The Oakland Raiders received a welcome addition to Wednesday's practice, with the return of linebacker Aaron Curry. The former fourth overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft was on the physically unable to perform list all season dealing with a knee injury.
“He looked good,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said. “He moved around well, so I think the key is to see how he responds tomorrow and we’ll continue to monitor him as we go through the week.”
Today was the first day Curry was able to be on the practice field because of the PUP decision. The Raiders traded a seventh round pick last season to the Seattle Seahawks to acquire Curry. The 6-2, 255 pound linebacker started nine games a year ago. The Raiders have not made a decision when he will return to the field, but getting back to practice is a giant first step.
“That’s not a decision we have to make right now so I think right now the biggest thing is to see where he’s at physically, how he responds to a couple of days of practice, how the knee responds to it and we’ll make that decision when we need to,” Allen said.
The timing for Curry's return is optimal for the Raiders. Last week, middle linebacker Rolando McClain, the team's eighth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, was taken off the field in their nickle package. McClain had struggled in coverage all season, especially against the Denver Broncos.
“We’ll see how the season plays out, but I would anticipate we’d stick to that nickel plan,” Allen said of taking McClain off the field. “He responded well. He actually played well. He had his most productive game on a per play basis in that football game.”
Curry will join McClain, rookie Miles Burris and Philip Wheeler in the linebacking corps. Wheeler has been the Raiders best defender this season. He has shown his ability to cover the entire field and his versatility to play in coverage and pressure the quarterback. Burris has also played well this season. As a rookie, he has shown a knack for being around the ball and is a sure tackler. Curry worked at all three linebacker spots in practice today. As the week progresses, it will become apparent where the Raiders want to use him.
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