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Wide receivers Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford are both making progress, although it remains to be seen if they will get in enough practice time for the season opener. Moore hasn't practiced since Aug. 4 due to a strained right hamstring. Allen remained mum on a cut-off date for Moore to practice to be able to play against the Chargers.
"There's a cut off day for all of us as far as being ready to go," Allen said. "What that day is, I don't know. I want to get him out here and get him practicing and that will determine whether he's going to be ready to play in the game or not."
Ford hasn't started running yet since spraining his foot against the Arizona Cardinals on Aug. 17, but Allen said he is encouraged by the progress of both players in rehabilitating their injuries.
Center Stefen Wisniewski got in a limited practice on Monday after straining his calf in the preseason opener on Aug. 13. Wisniewski missed all of the offseason activities while recovering from a shoulder surgery. Allen said Wisniewski moved around well and expects him to be good to go for practice this week.
The Raiders had their first official practice as a 53-man team on Monday.
"We just get to work," Allen said. "We've got a job to do, and that's the business of the NFL, getting ready to win games. We didn't have any Kumbaya moments. It was time to roll, so it was good."
The team will practice Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday with a closed walkthrough on Sunday to prepare for Week 1.
The Raiders are waiving cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke, according to a report. Van Dyke was selected in the third round of the 2011 NFL draft.
Curry, who has missed all of training camp with knee issues, will now miss at least the first six games of the 2012 season. Curry started nine games for the Raiders last season after being acquired in a trade from the Seattle Seahawks.
In addition to Curry, the Raiders also released veteran return man Roscoe Parrish. Oakland signed Parrish earlier in the week after he was cut by San Diego.
Here is the complete list of roster moves:
For more on the Raiders, make sure to check out Silver and Black Pride.
It wasn't a pretty game for Oakland, which was bested in nearly every significant statistical category by Seattle. With the majority of both teams' starters on the sidelines, the result of the game wasn't important, but it nevertheless raised questions about the Raiders' depth heading into their Week 1 matchup against the San Diego Chargers.
SB Nation's Oakland Raiders blog, Silver and Black Pride, took a look at the team's rough outing and lack of suitable backups.
"Oh, this was a messy one. The Raiders came out last week to get their first win of the preseason and then came out this week and had arguably their worst outing of the preseason. It isn't exactly indicative of how this team will perform in the season but it raises some concern about the depth on this team ...
"This is not the kind of performance [Oakland head coach] Dennis Allen wanted to see AT ALL from this group. He and the Raiders are desperate to find some sign of life from the depth on this team and they found very little of that in this performance."
For more on the Raiders, make sure to check out Silver and Black Pride.
Pretty is was not. far from it actually for the Raiders, who only managed to gain 101 yards of total offense thanks to a final drive led by No. 3 quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Pryor completed 6 of 9 passes for 55 yards, shining better than No. 2 QB Matt Leinart in the loss.
Leinart was 3 of 14 for 11 yards and threw an interception. The Raiders defense surrendered 334 yards of offense.
The Raiders got a good effort from star punter Shane Lechler -- eight punts for a 43.3-yard average -- and backup kicker Eddy Carmona, whose 31-yard field goal prevented a second shutout performance from the offense this preseason.
The Raiders finished 1-3 in the preseason and gained five first downs to the Seahawks' 24 in the game. Before their regular-season opener on Sept. 10, final cuts could come as soon as Friday.
For more on the Oakland Raiders, head over to Silver and Black Pride.
The Oakland Raiders are playing like they want to get out of the preseason and look ahead to the NFL season Thursday night in Seattle, trailing 19-0 in the third quarter at CenturyLink Field.
With low-level reserves probably finishing out this game, the Raiders are staring at a 1-3 preseason, with their only win coming last week.
Of course, this game doesn't mean much in terms of getting starters and top players ready for the regular season, this last preseason game is mainly for roster battles to be resolved.
That said, the Raiders had just 46 yards of total offense with 4:29 to play in the third quarter. They had eight passing yards and committed two turnovers.
Mike Goodson leads the Raiders in rushing with six carries for 26 yards. Matt Leinart started at quarterback. The Seahawks have dominated time of possession by more than double the minutes the Raiders have held the ball.
For more on the Oakland Raiders, head over to Silver and Black Pride.
The NFLPA and the NFL came to terms on some rule changes for the upcoming season on Thursday as they have agreed to extended the trade deadline by two weeks and have tweaked how teams can use the injured reserve.
Players who were placed on IR by September 4 will be eligible to return at some point during the season. The old rule kept any player put on IR before the season off the roster for the remainder of the year. Any player placed on IR later than that date can return that season as well.
As for the trade deadline, it has been moved to Week 8 of the season instead of Week 6, giving teams extra flexibility to make a trade for a playoff push or have a fire sale.
For more on the San Francisco 49ers, please head over to Niners Nation. For the Raiders side of life, check out Silver and Black Pride. For more on the league in general, please make your way over to SB Nation's dedicated NFL hub.
Both squads are looking for some quality from their quarterbacks as Carson Palmer will look to tighten the screws a bit before the start of the regular season, while rookie Russell Wilson will be looking to gain even more confidence and chemistry with his squad.
When: 7 p.m. PT, Thursday
Where: Century Link Field, Seattle
Local TV Coverage (via the506.com):
KTVU 2 (FOX; San Fran/Oakland)
KQCA 58 (MyTV; Sacramento)
KTLA 5 (CW; Los Angeles)
KGPE 47 (CBS; Fresno) - tape delay
KFVE 5 (MyTV; Honolulu)
KCPQ 13 (FOX; Seattle)
KPTV 12 (FOX; Portland OR)
KAYU 28 (FOX; Spokane)
KCYU 41 (FOX; Yakima WA)
KFFX 11 (FOX; Tri-Cities WA)
KEVU 23 (MyTV; Eugene OR)
KFXO 39 (FOX; Bend OR)
KMVU 26 (FOX; Medford OR)
Listen: KFRC-AM and 105.3 KITS (Oakland), 710 AM ESPN and 97.3 KIRO (Seattle).
WR Denarius Moore (hamstring)
K Sebastian Janikowski (groin)
WR Jacoby Ford (foot)
DB Ron Bartell (undisclosed)
DL Travis Ivey (undisclosed)
WR Doug Baldwin (hamstring)
QB Matt Flynn (elbow)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
WR Sidney Rice (knee, shoulder)
For more on the Oakland Raiders, head over to Silver and Black Pride. Seahawks fan? We got you covered over at Field Gulls. For more on the league in general, please check out SB Nation's dedicated NFL hub.
A look at how CB Coye Francies will impact the Raiders depth chart.
