AFC West: Ron Bartell

The Oakland Raiders made most of the headlines in the division last week while I was on vacation. The Raiders made several signings, and like earlier moves, these moves are inexpensive additions in an attempt to fill the roster.

Let’s review some of the moves.

One of the moves, of course, that stood out was the signing of former Dallas cornerback Mike Jenkins. Like former Denver cornerback Tracy Porter, who was previously signed, Jenkins is projected to start this season after signing a one-year deal.

Both players have had NFL success but both fell into backup roles. Still, I like the two signings for Oakland on a short-term basis. They have experience and they will compete. It’s a better pairing than the Ron Bartell-Shawntae Spencer pairing to start last year.

I do not think the Jenkins signing means Oakland will definitely bypass Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner at No. 3. These signing are show-me deals for the team. Oakland still has big long-term needs at cornerback.

The signing of former Cleveland safety Usama Young should help as well in the short term. In the grand scheme, Young is an average player, but he played for Oakland head coach Dennis Allen in New Orleans, and he has experience. It’s all about filling the roster with as many capable players as possible and Young is capable.

The re-signing of pass-rusher Andre Carter also makes sense. He gave the team some burst after signing during last season and he is a leader. He will have a limited role, but Oakland needs all the pass-rush help it can get.

I wasn’t overly impressed by the signing of backup running back Rashad Jennings. He is simply a backup. We all know Darren McFadden’s injury history. I doubt Jennings can be an effective starter.

Also, it was interesting that Oakland worked out former NFL starting quarterback Vince Young. Oakland is looking for a veteran backup quarterback, so perhaps Young could end up getting another chance there. I’m not one to think Young can be an effective player, but if Oakland is intrigued, perhaps it will give him a chance at some point.
As expected, Oakland running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson are both in walking boots because of high ankle sprains they suffered against Tampa Bay. Neither has been ruled out for Sunday’s game at Baltimore, but it looks very unlikely that they will be active.


Expect fullback Marcel Reece and third-string running back Taiwan Jones to carry the load against Baltimore on the ground. Reece has one carry this season and 48 in his career. Jones has one carry this season and had 16 last season.

The Baltimore defense can be run against, but it looks like the Raiders are going to have to rely on inexperienced rushers barring a dramatic recovery by McFadden or Goodson.

Oakland coach Dennis Allen told reporters that Michael Huff will start for Ronald Bartell against the Ravens. Bartell will be brought along slowly. He has been out with a shoulder injury since Week 1. Meanwhile, the San Francisco Chronicle believes Oakland defensive tackle Richard Seymour will not play Sunday.

In other AFC West news:

Denver receiver Eric Decker practiced fully Thursday after being limited by a thigh injury Wednesday. As expected, guard Chris Kuper (ankle) and cornerback Tracy Porter (illness) were held out of practice. Kuper is expected to miss 2-4 weeks, and I’d be surprised if Porter plays Sunday at Carolina.

San Diego Left tackle Jared Gaither (groin) and defensive end Corey Liuget (hamstring) did not practice Thursday. They were limited Wednesday. This is worth watching Friday. Also, linebacker Shaun Phillips had to leave practice early with a finger injury.

Kansas City defensive end Glenn Dorsey (calf) remains out of practice. Left tackle Branden Albert (back) is limited.

New Kansas City defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs will coach from sidelines, head coach Romeo Crennel said. It makes sense, because Gibbs has been on the sidelines all year as linebackers coach.

Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Todd Haley -- who was fired last year as the Chiefs’ head coach -- said he is not out for revenge when the Chiefs visit Pittsburgh on Monday night. OK, I believe him.

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