Found August 01, 2013 on Fox Sports:
(Eds: With AP Photos.) By JOSH DUBOW AP Sports Writer The Oakland Raiders probably should wear name tags in the defensive huddle in training camp. With nine projected starters coming from outside the organization, getting on the same page is the top priority this summer. Coach Dennis Allen and coordinator Jason Tarver are placing a premium on communication to make sure that when the season starts everybody is lined up in the proper place and sticking to their roles to avoid the defensive breakdowns that too often doomed the Raiders a year ago. At the center of it all is middle linebacker Nick Roach. The Raiders signed Roach as a free agent from Chicago to replace disappointing former first-round pick Rolando McClain, whose deficiencies were often at the center of Oakland's defensive struggles. ''That dude is brilliant,'' safety Tyvon Branch said of the Raiders' new defensive signal caller. ''He picks up everything quick. There's no curveballs with that guy. He gets everything the first time around. He's a very intelligent player. He really takes command of the huddle. He gets guys lined up. ... It definitely helps when you have a guy like him out there orchestrating everything.'' It's not an easy job considering the varied backgrounds of this group of defenders. Some are coming from teams that played three-man fronts while others are more used to the four-man defensive lines the Raiders typically use. Some are from teams that played more passive zones while others are accustomed to defenses that blitz more often. So along with learning a new defense, the Raiders need to learn about their new teammates since Branch and defensive end Lamarr Houston are the only starters who played together last year. ''It's crazy. That's just the game now,'' said reserve defensive end Andre Carter, who is one of the few returning players on this defense. ''It will be about communication and jelling. I have this guy next to me. I have to understand how he works and how his mechanics are so I can help him and he can help me. You have to communicate and work off each other.'' Carter said getting to that point takes constant work from the meeting room to the practice field and even the lunch room, where a quick question about how a player approaches a certain situation can avoid a communication breakdown on the field. Allen said he's seen the results from the focus on communication through the first week of camp even if he knows there will always be some breakdowns no matter how familiar a team is. ''I think as these guys continue to get a feel for each other, continue to hang out here, continue to talk, continue to go in the meetings and understand exactly what we're trying to get done, I think the communication is going to continue to get better,'' he said. ''The positive thing is, they understand the importance of it, they want to be good, and they're working extremely hard to get that done.'' Of the 11 projected starters at this point, only Branch and Houston were with Oakland a year ago. None of the other nine has played an NFL game with each other. Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly and defensive back Michael Huff were cut in moves to create salary-cap space. McClain was let go after three ineffective seasons and clashes with the coaching staff. Defensive linemen Desmond Bryant and Matt Shaughnessy and linebacker Philip Wheeler got free-agent contracts with other teams, and the Raiders had no interest in bringing back defensive tackle Richard Seymour and safety Matt Giordano. Linebacker Miles Burris is recovering from offseason knee surgery and is unlikely to regain his starting job. In their place, the Raiders signed a pair of free agent defensive tackles in Pat Sims and Vance Walker; defensive end Jason Hunter; linebackers Roach, Kevin Burnett and Kaluka Maiava; cornerbacks Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins; and safeties Charles Woodson and Usama Young. Oakland used a first-round pick on cornerback D.J. Hayden and a third-rounder on linebacker Sio Moore. There was plenty of good reason for the overhaul after the Raiders allowed the most points per game (27.7) for the franchise since 1961, a franchise-worst 66 percent completion rate, and tied a franchise low with 25 sacks. The Raiders are optimistic those numbers will improve drastically this season. ''I think we're going to be a fast-flowing defense,'' Woodson said. ''I think that if you can have that on any team, a team that's willing to sell out every play and get to the ball, you're going to be in ballgames.'' NOTES: The Raiders signed DT Myles Wade, who has spent time previously with Seattle and Tampa Bay.

The Rise of David Ausberry

  Veteran tight end David Ausberry is showing that he is the favorite to win the starting job so far in training camp. While Ausberry has always been an explosive receiver, he still needs to prove he is a capable blocker. Last year’s tight end Brandon Myers had a breakout season in the passing game but he was also considered the worst run blocking tight end in the NFL. If Ausberry...

