NAPA — Raiders head coach Dennis Allen has cornerback Carlos Rogers’ back. For now.
Rogers, who is 33 years old and has remained out of shape throughout OTAs and training camp, has at least one role, according to Allen.
Rogers has put up great numbers over the years: 17 interceptions in nine seasons, with six of the picks coming during his 2011 campaign with the 49ers.
But after being released by San Francisco early in the offseason — and signed by Oakland to a one-year $2.5 million — Rogers doesn’t appear like the player who helped San Francisco back to the postseason.
His gut is, well, noticeable — and has been for some time. During organized team activities in May, it was there. And Rogers had time to turn that tea kettle into tea, and hasn’t.
Photos by Godofredo Vasquez/SFBay
No worries though, for now, as Allen told media Thursday that Rogers has at least one important asset:
“I think having some veteran players like T. [Tarell] Brown, like Carlos Rogers and then adding to the mix some young players that have a chance to develop. TJ Carrie is another guy that’s done some good things, and really Keith McGill. … I’m excited about some veterans, but I’m excited about these young guys getting better.”
The statement from Allen was in response to being asked about having new starting corners during all three years as Raiders head coach.
Allen hasn’t touched on Rogers much at all since the former 49ers nickel back rode into town. In fact, he speaks more about the rest of the group far more than either Brown or Rogers.
Could this be a sign that Rogers’ retirement is coming sooner than he expected? Only time will answer that riddle. But there’s certainly reason to think so.
Rogers has been beat up on by nearly every Oakland receiver he’s faced thus far in training camp. And others, like Taiwan Jones and Chimdi Chekwa— both considered longshots to make it as NFL cornerbacks one year ago — have outperformed Rogers tenfold.
Jones has been exceptional in press coverage, and displays his quickness when juked, catching up to the receiver.
Chekwa, too, has let his skills be seen.
Rogers was one of the first Raiders players to head back to his Napa hotel room following Thursday’s practice, while other younger players put in extra work.
That might not mean much to those who focus on past statistics alone, but for a team looking to re-establish itself as a force in the NFL, it’s not good.
Thursday’s highlights and lowlights
Safety Charles Woodson picked off quarterback Matt Schaub twice, on back-to-back plays. One looked as though it was just an incredible play from a sure Hall of Famer. The other, not so much.
Rookie safety Jonathan Dowling also picked Schaub. Dowling has been in a good position to make plays on a number of occasions. If the rookie continues to grow as a player, he could be the successor to either safety Tyvon Branch or Woodson.
Chekwa’s camp to date has been solid, though wide receiver Rod Streater made a grab over him that would be worthy of any primetime reel. Streater has been nothing short of solid and has become an early favorite to win the No. 2 receiver role opposite James Jones.
Denarius Moore, though, has been anything but consistent. He’s dropped several balls in the first week and a half of camp. His lack of plays could soon open the door for another slot receiver candidate.
One player who could sneak his way into the role is Brice Butler. While he was only on the game day roster for five games in 2013, Butler has an intriguing blend of size and speed. Standing 6-foot-3 with sub-4.4 speed, he fits at least some requirements.
Butler made final cuts last season on a Raiders roster not quite as talented but with plenty of competition. Preseason games figure to be the determining factor for the receiver group after Jones and Streater.
The play of the day came from a no-name tight end who is doing all he can to make the team. Scott Simonson, who played for Assumption College before signing with Oakland, snared a long pass from quarterback Derek Carr.
But the run was what made it. Simonson broke soft right before running hard left and scoring a touchdown.
It’s probably fair to make the Assumption that Simonson’s play impressed the Raiders coaching staff.