Pryor just watching and learning

The Sports Xchange

--It doesn't sound as if coach Hue Jackson has any intention of giving Terrelle Pryor enough practice snaps to get him ready to play in a game, feeling that Carson Palmer in a sense is still making up for lost time after not playing until Oct. 23.

Pryor, however, can see where sitting and learning has been a benefit.

"It's a good thing, in a way, that I had to sit down and I was forced to do what I had to do," Pryor said. "I was thrown in and not knowing much and having all sorts of pressures on myself, to where I could sit back and let the picture paint itself and see what's going on.

"I could watch why coach is doing what he's doing and see Kyle (Boller) the way he watches film. Why does he watch like that? I could pick Jason Campbell's brain. Why does he watch film like that? Why did he change the protection? I could watch the picture he painted and learn from it."

Pryor signed with the Raiders after being selected in the supplemental draft and didn't get to the team until the last week of training camp. Then he served a five-game suspension mandated by the NFL for his transgressions at Ohio State that included selling memorabilia.

--Jackson said he was surprised to look up and see safety Tyvon Branch racing down the Raiders' sideline on a kickoff return.

Branch took the ball five yards deep in his own end zone and made it to the Detroit 35 to open the second half. Unfortunately for the Raiders, teammate Jerome Boyd was called for a helmet-to-helmet block and the play was called back.

But it still opened Jackson's eyes.

"He comes running down the sideline, I go, 'You've got to be kidding me,' this guy's electric returning the ball," Jackson said.

"It was fun, man, it was crazy, because I was just talking to Lito (Sheppard) about that," Branch said. "I miss returning. I actually got one in a game."

Branch returned kickoffs in college at UConn and had six returns for 89 yards as a Raiders rookie before shoulder surgery ended his season.

--It's too late to do make any radical changes at this point, but Oakland's defensive struggles will make Jackson think long and hard about changing the Raiders from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense next season.

Oakland has struggled against the run (giving up 5.1 yards per carry) and against the pass (27 touchdown passes). The pass rush has been good (39 sacks) but it's been a problem in virtually every other category.

"I'm not going to run from that question," Jackson said. "It's not what I was expecting. The players know that and the coaches know that. We've got two games to get it right and play as well as we can play."

Although the Raiders have played predominantly 4-3 since returning to Oakland in 1995, Jackson wouldn't rule out changing if he thought it was a better fit for personnel and would help the club win.

"I am not wedded to anything. I am wedded to what's going to help us win," Jackson said. "I'm not going to stand pat and be like we've been, whether it's offense, defense or special teams. I am going to always look to make this team and this organization better as long as I am here. Obviously, there are some areas we have to shore up."

Among Raiders players with considerable 3-4 experience are outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, who played the alignment in Cleveland, Richard Seymour, who was a 3-4 end in New England, and middle linebacker Rolando McClain, an inside linebacker and Butkus Award winner in college at Alabama.

--Having been off the couch since Oct. 23, quarterback Carson Palmer doesn't see much of a point in reliving his Raiders debut against the Chiefs in Oakland.

With Oakland trailing 21-0, Palmer emerged from the bench with little conditioning and a heavy dose of rust, having signed just a few days earlier, then watching as Kyle Boller took most of the first-team snaps.

Palmer finished 8-for-21 for 116 yards and three interceptions, including one which Brandon Flowers intercepted and ran 58 yards for a touchdown.

"I'm not taking much from that game," Palmer said. "They're a different team. We're a different offense now. Personnel-wise, I guess it helps a little bit, but they're playing a little bit differently now and we're playing a little bit differently. And it's in their environment."

--Jerome Boyd broke the news of his $20,000 fine from the NFL for his helmet-to-helmet block against the Lions on his Twitter account, and he apparently isn't of the opinion the block was illegal: "What's the point of even playing football to get fined $20,000 for a legal but hard hit!!!!! Might as well put flags instead of pads on us."

--Raiders players are pulling hard for Sebastian Janikowski to get into the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.

Janikowski led fan voting with 244,512 votes, with the fans accounting for one third of the selection process along with coaches and players. He is 24-for-27 in field-goal attempts this season. Of his three misses, two were blocked, one from 65 yards out, and his lone miss was from 56 yards away.

In Week 1, Janikowski set an NFL record with a 63-yard field goal.

Shane Lechler, Janikowski's holder, also leads voting among punters with 228,782 votes. He's been to the Pro Bowl six times and leads the NFL in gross punting with a 50.5 average.

20 -- The maximum number of points the Raiders can allow and reasonably expect to win. The Raiders have won 10 straight games giving up 20 points or fewer.

"I think playing zone, whether it's Cover 2 or Cover 3, should be pretty simple. Playing man is when it gets tough, because there's the possibility of someone getting beat pretty quickly." -- Raiders coach Hue Jackson expressing surprise at giving up a 98-yard drive to the Lions with some confusion in the Cover 2 scheme.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


Biggest Stories



Most Popular

2016 Super Bowl
Super Bowl