Tracy Porter putting jersey number snub behind him

Oakland Raiders cornerback Tracy Porter was none too pleased that the jersey number that was already his was snatched away and given to Charles Woodson. He cried foul on Twitter when it went down, but now he's softening his stance in a non-Twitter environment, writes Kevin Patra of "The jersey situation is what it is," Porter said, via ...

Raiders still injured, defense rules over offense and other training camp day 7 notes

Not only were the Raiders back in pads but today was also a “competition day”, per head coach Dennis Allen. The competition may have low stakes – which unit, offense or defense, gets to wear the silver colored jerseys instead of the hotter black ones – but it is a point of pride amongst the players and the team sessions were a lot more active today. Dennis Allen didn’t...

D.J. Hayden waiting on “doctors decision”

Those of you that have been covering my Raiders training camp notes (the Raiders are taking a day off of camp today) know that rookie CB D.J. Hayden has not yet been allowed to hit in practice. Hayden has been relegated to non-contact drills stemming from an injury he suffered when he played at the University of Houston that nearly took his life. According to Dennis Allen via SFGate...

Don't put Ausberry as the Raiders starting TE just yet

David Ausberry continued his solid off-season today, lining up with the first team tight ends and coming down with every pass I saw come his way, although they were only short passes in the team session. Ausberry was even recognized by Allen, specifically, as a player that has impressed him in mini-camp, saying, “David Ausberry is another guy I’ve been impressed with. He’s...

Oakland Raiders punter Chris Kluwe wears Google Glass for Training Camp

Oakland Raiders punter Chris Kluwe decided to wear Google Glass for Training Camp in order to give fans an inside look at what the players see. Then he passed off the Google Glass to kicker Sebastian Janikowski, to show fans what it looks like to kick a field goal. I hope more players do stuff like this during training camp, because as an NFL fan, it’s priceless to see the game...

Raiders' Wisniewski set at center despite talk

Stefen Wisniewski has every reason to believe he'll be the Raiders' starting center for a second straight season despite talk about a possible move to left guard. If his first two years in the NFL have taught the 2011 second-round pick anything, it's to be prepared for change - even if coach Dennis Allen insists there are no plans to move him. Wisniewski has already...

Sebastian Janikowski signs 4-year extension

The Oakland Raiders announced via Twitter Friday that they signed K Sebastian Janikowski through 2017. The terms of the deal haven’t been released. K Sebastian Janikowski has signed a four-year contract extension. – @RAIDERS August 2nd Need NFL Tickets? Loading... ZergNet The post Sebastian Janikowski signs 4-year extension appeared...

Matt Flynn Solidifying Role as Oakland's Starting QB

According to the Associated Press, Matt Flynn has solidified his role as starting quarterback so far in training camp.Fantasy Spin:Flynn signed with Seattle last year, where the starting job also was his to lose, and he lost it to Russell Wilson. However, rookie Tyler Wilson and Terrelle Pryor don't offer the same level of competition for Flynn in Oakland. However, he's a...

Fined if you do, fined if you don't?

Oakland Raiders fullback Marcel Reece has a theory about the NFL's new rule pertaining to illegal contact by an offensive player with the crown of the helmet. Pay the league or pay the price with your coaches. Any use of the top or crown of the helmet to intentionally initiate contact outside of the tackle box will now draw a 15-yard penalty. Like with defenders who illegally...

Raiders training camp notes day 7

The raiders had their seventh day of camp today and are back in pads. Here are some notes. My information comes from Raiders beat writers via Twitter and can be found on Twitter as @LeviDamien  @ChrisMcClain  @CorkOnTheNfl (Steve Corkran)  @VicTafur @AsherMatthews @ChrisHansenNFL. I will be compiling all of their information throughout training camp. For all Raiders updates...

Oakland Raiders Punter Wears Google Glass To Practice

Balls to the face! NFL good guy punter Chris Kluwe gives us the first hand experience to what it’s like to be practi… [[ Read More ]]
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.