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Raiders OTA notebook: Debose out, Holliday in

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ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders acted fast after their first on-field injury hiccup of the offseason when rookie Andre Debose tore his Achilles tendon and was waived/injured Wednesday.

The team signed 5-foot-5, 166-pound Trindon Holliday, one of the fastest players in league history who was with the Denver Broncos in 2012 and 2013 when current Raiders coach Jack Del Rio was the defensive coordinator there.

At the 2010 Combine, Holliday’s announced time for 40 yards was 4.34 seconds. But his best time, as recorded by Combine officials on hand-held watches, was 4.21 seconds. He had another hand-held time of 4.25 seconds.

Ignoring the quibbling points, two things are obvious: The former LSU star is fast and small. The Houston Texans drafted him in the sixth round. Since then, he has played for the Broncos, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers and now the Raiders.

In a playoff game for the Broncos against the Baltimore Ravens, Holliday had a 90-yard punt return and a 104-yard kickoff return for a touchdown — making him the only player in NFL history to return a punt and kickoff for touchdowns in a postseason game.

Debose cleared waivers Thursday and was placed on injured reserve.

Debose had four kickoff returns for touchdowns in his first three seasons at Florida, and in 2014 he averaged 24.7 yards on 21 kickoff returns and 14 with one touchdown on 23 punt returns.

In OTA workouts, with return specialists wearing flags, Debose did enough to merit a serious look for the 53-man roster. Then he blew the Achilles.

–On Thursday, the Raiders signed wide receiver Kris Durham and undrafted linebacker Chase Williams.

In 27 games with the Seattle Seahawks (2011), Detroit Lions (2012-13) and Tennessee Titans (2014), Durham has caught 55 passes for 699 yards and three touchdowns. In 2013, he started 13 games for Detroit and caught 38 passes for 490 yards and two scores.

Williams played in 47 games at Virginia Tech, recording 101 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. All of the sacks and 72 of the tackles came in 2014.

–Special feeling: Del Rio is the 10th coach for whom kicker Sebastian Janikowski has played since being drafted in the first round in 2000. The others are Jon Gruden, Bill Callahan, Norv Turner, Art Shell, Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable, Hue Jackson, Dennis Allen and Tony Sparano.

Janikowski thinks Del Rio may be on to something.

“I think Jack was the right pick,” Janikowski said. “I see changes. The atmosphere, the way players are in meetings is totally different. He makes players relaxed, but he’s demanding. In some other years, I wouldn’t say players didn’t care, but it’s not like it is now. Jack’s laid back, but he expects the best from you.”

After a subpar 2013 season, Janikowski converted 19 of 22 field-goal attempts in 2014, with his only misses coming from 53, 51 and 39 yards. He elected to attend the offseason program after usually showing only for the mandatory camp in previous years.

“As you go on in your career, you need to work out more, not less,” Janikowski said. “We have lots of new players and a new staff and I need to get to know these people.”

One notable incident during a recent practice — Janikowski hammering a 57-yard field goal out of the hold of Marquette King. After playing with Shane Lechler as his holder for a decade, Janikowski and King struggled to get the right chemistry in 2013 and last season Matt Schaub took over as holder.

–Del Rio said he has made it a point to avoid bringing up the Raiders’ struggles over the last 12 years, considering it wasted energy as he builds toward the immediate future.

“I try not to refer to anything negative,” Del Rio said. “We’re going to correct things that aren’t right, but I want to paint the picture for how we want it to look and what we want it to be and how we’re going to get there. I don’t want to make contrasts. We’re going forward.”

–With outside linebacker Sio Moore recovering from hip surgery (expected back for training camp), former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith has made an impression, but so has Ray-Ray Armstrong.

Armstrong was cut from the Rams last season, in part because of his penchant for special-teams penalties, but the Raiders like what they have seen during the offseason.

“He’s really bought into the idea of maturing and being more disciplined in his play,” Del Rio said. “You want to bring some of the playmaking and some of the natural ability that we like. … We’re just making sure the maturity is there and the accountability is there. He’s made great strides in the offseason developing himself along those lines.”

–Middle linebacker Curtis Lofton, who returned to the practice field after missing time rehabbing an undisclosed injury, is all in with defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.

“We take the personality of our defensive coordinator,” Lofton said. “We’re going to be stingy. We’re going to dictate to offenses. It starts right now. We’re going to do it day by day and be consistent with it.”

Lofton also gives high marks to second-year linebacker Khalil Mack.

“Monster. He’s young. He’s got so much more,” Lofton said. “I’m really impressed with him. He comes every day to work. He studies and goes out there and executes. Some guys, they have a good year as rookies, and they are Mr. Joe Cool. That’s not him.”


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