Raiders

Raiders sign Trent Edwards, Khalif Barnes

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Raiders sign Trent Edwards, Khalif Barnes

July 30, 2011

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Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.com

NAPA -- Back in 2007, then-Raiders coach Lane Kiffin had an idea.Actually, he had many thoughts when it came to what Oakland should do with the No. 1 overall draft pick. This one, though, had the Raiders selecting receiver Calvin Johnson before scooping up quarterback Trent Edwards later on and Kiffin then implementing his version of the West Coast Offense.Who knew it would take four-plus years -- and the failed JaMarcus Russell Era -- to get the former Stanford signal caller in Silver and Black? Edwards signed with the Raiders on Saturday to compete with Kyle Boller to be the team's back-up quarterback and ignite that old Stanford-Cal rivalry deep in the heart of Silver and Blackdom."Yeah, on my way up here, I had to stop by the facility in Alameda to sign my contract and the last time I was at that facility was right after the Combine (in 2007), right before the draft, when I was coming into the league," Edwards said. "So, I found my way over there. I didn't need directions. I knew how to get there, but it's been a while."I just remember visiting with coach (Greg) Knapp when he was here and they were interested. It felt like I had a good chance coming here(but) I obviously didn't, and now I'm back and excited to be here."Edwards, taken in the third round of the '07 draft, No. 92 overall by Buffalo, played three-plus seasons with the Bills before spending time with Jacksonville last year.He has a career passer rating of 75.4 with 26 touchdowns, 30 interceptions and a 60.5 completion rate with 6,019 yards passing. Edwards has started 33 of the 37 games he's appeared in and his best season was in 2008, when he had an 85.4 passer rating with 11 TD passes, 10 interceptions and 2,699 yards passing on 65.5 passing. Edwards went 7-7 as the Bills' starter that season.Jackson was intrigued."Having an opportunity to sit down and talk to him, he was what I was looking for," Jackson said of Edwards. "I mean, he's a big, strong, physical guy that can throw the ball. Loves football. Very passionate about the game."He's a gym rat. He likes to go in and study from morning to night. It's important to him. He's looking for an opportunity and we're a place that has an opportunity."After his second season, Edwards was seen as one of the brightest young QB's in the game. But his progress was slowed significantly by concussions.Still, he says he is healthy now and ready to compete. His agent, Ryan Tollner, is former Raiders passing game coordinator Ted Tollner so he has some familiarity with Oakland. Especially since the younger Tollner played for Jackson at Cal.Plus, Edwards said he liked Jackson's "energy," while saying he had other options on the table."He's just a guy that has an infectious personality," Edwards said of Jackson. "I enjoy being around guys like that. I enjoy playing for coaches like that. So that's kind of what sold me here."Reports of former Baltimore tackle Jared Gaither's imminent signing with the Raiders turned out to be premature as he reportedly failed a physical and Oakland took a pass and instead re-signed Khalif Barnes."I was laughing (that) everybody said we signed him," Jackson said. "I told you we hadn't."Jackson said Gaither was still a possibility for the future.In other signing news, the Raiders inked linebacker Sam Williams and "exclusive rights" players Desmond Bryant (defensive tackle), Bruce Davis (linebacker) and Marcel Reece (fullback). Plus, they signed undrafted rookie free agent Cal defensive tackle Derrick Hill.

Inactives: Raiders without two inside linebackers, Bowman suiting up

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AP

Inactives: Raiders without two inside linebackers, Bowman suiting up

The Raiders are aiming to snap a four-game losing streak as they take on the first-place Chiefs Thursday night under the lights in Oakland. And they will be thin in the middle of their defense. 

Cory James and Marquel Lee are both inactive, but a well-known new face is ready to go.

Oakland will turn to veteran NaVorro Bowman, along with two undrafted rookies, Woodson Luster and Nicholas Morrow, to man the middle. 

The following players have been ruled out tonight vs. the Chiefs: 

Cornerback Gareon Conley

Quarterback Connor Cook

Linebacker Cory James

Linebacker Marquel Lee

Tackle Marshall Newhouse

Defensive End Jihad Ward

Tackle Jylan Ware

Role reversal? Alex Smith currently more of a gunslinger than Derek Carr

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AP

Role reversal? Alex Smith currently more of a gunslinger than Derek Carr

OAKLAND -- Derek Carr is going through a rough patch. The beloved Raiders quarterback is being criticized for his part in this prolonged losing skid, a rarity since his rookie year.

Carr is supposedly playing it safe, getting rid of the ball quick, throwing short and avoiding potentially risky deep shots downfield.

That doesn’t sound like someone who wears No. 4 as homage to Brett Favre. Alex Smith comes to mind instead.

The Kansas City signal caller is notoriously known as a game manager, a cautious leader who rarely lets it rip.

Not this year. The former 49ers No. 1 overall pick is killing it in K.C., with career highs in completion percentage, yards per attempt and passer rating. The early MVP candidate has 12 touchdowns and no picks despite the fact he’s throwing deep more than ever.

Now that sounds like the Derek Carr we knew last year.

These quarterbacks seem to have reversed roles heading into Thursday’s clash between AFC West rivals. The Raiders are 2-4 and in desperate need of win against the AFC West-leading Chiefs.

Smith and Carr can be truly dynamic downfield. Only one guy’s found that rhythm lately.

That’s crystal clear when examining their deep throws.

Nobody’s better going yard this year than Smith, per analytics site Pro Football Focus – wrap your head around that – who is 13-of-23 for 526 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions on throws beyond 20 yards in the air. Carr is 17th, completing 3-of-10 deep shots – no starter has fewer attempts -- for 109 yards, three touchdowns and a pick.

Last year, Carr ranked fifth in passes over 20 yards in the air, again, using PFF stats, with a 46-percent completion rate, 858 yards and a 117.6 passer rating. Smith was 20th in that category, completing less than a third of his attempt with a 72.8 passer rating.

The Raiders certainly want to push the ball downfield more. Carr has but four explosive plays in nearly three games of the Raiders’ four game losing streak – he missed the Baltimore loss with a fractured in his back – and hasn’t worked short passes consistently enough to score often.

“We definitely want to be able to (create explosive plays),” Carr said. “Now does that mean we’re going to do anything differently or trying to force things? Absolutely not. That’s where you get in trouble. That’s something that I’ve learned in my career. You can’t force it. You just have to work hard and let it happen.”

Some think Smith is letting it fly with a stoked competitive fire because the Chiefs traded up to draft Patrick Mahomes. Kansas City head coach Andy Reid believes a strong supporting cast led by Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and rookie running back Kareem Hunt allows him to do big things Carr typically does.

There is, however, one constant heading into Thursday’s matchup. Smith has owned the Raiders. The Chiefs have had Carr’s number.

Smith is 9-1 against Oakland. Carr’s 1-5 against K.C.

Smith has 8.3 yards per attempt, 19 touchdowns and just four picks against the Raiders. Carr averages 4.92 yards per attempt, six touchdowns and five interceptions versus the Chiefs.

“These are big games in the division,” Smith said. “You know they’re going to be four quarters. You know they’re going to come down to the end. You just try to go out there every single play and execute. They’re all hard fought and have been close.”

Carr knows Kansas City stands in the way of his ultimate goals. This year, he has to get past them to get the Raiders back on track. That won’t be easy.

“They do a good job of rushing the passer. They do a good job of stopping the run. They do a good job on the coverage end,” Carr said. “They’re sound. They’re really well-coached. (Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton) is a great coach. All the respect for him. So much respect that he even texted me when I got hurt last year. He’s just a good dude. But this week I don’t like him too much. He does a really good job of making sure everyone is locked in. They’re really smart. They’re really smart players. They don’t do a lot so they can see route concepts. They can visualize things and get used to seeing those kind of things.”