NAPA -- A cryptic Tweet sent out by injured linebacker Aaron Curry on Thursday had a different meaning than what many interpreted."Big thanks to Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen," Curry wrote, and the obvious question was whether he was bidding adieu to the Raiders general manager and coach on his way out. But as a source told me at the time, "on way out to where, dinner?"Rather, Curry was on his way to Los Angeles to see a specialist regarding his sore knees, according to Allen following Friday's practice.Asked if he could add to Curry's Tweet, Allen shrugged."Nothing more than the fact that were letting him go down to see this specialist in L.A.," Allen said.Allen was also asked if Curry had hit a wall in his rehab."Just not getting to where we want him to be," Allen said. "Hell go down and well let him get basically a second opinion and see if we cant do something to get him better."Last weekend, Curry confirmed to CSNCalifornia.com that he had undergone stem-cell therapy on both knees, using bone marrow from his hips. He said he was getting better at the time."It's the only thing that's helping me recover," Curry said Saturday. "Without it, I'd be a lost cause. For sure.""I'm just able to do things that I wasn't able to quite do in OTAs and minicamps when I was trying to fight through what I thought was just regular soreness or tendinitis. But it's a great procedure. Simple, fast, and I'm just excited about being able to bounce back as quick as I am."Instead, rookie Miles Burris has been taking Curry's reps at first-team weakside linebacker.
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 open to the press, headed into the main building and did not return.
There was no 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 guys were given a day off, one scheduled earlier in the day. 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.
Wednesday marked the first practice Irvin has missed since training camp. Mack hasn’t missed one in months.
Mack and Irvin’s downtime comes a day after beloved defensive coordinator Ken Norton’s firing.
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.”
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.”
ALAMEDA – Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio put out a statement Tuesday explaining why he fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.
He went into greater detail Wednesday afternoon, his first time facing the media since a change was made
Specifics will be discussed further down this story. We don’t, however, want to bury the lede.
Del Rio’s main message wasn’t about Norton. It applied to all in Silver and Black. This season has not met lofty expectations. That is unacceptable.
“I know one thing,” Del Rio said. “Nobody should feel comfortable, because what I’ve been watching is not good enough.”
Del Rio didn’t absolve himself from blame. Norton got fired, but everyone has played a part in this disappointing 4-6 record.
“It’s always shared,” Del Rio said. “A change was made, obviously. We all share in it, all of us, starting with me. It’s coaches and players. It’s a team game, and we’re all in it together. And nobody is coming to help us.”
The Raiders must look inward to start a prolonged winning streak they’ve shown little evidence they can create.
The seat will be warm under players and coaches alike, even if only one change was made. Expect further shakeup on the coaching staff after the season, if vast improvements don’t come down the stretch, possibly with several position coaches being shown the door. More than a few higher profile players could be cut or allowed to leave, especially on defense.
While Del Rio has taken more heat the past month than at any other time in his Raiders tenure, expect him to be around a longer term. He was given a contract extension in February, and has significant capitol built after changing the culture in Oakland and re-teaching this team how to win. One bad year, even if this season continues heading downhill, shouldn’t erase that.
Del Rio was looking to shake things up, and Norton was the obvious move. Experienced play caller John Pagano was on staff – he was Chargers defensive coordinator from 2012-2016 – and firing the popular Pagano’s style could create some new waves and looks that any offensive Norton would make an impact in the locker room and prove this story’s opening quote, that no one should feel comfortable.
Del Rio hopes firing Norton will be a shock to the defense’s system.
“I really felt like I needed to shake things up,” Del Rio said. “We couldn’t continue doing what we’ve been doing to this point. So I made the call. The whole idea is to change what we’re doing and make sure…what I’m looking for at the end of the day is for us to play fast on defense. We weren’t playing fast enough. We weren’t playing confident enough.”