Francies spent training camp with the Seahawks after not playing in the NFL during the 2011 season. Seattle waived Francies on Monday during their initial round of cuts. Francies was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft and spent two seasons in Cleveland.
He will now join the Raiders backfield and compete for a spot on the final 53-man roster. He's played in eight games during his NFL career, posting seven tackles and one pass deflection. He battled a groin injury during his second season that caused him to begin the season on the physically unable to perform list.
But Parrish's signing isn't the splash it would have been a couple of years ago when he was in his explosive prime. ESPN's Bill Williamson breaks down why the Raiders would bring on a receiver like Parrish who is on the downside of his career.
This signing is all about insurance for Oakland. Starting receiver Denarius Moore has been out with a hamstring injury and receiver/returner Jacoby Ford has been dealing with a sprained foot. The Raiders have been using several different players at returner. Cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke is the latest to get a chance at punt returner.
Parrish is a veteran and the Raiders know what he can do. So having him on the roster won't hurt. But the only reason he is on the roster now is because others are.
The Oakland Raiders have agreed to terms with return specialist Roscoe Parrish, according to SB Nation's Silver And Black Pride. Parrish had spent training camp and the preseason with division rival San Diego Chargers before being released on Monday.
Parrish spent the last seven seasons with the Buffalo Bills after being a second-round draft pick out of the University of Miami in 2005. He has three career return touchdowns, the most recent coming in 2008. Parrish saw his role in the passing game increase in 2010, when he caught 33 passes for 400 yards in just eight games.
The receiver does have a history of injury, as he missed 14 games in 2011 after injuring his ankle in a Week 2 game against the Raiders.
The Raiders made their first cuts today and there were no major surprises on the list. Most of the players cut were guys who had been brought in as camp bodies and would have had to play out of their minds to have a chance at making the team. While the Raiders have underperformed in recent years, it has never been about a lack of talent, only a lack of discipline and adequate coaching.
What is more interesting than who is no longer with the team is the list of players who are still with the team. This includes both cornerbacks Demarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa, defensive tackle Jamie Cumbie, and P Marquette King and K Eddy Carmona. The strength of the RaIders lies in its special teams, and both Carmona and King have been outstanding. On any other team they might be in line for jobs, but on the Raiders I suspect they are around solely as insurance in case the health of Sebastian Janikowski or Shane Lechler does not improve as expected. If and when they are cut, they will not be out of work for long.
Neither Van Dyke nor Chekwa have performed as expected this preseason, although both have shown flashes in practice. This may be their last shot at being regular contributors to the team, as Raiders starting cornerbacks Shawntae Spencer and Ron Bartel have been outstanding so far. One or both of Van Dyke and Chekwa may not survive the next round of cuts if their on-field play fails to improve.
DT Jamie Cumbie has come up huge in the preseason, and while once seen as a long shot to make the team I fully expect him to make the final roster and would consider him a strong candidate for the defensive line rotation at this point. Every series he is in the game he makes an impact and seems to be a major playmaker at his position. While the Raiders defensive line is very good and has absolutely stuffed the run so far, Cumbie would provide quality depth and allow the veterans to get a breather every now and then.
Raiders WR Jacoby Ford is out of his walking boot and healing from an injury to his left foot suffered in the Aug. 17 preseason game against Arizona, but the recovery cannot happen soon enough for QB Carson Palmer.
"We need a ton of work together," Palmer said. "You can never get enough work with a guy, even if he’s played every rep and you’ve played every rep, you always need those reps. When they’re back, it’s not easy to get off the couch or get out of a walking boot or off crutches or whatever it may be and just show up and play."
Moore has been out since Aug. 4. He caught 33 passes for 618 yards and five touchdowns last season. Ford caught 19 passes for 279 yards in just eight games in 2011.
Oakland has made moves to release several players. Those players include linebacker Korey Bosworth, defensive ends Mason Brodine Wayne Dorsey, safeties Aaron Henry and Chaz Powell, cornerback Terrail Lambert, wide receivers Thomas Mayo DeAundre Muhammad, quarterback Kyle Newhall-Caballero and fullback Manase Tonga. Oakland also cut two players who have been out due to injuries in fullback Rashawn Jackson and lineman Ed Wang.
The Monday limit mandates that only 75 players be on the roster from whatever original number there were to begin the weekend. It stays that way until the end of the preseason. After that, the league mandates that on Friday the 75-man roster must be trimmed down to the final 53-man unit. The Raiders have one more exhibition game against the Seahawks, at which point they'll have to decide who stays, who gets cut, and who gets sent to the practice squad.
The Raiders open the season Sept. 10 as the second billing on Monday Night Football at home against the San Diego Chargers.
For more Raiders news and roster updates, head on over to Silver and Black Pride.
No doubt more than a few Oakland Raiders fans cringed when their star kicker, Sebastian Janikowski, suffered a groin injury trying to make a tackle on a kick return on Saturday against Detroit.
Janikowski is the Raiders' ultimate weapon on offense, a player the team has come to rely on year after year. But fear not Raiders fans, it seems as though SeaBass's injury isn't serious enough to keep him from missing the season opener.
Should Janikowski not be ready, the Raiders could have their emergency call-in kicker waiting in the wings in Eddy Carmona.
Other Raiders player injuries to keep an eye on are DT Richard Seymour (knees, though it's more for rest than being hurt), WRs Jacoby Ford (left foot) and Denarius Moore (right hamstring), LB Aaron Curry (knees), C Stefen Wisniewski (calf), OL Ed Wang (shoulder) and OL Zach Hurd (head).
Quarterback Matt Leinart has an injury to his right index finger which kept him from playing in Saturday's game.
Pryor turned a number of heads with his athletic play, including himself. Here is Silver and Black Pride's Levi Damien with the commentary, discussing how Pryor himself felt he played and just where he could fit into the playbook this season.
Pryor took his new reps and made the most out of them. He finished the game with three completions for 137 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran five times for 90 yards and a touchdown...This performance comes out of nowhere after Pryor's abysmal performances in the first two preseason games. Pryor says it has everything to do with his presence in the huddle.
"I think the biggest thing was [my] time management. The first thing that my coach, Flip (John DeFilippo), said when I got upstairs was ‘man, your huddle presence was 200,000% time better.'
...[Pryor] still was not very excited about his performance. He had two touchdown passes in the game, both to Juron Criner. After the game he said both were bad passes.
This was definitely a coming out part for Pryor. It may just have the coaches considering putting in some TP specialty plays in for him during the season.
