Raiders linebacker Cory James expecting better results
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Middle linebacker Cory James was so busy trying to stay on point with the rest of the Raiders defense last week that he wasn't able to fully enjoy his first NFL start.
Oakland's sixth-round pick expects to be a lot more comfortable his second time around when the Raiders play in Baltimore on Sunday.
''I'm glad coach (Jack) Del Rio believed in the rookie to get the start,'' James said Friday. ''I saw some good things, me making some good tackles. And a lot of mental errors I can correct. Now I know what it's like to play with the 1s for a full game so I'll have that experience.''
James had six tackles- all solo - in his debut against the Tennessee Titans after replacing Ben Heeney in Oakland's starting defense.
The decision to start James over Heeney - coupled with replacing safety Keith McGill with first-round draft pick Karl Joseph - came after the Raiders became the first team since 1967 to give up 500 yards or more in offense in each of the first two games.
Oakland showed some slight improvement against Tennessee in Week 3 but still allowed 393 yards to a team that has been sporadic at best so far.
Part of the problem for James was finding a comfort zone in the Raiders defense. Having spent training camp and the preseason working with the backups, the former Colorado State standout admittedly took some time to get settled in.
''It was just get in (and go),'' said James, who played all but three defensive snaps against Tennessee. ''Some of the mental errors that I did in the game I had never experienced in practice.''
While James made his share of mistakes against the Titans, the Raiders were mostly pleased with what they got from him.
''It really went the way we hoped,'' Del Rio said. ''Don't feel like the moment is too big for him. He settled in and competed. We'll clean a few things up with technique and making sure the eyes are exactly where they belong, all those kind of things. But he plays hard. He's got a little ruggedness to him.''
Joseph also impressed Oakland's coaching staff after spending the first two games playing strictly on special teams.
The 14th-overall pick in the draft, Joseph tallied a game-high 10 tackles and helped hold the Titans to 214 in the air, a marked improvement for the league's 32nd-ranked pass defense.
''It's exciting to finally see him on the field,'' defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said. ''It's been a long time since he's played, coming back from an injury. He shows you that he can play. It's a matter of him understanding, getting a lot of confidence in what he's doing, really learning this game. It's about experiences and right now he's at that age where a lot of experiences are going to come up for him and he has to understand what they are and make the best of them.''
Notes: Right tackle Menelik Watson (calf), left guard Austin Howard (ankle) and safety Nate Allen (ankle) did not practice and have been ruled out. ... Center Rodney Hudson (knee) and offensive lineman Matt McCants (knee) practiced without restriction after being limited earlier in the week. McCants has been splitting reps with rookie Vadal Alexander at right tackle this week while Watson is out. ... Backup running back Taiwan Jones (knee) was limited and is questionable.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL