Raiders

Camp Report (88): Raiders' DHB back in action

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Camp Report (88): Raiders' DHB back in action

Aug. 8, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVE
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Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comPractice No. 10Summary: Coach Hue Jackson lost a bet with running back Michael Bennett and had to wear some garish "highlighter yellow" Nike hightops on the field, though neither party would say exactly what the bet was. Still, it was easy to keep track of the energetic rookie coach as he bounded around. It was also easy to see running back Darren McFadden and his fractured eye orbital running on a side field with Jacoby Ford and his broken left hand before Sebastian Janikowski started booming 60-yard field goals. Denarius Moore showed he was indeed human, dropping a pass, before hauling in a long bomb for a touchdown. The hardest hit of the day came courtesy of linebacker Chris Francis, who blasted running back Michael Bush coming through the line of scrimmage.Injury report: Fourteen players sat out practice with various "nicks," receivers Jacoby Ford (broken left hand), Louis Murphy, Eddie McGhee and Derrick Jones (Achilles'), fullback James McCluskey, tailbacks Taiwan Jones (hamstring) and Darren McFadden (fractured eye socket), offensive linemen Bruce Campbell (knee), Lou Eiliades and Alan Pelc, defensive backs Chimdi Chekwa (shoulder), Mike Mitchell and Joe Porter and defensive lineman Trevor Scott (knee).Returning to work: Darrius Heyward-Bey, slowed since the first day of camp with an undisclosed malady, participated in 11-on-11 team sessions for the first time. He had two nice catches in traffic, looked bad in dropping one slant pass that bounced off his shoulder pads and had a ball poked away from behind. All in a day's work for the highly-scrutinized third-year receiver.RELATED: Q & A with CB coach Rod Woodson
Eye on reps: Rookie Stefen Wisniewski and fifth-year veteran Samson Satele continued to split time at center, with Li'l Wiz moving to left guard in place of Daniel Loper when Satele came in to hike the ball.Coaching moment: After Darrius Heyward-Bey beat Chris Johnson on that perfectly-timed crossing pattern for a big pickup and Johnson poked the ball away from DHB and it rolled out of bounds, offensive coordinator Al Saunders got in his receiver's earhole. As he should have. Then, Saunders congratulated Johnson for a heads-up play, with a hearty smack on the posterior.Rookie report: Ah, yes, the rite of passage known as rookie hazing. Following practice, undrafted free agent cornerback Sterling Moore was taped to the north end zone goal post and, well, watered down by several veteran teammates. "I was a good sport during hazing today," Moore Tweeted immediately afterward. "Just had to Chalk it up to the game and get a rookie when I'm a vet."Notable: Brawls are as much a part of training camp as are cool baths and hot tubs. Alas, there was nary a nasty word spoken a day after the Raiders had the day off. The closest they came to throwing hands on Monday was when defensive end Jarvis Moss and tight end Brandon Myers pushed and shoved before Myers walked away, leaving an incredulous Moss shaking his head and itching for more.Quotable: "Stanford is a work in progress. He has natural gifts. It's up to him to cultivate those gift." - Raiders first-year cornerbacks coach and Hall of Famer Rod Woodson on cornerback Stanford Routt.Next practice: Tuesday, 3:30 p.m.

Days after signing with Raiders, NaVorro Bowman expected to play vs Chiefs

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USATSI

Days after signing with Raiders, NaVorro Bowman expected to play vs Chiefs

ALAMEDA – NaVorro Bowman was a sponge this week, absorbing the Raiders defense as quickly as possible.

The veteran inside linebacker signed with the Raiders Monday afternoon and did enough to play Thursday night’s pivotal home game against Kansas City.

That’s a huge plus for a Raiders team looking to snap a four-game losing streak. Bowman should be able to help right away despite being new to the scheme.

“He’s a veteran. He understands ball,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said Wednesday. “We haven’t tried to install the entire playbook, but specific game plans and things. He’s had a good week. Even though it’s a short week, we feel good and he’ll play.”

He’ll probably start at inside linebacker and play the base defense as least. While many have criticized his speed and coverage skills diminished from major injuries, Bowman remains a sure tackler who can provide solid on-field leadership.

Veteran savvy and natural ability should carry Bowman while he masters a new scheme, allowing him to make the immediate impact required with the Raiders reeling at 2-4.

“He is very instinctive,” Del Rio said. "He’s a veteran guy that’s been there before. He understands what it looks like to lineup against a good football team and help us win.”