Pryor brings a completely different set of skills to the table than Carson Palmer, being a much more athletic player who can cause problems with his feet much more than Palmer can. It certainly won't cause a QB controversy as Palmer is undoubtedly the starter, but it may have opened the door for him to get more playing time.
"He's still a work in progress," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said of Pryor. "But I thought he made some strides today. He's not where we need him to be. He's not where he wants to be. But he made some progress."
Can't ask much more from a developing QB than that.
For more on the Raiders head to Silver and Black Pride.
Carson Palmer may be the starting quarterback for the Oakland Raiders, but he isn't the quarterback fans will be talking about tomorrow. Palmer's usual backup, fellow USC Trojan Matt Leinart, was held out of the game due to a cut on his hand. It would be the backup to the backup, former Ohio State star Terrelle Pryor, who provided the offense that Palmer and his first-unit couldn't, leading the Raiders to a 31-20 victory over the Detroit Lions. This is the first victory of the preseason for the silver-and-black and their new head coach Dennis Allen.
Coach Allen planned to have his starters play the entire first half. Palmer had a game that was expected of him, going 17-for-26 for 181 yards with two interceptions while facing a strong defense lead by Ndamukong Suh. Suh took down Palmer for Detroit's only sack of the game. The Raiders played running back Darren McFadden conservatively. He rushed for 27 yards in nine carries with one touchdown. Following McFadden's rush into the end zone, Oakland's long-time kicker Sebastian Janikowski nailed the point after but came up limping with a possible groin injury. He was kept out of the rest of the game in favor of Eddy Carmona.
Following a lackluster first half with only ten points on the board, the Raiders would bring in Terrelle Pryor in place of Palmer. Pryor entered the game against the Lions' second team and did what Terrelle Pryor does - run. He lead the Raiders in rushing with 90 yards in five carries, in addition to going 3-for-5 for 137 yards passing. Pryor would score one touchdown himself and would throw for two more; scoring a total of 21 points in the second half, leading the Raiders to victory.
Detroit's starting quarterback Matthew Stafford sustained an injury to his non-throwing hand in the second quarter. No word from Detroit as to the seriousness of Stafford's injury.
Seymour is not out with an injury, exactly, but more the kind of soreness that comes from 12 years in the league. He did not play in the preseason opener against Dallas, but did play in Game 2 against the Cardinals. Matt Leinart is not listed as inactive, but is also not in uniform, so he presumably will not play due to an injury to his right index finger.
Stick with this StoryStream for more on the Oakland Raiders preseason. For all things Raiders, Silver and Black Pride has you covered.
Oakland is looking for their first win of the preseason after dropping their first two games. They will also be looking for a better performance from Carson Palmer who has struggled during the preseason. Palmer has a 38.2 passer rating in two games while completing 16-of-30 passes for 140 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.
Part of Palmer's struggles could be attributed to the fact he's missing two of his top receivers. Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford remain out with injuries and are not expected to play in Saturday's game. Oakland will also be without linebacker Aaron Curry who remains out with knee issues.
The Raiders defense will get a good test from the Lions who had one of the NFL's best offenses in 2011. Calvin Johnson appeared to be in midseason form in Detroit's second preseason game, catching five passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. He will provide a difficult test for the Oakland secondary.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, August 25; 7:00pm ET
Location: Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.
TV Schedule: NFL Network
Oakland Raiders center Stefen Wisniewski was supposed to spend this summer gets lots of reps under center, solidify a bond with the team's QB's and anchoring the Silver and Blacks offensive line after making the move from left guard. Instead, he's on the sideline with injury waiting for his chance to return.
Wisniewski already missed all of the team's offseason workouts while recovering from shoulder surgery, but the calf injury suffered in the preseason game on August 13 has left him sidelined for more than a week now, causing concern for the season opener.
"He needs to get the reps," coach Dennis Allen said Tuesday. "It's football and you don't just show up and play so every day he's not out here he's a little bit farther behind. But he's been keeping up mentally as far as taking the mental reps and in the meetings, but it's hard to replace those physical reps you get here and in games."
Wisniewski tore his labrum early in the 2011-12 season and played with it for most of the year. He still was impressive for the most part as a key part of Oakland's line at left guard, but did struggle at times late in the season. Now he's trying to replace veteran Samson Satele who left for the Colts.
Now this calf injury is pushing back his time table even more as a large part of the Raiders schemes include movement from the line:
"You got to be able to move," Wisniewski said. "If you look at our O-line, that's one thing we all can do across the board. We can move, we can run, we're athletic."
Hopefully Wisniewski can get himself into game shape sooner or later or the Raiders may have problems at center right off the bat.
Through the Oakland Raiders' first two preseason games, Carson Palmer hasn't exactly appeared to be in midseason form. He's completed just 16 of 30 passes for 140 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns.
While the early struggles and 38.2 passer rating might have some fans concerned, Palmer isn't worried.
"That's what (preseason) is for, really, unless you're a young guy that hasn't played and just wants to get acclimated to the speed of the game," Palmer said, according to InsideBayArea.com. "I've been around long enough, and that's not something I'm trying to do."
While it may look to the casual eye like Palmer is making poor reads and missing open receivers, he said it's all a result of working through the offense.
"There are things we'll work on and plays we'll put in we normally wouldn't put in, or if we want to see if this guy can run by that guy. There are a ton of situations that come up where you do things you wouldn't do in a regular-season game," Palmer said.
Palmer isn't the only person not worrying about his preseason play. Raiders head coach Dennis Allen isn't concerned either.
"I don't have any reservations or any doubts at all about Carson Palmer," Allen said.
For more Raiders updates and news, visit Silver and Black Pride.
Defensive end Andre Carter is looking for a new home after a solid season thriving with the New England Patriots. Carter registered ten sacks last season before being done in by a quadriceps injury. The Patriots had signed him to a one year deal but decided not to bring him back, freeing him up to look for another roster position.
Since then, Carter has been wandering through the league looking for a roster spot. Today he tried out for the Oakland Raiders in hopes of earning a roster spot. Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle managed to get this quote from Carter after the workout.
"I’ve got to stay low key," Carter said after his workout. "If it works out, God willing …"
Carter has played both defensive end as well as linebacker in 3-4 defensive sets — which the Raiders will use on occasion this season.
"We’re shaking all the bushes," coach Dennis Allen said, "and seeing what falls out, and if we feel like we’ve got something that can help us, we’re going to do it."
Bill Williamson of ESPN believes this would be a good personnel move for the Raiders; Carter could be utilized perfectly in passing situations where his ability to rush the quarterback could come in handy. He also has experience in a 3-4 defense and knows how to bring pressure in a scheme where the linebackers generally bring the rush. Carter has 76 sacks since coming into the league in 2001.
