Raiders preparing to take on Tebow, Broncos

Raiders preparing to take on Tebow, Broncos

Dec. 17, 2010

Paul Gutierrez

ALAMEDA With Denver quarterback Kyle Orton nursing sore ribs this week and Tim Tebow taking a majority of first-team reps over fellow backup Brady Quinn, the Raiders are anticipating a healthy dose of Tebow Time Sunday at the Coliseum.The Broncos are holding out hope for Orton; the Raiders are not sure if Tebow will get his first career start against them.You practice against the things that youre aware of, in terms of what hes been doing or what hes put on film in the preseason, early in the season, Raiders coach Tom Cable said of Tebow. We expect him to play and so we feel like weve prepared for it.In preparation, the Raiders had a running back mimic the hard-running Tebow on the scout team offense this week.I think its his style of play with the quote-Wildcat type offense, Cable said. But at the same time, if hes going to play as much as I think he is, hes going to have to play like a regular quarterback in a regular offense as well.Tebow has appeared in four games, completing his lone pass attempt for three yards while running the ball 12 times for 28 yards and three touchdowns.Broncos interim coach Eric Studesville told Denver-area media Friday morning he had yet to make a decision on his starting QB but would have no issue throwing the rookie out there.Tims continued to develop, Studesville said. Hes got the gameplan, hes been out there. Hes been getting a lot of reps with the situation of Kyle not being able to practice and as a backup quarterback, you dont always get those reps so hes been able to get that this week. Its been good for him to get those. Hes looked good getting those reps and were confident that if thats the situation that came to pass that hed be ready to go.Studesville was also asked if playing in the muck, mire and rain expected Sunday would play to the left-handed Tebows run-first strength.VIDEO: LB THOMAS HOWARD ON THE CHALLENGE AHEADThats in his skill set, Studesville said. Thats something that would come up and you think about that but were playing Tim to run our offense, our entire offense, that we have for the gameplan for the Oakland Raiders.A Freudian slip, perhaps, that whole were playing Tim comment?In any event, Tebow has a fan on the Raiders side, except for about three-plus hours on Sunday receiver and former college teammate at Florida Louis Murphy.I know hes a fighter, Murphy said. I know that he has a passion for the game. I havent seen him practice or anything. I know that hes going to come out and fight till the last minute.Critics have long charged that Tebows physical style of play which helped him become the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy would not translate to the NFL. Murphy was not among them.Especially with his work ethic, how hard he works at his craft, Murphy said. Hard work goes over talent any day. I dont know what the situation has been at Denver, but it takes a while for rookie quarterbacks to groom into the NFL.Aaron Rodgers sat behind Brett Favre for how many years? Thats probably whats going on with (Tebows) situation. I know hes going to fight.Rookie middle linebacker Rolando McClain sat out practice again Friday with his sore left foot and is officially listed as questionable for Sunday.He is better, Cable said, so well take him out and run him around Sunday morning and see if he can go.McClain, though, was on the field at the beginning of practice Friday, going through some walk-through drills.Were trying to get him back involved that way, Cable said. Hes very much a studier and all those things. But getting him back involved on the field in some capacity (is key).While hobbled with what was first called arthritis, then called tendinitis and now a deep tissue issue, McClain started at San Diego but was inactive last week at Jacksonville. Cable said McClains veteran-like acumen enables him to play without having to practice during the week.None of these guys are rookies any more, Cable said, and certainly (McClains) work ethic off the field allows him to be prepared probably better than a lot of people. Still, you can never substitute getting out there and seeing it and doing it.The Raiders Friday injury report:
Full practice, probable OL Khalif Barnes (back), TE Zach Miller (foot), QB Kyle Boller (quad), LB Travis Goethel (knee), DT Richard Seymour (knee), SS Tyvon Branch (shoulder), CB Chris Johnson (groin)Limited practice, questionable WRPRs Johnnie Lee Higgins (ankle), Nick Miller (ankle); CB Nnamdi Asomugha (ankle), FS Hiram Eugene (ribs)Did not practice, questionable LB Rolando McClain (foot)

Norton looks at his Seahawks days to slow down Brady: 'I have a good feel'


Norton looks at his Seahawks days to slow down Brady: 'I have a good feel'

ALAMEDA – Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. has a good feel for Tom Brady. He faced New England’s legendary quarterback three times as Seattle’s linebackers coach, with some positive results. The Seahawks won two regular-season games and lost the Super Bowl at the last second.

He knows what worked then, and believes that should help prepare the Raiders defense for what’s coming Sunday in Mexico City.

“I played Brady a couple years ago in the Super Bowl with Seattle. We played very well against him,” Norton said Thursday afternoon. “I’ve had some success against him so I have a good feel for what can be done and what cannot be done. It’s just a matter of having the right emphasis and the ability to make the plays.

“Having a guy like (Brady) on the team who’s capable at any point of throwing a deep ball, capable at any point of getting it to the right players at the right time. He understands who is around him. He understands how to get the ball to the guys. He’s got a long resume of doing it well.”

Having success against Brady, however, is a relative term. He still produced against a loaded Seattle defense far better than this year’s Raiders unit. He will produce again Sunday, even if most goes right. Limitation, however, if key.

