AFC West: Pat Lee

Michael Huff likely to stay at CB

November, 10, 2012
It appears Michael Huff will stay at cornerback for the rest the season now that Oakland Raiders cut Pat Lee and put Shawntae Spencer on the injured reserve.

The Raiders started the season with Ronald Bartell and Spencer as the starting cornerbacks. However, Bartell was injured in the first game of the season and Spencer was hurt in the second game. Huff was moved from safety to cornerback out of necessity.

Bartell returned from injured reserve Saturday. It appears Bartell and Huff will be the starters for the rest of the season. I think Huff’s future position will be predicated on where the Raiders upgrade in the offseason.

The decision to cut Lee is a bit strange with Spencer going on the injured reserve. Lee has started seven straight games. He is not a great starter, but I have a hard time thinking he doesn’t belong on the Oakland roster for depth reasons.

Meanwhile, Oakland added running back Jeremy Stewart from the practice squad Saturday. He should be active Sunday at Baltimore because running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson are both out with high ankle sprains.

In other AFC West news:

As expected, Kansas City defensive end Glenn Dorsey is out for Monday night’s game at Pittsburgh. Tackle Branden Albert and (back) and center Ryan Lilja (neck) are questionable to play in the game.

Report: Raiders to cut Pat Lee

November, 10, 2012
Starters rarely get cut in the NFL during the season.

It appears is going to happen twice in five days in the AFC West. At the same position.

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting the Raiders will cut cornerback Pat Lee on Saturday. The move would be made to make room for Ron Bartell, who is about to be activated from the injured reserve.

Monday, Kansas City cut starting cornerback Stanford Routt. The Lee move, while surprising, it isn’t as stunning as the Routt cut. Routt was a big-money player.

Lee was a starter because of injuries. He was a decent starter for the Raiders. Lee was brought to Oakland from Green Bay by former Packers’ executive and first-year general manager Reggie McKenzie.

The Raiders are thin at cornerback. So the move to cut a player who started the past seven games is a bit strange. You’d think he’d be valuable as a reserve and as injury insurance. According to this report, it appears the Raiders think otherwise.

Report: Huff starts at cornerback

September, 23, 2012
During the week, Oakland coach Dennis Allen said Michael Huff could play some cornerback Sunday against Pittsburgh.

Apparently, Huff is going to play a lot of cornerback against the Steelers. The Contra Costa Times reported that Huff will start opposite Pat Lee on Sunday at cornerback. Matt Giordano wall take Huff’s spot at safety.

The Raiders are riddled by injury and overall depth problems at cornerback. Starters Ronald Bartell and Shawntae Spencer are out.

The Huff move makes sense. He played cornerback at Texas and he practiced there this week. It allows Joselio Hanson to stay at nickelback, where he is more comfortable. Giordano is experienced at safety, so this decision strengthens the Raiders’ secondary in an emergency situation.

AFC West notes

September, 20, 2012
Kansas City coach Romeo Crennel said Thursday that tight end Kevin Boss (concussion) and receiver Devon Wylie (hamstring) will be doubtful to play Sunday at New Orleans.

Oakland coach Dennis Allen told reporters why he thinks Michael Huff could be a good cornerback. He practiced there some Wednesday with the Raiders’ cornerbacks depleted. Inside the Bay Area reports Joselio Hanson and Pat Lee are Oakland’s starting cornerbacks going into the Pittsburgh game, but Huff could be in the mix.

Injured San Diego left tackle Jared Gaither will not play Sunday against Atlanta, but he is slowly coming back from a back injury that has kept him out since the beginning of training camp. Undrafted rookie Mike Harris has ably replaced Gaither, but Harris will have a tough test against Atlanta's John Abraham on Sunday.

Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer expressed his thoughts on the replacement officials.

Raiders are strapped at CB

September, 17, 2012
The previous Oakland Raiders’ regime reportedly had planned to move Michael Huff from safety to cornerback.

The new Oakland regime may be forced to make the move.

One of Oakland’s thinnest position got even thinner Sunday when starter Shawntae Spencer suffered a foot injury. Monday, Oakland coach Dennis Allen said it is significant.

In the opener, fellow starter Ronald Bartell went on the injured reserve with a broken shoulder blade. He can come back in about six weeks. Pat Lee is starting for Bartell. Joselio Hanson, the team’s nickel corner, could move up to start for Spencer.

Yet, I think the Raiders should consider moving Huff to cornerback. He was a cornerback at Texas. The Raiders have more dopth at safety than cornerback. I think a combination of Huff and Lee and Hanson as the top three cornerbacks is better than anything else the Raiders can do right now.

Either way, Oakland, which is 0-2 for the first time in five years, is in a challenging spot. The Raiders face Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan in their next three games.

There is very little available talent on the street, Chris Carr could be considered, but he wouldn’t make a huge impact.

It will likely sting the Raiders to see 2011 third-round pick DeMarcus Van Dyke wearing a Pittsburgh uniform in Oakland on Sunday. The Steelers signed him after the Raiders gave up on him early this month. Van Dyke is far from a finished product, but you’d think the Raiders would like to have him right now.

In addition to Spencer, Allen said right tackle Khalif Barnes suffered a significant groin injury. Willie Smith, claimed off waivers earlier this month, will start at right tackle.
In addition to a potential season-ending injury suffered by receiver Jacoby Ford, the Raiders are dealing with playing without starting cornerback Ronald Bartell.

Bartell has a broken left shoulder blade. Because no surgery is needed, his recovery time could be less than six weeks. There is hope he could be back in four weeks. Bartell is meeting with a specialist to get more information.

Bartell was injured in the first half Monday. Pat Lee took Bartell’s place and he is line to start.

The Raiders had high hopes for Bartell when they signed him to a one-year contract this offseason. He had success in his career with the Rams, but he missed last season with a neck injury. This injury further hurts one of Oakland’s thinnest areas for the time being.

In other AFC West news:

The Chargers added offensive line depth by signing veteran Reggie Wells. He adds depth at guard and tackle. Wells is a solid player and a good addition for the Chargers.
Reggie McKenzie has more draft picks that he expected.

The NFL awarded the Oakland Raiders three compensatory picks in next month's draft as a result of several free-agent losses in 2011.

A pleased McKenzie conducted a conference call with media members on Monday evening. He called his team’s comp-pick cache “better than what was expected.”

McKenzie said he thinks it is possible to get potential future starters through the fifth round and he is focused on making the most of this class even though the Raiders don’t have any premium picks.

Meanwhile, McKenzie said he wished he had more “NFL money, more NFL cap.” But the Raiders are pretty tight against the salary cap. McKenzie said the “bulk” of the team's contract restructuring for the year has been done. He did say he wanted to add more depth throughout the roster. Most of that will likely be done in the draft, college free agency and on the waiver wire once the preseason starts.

Oakland remains interested in Cincinnati Bengals defensive end/linebacker Manny Lawson. However, the Raiders’ financial issues may make it difficult for it to sign Lawson, although they do remain in that hunt. McKenzie said the team still hopes to finalize a deal for Green Bay backup cornerback Pat Lee. He would play on special teams and be a depth player in Oakland.

Outside linebacker is the team’s most glaring need at this point. McKenzie said there are some good outside linebackers available, but it is not a particularly deep draft at the position. Still, he did say he thinks, there are good players who will be available in the middle to late rounds.

That’s why he was so pleased to get the extra draft ammunition Monday.