Over at Silver and Black Pride, SB Nation's own Levi Damien gave some insight into the development of linebacker Carl Ihenacho, who has shown promise in two preseason games with the Oakland Raiders. He's impressed the coaching staff early on, but still has to develop and learn his new position.
"[Working in space] is where he needs the most work," said Dennis Allen. "When we stack him off the ball and he is the off-the-ball linebacker that is where you see that he just has not done it a lot. Those are the things that with him we are really working on. We have been impressed with some of his abilities to rush the passer. He brings that element to our defense. I think he is still learning to play the linebacker position, especially when we play him off the ball, but he has done some nice things."
The former San Jose State Spartan is making the transition from defensive end to linebacker and will lean heavily on the coaching staff moving forward.
For more Raiders updates and news, visit Silver and Black Pride.
Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen remains unsure of wide receiver Jacoby Ford's availability for the remainder of the preseason and the season opener on Sept. 10 against the San Diego Chargers. From the Associated Press:
''Obviously, it looks like Jacoby is going to miss a little bit of time, don't know exactly to what extent yet,'' Allen said. ''We're still seeing where he's at.''
Ford sprained his left foot in the first quater of Oakland's second preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals. He was given an MRI, the results of which are not yet known.
With the injury to Ford along with a lack of experience at the other receiving spots, the Raiders may be inclined to add some more depth to the position before the start of the regular season.
For analysis on how this injury may impact the Raiders, be sure to head over to SB Nation'sSilver And Black Pride.
Lechler, according to an Associated Press report, passed his physical and was taken off the non-football injury list. Lechler is a big field-position weapon for the Raiders and made the Pro Bowl last season with his ability pin opponents deep in their own territory. He hammered an 80-yard punt last season.
The other injury news involves linebacker Aaron Curry, who has two bad knees and is facing make-or-break time if he is going to be able to play or not. Curry has never been able to live up to the expectations of being a high first-round pick in 2009.
Head over to Silver and Black Pride for more reactions and to offer your thoughts on the Raiders' preseason.
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Jacoby Ford underwent an MRI on his ankle today after suffering an injury in the first quarter of Oakland's preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals on Friday night, according to a report from NBC Sports' Pro Football Talk.
Jacoby Ford getting MRI on injured foot wp.me/p14QSB-4CAP— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) August 18, 2012
Ford has been looking the bounce back from an injury-riddled 2011 campaign, in which he missed eight games. The former Clemson University star had caught two passes for 21 yards before leaving the game with the apparent ankle injury. He burst onto the scene in the NFL as a big play threat during his rookie season of 2010, averaging 18.8 yards a catch for the Raiders. He saw an increased role in the offense last season before going down to injury.
For analysis on how this injury may impact the Raiders, be sure to head over to SB Nation's Silver And Black Pride.
The Oakland Raiders lost to the Arizona Cardinals, 31-27, Friday night, falling to 0-2 in the 2012 preseason. SB Nation's Raiders blog Silver And Black Pride has a recap of the game, highlighting items of note.
The Raiders outgained the Cardinals in the air and on the ground in the first half, but went to the locker room trailing 24-11. They took an early lead, but followed it up with sloppy mistakes:
The next time the Raiders got the ball on offense, Carson Palmer threw an interception on the first play. The Cardinals would get a field goal out of it and retake the lead just like that.
Then it was Mike Goodson who fumbled away the ball and the Cardinals would get the ball and score their second touchdown of the day.
Next Raiders offensive possession stalled and they were force to punt. The punt was blocked and returned for another touchdown.
Things looked better in the second half, where the second-team offense was able to reach the end zone:
Chimdi Chekwa came up with an interception on the Cardinals' initial drive and with the help of a 12 men on the field penalty on the Raiders punt followed by a 26 yard catch by Juron Criner, the Raiders were able to score their first touchdown of the 2012 preseason. Lonyae Miller pushed up the middle from two yards out to make it 18-24.
Head over to Silver and Black Pride for more reactions and to offer your thoughts on the Raiders' preseason.
A quick-hit recap of the Week 2 preseason contest between the Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals.
The 6'1, 230-pounder signed as a non-drafted free agent with the Denver Broncos back in 2010. He spent parts of training camp with the Detroit Lions the last three seasons, and even saw playing time in the Lions' preseason opener last week against the Cleveland Browns.
A UCLA alumnus, Bosworth played all 51 games during his four years as a Bruin, starting 25 games in a row during his junior and senior seasons. His twin brother, Kyle, plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but there's also this:
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) August 16, 2012
#Raiders signed LB Korey Bosworth, who is a nephew of former NFL LB Brian Bosworth.
Bosworth adds depth to the LB position and will wear No. 97. He is expected to travel with the team to Arizona for Friday's preseason game against the Cardinals.
Oakland Raiders star running back Darren McFadden looked good when he touched the ball on Monday night, netting 38 yards on three plays.
Problem is, those were his only three plays. It was McFadden's first game since a severe foot injury last October that ended his season prematurely short nine games, and the coaching staff wants to make sure their very talented - yet oft injured back - is at 100% for the start of the season.
Coach Dennis Allen wants to get more reps in for McFadden before the regular season opener on September 11.
"Darren needs to get his touches so that he goes into the regular season ready to go," Allen said in a conference call, "and that's the most important thing for him is to make sure he's fully ready to roll when the opening game comes off on Monday night."
The Raiders have three exhibition games left. McFadden most likely will receive more touches on Friday against the Arizona Cardinals and next week against the Detroit Lions before being shutdown for the final exhibition against the Seattle Seahawks.
A seven-year NFL veteran, Benson had enjoyed a late-career surge with the Cincinnati Bengals after a disappointing career in Chicago. Averaging over 1,000 yards a season the past three years, Benson was a workhorse for the Bengals and proved that he still has the power and skills to be a lead back in the NFL.
Which is exactly why he decided to sign with the Packers instead of the Lions or Raiders.
The Raiders were certainly in need of a running back with Taiwan Jones and Mike Goodson both missing the first preseason game with injuries. Yet Oakland has a healthy Darren McFadden to fall back on, who showed off his dynamic skills in the preseason game against Dallas.
Because of McFadden's firm grasp of the starting job, Benson likely looked to sign with a team where he'd have a better shot at the starter's job and found that with Green Bay.
Terrelle Pryor and a football field had become unfamiliar with one another. And the result was that of a former star trying to get back into the good graces of a place he once called home.
"I'm angry at myself," said Pryor to CSNBayArea. "I don't think I played well. I thought Matt (Leinart) played great. I thought Carson (Palmer) played great. I thought everyone else on the team played great. I just think I played like dog crap.
