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Raiders fall to Seattle, finish preseason winless

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Raiders fall to Seattle, finish preseason winless

Sep. 2, 2011
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SEATTLE (AP) Terrelle Pryor's night consisted of holding a clipboard, with an earpiece hooked to his left ear and a football tucked under his left arm.So much for Pryor getting any playing time before his five-game suspension kicks in.See ya in October, Terrelle.Thomas Clayton and Vai Taua had short touchdowns runs, Jeff Reed kicked two field goals, and the Seattle Seahawks closed out the preseason with an uninspiring 20-3 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Friday night.
RELATED: Raiders vs. Seahawks In-game notes
While Seattle's offense showed some bright spots that should make fans a little less apprehensive heading into the regular season opener on Sept. 11 in San Francisco, most of the focus was on the Raiders' sideline and if Pryor would get into the game.Raiders coach Hue Jackson hadn't committed to anything related to Pryor and as the final minutes of the fourth quarter ticked away, it was Kyle Boller continuing to take snaps and Pryor serving as a spectator.Jackson said he was briefly tempted to give Pryor a few snaps, but ultimately decided he didn't want to put Pryor in a situation where he might not yet be familiar with what the Raiders were trying to do."I had thought about it, but again there was so much pressure and having to call plays I know he hadn't had a chance to practice," Jackson said. "I didn't want to put him in an uncomfortable situation. I don't think that's fair to the kid."While Pryor was the focal point for Oakland, the Seahawks were bitten by the fear every coach faces going into the final preseason game. Seattle coach Pete Carroll said that guard Robert Gallery and defensive lineman Jimmy Wilkerson both sustained knee sprains that are "significant enough we have to be concerned about next week."Gallery was one of Seattle's marquee free-agent signings, coming over from Oakland to provide a veteran presence on Seattle's young offensive line."Those are two significant shots we've got to take a look at and see where Robert will be and where Jimmy will be for the next week," Carroll said.Friday was the final chance for Oakland to see Pryor on the field before he serves his five-game suspension handed down by Commissioner Roger Goodell as part of his entry into the NFL supplemental draft.It's been less than two weeks since Oakland selected the controversial former Ohio State star in the third round of the supplemental draft. He signed a four-year contract with the Raiders a few days later. Pryor gave up his final season with the Buckeyes after an investigation into the team's memorabilia-for-cash scandal that cost coach Jim Tressel his job."I think the young man can play quarterback," Jackson said. "Right now it's not really about him, it's about the team, but this young man, he can throw it, he works at it and it's important to him."Reed kicked field goals of 25 and 36 yards, and Sebastian Janikowski made a 34-yarder for the Raiders.While the majority of the starters for both teams were on the bench resting well before halftime, there were some notable exceptions. Seattle rookie right tackle James Carpenter, who struggled badly last week in Denver, played nearly the entire game, only taking a second quarter break when Breno Giacomini got reps with the Seahawks No. 1 offensive line.Fellow Seattle rookie lineman John Moffitt played three full quarters before giving way in the fourth.With Carpenter and Moffitt playing better, Seattle starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was finally given time to throw.Jackson played less than one entire quarter. He was 5 of 7 for 88 yards, but forced one throw toward Golden Tate in the end zone and was intercepted by Oakland safety Tyvon Branch. Even though Jackson was back on the sideline before the end of the first, his two drives nearly created two scores and rolled up 100 yards of offense.Tate's status on the Seahawks' final roster was put to rest with an impressive showing.Tate had five catches for 79 yards, including a 43-yard reception from Jackson where he beat safety Michael Huff off the line of scrimmage. Later in the first half, Tate returned a kickoff 34 yards and at the end of the half had a 43-yard punt return that set up a field-goal attempt at the end of the half."It took a little pressure off of me," Tate said. "I definitely saw the blogs saying I could be cut, released, traded or whatever so hopefully I showed the coaches that I can play this game and they'll keep me around a little longer."Oakland went with its starting offense for much of the first half with Jason Campbell not checking out until the final few minutes of the second quarter. Campbell went 8 for 11 for 76 yards in his final action before the Raiders' opener Sept. 12 at Denver."I felt good. I thought the offensive line did a great job protecting us. Once again I don't think I got touched," Campbell said. "I was able to make rhythm passes and get the ball out quickly. We just got to learn to finish drives."

Remember me? Raiders face Broncos with offensive architect on other sideline

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AP

Remember me? Raiders face Broncos with offensive architect on other sideline

ALAMEDA – Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing is running a system Bill Musgrave installed in 2015.

Downing has put his stamp on it since being promoted from quarterbacks coach last winter and certainly has a different play calling style, but he didn’t burn it to the ground and start fresh.

“Honestly tweak-wise, there’s not a lot of tweaks,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “Game plan wise and things, we do things a little different. We call things differently now obviously because he’s in the division. But route concept-wise and things like that, we do a lot of the same similar stuff. Any time there’s a change, a coach is always going to have their tweaks.”

Even so, Musgrave might feel like he’s looking into a mirror Sunday afternoon when the Raiders play Denver at Oakland Coliseum. He’ll watch his offense work from the other sideline, calling plays from Mike McCoy’s selections.

This odd arrangement stems from Jack Del Rio’s decision to let Musgrave’s contract expire after two years as Raiders offensive coordinator. He promoted the in-demand Downing to that post, which left Musgrave to gain employment as Denver’s quarterbacks coach. He was promoted to OC on Monday, when McCoy got fired after Denver lost its sixth straight.

