Raiders Coach Allen not taking Eagles lightly – Olsen’s play calling questioned for Raiders 2nd half struggles – 2ND Round draft pick offensive lineman Menelik Watson back; working with second team – Rare glimpse inside Raiders’ Equipment Room – Jason Tarver’s fine agreed to by Oakland Raiders & NFL – Defensive end Sanford re-signed; Offensive linemen Cornell sent back to practice squad – Baltimore Ravens cutt Michael Huff; unlikely for Raiders to be interested – Raiders try out defensive end Sam Montgomery

 

RAIDERS COACH ALLEN NOT TAKING EAGLES LIGHTLY – Head Coach Dennis Allen spoke to the media after Wednesday’s practice as the Raiders get ready to host the Philadelphia Eagles.  COACH ALLEN’S OPENING STATEMENT: “This week, obviously we feel great about having an opportunity to get back out in front of the home crowd. I thought the atmosphere last week was outstanding. I would expect another very good atmosphere to play football in. We’ve got a tough opponent coming in here. This is an explosive offense. They set a record for offense in the first six games of the season. Nick Foles will be the quarterback for them. He presents some challenges as a quarterback that can throw the football and understands what they’re trying to do in the offense. LeSean McCoy is leading the league in rushing. He’s an outstanding running back. He’s a big-time player and a homerun threat every time he touches the ball. We have to understand what we’re dealing with there. They’ve got solid receivers. DeSean Jackson is another one of the homerun threats that they have. They have a lot of guys with a lot of speed that can create a lot of big plays and do a good job up front on offense, both in the run game and in protection. Defensively, they’re a big, physical front. They’ve got two inside backers that are really fast and athletic and instinctive. They’re big at outside linebacker position. They’ve got a couple corners that are big, physical corners that can really cover. And then obviously in the kicking game, their returner is in the Top 10 in the league, both punt returns and kick returns, so we have to do a great job in our coverage units of limiting that. Field position, as it always is, will be a big factor in this football game. We’re excited about getting an opportunity to play, so we’ll see what happens.”

QUESTION: The way you described the Eagles, it sounds like you’re already behind 30-0. They’ve only scored 10 points total in the last two games, where is there issue?

COACH ALLEN: Listen, they’re an explosive offense and they can make a lot of plays. When you look at the last couple of weeks, obviously we thought highly of Matt Barkley coming out of the draft, but when you get down to your third-team quarterback, you’re going to have some struggles and some challenges and especially when he’s having to come in, in a relief appearance. I look at the whole body of work, not just the last couple of weeks. This is an explosive offensive football team that can gain a lot of yards and put a lot of points on the board. We have to understand what we’re dealing with.

QUESTION: When you talk about [Chip] Kelly’s offense, it was supposed to be such a high-powered spread offense. Is it that different that you’ve seen than you’ve seen before or is it maybe they’ve got some guys who can do those things?

COACH ALLEN: A little bit of both. They do some things from a tempo standpoint that make it difficult on you. They do some things where the concept of the offense is really to spread the defense out and get their playmakers in space. Being a great space tackling team will be critical in this game. They have some playmakers they can get the ball to in space. I think it’s a little bit of what they do schematically and just their ability with their playmakers.

QUESTION: First game of the season they went crazy on offense the way Oregon had gone the last few years and people said, ‘this is going to change the whole NFL,’ and then since then very little. The NFL, basically the coordinators, can figure out things after a week out to stop it; is that what happens?

COACH ALLEN: Well they’re fifth in total offense, so they’re still a really good offense and they still have a lot of really talented players. I’m not ready to say everybody has figured it out. But you have to be sound fundamentally in what you’re trying to do. And, again, you have to be great space tacklers and understand how they’re trying to attack with their different formations and their spread out stuff they’re trying to do.

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TERRELLE PRYOR PREPS FOR EAGLES – QB Terrelle Pryor spoke to the media after Wednesday’s practice as the Raiders turn their attention to the Philadelphia Eagles.

QUESTION: Coming off a game like you had on Sunday, how much do you still want to prove that you’re more than just a running quarterback in the league?

PRYOR: I think we’re a little past that. You can go and watch against the Broncos and a couple other teams; I threw the ball very well. I’m not really into trying to prove to anybody it’s all about getting the win and at the end of the day we got a win. You don’t have to question me if we’re winning the game, now if we lost and we had that bad game, yeah. But, just win baby.

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OLSEN’S PLAY CALLING QUESTIONED FOR RAIDERS 2ND HALF STRUGGLES –  A disturbing trend has developed when it comes to the Oakland Raiders and their desire to nurse big leads. On Sept. 29, the Raiders jumped on top of Washington 14-0 before giving up 24 unanswered points and losing.  On Oct. 6, the Raiders led the San Diego Chargers 17-0 at halftime and had to hold on for a 27-17 victory. On Oct. 13, the Raiders were winning every phase of the game against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs early and would have had a 10-0 lead were it not for a missed field goal en route to a 24-7 loss. And last weekend, the Raiders had the Pittsburgh Steelers on the ropes with a 21-3 lead in the fourth quarter but had to hold on until literally the last second to escape, 21-18.

The offense goes flat in the second half, some critics suggest by design. In fact, quarterback Terrelle Pryor said the game plan after halftime was to simply run the ball on the Steelers and grind out the clock. Is it the play-calling of offensive coordinator Greg Olson as the Raiders try to take the air out of the ball to milk the clock, or a simple lack of execution on said play calls?  “Well, really, if you look at it, we’ve got to execute better,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Monday in his weekly media conference. “I mean we’ve got some opportunities to make some plays and we’re not making the plays that are there for us.” – David Gutierrez, ESPN

2ND ROUND DRAFT PICK OFFENSIVE LINEMAN MENELIK WATSON BACK; WORKING WITH SECOND TEAM – Rookie offensive lineman Menelik Watson also is back on the practice field. He missed the past several weeks after he aggravated a calf injury.  Watson still is trying to stay healthy enough so that he can play in his first regular-season game.

He was slated to begin the season at left offensive tackle until he suffered a knee injury that required surgery.  Watson worked at left tackle with the second-team offense during the early portion of practice. – Steve Corkran, Bay Area News Group

RARE GLIMPSE INSIDE RAIDERS’ EQUIPMENT ROOM – The average length of an NFL player’s career is between three to six years. In a league where rosters are constantly manipulated, and career-threatening injuries can be right around the corner, there has always been one constant with the Oakland Raiders — the Romanski family.  In the entire history of the franchise, there have only been two equipment managers. The Raiders’ current head equipment manager, Bob Romanski, has been in charge for 33 years. Before him, his father, Dick, ran the show behind the scenes. As legend has it, the elder Romanski’s face was even the model for the Raiders’ logo.

With the help of three equipment assistants, and the occasional visit from his father, Romanski is responsible for every piece of gear that comes into the team’s facility and goes onto a player. The equipment room has hundreds of helmets in every size and eight different styles, more facemasks than you can count, every single cleat model that Nike makes in all sizes, a wall shelf with nothing but silver and black pants, and a rack of jerseys — two each in black and white — for each player on the roster. – Casey Pratt, Bay Area’s Comcast Sports Network

JASON TARVER’S FINE AGREED TO BY OAKLAND RAIDERS, NFL – Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver’s fine for his obscene gesture toward an official was resolved Monday between the Raiders and the league, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported.

The team will impose the fine in cooperation with the league office, Rapoport reported, citing a source with knowledge of the process.  Per the agreement, terms were kept quiet. – Dan Hanzus, NFL Network

DEFENSIVE END SANFORD RE-SIGNED; OFFENSIVE LINEMEN CORNELL SENT BACK TO PRACTICE SQUAD — The Oakland Raiders have re-signed DL Brian Sanford to the active roster, General Manager Reggie McKenzie announced Wednesday.

Sanford, who was waived by the team on October 26, has appeared in four games – including one start – for the Silver and Black this season, and has totaled seven tackles (three solo).  The Raiders have also added OL Jack Cornell to their practice squad. Cornell was waived by the team on October 28.– Raiders.com

BALTIMORE RAVENS CUTT MICHAEL HUFF – The Baltimore Ravens signed veteran safety Michael Huff in March to fill the void left by Ed Reed — a task easier said than done.  The team announced Wednesday that Huff has been waived along with defensive end Marcus Spears.  It’s an interesting move considering Huff signed a three-year, $6 million contract with the Ravens, but the former Oakland Raiders safety was a disappointment.

Benched in September in favor of rookie Matt Elam and relegated to special teams, Huff missed his assignment on a 44-yard kickoff return by the Steelers that set up Pittsburgh’s game-winning field goal in Week 7.  Coach John Harbaugh called the mistake “unforgivable,” per the Ravens’ official website, and promised: “We’re going to go find some guys that want to play special teams.”  — By Marc Sessler

It’s very unlikely that the Raiders will make a run at bringing back Huff, regardless the salary. – Steve Corkran, Bay Area News Group

RAIDERS TRY OUT DEFENSIVE END SAM MONTGOMERY – Cut by the Houston Texans for violating team rules, rookie defensive end Sam Montgomery visited the Oakland Raiders, according to a league source. Montgomery recently visited the Cincinnati Bengals.  According to ESPN, the rookies were using marijuana.  Jefferson’s agent told ESPN the players were smoking a cigar and that no illegal drugs were used.

“I feel like they wasted a big opportunity,” Texans outside linebacker Brooks Reed said. “I’m sure they’re realizing it right now. It’s crazy and unfortunate because they had a great opportunity here to be successful. They just didn’t get it. I don’t understand why someone would do that to themselves.” – Aaron Wilson, National Football Post

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