"So I'm mad about that, about how I played today. So I'm angry and I'm going to come back stronger next week."
Pryor played the entire second half of a 3-0 loss to Dallas in the preseason opener. He finished eight of 15 for 50 yards, sacked twice and picked off once.
Pryor's coach, Dennis Allen, wasn't as hard on his young quarterback as his young quarterback was on himself.
"I was pleased he was able to get out there and get some reps and get some experience," Allen said. "Obviously, we have to do a little better job getting in and out of the huddle, and getting the play snapped a little bit sooner, but those are all things that can be corrected."
Starting next week.
Despite a rather uninspired game against the Cowboys, good news still existed in the fact that there weren't any serious injuries of note in the loss.
The preseason opener between the Dallas Cowboys and the Oakland Raiders is in the books. Dallas came away with a 3-0 win at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on Monday.
The only scoring of the game came from Dan Bailey's 33-yard field goal on Dallas' first drive of the third quarter.
The highlight? Probably the announcers losing their grip on sanity.
After throwing an interception early, the Raiders replaced Palmer with Matt Leinart, who threw 11-for-17 for 98 yards. He was then replaced by Terrelle Pryor, who would finish with 50 yards on eight completions out of 15 attempts.
Dallas had one first down in 11 plays with Romo on the field. After he was taken out, Kyle Orton managed 87 yards on 7-for-12 passing and third-string Cowboys QB Stephen McGee threw 5-for-9 for 48 yards.
The Raiders' Darren McFadden carried the ball twice for 20 yards and had an 18-yard reception in the first quarter.
The Dallas Cowboys offense got the pep talk it needed at halftime, following up with close to seven minutes on a 72-yard halftime-opening drive that resulted in a 33-yard field goal from Dan Bailey. It gave them a 3-0 lead that is still standing at the end of the third quarter.
The Oakland Raiders didn't get the pep talk they needed at halftime and went four and out on the ensuing drive as Terrelle Pryor was put in at quarterback. Pryor handed the ball to Lonyae Miller for two plays and scrambled for a two-yard gain on the drive.
The score gave the Cowboys the confidence boost they needed. They put in Stephen McGee at quarterback, who promptly threw four straight passes from the shotgun formation and turned the ball over on downs.
Pryor finished the half with 18 yards off of two completions on four attempts. He also ran the ball a couple of times for negative yardage.
Both teams have looked rather listless on offense, which can be expected considering each team is throwing its third-string quarterback out on the field right now.
The Raiders and the Cowboys have a total of 15 first downs between the two teams, for a total of 269 yards. That is the well over the length of two football fields. Unfortunately, that hasn't translated to any points, as both teams remain deadlocked at 0-0 going into halftime.
Palmer was taken out after six passes and replaced by Matt Leinart, who has thrown a respectable 98 yards on 11-for-16 passing. He has fumbled the ball once, but the Cowboys weren't able to capitalize. Rod Streater has emerged as the favorite target, catching six receptions for 66 yards. Jacoby Ford had two early drops and remains without a catch.
The Raiders had a chance to get on the board but Sebastian Janikowski shanked a 47-yard field goal attempt.
Janikowski misses wide right on a 47-yard field-goal attempt that knuckles more than an R.A. Dickey pitch.— Steve Corkran (@CorkOnTheNFL) August 14, 2012
While the Raiders offense has struggled, its defense has been absolutely punishing the Cowboys. They have limited the Cowboys to 61 total yards on 19 plays. The Cowboys have possessed the ball for less than 11 minutes.
Carson Palmer threw an interception on the Raiders' first drive, yet the Cowboys failed to take advantage as a make-shift offensive line kept Tony Romo and his offense from gaining any momentum. Dez Bryant, who was a game-time decision with a hamstring injury, made a leaping grab along the sideline on the Cowboys' only big play of the quarter.
Raiders running back Darren McFadden showed some flash in the first few plays of the game, yet was quickly replaced by Lonyae Miller as the Raiders aim to keep their star back as healthy as possible. The Cowboys' defense was able to get a few stops, but several penalties on fourth down gave the ball back to Oakland on two separate occasions on one drive.
With the Cowboys missing several starting offensive lineman, notably center Phil Costa, Romo was sent scrambling on multiple plays before being tossed to the ground. He finished the quarter 2-for-4 for just 22 yards.
Both teams remain scoreless after one quarter.
The Oakland Raiders had an absolutely tragic season in 2011, both on the field and off. They'll now be gearing up for their first full season in decades without the guidance of late owner Al Davis. That 2012 journey will begin with their preseason opener on Monday, a nationally-televised game against old rivals the Dallas Cowboys at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland.
Can the Raiders begin what looks to be a rebuilding season on the right foot? Their opener against the Cowboys may give you more reasons to cheer than you might think: the latest NFL odds indicate that the homefield Raiders are slight 1.5-point favorites.
Here is all of your relevant viewing and listening information for Monday's preseason opener.
Game Date/Time: Monday, Aug. 13 at 5 p.m. PT
Location: O.co Coliseum; Oakland, Calif.
TV Schedule: ESPN
Radio Schedule: Sirius XM 88
The Oakland Raiders have a history of giving up huge plays in the run game, and a big reason for that is the play of their linebackers. Aaron Curry was brought in mid season last year when the Raiders traded a seventh round pick to the Seattle Seahawks. However, despite the addition, the Raider continued to struggle and will open the 2012 season with linebacker being their weakest position group.
Last Season: When Curry was traded to the Raiders, his play improved almost automatically. Whether it was the new surroundings, a different coaching staff or just the fact of not playing for a team that wasted a first round pick on him, Curry was a much better player in 2011.
Big Question: Can Curry continue to develop and become a better player? Despite his improved play in 2011, Curry still has a lot of improvement needed in his game. He still found himself out of position at times and was the goat on a few big plays in the run game.
Projection: Curry has not been able to practice yet in spring training due to an injury, so it is hard to tell whether he will continue to improve his game. But with that being said, the Raiders should have a much improved defensive scheme in 2012 and Curry is an athletic freak of nature, so if he can put it together, he has the tools to be a monster on defense.
The Oakland Raiders will have two new starting corner backs in 2012. Besides Ron Bartell, who was previewed the other day, the Raiders signed former San Francisco 49ers starter, Shawntae Spencer . At the start of free agency, Spencer was not even an option for the Raiders, but due to a glut at the position, the Niners cut Spencer, allowing him to sign with the cross bay rival Raiders.