Fans didn't love Musgrave when he was in Oakland. They long for him now. The Raiders ranked sixth in total offense and seventh in scoring last year. Now they're 21st and 20th, respectively, in those categories. 

Having Musgrave calling plays for the enemy adds some intrigue to the matchup, though this isn’t a mentor-protégé matchup. Count Scott Linehan and Mike Tice as Downing’s primary professors. Those influences stand out most in Downing’s style, but Musgrave’s influence as a play caller exists in a small dose.

“I think there are elements of it. I won’t say personality traits, but maybe nuances of the game that you naturally talk to through as a coordinator and quarterback coach,” Downing said. “So, those experiences are kind of lived through the other coordinator. We were together for two years. I have some other influences that probably shape my play calling more than that.”

There’s a high level of respect between the two men, and Downing certainly appreciates his time working under Musgrave.

“He’s a very detailed guy. He likes to simplify and let the guys go execute. That was certainly something that I respected about the way he went through a game plan process. If there was something that wasn’t working itself out through the course of the practice week, we’d eliminate it or not run it on Sunday. Definitely picked that up.

“He has a broad scope understanding of offense. Being a quarterback as he is, or a former quarterback as he is, he’s not just a pass game guy. He has a good understanding of the run game and a good respect for the guys upfront being able to move the line of scrimmage. Definitely something that I admire and wanted to emulate.”

Downing and Musgrave won’t face each other directly. That’ll be new Raiders play caller John Pagano.

He took over Tuesday after Ken Norton’s firing, but doesn’t mean he’s new to the matchup. Pagano was the Chargers' defensive coordinator from 2012-16, and faced Musgrave twice a year the past two seasons. Musgrave won every matchup.

Pagano might look at Denver’s scheme and Musgrave’s tendencies when trying to silence the Broncos on Sunday.

“You always have to understand what he’s about and what little things pop into my head from seeing him, but you still have to go based off of what you’re seeing right now, the film that you’re seeing, the plays you’re going off of,” Pagano said. “You have to be prepared for everything. He does a great job and he always has those guys ready to play and there is always going to be something new.”

How John Pagano plans to impact Raiders defense: ‘There is always room for change’

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USATSI

How John Pagano plans to impact Raiders defense: ‘There is always room for change’

ALAMEDA – John Pagano can’t implement his scheme in a week. He can’t import his plays and preferences cultivated during five seasons as Chargers defensive coordinator. Full offseason programs and training camps are required for that.

Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. was fired on Tuesday. Pagano will call his first Raiders game five days later against Denver at Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders’ assistant head coach – defense believes he can impact how the Silver and Black does business.

“There’s always room for change and there’s always room for doing things better,” Pagano said Thursday. “Without telling you our game plan, it’s about how we go out and execute the call, bottom line.”

Head coach Jack Del Rio said the Raiders weren’t playing fast enough. They weren’t creating enough turnovers, weren’t doing well enough on third down and weren’t regularly affecting the quarterback due to a lack of both rush and coverage.

That’s why Norton had to go.

Pagano’s first objective, which must get accomplished in a few days, is getting the Raiders to play with confidence. Then he can add some design wrinkles with some of his personality.

“You have to have that ability of going out there, knowing your assignment and playing faster,” Pagano said. “It’s not to say that there have been times where we’ve simplified things, but taking the thinking out of the game and making them react is, I think, most important. Going out there and playing fast and that’s doing the little extra things, the attention to details of studying and getting those things processed. See ball, go get ball.”

That last sentence sums up how Pagano wants his guys to play. He’s a quality play caller and creative blitzer with a knack making simple plays look complex. He can find and exploit opposing weak links. His defenses have always been good creating pressure and turnovers alike. The Raiders need more of both.

To do that Pagano wants to relieve a player’s mental burden and keep them focused on using talent well.

“The one thing I’ve always stressed and always been about is technique, fundamentals and unbelievable effort,” Pagano said. “I think those three things can get you home.”

The Raiders haven’t been home much as a defense. They’re tied for last with 14 sacks. They’re dead last with six turnovers. They’ve gone 10 games without an interception, the longest single-season drought in NFL history.

A lack of big defensive plays has killed the Raiders this season. It obviously increases points allowed. Good field position has been hard to come by. The offense has to earn everything the hard way. That’s a recipe for losing football, a maddening turn after the Raiders finished second with 30 takeaways last year.

Pagano has a chart listing “MOPs,” short for missed opportunities. There have been many, especially in a secondary he oversaw before this week.

“I talked to these guys this week about we need to do simple better,” Pagano said. “What is simple? It’s fundamentals of covering. It’s tackling. It’s communicating. It’s catching the ball when it comes. We’ve had opportunities. It’s not like we’re out there struggling and straining to dive and layout for the thing. It’s hit us in the hands where we’ve had many, many opportunities.”

Missed opportunities have also plagued a pass rush featuring reigning defensive player of the year Khalil Mack. Pagano brought up a moment early in Sunday’s lost to New England, when Treyvon Hester forced a fumble near three teammates that the Patriots somehow recovered.

Pagano’s goal is to improve performance. Players must buy in to do that. Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin headline a large group close to Norton, one with enough pride and professionalism to get behind a new playcaller in Pagano, who could be here long term.

“There is a human element to this,” Pagano said. “We are family. It’s sad any time a member of your family gets dismissed or something. At the end of the day, we have the Broncos coming in here on Sunday and we have to get our minds right to go play this game. That’s something that they’ve done a great job with this week, truly focusing in on what we need to do.”