Bowman’s fresh and healthy, a step above his others at his position. Inside linebackers Cory James (knee), Marquel Lee (ankle) and Nicholas Morrow (ankle) are all questionable heading into Thursday’s game.

He has also been a willing teacher to a group of inside linebackers featuring a second-year pro and three rookies.

“They’re just soaking it up,” Del Rio said. “They’ll ask, ‘When do you lift? How often do you lift? When do you meet? When do you cover this?’ It’s good stuff to have for a really young group.”

In other injury news, right tackle Marshall Newhouse is out, leaving Vadal Alexander to start in his spot. David Sharpe should be the swing tackle in reserve.

Downing: Raiders offense off track, answers exist ‘in our scheme’

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AP

Downing: Raiders offense off track, answers exist ‘in our scheme’

ALAMEDA – Todd Downing has friends with fantasy football teams. Those faux general managers, like many across the roto world, took Raiders with high draft picks.

They would like to know why Derek Carr isn’t throwing touchdowns in bulk, Amari Cooper’s in a slump and Marshawn Lynch isn’t getting more carries.

“I have friends that have him on their fantasy team that are mad at me for that,” Downing said after Wednesday’s practice. “That’s part of the business.”

Ah, the life of an NFL coordinator. Players get credit when things go right. Play callers sit over a Bunsen burner the rest of the time.

Downing understands that part of this gig.

“I welcome the responsibility that this job has afforded me,” he said. “I understand that I’m going to have to deal with negative comments and consequences when things aren’t going well. I’m looking forward to standing up here in a more positive fashion some time soon.”

Positives were expected right away. He was given the keys to a Lamborghini with a franchise quarterback under center, 1,000-yard receivers on each flank, an older back considered among the best of his generation, and the NFL’s biggest and most expensive offensive line.

The Raiders ranked No. 6 in total offense before adding Lynch, tight end Jared Cook and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson in free agency. Now they’re 30th heading into Thursday night’s game against Kansas City.

The mob is lighting torches, armed with pitchforks. After six weeks.

Everyone has an opinion on what’s wrong and how to fix this offense. More interior runs, less outside zone. More play action, please. Go deep, a lot. Have Derek hold on to the ball longer. Have Derek get rid of it quick. Do all that at once. Do it now.

Downing’s going to stick with his system. The Raiders will stick with their process, thank you very much, with faith that things will turn.

“When you look at the tape, you can see that we’re so close on so many things,” Downing said. “I know that sounds cliché and I know that sounds like someone sitting up here and trying to give you the rose-colored glasses, but it’s the truth. We know that we’re just this close to making a couple more plays each game and being able to come out on top and feeling like we put together a good product.

“…We’re looking for answers right now, but we know those answers exist in our room and in our scheme. Once we hit our stride, we’re excited to see what it looks like.”

There’s reason to believe that can happen. Take the season’s first two games, for example. The Raiders scored 71 points in that span. There’s talent everywhere in the starting lineup and behind it.

That’s why concern reigns during a four-game losing streak where the offense is averaging 13.1 points. They can’t sustain drives, come through on third down or block consistently in the run game. Their play count is dismally low. According to the Associated Press, the Raiders aver averaging 54 plays per game. Every other team has at least 60. The 2005 49ers were the last team that averaged such a sum. The Raiders haven’t had a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher or a 100-yard receiver.

Offense is blamed for a dismal 2-4 start. Even the universally beloved Carr has taken some heat for lackluster performances.

“I don’t think there’s a single guy that can look back over the last few weeks and say, ‘You know what, I’m really pleased with how I’ve played over the last three weeks,’ or, ‘Called the last three weeks’ or, ‘Coached my position the last three weeks.’ We all own this together,” Downing said. “There’s no one guy that is going to save it or break it or anything in between. We need to do this as a team and everybody needs to make the plays they’re afforded the opportunity to make and I need to call the right plays when afforded the opportunity to call them.”

The Raiders can and must do better before falling further. Righting the ship too late to reach the season’s goals might hurt as much as a completely dismal campaign.

Pressing, however, isn’t the answer.

“You do have to stay patient,” Downing said. “I tell the offense this every week, but it’s never been more true than where we’re at now as an offense. We have a belief in what we’ve done this far, and the system we’ve put in place, and the playmakers we have in that room, and the coaches that are up in the room with me, and you will never see me waiver in my belief of any single one of those guys, including myself. If I did, and I started acting different or started calling games differently, then that would mean I didn’t really believe in the first place.”