For the first few years of his career, Darrius Heyward-Bey was a bust. Not only was he a serious reach at #7 in the 2009 Draft, he had a serious case of the dropsies and could not be counted on as a playmaker. However, he had an excellent 2011 season catching passes from Jason Campbell and Carson Palmer, and has shed the bust label to become a viable member of an up-and-coming receiving corps. What can we expect from DHB this season?
Last season: Heyward-Bey caught 64 passes for 975 yards and four touchdowns. He only missed one game due to injury and scored touchdowns in two of the three final games of the season. He emerged as one of the favorite targets for QB Carson Palmer and as the Raider game plan transitioned from run-heavy to pass-heavy, Heyward-Bey's production rose to elite status, finally fulfilling the promise that caused the Raiders to draft him ahead of other receivers such as Jeremy Maclin, Michael Crabtree, and Hakeem Nicks.
Big Question: How will DHB's #2 billing on the depth chart affect his production? This season, Denarius Moore is listed as the team's #1 receiver. However, Heyward-Bey is taller and likely faster. There are not many corners who can run with him at full speed, considering he ran a 4.3 forty at the Combine before he was drafted. If he continues to catch the ball at a high level and leave his dropped-ball habits in the past, he will be very effective as a vertical threat, spreading the field and allowing Moore and Jacoby Ford, who are speedsters in their own rights, to work the middle and the sidelines. The Raiders have far too much speed at receiver for any team to cover man to man, and DHB continuing his strong play is the key to the Raider passing game.
Projection: DHB's career has been on an upward trend since his first season, and as one might expect from a receiver the better his quarterback, the higher his production. DHBs first two quarterbacks were Jamarcus Russell and Jason Campbell (a good signal-caller, but who disdained the deep pass), and consequently his play was lackluster. Once he was paired with an elite QB in Carson Palmer, Heyward-Bey began to put up numbers like a star receiver. The Raiders' new coaching staff, even if they are star-struck by Moore, will be wise to remember what steady and excellent production DHB can amass when made the primary target of a good quarterback. I predict 900 yards receiving and seven touchdowns for Heyward-Bey this season.
The Oakland Raiders blew up their corner backs group this off season, getting rid of the three players who accumulated the most field time in 2011. With Chris Johnson, Stanford Routt and Lito Sheppard gone, the Raiders only had two CB's on their roster in second year players Chimdi Chekwa and DeMarcus Van Dyke. This forced Reggie McKenzie to go out and sign new corner backs in the free agent market. One of the new corners for the Raiders is former St. Louis Rams corner Ron Bartell.
Last Season: Peyton Manning is not the only newbie to the AFC West that is trying to prove a neck injury should not be a concern. Ron Bartell is coming off of a neck injury that forced him to miss all but one game in 2011. His injury and subsequent lack of playing time are a large reason why the Raiders were able to sign Bartell at a good price.
Big Question: Will injuries be an issue with Bartell in Oakland? Signing a guy who basically did not play in 2011 is a scary proposition. It is hard to tell if a player will be able to return to full force after a serious injury. Now, as training camp starts, Bartell is sidelined with a hamstring injury. While that has nothing to do with his neck, the Raiders are very thin at corner back and cannot afford any injuries.
Projection: If Bartell can stay healthy, he could have a very good year in Oakland. Bartell is playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder after going largely unnoticed with the St. Louis Rams and not getting much attention as a free agent this off season. He will likely be the Raiders number one corner back, but hoping for anything more than a solid season is likely asking for too much.
Running back Darren McFadden is the Raiders' most fantasy-friendly player and, outside of perhaps Carson Palmer, the team's most important asset. He is a game-breaking player who can carry the team on his back for long stretches and allows the Raiders to effectively execute a ground-and-pound clock-sapping attack. He has a combination of size, speed and power rivaled only by Minnesota's Adrian Peterson and is an excellent receiver out of the backfield. What can the Raiders expect from him this year?
Last Season: McFadden had an excellent start to the 2011 campaign, gaining 614 rushing yards in only six full games and scoring four touchdowns. He also added 154 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. In the first half of the Week 7 game against the Chiefs, McFadden suffered a Lisfranc foot fracture and would miss the rest of the season. Reports were that had the Raiders made the playoffs, McFadden may have been able to play, but that did not occur. McFadden's loss was a huge blow to the team, and they went 4-5 without him, while losing some winnable games to the Dolphins, Lions and Chargers. A win in any one of those games would have given the Raiders the division crown.
Big Question: Can McFadden stay healthy? In his finest season, 2010, McFadden still missed two games with a hamstring injury. He has never stayed on the field for an entire 16-game season. That being said, a Lisfranc fracture is more or less a freak accident and is in no way an indication of McFadden being injury prone. It would be an indication that he is unlucky, if one were inclined to believe in that sort of thing. By all accounts, McFadden is currently healthy and in good shape for the start of training camp. His health or lack thereof will be one of the major factors that determine Oakland's season. With him they are a top team that can handle their schedule; without him they are a middling team with an air-it-out mentality,forced into a risky strategy that will force the issue and make mistakes, putting pressure on a defense that is learning a new system.
Projection: There is no logical reason to project that McFadden will get hurt this year, but conversely there is no logical reason to suppose that he will remain healthy the entire year. McFadden is and always has been a crapshoot. In previous seasons the Raiders have been fortunate enough to employ Michael Bush as the primary backup, meaning when McFadden went down they still had a starting-caliber RB to plug into the lineup. This year, the backups are currently Mike Goodson and Taiwan Jones. Neither are bad players, but neither have shown the ability to dictate the pace of a game like Bush could.
Should McFadden remain healthy, he will likely gain close to 1,400 yards from scrimmage and score 10 touchdowns. Should he not remain healthy, the Raiders will scuffle to a poor record in a tough division and may look to draft McFadden's replacement in the upcoming draft. I hear that Marcus Lattimore kid is pretty good.
The Oakland Raiders are fairly thin at the free safety position with Michael Huff being the clear starter. The only other free safety on the team that will see much field time is Matt Giordano who is a solid back up, but will not challenge Huff for the starting role. With that said, let's take a look at the starting free safety for the Oakland Raiders.
Last Season: After having a break out season in 2010, Huff had a let down season in 2011. He totaled less than half as many tackles as he did in 2010. He registered no sacks and no forced fumbles compared to 4 sacks and 3 forced fumbles in 2010. Finally, while he only had one less interception in 2011, he did not have as many pass deflections and generally did not have a very impact in the pass game.
Big Question: Did Michael Huff have a good year in 2010 only because it was a contract year? When Huff was drafted by the Raiders out of Texas, he did not come close to living up to his draft status. He underachieved in many aspects and although he was not terrible, he was certainly nothing to write home about. Then, in 2010, he had a break out season and was named to the 2nd team All Pro. As a result of that season, he was given a rather large contract by the Raiders, after which he reverted back to his lack luster ways.
