the league a long time ago if he played now."Brown said, though, that former longtime Kansas City cornerback Dale Carter was in the other category."He'd say, 'I almost got you,' like he was trying to take you knees out," Brown claimed.

Practice report: Conley locking in mentally while rehabbing injury

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AP

Practice report: Conley locking in mentally while rehabbing injury

NAPA – Gareon Conley ran Sunday for the first time in two months. The Raiders first-round cornerback remains on the physically unable to perform list with a shin injury originally suffered during a June minicamp. He wants to get back on the field. He just isn’t ready yet.

Missing training camp certainly sets back a dynamic cover man, but it doesn’t mean Conley can’t make an instant impact. While he hasn’t been seen on the practice field, the Raiders have been encouraged that Conley’s proving a quick learner and an inquisitive mind.

“We’d love to have him out there right now,” Raiders assistant head coach – defense John Pagano said. “When he’s out there, he’ll be out there. Until then, I think he got the reps he needed in OTAs. His mental game has picked up tremendously. He’s always asking questions, even more. It’s hard for a lot of injured players in this league to stand there on the sidelines and be able to just watch and look out there, but he’s always asking. He’s getting those mental reps.

"When he’s able to come back, he’ll be at a fast level. Injuries are part of the game, you deal with it and you just have to make sure, as a rookie, you’re taking those mental reps.”

Conley has been on the practice field with his position group most days, with a play sheet in hand to follow along. He has also lifted weights the past two days and worked on the JUGS machine Wednesday.

Nearly a month remains until the regular season starts, leaving Conley time to get back in the mix.

QUICK SLANTS

-- Cornerback Sean Smith took some reps with the first unit on Wednesday, though most of them came as an outside corner in the nickel package. TJ Carrie slid inside in those instances, and generally remained outside in the base defense.

Smith had his second straight quality practice, a sign he might be rebounding after a rough week where he practiced with the second unit and didn’t fare well at Arizona. The Raiders hope he can build on good work and be steadier in coverage.

“I think he’s growing every day,” Pagano said. “There’s always highs and lows in this game. You don’t want to make it, as we term, inconsistent. We’re always looking for the consistency. It’s how you build. It’s how you learn. It’s how you come off those things. There’s always room for improvement in the backend, in the front, all across our defense. There’s guys we’re asking them to go out there and make plays. Has he been improving at practice? Yeah. Then our job is to take that practice stuff and take it to the game field and have that consistency and that carry over to those types of games.”

-- Offensive line coach Mike Tice praised Ian Silberman’s play in a position switch to center. He has seen extensive reps there in camp, including a massive amount in the preseason opener at Arizona. Silberman will play some left guard in coming weeks to establish versatility and give him a shot to make the team.

-- Undrafted rookie Nicholas Morrow played with the first unit in sub packages, as the Raiders continue searching for coverage options in those personnel groups.

-- Jon Feliciano worked with the first unit on Wednesday at left guard. He will be a primary backup at every interior line spot. He is working back from a knee injury that kept him out until last week.

Tice finds silver lining on Raiders' offensive line as Penn's holdout drags on

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AP

Tice finds silver lining on Raiders' offensive line as Penn's holdout drags on

NAPA – Donald Penn won’t step foot in the Napa Valley Marriott this year. Unless something truly shocking happens, the Raiders will break training camp Thursday afternoon without seeing the Pro Bowl left tackle on the practice field.

Penn wants a new contract, one worth more than the $5.8 million base salary he was scheduled to make under his current deal. Penn has outperformed that pact, and is willing to wait for a new one.

It’s been 20 days with no movement.

That has forced offensive line coach Mike Tice to make other plans. He has to move on with the players he had in camp, even with the virtual certainty Penn will return before the regular season starts.

Marshall Newhouse is the Raiders left tackle. Vadal Alexander is on the right. That’s who Tice has to work with. He has to prep them for the regular season opener Sept. 10.

“Where I’m at right now is I have to get us ready to go out and beat Tennessee,” Tice said after Wednesday’s practice. “So right now, I have Marshall on the left and I have Vadal on the right and I have David doing a little bit more each day, playing both sides. That’s what we have. I can’t sit here and wonder when DP is going to come back. Right now I’ve moved forward with Marshall is on the left and Vadal is on the right and David is swinging.

"That’s reality right now. I can’t think that there’s going to be something else there until it’s there.”

When Penn eventually shows up to work at the Raiders complex in Alameda, Tice will add him to the mix. The Raiders have now had plenty of time to prepare for an instance in which their Pro Bowl tackle is not physically able to perform. 

“Injuries happen during the season and you have to have a plan to have a player ready to play at each position and sometimes multiple players ready at the same position,” Tice said. “With Donald not here yet, we’re able to have Marshall over there. He’s done a nice job. He’s gotten better. The challenge you have with a veteran guy that comes in, he’s been coached by other coaches to do things a different way and it takes time for a veteran to learn the ways to do things the way that we want to do them as Raiders. That’s probably the biggest challenge.”

Penn isn’t the only offensive lineman to miss time. David Sharpe and Jylan Ware have missed some time with injury. Kelechi Osemele has taken some time off this camp. Jon Feliciano only returned from the physically unable to perform list last week. Tice has mixed and matched just to get through practice.

“We’ve had some days where we’ve had to make it happen with 10 or 11,” Tice said. “When you have that, you get the ability, you have the ability, you have the opportunity to develop your depth. In the long run, it’s actually a good thing.”