Joseph will miss playing old friend when Raiders battle Texans

Joseph will miss playing old friend when Raiders battle Texans

ALAMEDA – Shortly after becoming a Raider, first-round pick Karl Joseph circled Monday night’s game against Houston on the calendar.

This one was going to be special. Should’ve been, anyway.

That was before K.J. Dillon suffered a season-ending knee injury and ruined an opportunity to pit two West Virginia alums on opposite sidelines, a pair that grew up rivals and became great friends.

Joseph went to Edgewater High in Orlando. K.J. Dillon went to school 20 miles northwest at Apopka High. They were the region’s best defensive players, leading two solid programs that clashed four times when they were enrolled. They split those matchups, and garnered great respect for one another from a distance.

Both played safety. Both, it turns out, were recruited heavily by West Virginia.

“We knew of each other,” Joseph said, “but it wasn’t until we got to West Virginia until we got really close.”

Joseph and Dillon took an official visit to West Virginia together, committed to the Mountaineers and were feature players in an excellent defensive backfield.

“It was definitely cool going there together,” Joseph said. “We were from the same area and played against each other in high school, and we ended up playing next to each other.”

Joseph and Dillon were quality NFL prospects. Joseph played strong safety at West Virginia and Dillon was a hybrid safety/linebacker in a secondary with five defensive backs.

Joseph was taken early, at No. 14 overall by the Raiders. Dillon waited a few days longer before Houston took him in the fifth round.

That set up a Monday night showdown now wrecked by injury. Dillon tore his ACL in a Week 6 victory over Indianapolis, and will sit on injured reserve when the Raiders and Texans clash in Mexico City.

“It’s sad that it happened,” Joseph said. “I was definitely looking forward to playing him.”

Joseph certainly feels for his friend. He just lived through an ACL tear and the repair’s lengthy rehab, which cost most of his senior season at West Virginia and the entire pre-draft process.

Joseph’s injury proved a devastating turn that brought mental and physical anguish, so he reached out to Dillon quickly to help him through a rough time.

Nearly a month later, Joseph is happy to report Dillon is doing well.

“He’s in a good mindset,” Joseph said. “I know he’s getting ready to attack it and come back strong. I have definitely tried to give him advice given that I just went through it. I know how tough it can be, and how much work goes into it. But I’m looking forward to seeing him back strong as ever.”

Raiders sign linebacker with Paul Guenther connection


Raiders sign linebacker with Paul Guenther connection

The Raiders entered this free agency period needing defensive help throughout the depth chart. They signed presumptive starters earlier in this veteran acquisition process, but didn’t stop there.

The Silver and Black have added depth this week especially, signing a key cog in linebacker Emmanuel Lamur on Wednesday afternoon.

Lamur spent the last two years in Minnesota and the previous four in Cincinnati with new Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. Guenther was his position coach from 2012-13 and his DC from 2014-15. He also knows Raiders linebackers coach David Lippincott from the Bengals days

Lamur has primarily been a reserve, but Guenther gave him an opportunity to start in 2014. He had 59 tackles and two interceptions in 13 starts that year as a strongside linebacker.

The Raiders have options at that spot, but no firm starter at this stage if Bruce Irvin plays defensive end full time.

Lamur hasn’t played much defense the last two years, but is known as a quality special teams contributor. The Raiders have signed several of those players in an attempt to improve coverage and returns.

All told, the Raiders have signed 14 unrestricted free agents with a shot to make the 53-man roster since last week began. The roster will turnover significantly in Jon Gruden’s return to the Raiders, and it’s possible he signs more players in coming days.

The Raiders are still looking for upgrades at receiver, and might add another bargain defensive lineman.

Report: Ndamukong Suh calls off meeting with Raiders


Report: Ndamukong Suh calls off meeting with Raiders

Ndamukong Suh won’t meet with the Raiders, after all. The star defensive tackle cut Alameda out of his free-agent tour, according to NFL Network, choosing instead to head home after stops in New Orleans, Tennessee and the L.A. Rams.

NFLN reports that Suh had dinner with Rams coach Sean McVay on Tuesday night, and was due in Oakland the following day. The Rams made a solid impression

Suh is reportedly mulling options from all three aforementioned playoff teams, all of which have more working salary-cap space and other stalwarts along the defensive line.

That’s surely a disappointment for the Raiders, who have had interest in Suh dating back to his last free-agent experience in 2015. The Silver and Black couldn’t afford him then. It seems unlikely they can afford him now, with precious little salary-cap space remaining after being active in free agency’s second wave.

The Raiders also hope to lock Khalil Mack up long-term with a massive extension this offseason.

It’s uncertain at this stage whether player or team cancelled the meeting, or exactly why it was called off. The Raiders could still sign a veteran defensive tackle, and/or acquire one early in the NFL Draft.