Projection: With the Raiders implementing a completely new defensive scheme, essentially everyone on the Raiders is being given an opportunity to re-define themselves. Without the restrictions of the Al Davis offense, players will be allowed to do more and hopefully find a way to succeed. If Huff struggles again in 2012, it may be a sign that the Raiders need to start looking for a new free safety.
With the Oakland Raiders beginning training camp, we will be taking a look at every starting spot on the Raiders roster for the 2012 season. There is no question about who the Oakland Raiders starting strong safety will be in 2012, and there will not be any questions for a while after Tyvon Branch signed his four year contract extension this off season. That is not something that can be said of many starting positions on the Raiders outside of their dynamic duo of kickers. Not too bad for a 4th round pick out of the University of Connecticut.
Last Season: For a second consecutive year, Tyvon Branch led the Raiders in tackles and was a leader on their defense. He continued to be a strong presence along the line of scrimmage and was the definition of a ball hawk, showing up near the ball at the end of every play. Most importantly, he showed that he can continue playing at a consistently high level with his third consecutive year with triple digit tackles.
Big Question: Can Branch take his game to the next level and have a pro bowl season? Branch has been one of the Raiders most consistent players and has proven himself to be one of the better starting strong safeties in the league but he has not been able to have the big impact on games that would put him in the Pro Bowl.
Projection: This very well could be the season where Tyvon goes from very good to one of the best. Branch has shown that he can make plays in the pass game as a blitzer, but did not get to do it often with Al Davis' philosophy of not blitzing. This year, Branch will get many more looks as a blitzed and could begin to make the big time plays that his game has been missing.
The Oakland Raiders are notorious for being undisciplined on the football field. That reputation came to a head last season when the Raiders set the all time record for both the most penalties and the most penalty yards in a single season. Those penalties often had major impacts on games and were a major reason why the Raiders struggled at times last year. But penalties are not the only area where a lack of discipline hurt the Raiders. Many of the big plays, both on the ground and through the air, that were made against the Raiders defense, were made due to a lack of discipline. Whether it was missing an assignment or not sticking in one's lane, Raiders defenders were constantly out of position and allowed big plays to happen.
With the new regime in Oakland, there was no question that discipline would be a big time focus. With the Raiders training camp under way, we are now beginning to see just how strict Dennis Allen intends on being. According to strong safety Tyvon Branch, the Raiders are extending discipline from the field to the every day lives of their players. From requiring players be on time to meetings to requiring players to sign in and out at meal times, it is clear that Allen hopes discipline off of the field will translate into discipline on the field.
The 2012 NFL season is just weeks away, with all the teams poised to begin training camp shortly. In the coming month we're going to take the time to focus on each individual starter on the Oakland Raiders and discuss them in depth concerning what they mean to the team and how they should be expected to perform in the upcoming season. Today we'll start with the most important member of any team, the quarterback. The Raiders enjoy the finest quarterback they have had since the halcyon days of Rich Gannon, as Carson Palmer is under center for the Silver and Black this year.
Last Season: Then-coach Hue Jackson, in a swift and decisive reaction to what was ultimately a season-ending injury to Jason Campbell, acquired disgruntled Cincinnati QB Carson Palmer in a trade. The cost was steep: a first-round pick in 2012 and a second-round pick in 2013. Many fans felt the price was too high, as there were no other suitors for Palmer's services at the time. However, the next week against Kansas City fans were forced to sit through exactly one half game of the Kyle Boller Experience and that was enough for any of the Raider Faithful to stomach. After watching Boller mess the bed, it was clear the Raiders had made the right decision in acquiring Palmer no matter the cost. Palmer was forced to play the entire rest of the season without Darren McFadden, but statistically had an excellent second half of the year while nearly leading the Raiders to the playoffs.
Big Question: Can Carson Palmer cut down on his interceptions? While the Raiders defense clearly was a weakness last year, Palmer did turn the ball over 16 times, killing drives and causing the defense to be on the field more than they ought to have been. The Raiders have a lot of quality weapons this year, but all of them will be useless if Palmer throws the ball to the other team. This season, Palmer will have the luxury of a full training camp and will have the opportunity to develop timing with his receivers, who are the best corps of wideouts he has enjoyed since Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh were in their respective primes.
Projection: Carson Palmer needs one thing and one thing only to be successful: time to throw the ball. The less time in the pocket he has to work with, the less accurate he becomes. The Raiders made their biggest free- agent splash with right guard Mike Brisiel, who is a terrific player who happens to play the least important offensive line spot. The linchpin of the line will be left guard Cooper Carlisle. He is a decidedly average player who will be filling the shoes of Stefen Wisniewski, who this year will play center, and Robert Gallery before that. We know that Wisniewski and left tackle Jared Veldheer will play at All-Pro levels, because they have shown the ability to do so. Carlisle has shown nothing but the necessity that Oakland one day replaces him with something better.
Provided the line stays as stout and dependable as it was last season, there is no reason to suspect Palmer will have less than an outstanding season. If you extrapolate his numbers from his half-season in 2011, he threw for over four thousand yards and twenty-six touchdowns. Those are big-boy QB numbers without a doubt. I expect his stats to ultimately resemble more those from his 2005 season when he led the Bengals to the playoffs, rather than from his 2010 season in Cincinnati where he was unhappy with management and had a down year. I anticipate 4,000 yards passing, 28 TDs, and for Palmer to be once again mentioned in the upper echelon of AFC quarterbacks.
There are three players from the 2012 NFL Draft who have yet to agree to terms on contracts, despite the fact that the NFL worked to eliminate such disputes with a wage scale. Those players are wide receiver Justin Blackmon, wide receiver Kendall Wright and wide receiver Juron Criner. Now - what are the similarities here?
Well, they're all wide receivers and they all have been called first-round talent at one point or another. But one of these players is not like the other. One of them doesn't belong. Blackmon and Wright were actually drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, while Criner was ... a compensatory pick at the end of the fifth round.
Paul Gutierrez of CSN Bay Area is reporting that Criner has not signed his contract because of a dispute over guaranteed money. That's right - a fifth round pick is already thinking he's undervalued due to the lack of guaranteed dollars. There's a difference of $14,000 that Criner believes he's entitled to, according to Guiterrez.
The Raiders are offering $144,000, which is where the NFL thinks the numbers should be, while Criner is saying that the drop in money from one slot to the next is too great when it comes to him and he should be getting the rate of decline that the players above him are getting.
