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Jon Gruden targeted Paul Guenther as his defensive coordinator in his return to Oakland even before he got the Raiders job Womens Victor Rask Jersey , believing his aggressive defensive scheme was just what the team needed to reverse years of bad play.

 

Guenther's task has been even harder than originally thought because he is still waiting to get Oakland's best defensive player in camp.

Star edge rusher Khalil Mack skipped the entire offseason program and now extended his holdout into training camp as he seeks a long-term contract commensurate with the skills of one of the NFL's top defensive players.

"I really can't worry about that right now," Guenther said Sunday after Oakland's first padded practice. "I'm just trying to coach the guys who are out here. Obviously when he gets here, if he gets here, he'll be an exciting piece to add."

There is no indication of when that time will come as Mack's camp and Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie have been quiet about negotiations. Mack is entering the final season of his rookie contract that is set to pay him $13.8 million and Oakland would have the option of using the franchise tag next offseason if no long-term deal is reached.

Mack is one of several prominent holdouts this summer, joining players like Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Seattle safety Earl Thomas. Pittsburgh running back Le'Veon Bell is also staying away from training camp but is not a holdout since he has not signed his franchise tender.

"He's working," fellow edge rusher Bruce Irvin said. "I talk to him every day. He misses it. You just know how it is. He's working his butt off and when he gets in here he'll be ready."

Mack has been one of the top defensive players in football since being drafted in the first round in 2014. He was a first-team All-Pro at both defensive end and linebacker in 2015 and won AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2016. He has 40 1/2 sacks in four seasons and leads the NFL in QB pressures with 185 1/2 since entering the league, according to SportRadar.

Free-agent acquisition Tank Carradine has taken over Mack's role at defensive end on the base defense but is not an accomplished pass rusher. The Raiders hoped to upgrade that rush by drafting defensive end Arden Key and tackles Maurice Hurst and P.J. Hall.

Key and Hurst have shown good bursts early in training camp as the Raiders prepare without Mack.

"We can't worry about who isn't here because when Khalil gets tired, when he goes out of the game, the guys who are here have to go into the game and play while he is tired," Irvin said. "He rarely gets tired Clayton Fejedelem Jersey , but when he does those guys have to be ready. We're focused on getting these young guys ready and that stuff will take care of itself."

Irvin is also taking on a bigger role in the pass rush after spending his first two seasons in Oakland as an outside linebacker who also rushed the passer.

Irvin dropped into coverage on almost one-third of pass plays last season, according to SportRadar. But Guenther plans to use him almost exclusively as a defensive end in his defense.

"I just think his best gift is going forward," Guenther said. "That's what he should be doing each and every down. Instead of playing linebacker and dropping into coverage, we have to utilize his and everybody else's talents the best we can."

NOTES: CB Gareon Conley has missed the past two days with a hip strain sustained on the first day of practice. ... RB Jalen Richard left practice with an undisclosed injury.

For those who think game plans and play calls are complex, it would be helpful to take a behind-the-scenes look at the medical setups that go into an NFL game.

 

Talk about multi-faceted.

The league provided such an opportunity at US Bank Stadium this week, and it was enlightening.

From the spotters’ booth upstairs to the exam rooms, locker rooms and ETM facilities in the bowels of the building to the blue tent on the sideline, dozens of people are involved in health and safety protocols.

They range from neurotrauma physicians and athletic trainers to data technicians to ambulance drivers and emergency personnel, with perhaps 30 medical folks on the sideline.

Even the game referee is a part of the procedures.

The league has been criticized for years that it rarely has had player safety and health as a focal point, and it’s placed a high priority on upgrading every such area.

Game day includes a pregame meeting, new this season Torey Krug Jersey , held 60 minutes before kickoff that involves everybody on the health side of football.

”It’s a big group,” said Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer.

That group goes over the Emergency Action Plan, an exhaustive outline that describes who does what in virtually every case of injury or emergency. It’s so detailed that it includes arm or hand signals to help all involved determine what action is needed.

”The collaborative effort between teams is where it should be … seamless and flawless,” said Vikings head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman.

The emphasis, of course, is on immediate treatment whenever an injury occurs. The hour-long meeting’s value became apparent when Bears tight end Zach Miller dislocated his left knee and tore an artery that supplies blood to the lower leg in a game at New Orleans. Miller could have lost the leg had it not been for the quick action by the well-schooled medical staffs.

”These are the kind of situations we’re practicing for,” Sills said. ”They’re incredibly rare, but we want to be prepared for it.”

They need to be prepared for injuries large and small, ranging from situations when a visit to the blue tent is enough – a retaped ankle, perhaps – to sending a player inside to an examination room Cheap Customized Baltimore Ravens Jerseys , or even to the hospital for particularly major issues.

U.S. Bank Stadium has a specific ”quiet room” for examining concussions – all stadiums must have an area for such exams. Naturally, with revelations in recent years about the dangers of concussions in football, more attention is paid to head trauma than ever.

In that ”quiet room” are the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant and a team physician or member of the team medical staff. They compare the player’s baseline test to his current status. Sugarman said he has never seen a disagreement between them about a player’s condition after the 10-12 minute exam.

”Sometimes, after two minutes you know they’ll fail the test,” Sugarman said.

No one from a team – coaches, executives, owners – is allowed into any of the exam areas, not even the blue tent just a few yards away on the sideline.

”I don’t have owners telling me to get him ready … sooner,” Sugarman added.

The roles of the concussion spotters have increased in importance and attention after a handful of players, most notably Houston quarterback Tom Savage, clearly were hurt but didn’t get the immediate care required. There will be four UNCs – unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants – at this Super Bowl. Typically Kyle Lauletta Color Rush Jersey , each sideline is staffed by one. After the protocol changed in December following the Savage case, an additional one was added for the playoffs, as well as a centralized UNC based at the league. That central UNC will be in the spotter booth for the Super Bowl.

The jobs are usually filled in each city by certified athletic trainers charged with noticing player head injuries from their upstairs booth. The spotters are paired with video technicians who watch the broadcast feed and tag plays that result in injuries – although they’re not always easy to spot.

A spotter can communicate with sideline medical personnel in a variety of ways. If there’s a reason to stop the game to get an injured player off the field, he has that power, often shouting into his device: ”Medical Timeout.”

The referee will stop the game when so instructed; Sills estimated it occurred eight to 10 times this season.

A sideline monitor then can show video of the play to team or unaffiliated medical personnel. A decision can be made more quickly and accurately about the next steps, if any are needed, and the medical staff has a better idea of what happened than how the player might describe it.

Sugarman is more than grateful for the assistance and the technology that makes it possible.

”People like me might have looked at it with a crooked eye,” he said with a smile. ”Big Brother looking over your shoulder. But it’s been invaluable. You can’t see everything. It’s very protective to know they’re looking out for you.”

Last summer for the first time the league brought together all sorts of medical staffers from each team, plus unaffiliated consultants and spotters for a training session dedicated to head trauma and concussions. Those sessions will continue.

Sills bristles when he hears that the NFL is not doing enough regarding head injuries. Standing in a specialized X-ray room underneath the Super Bowl stadium, he vigorously defends the NFL concussion policy.

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Posted in DRIFTING on October 11 at 04:42 AM

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