Norton believes certain things are essential when facing a Patriots team. Sure tackling. Impacting the quarterback.

The first is vital, something the Raiders have done well save a Week 9 win over Miami. The Raiders have to limit explosives and keep the ball in front of them, especially with the way Brady likes to play.

“The Patriots do a really good job of underneath coverage,” Norton said. “They have guys that catch and run really well. The backs, the tight ends, the matchups underneath, they catch and make people miss. They try to match up with your linebackers and safeties. They feel like their guys are pretty good. Tackling is something we’ve been really outstanding with all year but this last game against Miami we didn’t do so well and it kind of stands out, especially when it’s something we’ve taken a lot of pride in.

“I really feel like our emphasis and what we do well matches up well with that they try to do.”

There are some problem spots. One is limiting deep shots, something Brady has unleashed with startling efficiency. He’s 19-for47 for 410 yards and four touchdowns on passes of 20-plus yards, with speedsters Brandin Cooks and Phillip Dorsett able to haul them in. The Raiders have proven vulnerable to track-star receivers. 

Impacting Brady is mandatory, but also difficult given his excellent pocket presence. He’s especially good at feeling pressure off the edge, where reigning defensive player of the year Khalil Mack typically lines up opposite Bruce Irvin.

Brady has proven vulnerable to interior pressure, which is why Mario Edwards Jr. will be an X-factor on passing downs. He has four sacks this season and needs to break free in the backfield to force difficult decisions or, at the very lest, disrupt New England’s timing.

Brady gets rid of the ball fast at times. Raiders rushers can’t get frustrated by that, especially Mack.

“If the quarterback is going to throw the ball in less than two seconds, it’s going to be tough to get there,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “So when the quarterback is throwing the ball quick like that, we’ve got to tackle and have their punt team come out. They’ll get tired of punting or turning the ball over and they’ll sit and hold the ball a little bit and Khalil can get there. If they’re throwing the ball in two seconds or less, it’s going to be hard to get sacks.”

The Raiders only have 13 sacks this season, second worst in the NFL. Getting a few could swing a tight game. Norton’s Raiders believe they have a solid plan to mitigate somewhat the Patriots ferocious attack, that features versatile tight ends allowing them to do different things from one personnel package.

Don’t expect a shutout, or anything close. The Raiders understand that, but believe they can mitigate some damage.

“If you go back to the New England Patriots five, six, eight years ago they’re doing similar things,” Norton said. “They do what they do really well. They’re a fine-tuned machine. Everybody knows exactly what their role is. Guys know exactly what’s expected of them. Obviously the quarterback is the heart and soul and the one that makes that train run. Really, really good players that really understand what their role is and play well against leverage, run after catch, tough and they make plays.”

Khalil Mack wants to be Raider for life: 'That’s a no-brainer for me'


Khalil Mack wants to be Raider for life: 'That’s a no-brainer for me'

The Raiders gave quarterback Derek Carr a massive contract extension last June. Right guard Gabe Jackson got paid later that month.

Khalil Mack’s big deal is coming, likely this offseason. Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie anticipates a deal getting done, and hopes Mack’s agent feels the same way.

Mack’s rep and Raiders contract folks will work out details of a massive contract extension. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year doesn’t have interest in all that. He has one preference above all.

Mack doesn’t want to go anywhere. He wants to stay with the Raiders long term.

“Of course. That’s not even a question,” Mack said in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Bay Area’s Fallon Smith, which airs in this week's episode of "Raiders Central." “That’s a no-brainer for me, especially when you think about coming into this organization and try to build something special, that’s something you want to be a part of for a lifetime”

Mack has plenty of money, top-5 overall draft picks often do. The No. 5 selection in 2014 considered that first deal life-changing money, enough to help his family.

“That has been a treat for me so far,” Mack said.

He doesn’t daydream about signing a nine-figure contract. He doesn’t long to be the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player (although that might be in the cards, anyway).

“I’m not really even thinking about that,” Mack said. “I’m thinking about the Patriots, that’s just my focus that’s just my mindset – anybody who talked to me about that matter, whether it be my best friend, my mom, my dad, I tell them the same thing. I’m thinking about the Patriots and sacking Tom Brady.”

That, unlike signing a record contract, was a career a goal. Mack said in a post-draft press conference he wanted to sack legends. Peyton Manning and Brady topped the list.

Manning retired before Mack could check his box. Mack will have a second chance at Brady Sunday when the Raiders play New England in Mexico City. He had eight tackles and two quarterback hits against Brady’s Patriots in 2014, but didn’t bring the quarterback down.

Mack considered his third regular season game a welcome-to-the-NFL moment.

The University of Buffalo alum has accomplished a ton since then, with 34.5 sacks and last year’s top defensive honor to his credit. He’ll need a Herculean performance against the Patriots to help the Raiders win a pivotal game. A sack would certainly help, but Mack isn’t calling his shot.

“Yeah, I’m not one to talk,” Mack said. “I’ll express that when I get on the field, but I can’t wait, I can’t wait to play against him.”