Which is, of course, absolutely stupid. To be totally blunt, it doesn't matter if Criner was projected to go in the first or second round at one point. He fell for a reason, and like every other player who falls, he has to earn the money that he would have got had he not fallen.
Of course, he'll probably get his way in the end. Though there's a chance he won't, considering the fact that the Oakland Raiders feel pretty good about their wide receiver position going forward. Which is why they traded Louis Murphy recently.
The Oakland Raiders did not have many opportunities to upgrade their roster during the off season. While salary cap issues hindered general manager Reggie McKenzie in the free agent market, prior trades that left the Raiders with no first or second round draft picks hindered him during the 2012 NFL draft. The Raiders did not have their first pick until the 3rd round, only had six picks in all and two of those picks were 6th round or later. With those picks, the Raiders took:
3rd - Tony Bergstrom, OG
4th - Miles Burris, OLB
5th - Jack Crawford, DE
5th - Juron Criner, WR
6th - Christo Bilukidi, DT
7th - Nathan Stupar, OLB
Despite the odds against him, McKenzie did fairly well with what he had. Of the six picks, five are very likely to make the roster, three have the potential to have an impact in their rookie season and two could push for a starting role, three if you consider the slot receiver position to be a starting position.
Tony Bergstrom and Miles Burris will push for starting roles if for no other reason than those are two of the weaker positions on the Raiders. While the left guard position is solid with Mike Brisiel, right guard is a position of need for the Raiders with Cooper Carlisle being the favorite to be the starter. Bergstrom played tackle in college but is too small to play tackle in the NFL. He is athletic and would be a good fit in the Raiders zone blocking scheme.
At outside linebacker, the Raiders have Aaron Curry and Philip Weaver, both of whom have deficiencies in their game and are not guaranteed a starting role. Burris is a little small at 6'2 236, but makes up for that with a high motor as well as very good vision and instinct. He will likely start the season as a back up, but will see the field and if he adapts to the NFL game quickly he could push to unseat a starter mid season.
There are really only two starting wide receiver positions, but with the specialization of athletes, the slot receiver position has become almost a mini starting position. While Juron Criner will not likely earn one of the starting wide receiver positions, he could wind up being the Raiders go to slot receiver, especially on third down and around the goal line. Most of the Raiders receivers are speed guys who can stretch the field while Criner is the exact opposite. He does not have good speed but runs good routes, has great hands and at 6'3, 221lbs, Criner's big body will be an asset that Carson Palmer will like to take advantage of.
The Raiders 6th round pick is a project who will likely wind up on the practice squad. Bilukidi was a basketball star who did not start playing football until his senior year of high school. However, he showed a lot of promise in college and could develop into a solid player. The Raiders' 7th round pick, Nathan Stupar, has a good shot at making the team solely due to his special teams abilities. The Raiders lost their special teams captain to the San Francisco 49ers this off season in Rock Cartwright. They also lost a strong special teams contributed in Hiram Eugene. Stupar was picked primarily to fulfill the lack of quality special teams players and should be able to make the roster.
The Raiders recently traded WR Louis Murphy for a future conditional draft pick, opening up a new roster spot for the players who will compete in training camp. The Raiders don’t have a lot of quality depth this season, which makes the training camp battles that much more important in separating the wheat from the chaff. There are always surprises and good players always get cut, but here is my prediction for how the 53-man roster will look when all is said and done.
QB: (3) Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Terrelle Pryor
RB: (3) Darren McFadden, Taiwan Jones, Mike Goodson
FB: (2) Marcel Reece, Owen Schmitt
WR: (5) Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford, Denarius Moore, Juron Criner, Rod Streater
TE: (3) Brandon Myers, David Ausberry, Richard Gordon
OL: (8) Jared Veldheer, Stefen Wisniewski, Mike Brisiel, Cooper Carlisle, Khalif Barnes, Tony Bergstrom, Joseph Barksdale, Alex Parsons
DB: (10) Ron Bartell, Chimdi Chekwa, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Shawntae Spencer, Tyvon Branch, Michael Huff, Mike Mitchell, Brandon Underwood, Bryan McCann, Matt Giordano
LB: (7) Rolando McClain, Aaron Curry, Philip Wheeler, Miles Burris, Travis Goethel, Nathan Stupar, Kaelin Burnett
DL: (9) Matt Shaughnessy, Lamarr Houston, Tommy Kelly, Richard Seymour, Dave Tollefson, Jack Crawford, Christo Bilukidi, Desmond Bryant
Special Teams: (3)
So there you have it, an even 53. Some quick notes:
When the Oakland Raiders hired a new general manager, they did not provide him with the best of scenarios to start his new job. The Raiders were severely over the NFL salary cap, but desperately needed to upgrade after another 8-8 season. As a result, first year general manager, Reggie McKenzie was forced to purge the team of excessive contracts before he could begin upgrading. After the purge, the Raiders still found themselves with little cap room, and a number of positions that did not have a legitimate NFL caliber starter.
McKenzie started out to do what everyone had claimed he was great at doing, finding bargain deals that other teams had missed and could help the Raiders right away. At corner back, he signed Shawntae Spencer and Ronald Bartell, at outside linebacker, he signed Philip Weaver and added a new starting guard with Mike Brisiel and defensive end depth with Dave Tollefson.
Both Spencer and Bartell are older and have had injury issues in recent years. However, they are also both solid, experienced corners who can help the Raiders young corners develop and will make up a serviceable secondary. Philip Weaver is a young backer who has spent time as a starter with the Indianapolis Colts. He is undersized, but makes up for physical deficiencies with instincts and intelligent play. Finally, Brisiel and Tollefson are the prize catches of the Raiders 2012 free agent class.
Mike Brisiel is a very good guard, but whose value on the free agent market is limited due to being a one trick pony. Brisiel excels in the zone blocking scheme, but is not suited to play in a power blocking team. That is what made Brisiel perfect for the Raiders. He came at a reasonable price and due to the switch to a zone blocking scheme, represented a significant upgrade for the Raiders.
Dave Tollefson is coming off of his second Super Bowl victory and brings not only solid depth to the Raiders, but also that winning mentality. Tollefson is a pass rushing defensive end who was part of the New York Giants formidable defensive line rotation. The Raiders' defensive line is one of their strong suits, but as last year showed, injuries can easily turn a strength into a weakness. Plus, having another body with significant talent will increase the number of players in the defensive line rotation and help keep the starters fresh late in games.
The Raiders certainly did not make any major free agent splashes this season. In fact, they were the polar opposite of what the Philadelphia Eagles did last off season. Despite that fact, Reggie McKenzie found solid players, capable of starting, and who represent upgrades to the team.