Linebacker Perry Riley Jr.
Don't count David Amerson among the group of people that was surprised Perry Riley Jr. put together an impressive debut for the Oakland Raiders just days after signing with the team.
Amerson and the veteran linebacker played together in Washington for two seasons before Amerson headed west to join the Silver and Black, but during their time together, Riley certainly made an impression on the athletic cornerback.
"I played with Perry, so I knew what kind of player he is, strong, athletic, physical, smart; he has everything you look for in a linebacker," said Amerson. "Like I said, he's a good player, man, and it's not surprising at all for me."
Not only are Amerson and Riley both former Redskins, their journeys to Oakland are remarkably similar. Both were let go by their previous team, and then subsequently inserted into the Raiders lineup in short order, putting together quality performances very early in their careers in Silver and Black.
"I was telling people before the game, 'watch, he's going to go out on Sunday and have a good game,'" Amerson said. "That's the type of player he is."
In total, Riley finished his Raiders debut with a team-leading seven tackles, and a forced fumble, and as impressive as his statistics were, the veteran linebacker's intangibles are what have really impressed defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.
"Just his work ethic, his passion for the game, his hunger for knowledge in coming here," Norton said when asked about Riley. "You can tell that his years of experience have really helped him with the ability to come out here and play right away. You can tell he's paying attention. He wasn't at home watching soap operas. He was in his books, he was watching football. He stayed sharp, so by the time it was time for him to have an opportunity, he was ready and it showed in his play and it shows. He's a true veteran."
That experience and willingness to learn, right off the bat, was also apparent to Head Coach Jack Del Rio in his early dealings with Riley.
"It speaks to his professionalism, really attacking the preparation, trying to learn the language," Head Coach Del Rio said. "That's the biggest thing. Basically anything you're doing, he's probably done in his career over six years. We found some of the common ground and tried to put it in our terms so he could learn it as quick as possible. He worked hard at it. He played well. Did a nice job for us. Really stepping in and playing well on short notice like that, it was big for us."
While it remains to be seen how much No. 54 will play in Sunday's contest with the Kansas City Chiefs, one thing is certain; Head Coach Del Rio will play whichever player is the best prepared to help the team win, regardless of the road they took to arrive in Northern California.
"We will play the best guys – whoever plays the best will play," said Del Rio. "I would just say I think in Perry's mind he came in here to help any way he could. That's what we want it to continue to be. Anyway he can help, that's what we want him to do. We always let guys sort through competition, through effort and through production, who the best combination will be."
G/T – Vadal Alexander – Ankle – Did not participate
S – Nate Allen – Quad – Limited
G/C – Jon Feliciano – Calf – Limited
RB – Taiwan Jones – Knee – Limited
T – Matt McCants – Knee – Limited
RB – Latavius Murray – Toe – Did not participate
LB – Malcolm Smith – Quad – Limited
TE – Clive Walford – Knee – Limited
T – Menelik Watson – Calf – Did not participate
-Running back Latavius Murray was once again unable to practice Thursday, so it looks like the tandem of Jalen Richard and DeAndré Washingon will likely be asked to handle a bulk of the rushing duties against the Kansas City Chiefs.
-Tackle Austin Howard was also a full participant in Thursday's session, which is good news, especially considering that rookie offensive lineman Vadal Alexander – who has been playing right tackle as of late – was physically unable to go.
-While defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. is still not eligible to come off the reserve/injured list for a few weeks, No. 97 was in a jersey once again Thursday afternoon, watching his teammates go through practice from the sideline.
David Amerson on playing so many close games early in the season:
"It's fun for the crowd and everything, and it's fun to watch on TV, but as a team, if we want to keep stacking wins, we have to take that next step and start dominating people."
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave discussing whether he prefers his wide receivers to drag or tap their toes along the sideline:
"We're a drag team, but sometime habits are hard to break. So he's [Amari Cooper] going to continue to work on it. I think 'Crab' [Michael Crabtree] alluded to it as well. You've done something your whole life. While that has merit too, our philosophy is drag. He's doing a terrific job of working on it, week in and week out. He did it last year too."
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