Raiders' Huff remains without contract


Raiders' Huff remains without contract


Second-team All-Pro free safety Michael Huff confirmed to CSN California today that he did not sign a contract extension with the Raiders before the CBA expired, despite rumors to the contrary.Asked on Twitter if he had indeed signed, Huffs response was succinct on the social media Web Site: nope, he typed.TWITTER: Michael Huff responds
Last month, before the Raiders slapped the franchise tag on linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, Huff theorized he would be left untendered to test the free agent market. The No. 7 overall selection in the 2006 draft, Huff is a fifth-year player who might be an unrestricted free agent, depending upon the language in a new CBA, if and when that is ever agreed upon.With Huffs contract status now known, that means 19 of the Raiders expiring 31 contracts are accounted for. An updated look at the Raiders expiring contracts and where they purportedly stand in the middle of the work stoppage:PLAYERS WITH SIX-OR-MORE YEARS SERVICE TIME
CB Nnamdi Asomugha Will be unrestricted free agent upon agreement of a new CBA with his contract voiding by his not meeting certain playing incentives.
OL Khalif Barnes Unknown. Locker room cutup and pass-catching threat who could presumably challenge for starting right tackle position.
RB Michael Bennett Re-signed as insurance to one-year, 865,000 deal.
QB Kyle Boller Re-signed to one-year, 1.25-million deal to back up Jason Campbell.
RB Rock Cartwright Re-signed to one-year deal worth the veterans minimum, believed to be 760,000 for a nine-year pro.
QB Charlie Frye Unknown. But seems to be on coaching path.
LG Robert Gallery He gone, to quote baseballs Hawk Harrelson. Said it was a mutual decision; Raiders say he wanted 8 million, were offering 2.5 million.
DT John Henderson Re-signed to two-year, 8-million deal.
OL Daniel Loper Re-signed to two-year, 3.9-million deal.
QB J.T. OSullivan Unknown. The Pride of UC Davis is probably too long in the tooth to be considered a project for the Raiders future.
CB Stanford Routt Re-signed to three-year, 31.5-million deal.
DT Richard Seymour Re-signed to two-year, 30-million deal.
OL Langston Walker Unknown. But he is a favorite of owner Al Davis so not hard to imagine him coming back to challenge for his job at right tackle.
LB Sam Williams Unknown. But he is another favorite of Davis who would gladly come back at, really, any price.PLAYERS WITH FIVE YEARS SERVICE
LB Ricky Brown Slapped with a second-round tender.
LS Jon Condo Slapped with a second-round tender.
FS Hiram Eugene Re-signed to four-year, 10.25-million deal.
QB Bruce Gradkowski Not offered a tender or a contract, seemingly signaling an end to his time in Oakland.
LB Thomas Howard Unknown. Though hard to imagine the proud one-time starter returning.
FS Michael Huff Not offered a contract or a tender, though the second-team All-Pro wants to return.
LB Kamerion Wimbley Slapped with franchise tag worth whopping 11.3 million after NFL did not allow Raiders to use 3.5-million buyback option on him.
RB Michael Bush Slapped with first- and third-round tenders.
OT Mario Henderson Unknown. Another favorite of Davis who presumably could challenge for starting right tackle gig.
WR Johnnie Lee Higgins Unknown. As his punt return qualities have diminished, his expendability has grown.
TE Zach Miller Slapped with first- and third-round tenders.
DE Jarvis Moss Unknown. But impressed coaches after being picked up off Denvers curb late in the season.
C Samson Satele Slapped with an original-round tender, second round.
DT Desmond Bryant Unknown. Still, Davis likes the undrafted Ivy Leaguer. A lot.
LB Bruce Davis Unknown. The Raiders legacy his father Bruce Sr. has a pair of Super Bowl rings with the Raiders added special teams depth.
WR Nick Miller Re-signed to undisclosed deal. Undrafted punt returner is seen by many as a poor mans Wes Welker.
FB Marcel Reece Unknown. Yes, the undrafted converted receiver is another player on the owners radar.

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


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.”

Irvin, Mack given a day off from Raiders practice


Irvin, Mack given a day off from Raiders practice

ALAMEDA – Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin were out at Raiders practice Wednesday for the stretching period. Both edge rushers left one-at-a-time during the individual period, which was open to the press, headed into the main building and did not return.

There was no perceived reaction, certainly no surprise, from the coaching staff or players on the field. Irvin and new defensive coordinator John Pagano were seen joking around on the field before practice began in earnest. 

Both Irvin and Mack were given a practice off. A Raiders official called it a day off/rest-type day that was not injury related. The Silver and Black typically practice in pads or shells on Wednesday, but were in jerseys and sweats in the interest of recovery.

This day off's timing did raise an eyebrow.

Wednesday marked the first practice Irvin has missed since training camp. Mack hasn’t missed one in months.

Mack and Irvin’s downtime also came a day after beloved defensive coordinator Ken Norton’s firing.

Several defensive players were upset about Norton's firing, but Mack and Irvin especially were among those loyal to Norton. Mack and Norton developed a bond after the coach was named defensive coordinator in 2015. Norton and Irvin go way back to their days together in Seattle. Irvin credits Norton for helping him get on the right path and stay there.

Neither player was happy Norton got the axe. Irvin made his displeasure clear, tweeting “BULLS***” shortly after news of Norton’s demise broke. Mack told ESPN “I like to keep my thoughts private.” Defensive stars declined comment Wednesday or didn't appear in the locker room when the media was present. 

It isn’t immediately clear if the non-injury related day off was related to Norton’s dismissal. Head coach Jack Del Rio won’t speak to the media again until Friday. New defensive coordinator John Pagano is scheduled to speak Thursday afternoon.

Del Rio addressed the media before Wednesday’s practice, and was asked how he’ll handle players unhappy with the in-season shake-up.

“I don’t try and 'handle' them,” Del Rio said. “I think the biggest thing is to understand the relationship, respect that, give him a little space and then at the end of the day, we’re going to get on with our work. But, I’m human. It wasn’t easy for me either.”