|Raiders receivers out to prove critics wrong in new season|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 04 September 2007 14:02|
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) -Mike Williams and Jerry Porter didn't even play in the season opener a year ago. Ronald Curry came in as a reserve and made one catch in the closing minutes of a blowout loss.|
Those three receivers get a fresh start on the Oakland Raiders this season. Curry finally has the starting job he long believed he had earned, while Porter and Williams are freed from coaches they clashed with a year ago.
Now they get the chance to prove their critics wrong.
``We can't be bothered by what you guys write about us or what people outside this room say about us,'' Porter said. ``We just have to go play ball.''
They get their first chance Sunday against Detroit in a meeting that will have even more meaning for Williams. The No. 10 overall pick in 2005, Williams did not fit into offensive coordinator Mike Martz's system last year and was used mostly on the scout team.
Considered a bust in Detroit, Williams was traded along with backup quarterback Josh McCown to Oakland during the NFL draft for a fourth-round pick.
``My goals remain the same which is to prove Matt Millen was correct when he picked me No. 10,'' Williams said of Detroit's team president. ``That's what I'll do. That would be the same goal if I was still in Detroit.''
Williams is looking forward to seeing many of his old teammates Sunday, especially fellow receiver Roy Williams who mentored the younger Williams during their time together in Detroit.
``I consider him like a brother,'' Mike Williams said. ``He's one of my good friends. He's one of the guys that kept me going when there was no light at the end of the tunnel and when there was light there was a train.''
In two seasons in Detroit, Mike Williams clashed with coaches, was late to meetings and did not meet weight targets set by the team. He had 29 catches for 350 yards and one touchdown as a rookie, before being relegated to scout team duty last year.
He had just eight catches for 99 yards and one touchdown in 2006, as his frustration level grew each week. Now he gets the chance to show that his old coaches were wrong.
``He wants to go out and make plays and prove himself after the tumultuous season he went through last year when he didn't get to play,'' McCown said. ``Anytime you don't get to play as a competitor you feel slighted. So I'm sure he's excited about the opportunity.''
Porter needed a new coach, not a new team to get his fresh start. He clashed with Art Shell from the start last season. He was inactive the first four games, suspended for insubordination the next two and had only one catch in the four games he played.
Porter hopes a change in coaches and a return to a West Coast style offense helps him return to the form that helped him lead the team in receptions in 2004 and '05 with 140 catches for 1,940 yards and 14 touchdowns.
``I've played in this offense before and know the possibilities,'' he said. ``The possibilities are limitless.''
Curry has started only nine games in his five-year career. He was one of Oakland's top young receivers in 2004 when he had 50 receptions for 679 yards and six touchdowns before tearing his Achilles' tendon in the final month.
Curry reinjured the tendon in the second game in 2005 and missed the rest of the year. He was brought along slowly last year, starting only one of the first 13 games. But he had 33 catches in the final four games, setting career highs with 62 catches for 727 yards.
That earned him a starting role alongside Porter in the season opener this season.
``I have always taken advantage of the opportunities,'' Curry said. ``I felt like I should have been playing more in the past. Now that I have the opportunity, I want to make the best of it.''
That's the feeling of Oakland's entire receiving corps, including Minnesota castoff Travis Taylor and rookie Johnnie Lee Higgins.
While none of the receivers have ever had a 1,000-yard receiving season, coach Lane Kiffin is pleased with his depth and versatility.
``It doesn't bother me that there isn't necessarily a standout guy that's above everybody else, because they have worked extremely well as a group,'' Kiffin said. ``They do complement each other well. You have five really different styles as you really break the guys down individually. They have a lot of things that can help us in certain ways.''
Notes: Signed TE Daniel Fells, LB Jon Alston, WRs Jonathan Orr and Chris McFoy, DLs Josh Shaw and Dave Tollefson and OL Mark Wilson to practice squad.
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