Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

September 8, 2010
Raiders sign Alford, cut Pears, move Scott back to DE, name Groves starting WLB and assign kick-return duties to Figurs

The Raiders reinforced their defensive line Wednesday by signing former New York Giants DT Jay Alford.

But they may have also weakened their offensive line and tight end corps by released OT Erik Pears in the corresponding roster move.

Maybe. You see, the Raiders only have two tight ends on the 53-man roster - Zach Miller and Brandon Myers - and it was Pears who often lined up in "tackle-eligible" plays.

Coach Tom Cable said Khalif Barnes is now the back-up offensive tackle on both the left and right sides and specifically mentioned Koming Loper as being able to play that "power tight end" spot, ala Pears.

******************************************************************

So what does Alford, a third-round draft pick out of Penn State in 2007, offer the Raiders?

"He certainly showed today he has some quickness, some pass rush ability," Cable said of Alford. "It gives us some pass rush ability. It gives us another big body in there. A big guy that can be multiple and play both tackle and end."

Cable added that he thought the 6-foot-2, 280-pound Alford might be able to play in the opener at Tennessee, especially since he has previous experience with D-line coach Mike Waufle, who coached him with the Giants.

Alford, though, missed all of the 2009 season after blowing out a knee in the preseason. He insists he's healthy now, though, and sees himself thriving as a pass-rushing DT in Waufle's schemes.

"It's more attack and cause havoc in the backfield," Alford said. "That's my place, so I like it."

Not only did Alford serve as the Giants' long snapper as a rookie, he also had a key sack of Tom Brady late in Super Bowl XLII. And as Associated Press reporter Josh Dubow observed, the Raiders are ultra-deep at long snapper now, what with both a Pro Bowl long snapper in Jon Condo and a Super Bowl-winning ling snapper in Alford.

******************************************************************

Most Interesting News Item of the Day, Part 1 - Cable confirming that weak-side linebacker Trevor Scott would indeed move to right defensive end, supplanting Matt Shaughnessy, while new Raider Quinten Groves, seen as being on the bubble to make the team by many observers, will start at WLB.

"Originally, just getting the best 11 players on the field, that's really what it comes down to," Cable said when asked what went into the decision. "And not that Matt Shaughnessy's not, because he's a dynamite player, this just gives us more quality depth to have on the field at all times."

******************************************************************

Most Interesting News Item of the Day, Part 2 - Cable also said that Yamon Figurs would serve not only as the Raiders' kick-off returner, but also as their punt returner.

This after Figurs returned eight punts for 26 yards (3.3 yard-average), with a long of 16 yards. He also returned six kickoffs for 141 yards (23.5 yard-average), with a long of 34 yards in the preseason.

He also fumbled a kickoff against the 49ers and badly misplayed a punt against Seattle.

So what impressed the Raiders enough to hand him both jobs?

"Probably just the explosiveness," Cable said. "He touches it, and you got a chance for something big every time. That's a dimension, as we talked about at the end of last season, all through the spring, OTAs, through camp, was developing a return game. We have a number of good returners here. I just think right now, he's the guy we'll go with."

And what about his ball security issues?

"I just think the one, against Seattle, was more kind of misplaying the ball more than anything else," Cable said. "And I think some of that is first time, him being in our stadium and being able to handle it, didn't get the opportunity the week before against San Francisco. He was returning kickoffs. So, not too concerned about it. We kind of put him in that situation here this week and feel good about it."

Fans waiting on rookie Jacoby Ford, the fastest receiver at the Combine, will have to wait some more.

******************************************************************

For timelier updates, follow me on Twitter @PaulHGutierrez

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.



About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

FOLLOW US | Get more from sacbee.com | Follow us on Twitter | Become a fan on Facebook | Get news in your inbox | View our mobile versions | e-edition: Print edition online | What our bloggers are saying

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31