During his college career at Oklahoma, Raiders outside linebacker Keenan Clayton received some valuable advice from his special teams coach.
“My special teams coach in college told me, ‘Special teams might pay the bills one day,'” Clayton said. “Every team I've been on, special teams has been as big a phase as the offense and defense as far as the coaches approaching the special teams. It was always a point made, play hard on teams. It just kind of carried over.”
The Raiders claimed Clayton off waivers from Philadelphia a week ago in large part because of his ability on special teams, a weakness for Oakland during the preseason.
Clayton said he has been working with the first-team punt return, kickoff return and kickoff coverage units, and the second-team punt coverage group as the Raiders prepare for Monday night's game against San Diego.
“I'm just waiting for them to let me know what's going to happen,” Clayton said. “If I'm going to play, then I'll try to make some plays and make some things happen.”
The Eagles drafted the 6-foot-1, 230-pound Clayton in the fourth round in 2010. He has appeared in 21 career games with one start and has 43 tackles -- 33 of those solo.
Clayton said speed is his No. 1 asset on special teams.
“And then I feel I have the ability to run and read the returns on the move, so that helps out a lot, too,” he said. “But speed probably plays the biggest factor.”
Clayton is more than just a special teams ace. On the depth chart, he's listed second string at weak-side linebacker behind rookie Miles Burris. Clayton has spent the past week taking a cram course on the Raiders' defense.
“It's kind of hard because they already went through OTAs and minicamps, so they've got everything down, just about,” Clayton said. “I've kind of learned it on the fly. The way I did it myself is I decided to learn the basics of the defense and then take a step from there. An hour or two every day after practice with (linebackers) coach (Johnny) Holland is starting to help out a lot.”
Follow Raiders reporter Eric Gilmore on Twitter: @CBSSportsNFLOAK.