Raiders seek leadership, sacks from Lamarr Houston

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 05, 2013
Lamarr Houston's time in the shadows of the Oakland Raiders defensive line is over. After spending his first three seasons as the young guy on a veteran line dominated by Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly, Houston is being counted on to lead Oakland's front. He has moved from left defensive end to the right side, where he is being counted on as the primary pass rusher on a defense that has no proven player when it comes to getting to the quarterback. He has also stepped into the leadership void on a defense that will have nine new starters from last season. ''Fortunately I was here with Seymour and Tommy and they taught me a lot,'' Houston said. ''I've been learning and I'm still learning. But being one of the older guys on the line, I just feel it's my job to help the other guys to come along and get toward the vision we want as a team.'' The Raiders overhauled their defense after it struggled a year ago in the first season under defensive-minded head coach Dennis Allen and coordinator Jason Tarver. Seymour, Kelly, Rolando McClain and Michael Huff were all cut. Philip Wheeler, Matt Shaughnessy and Desmond Bryant were among those who left in free agency. In total, the players who won't be on the active roster for Sunday's opener against the Indianapolis Colts accounted for 79 percent of the defensive snaps a year ago. ''He's running that show there up front,'' Tarver said. ''We're excited about what he's doing. He's the one that's running that group and he does a good job with it.'' As much as the Raiders need leadership, they really need a pass rush from Houston. The entire defensive roster accounted for just 16 sacks in the NFL last year and lacks a proven pass rusher. Houston rushed the passer from the left side more than 90 percent of the time last season, according to game-tracking by the Website Pro Football Focus. ''He's demonstrated that he's got the best ability as a rusher,'' Allen said. ''He's a little bit more of a power rusher than he is a speed rusher. But I really think he's a guy that can help getting some pressure on the quarterback.'' He was rated the 15th best 4-3 defensive end at pressuring the passer with four sacks, 14 quarterback hits and 35 quarterback hurries. His production picked up as the season went along with 25 of his 53 pressures and three of his sacks coming in the final five games. He will be counted on to be the team's primary pass rusher to disrupt the opposing quarterback from the blind side. ''Everybody takes pride in getting the quarterback down,'' he said. ''That's one of Al Davis' most famous quotes. Take the quarterback down in the first couple of plays and take him down hard. As a D-lineman I pride myself on trying to get to the quarterback.'' Houston has been at his best early in his career as an edge-setting defensive end in the run game. He has just 10 career sacks and is more of a power rusher than a typical speed guy who beats tackles around the edge to get to the quarterback. After cutting veteran pass rusher Andre Carter to get down to the 53-man roster limit, the current Raiders defense has no proven pass rusher. The Raiders need an upgrade from the pass rush after having a franchise-low 25 sacks a year ago if this defense is going to be able to slow down opposing offenses. ''I want to be a complete player,'' Houston said. ''Some of the best guys who ever played on the D-line did a pretty good job of both stopping the run and sacking the quarterback. Guys like Deacon Jones, Reggie White, John Randle. I think it's important to be the total player.'' NOTES: LT Menelik Watson missed practice a day after tweaking his knee. If he can't play Sunday, the Raiders would only have two healthy tackles with Khalif Barnes forced to move to the left side and newly signed Tony Pashos stepping in on the right. Oakland could activate Matt McCants off the practice squad to get a backup tackle on the roster Sunday. ... K Sebastian Janikowski returned to practice on a limited basis after being sidelined by a sore right calf. ... LB Sio Moore was limited with a foot injury. --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The Worst - NFL Week 3: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham & of course the Browns
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Cubs sign Theo Epstein to five-year extension

Marlins players surrounded Jose Fernandez’s hearse during its procession

Jason Garrett: Dez Bryant has hairline fracture in knee

Newspaper runs insensitive headline following Mets win

Curt Schilling plans to run against Elizabeth Warren in 2018

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: Tebow homers on first pitch he sees in first game

Report: Garoppolo still dealing with shoulder pain, mobility

J.J. Watt placed on IR, reportedly expected to miss rest of 2016

Nationals GM: Strasburg ‘unlikely to pitch in NLDS’

Nebraska regent wants players kicked off team for kneeling during anthem

WATCH: Wayne Gretzky tells the hilarious story of his secret Hall of Fame visit

WNBA Semifinals preview: Will the rust show for Lynx, Sparks?

Breaking down baseball’s Cy Young ballot

TailGreater: 'Sterngating' with the Huskies

Can anyone challenge the Cavs in murky Eastern Conference?

2016 Ryder Cup preview: Five things to watch this weekend

Ryan Kesler disappointed with lack of excitement at World Cup

Lesser known MMA fighters who could be ready for the WWE

Box Score: 9/28 - Bosh, FIFA, Ali and Mangenius

Geno Smith deletes Instagram post possibly critical of Jets

Most glaring flaw for each MLB playoff contender

The Worst - NFL Week 3: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham & of course the Browns

FIFA 17 review: O jogo bonito

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WNBA Semifinals preview: Will the rust show for Lynx, Sparks?

Breaking down baseball’s Cy Young ballot

TailGreater: 'Sterngating' with the Huskies

Can anyone challenge the Cavs in murky Eastern Conference?

The Worst - NFL Week 3: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham & of course the Browns

FIFA 17 review: O jogo bonito

To save his legacy Chris Bosh must first protect his health

What the NBA (and world) looked like before Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan

A fond farewell to Vin Scully

So where will the ACC football championship be played?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker