(by Stewart Upton)
RAIDERS COACH ALLEN: “TEAM REFRESHED, MOVING AROUND WELL” – Raiders’ Head Coach Dennis Allen talked to the media Monday after the team had the last four days off. He declined to address injuries until Wednesday (when the team is required by the league to disclose that information); but he made clear that he felt the bye week came at a good time for the team, they are back, refreshed, and taking the day off tomorrow just as they would during a normal week if they had played yesterday…i.e. getting back into their normal routine. Allen said today’s practice was mostly to start getting prepared for the Pittsburgh Steelers; that he felt those third string offensive linemen that played against Kansas City got some good playing time and experience from it; and yes, they are all aware they haven’t won a game coming off a bye week in some years, but the past is the past Allen said, and they do have control over who wins on Sunday…Oh, and he also said that he expects the baseball dirt to be removed from the field for the game on Sunday at 1 p.m. against the Steelers.
Coach Allen’s Opening Statement: “I’ll address injuries on Wednesday, so I won’t do anything to address injuries right now. It’s good to be back. It’s good to be back to work. I thought the time off gave them a chance to get refreshed. I thought they moved around well today.”
Q: Was this practice more focused on yourselves, or was this an extra game practice?
Coach Allen: No, this was more getting ready for Pittsburgh. It was kind of an introductory to Pittsburgh and getting ready for those guys. Our players will be off again tomorrow, just like a normal week, and we’ll get into a normal game-week schedule on Wednesday.
Q: Do you think that the experience that some of your backup offensive linesman gained against the Chiefs may help you if you get back in that unfortunate position where you have a lot of injuries?
Coach Allen: Yeah, I mean there’s no replacement for experience. Unfortunately at times guys have got to get their experience in a tough situation — in a game environment, but that’s the way you get better as a football team. You look at the best football teams in the National Football League, and they’ve got depth. They’ve got guys that can go in when called upon, and they can go in and play well. The fact that we’ve had a lot of guys get some experience and get some play time will help us down the road.
Q: Does it matter to you at all or to anybody in that locker room that this team has not won a post-bye game since 2002?
Coach Allen: I think we’re all aware of that, but like I told the players today, the past has no relevance to the future. Any of the outcomes that have happened after a bye in the past won’t dictate how we go out and play against Pittsburgh. What’s going to dictate how we go out and play against Pittsburgh is how well we prepare during the week, and then how well do we go out and execute that plan on Sunday. I think we had a good plan in the bye. I think we got some guys freshened up a little bit. Now the key is we’ve got to focus in on the preparation. We’ve got to do the things that are necessary to go out and play well on Sunday.
Q: Do you expect the baseball dirt infield to be gone now?
Coach Allen: I would hope so, yeah.
PRYOR TRAINED ON SUNDAY WITH QB GURU; STEELERS HIS FAVORITE TEAM AS KID – ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez reports that Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor did worked with quarterback guru Tom House on Sunday. “We went to a local field and got in some good work,” Pryor said after a light practice Monday as the team began preparations for Pryor’s favorite team growing up, his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers.
“House, a former big league pitcher who is now a pitching coach at USC, has worked with quarterbacks from Drew Brees to Tom Brady to Carson Palmer to Tim Tebow on throwing mechanics.” – Paul Gutierrez, ESPN
RAIDERS BACK AT PRACTICE; STILL NOT HEALED — Steve Corkran is the first to report on the Raiders being back on the practice field today after four days off.
“Well, most of the Raiders, are on the field, anyway. As has been the case all season, the Raiders aren’t anywhere near full strength in terms of their offensive line.” — Steve Corkran, Bay Area News Group
RAIDERS STILL BANGED UP ON OFFENSIVE LINE – Josh Dubow of the Associated Press writes that the Raiders are facing the same player-health problems they had going into the bye week coming out on the Offensive Line…
“The Oakland Raiders returned from their bye week facing many of the same questions on the offensive line that they had when they left town last week. The Raiders began practice Monday with the same makeshift line that struggled mightily in their last game eight days ago in Kansas City with many of their starters still dealing with injuries.” – Josh Dubow, Associated Press
WISNIEWSKI VISIBLE DURING PRACTICE, BUT NO OTHER OFFENSIVE LINEMEN NOTICED – ESPN reporter Paul Gutierrez follows suit with the other reporters that cover the Raiders to report on the first practice back after the bye week.
Center/left guard Andre Gurode (knee), right tackle Tony Pashos (groin/hip) and left tackle Menelik Watson (calf) were nowhere to be seen during the open media window of practice. Nor was left tackle Jared Veldheer, who is on the reserve/injured — designated to return list after undergoing surgery on his left triceps in camp. The Raiders did, though, re-sign guard Jason Foster to the practice squad. – Paul Gutierrez, ESPN
WHAT’S EATING SEABASS? WHO CARES, HE MAKES TOO MUCH MONEY TO MISS FOUR FIELD GOALS IN SIX GAMES – ESPN reporter Paul Gutierrez reports on how thus far this season, the Raiders Kicker, Sebastian Janikowski, is 7-for-11 (a career-worst 63.6 percent) overall, 1-3 from 50 or more. …this much is true: the 35-year-old Janikowski, who was signed to a four-year contract extension in training camp that will pay him upwards of $19 million through 2017, has already missed more field-goal attempts in six games this season — four — than he did all of last year – three.
CHECKING ON RAIDERS DRAFT CLASS – Scott Bair of CSN Bay area checks in on the Raiders 2013 draft class. While he includes Menelik Watson and Tyler Wilson, he doesn’t note the trade for Matt Flynn. I would like to know how this compares to other teams draft classes for final grading of the job McKenzie has done.
RAIDERS PUNTER, KING, WORKING ON HIS ACCURACY – Bair of CSN also reports on how Raiders punter Marquette King is doing now that he is no longer in competition for the starting punter job.
“Marquette King has broken punts down into two basic categories: Tiger and Ruth. Raiders special teams coach Bobby April created the terminology, which tells King exactly what to do. Sometimes King needs to act like Tiger Woods, deliver an accurate shot that drops drops inside the 20. Other times he needs to be like Babe Ruth and hit a towering home run.” – Scott Bair, CSN Bay Area
POLL RANKS RAIDERS AS 16TH MOST POPULAR NFL TEAM IN AMERICA – Chase Ruttig files a report on the ‘fansided’ section of SI.com; reporting on a recent Harris poll that has the Oakland Raiders ranked tied for 16th most popular among NFL teams.
ProFootballTalk reported that according to SportsBusiness Daily, a recent Harris Poll shows that the Dallas Cowboys remain the most popular team among American football fans. The Harris Poll also had the Raiders ranked 16th, a steady climb from 25th the last time the poll was conducted. – Chase Ruttig, SI.com FANSIDED
THE STORY BEHIND GORILLA RILLA – Gorilla Rilla was born on Halloween, so he was always looking to get dressed up in costumes. Then one day he saw a gorilla suit at a yard sale and the rest is history.