Raiders notes: Holding out Moore looks like right move

Published: Thursday, Sep. 13, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3C

ALAMEDA – Coach Dennis Allen said the Raiders made a big-picture decision in holding wide receiver Denarius Moore out of their season opener Monday, even though Moore, returning from a hamstring injury, probably could have played.

After working with Moore in practice Wednesday, quarterback Carson Palmer said he felt it was the right call.

"He looked like Denarius of old," Palmer said. "It was a very smart move by the staff and the training guys to hold him out and let him really get his lungs right and get his game tempo, game speed right. And he's back this week. You can tell."

Said Moore: "I'm ready to rock."

If indeed Moore does play Sunday against Miami, it will no doubt be a relief to the rest of the Raiders' receivers. The team had just four receivers active against the Chargers, so Rod Streater lined up on 70 of the offense's 74 snaps and Darrius Heyward-Bey on 68.

Now imagine all those plays on a hot and humid Miami afternoon. As it is, Palmer said it discouraged the Raiders from using packages that included three wide receivers and throwing downfield against a San Diego defense bent on taking away the deep ball.

"They were running deep routes and getting covered downfield because (the Chargers) were dropping the coverage, and a couple times they just didn't have it in them, just because numbers-wise they didn't get any breaks," Palmer said.

Palmer said the Chargers' strategy played a big part in running back Darren McFadden being targeted on 18 passes, 13 of which he caught. While the Raiders did script some pass plays for McFadden, Palmer often checked down to him because of deep coverage.

With deep threats Moore and Jacoby Ford both out, Palmer had just two completions of more than 20 yards – both in the fourth quarter – and averaged 9.3 yards per completion. Last year he averaged 13.8 yards, though a penchant for taking shots downfield also contributed to his 16 interceptions in 10 games.

"You can't let it frustrate you," Palmer said of the short throws. "Once you start getting frustrated, that's when you start forcing the ball into holes where they want you to throw it. If they're going to make us check it down and we have Darren to check it down to, we're going to do it."

Allen has said the Raiders need to be smart managing McFadden's workload, though McFadden said he didn't notice his 33 touches piling up Monday night.

"I just leave it to the coaches," McFadden said. "I'm going to go out there and run the ball or catch the ball, whatever they decide."

Ford update – Wide receiver Jacoby Ford had surgery on his left foot Tuesday in North Carolina, and Allen said the procedure "went well."

Allen also revealed that Ford had a Lisfranc injury, the same ailment that led McFadden to miss nine games last season. Ford apparently had the injury last season and aggravated it in the preseason.

"Very sympathetic about it," McFadden said. "It's a hard injury to come back from."

It's still undetermined how long Ford will be out, and Allen said the Raiders will make a decision soon on whether to place him on short-term injured reserve.

Bartell out – Cornerback Ron Bartell suffered a fractured shoulder blade in the season opener and likely will miss significant time.

Allen said he doesn't know whether Bartell will need surgery. ESPN, which first reported the injury, said that Bartell doesn't need surgery and could be back within six weeks.

Bartell's starting spot likely falls to Pat Lee, who stepped in for Bartell on Monday.

New faces – The Raiders signed three players to their practice squad, including long snapper Nick Guess, a first-year player out of Tennessee cut by the Chargers during training camp.

Allen said regular long snapper Jon Condo has started going through the league's concussion protocol, but the Raiders may not know until Saturday whether he'll be able to play against the Dolphins.

"We would anticipate if he isn't able to go that (Guess) would come in and take that role," Allen said.

The Raiders also signed cornerback Coye Francies (Cordova High School) and defensive lineman Brandon Bair to the practice squad and released wide receiver Brandon Carswell, defensive tackle Vaughan Meatoga and linebacker Nathan Stupar, their seventh-round draft pick.

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Read more articles by Matt Kawahara



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