NFL Wire News

Raiders Del Rio expects Bears to start Cutler


The Sports Xchange

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Despite original conjecture that Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler would miss the Raiders game with the Bears in favor of Jimmy Clausen or third-stringer David Fales, Oakland head coach Del Rio seems confident Cutler would be the starter.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a backup quarterback,” Del Rio said. “I’d be shocked if it is.”

Clausen was the starter for the Bears in a 26-0 loss to Seattle as the Bears punted on all 10 offensive possessions. The last time Fales took the field against Carr, the former San Jose State Spartan beat the latter’s Fresno State Bulldogs in overtime.

If either of those backups play, it would be big for the Raiders.

“I think there’s a big difference between Jay Cutler and the other guys,” Del Rio said. “That’s not to slight them, but he’s a more accomplished player. Jay is a good football player. He’s got tremendous arm talent. We want to make sure we’re prepared for him. I would expect him to go. If he doesn’t, we’ll be prepared for one of the backups.”

–Carr, who struggled as a rookie when faced with the blitz, thrived against extra pressure against the Browns. Carr was 13 of 18 for 276 yards and two touchdowns while properly taking advantage of mismatches and situations where receivers had room to run after the catch.

“There is so much before the ball is thrown that had to happen, and as soon as it’s snapped, they can change their look and it can be a totally new deal,” Carr said. “In a split second you have to know where to go with the ball. The offensive line has done a great job picking stuff up, and (quarterbacks coach) Todd Downing and (offensive coordinator) Bill Musgrave tell me where to go with the ball for certain looks. My job is the easy part.”

–After two weeks of preaching fundamental defense and avoiding breakdowns in attempting to explain the Raiders’ inexplicable inability to cover opposing tight ends, Del Rio made a joke about it entering Week 3.

“Somehow they are going right down the field without us being able to see them. We’re going to see if we can remove that cloaking device,” Del Rio said.

Given that tight ends have caught 20 passes for 297 yards and five touchdowns on the Raiders in three games, it’s as good a reason as any. Tyler Eifert had nine catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns in the opener, Crockett Gillmore five receptions for 88 yards and two scores in Week 2, and Gary Barnidge six receptions for 105 against Cleveland.

–Del Rio, who took it on the chin from his former boss Marvin Lewis in the loss to Cincinnati (Del Rio was linebackers coach under Lewis for the Ravens), the Raiders coach is hoping for better luck against Chicago’s John Fox.

Fox hired Del Rio as his defensive coordinator in Carolina before he got the Jacksonville head coaching job, then hired him as defensive coordinator in Denver after Dennis Allen left to coach the Raiders.

“You want to beat the guys you know real bad,” Del Rio said. “That’s just how it is. He wants to beat me real bad, I want to beat him real bad. I wish it could be him and I wrestling on the 50, but that’s not going to come down. I think Foxy might still take me. He’s a tough guy.”

Notes: Among those who did not practice Wednesday were running back Taiwan Jones (foot), defensive end Benson Mayowa (knee), cornerback Keith McGill (foot), defensive end Justin Tuck (knee), safety Charles Woodson (shoulder) and defensive back C. J. Wilson (calf). … Returning to full practice were defensive tackle Justin Ellis (ankle) and fullback Jamize Olawale. … Running back Marcel Reece needs 63 yards receiving to move past Charlie Garner as the third most prolific back in Raiders receiving yards.

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