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Hamstring keeps Raiders' Seymour out of practice

Hamstring keeps Raiders' Seymour out of practice

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Trying to stop Baltimore running back Ray Rice was already a monumental task facing the Oakland Raiders this week. Doing it without seven-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Richard Seymour will make the challenge even more daunting.

Seymour missed his second straight practice Thursday due to a lingering hamstring injury and is questionable to play in Baltimore on Sunday. The 12th-year veteran was already on a light practice schedule as a result of his troublesome knees.

Neither Seymour nor Raiders coach Dennis Allen sounded too optimistic about the prospects of the 33-year-old defender playing against the Ravens.

``I don't know, I'm not sure,'' Seymour said. ``Hammies are tough. I've had them throughout my career. The only thing you can do is work hard. When it's ready I'll be back.''

Allen has had a tendency to take an overly cautious approach at times with some of his injured players but the rookie head coach made it clear that's not the case with Seymour.

``He couldn't practice today if he had to,'' Allen said flatly. ``We'll see where he is tomorrow.''

If Seymour can't play, the Raiders would be forced to use a patchwork lineup that also has some health issues. Backup defensive tackle Desmond Bryant was pulled out of last week's loss to Tampa Bay with an irregular heartbeat, while defensive ends Matt Shaughnessy and Dave Tollefson are nursing sore shoulders.

The Raiders need all the healthy bodies they can find if they are to have any hope of slowing down Rice, a two-time Pro Bowl running back who is fifth in the AFC in rushing with 622 yards and six touchdowns.

It doesn't help that Oakland is coming off its worst showing of the season after allowing Tampa Bay rookie Doug Martin to rush for four touchdowns and a franchise record 251 yards.

Before that game the Raiders had done fairly well against the run. But the loss to the Bucs exposed several problems, most of them tackling.

Allen made that an emphasis in practice this week and put the players through a padded practice Wednesday in hopes of improving their tackling techniques after Martin gained 197 of his yards before getting hit.

``It's just focusing in,'' Seymour said.

Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said the majority of the Raiders breakdowns have come in basic technique and fundamentals. He noted that players were in position to stop Martin numerous times but failed to bring the rookie running back down.

``We have to tackle better,'' Tarver said. ``We had two games where we didn't. We have to know where our help is and tackle better.''

There will be even more pressure on the Raiders defense this week.

Running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson are both in walking boots, leaving seldom-used Taiwan Jones and fullback Marcel Reece to split the reps in practice with the first team offense.

Oakland is also trying to sort out who its right tackle will be. Khalif Barnes, who began the season as the starter, returned to practice this week after missing six games with a groin injury. He's been splitting time in practice with backup Willie Smith and rookie Tony Bergstrom.

``Obviously, I've got some kinks to get out,'' Barnes said. ``I've just been out there on the field trying to test the water. I don't know anything about playing.''

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Proposed NFL rule change would eliminate Ravens' intentional holding strategy

Proposed NFL rule change would eliminate Ravens' intentional holding strategy

BY TYLER BYRUM, @theTylerByrum

It made everyone do a double-take, then it made perfect sense to non-Cincinnati and non-Pittsburgh fans.

Back in Week 12 when the Baltimore Ravens held off the Cincinnati Bengals 19-14, it wasn't a single touchdown that made national headlines. Rather it was a game ending safety that cut a seven-point deficit to only five. 

On the final play, numerous Ravens players held the opposing Bengals, who were setting up to receive punt, with 11 seconds left on the clock. Punter Sam Koch, just sat back, draining the clock before finally running out the back of the end zone with the clock at zero. 

SEE LINK FOR FULL RULE EXPLANATION

Thursday it was proposed to the NFL's Competition Committee to make plays like this illegal. 

While it may be considered unfair to some, making this new rule would simply add to an already expanding rule book and only be used for a select handful of plays a year, maybe. 

Eliminating cleverness of coaches that are well versed in the NFL rule book, should not be the approach of the of rule adaptations. There is no impact on player safety nor does it make the game 'more watchable' (like the extra-point rule).

Not only that, but the new proposed rule just leaves another set of loopholes for coaches to take advantage of at the end of a game. What if team trying to score on the last play commits two offensive penalties just to get another shot at the endzone?

But before making a massive overhaul to fix all of the loopholes in the NFL rule book, can we establish what a catch is first?

MORE RAVENS: Tony Jefferson used Madden to make free agency decision

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Ravens mock draft roundup: Mike Williams continues to pop up

Ravens mock draft roundup: Mike Williams continues to pop up

Just over a month away from the NFL Draft, mock drafts across sport media sites are beginning to narrow in on players that fit specifically into blaring holes on a team's roster.

As the first wave of free agency has come through, a majority of the top names at each position has been snatched up. While the Baltimore Ravens can still sign a handful of free agents on the open market, getting backup or a young star in a key position can be a the primary goal. 

Here's a look at who some of the various analysts have the Ravens taking with their No. 16 pick in the first round. The general consensus is help in the defensive secondary and at the wide receiver position.

DE Taco Charlton, Michigan, Ben Standig, CSN-Mid Atlantic

Standing: At some point the Ravens must find an edge pass rushing replacement for Terrell Suggs. Charlton might be better stopping the run than rushing the passer right now and yet he had nine sacks in 10 regular season games.  

SEE STANDIG'S FULL 2017 MOCK DRAFT

SS Jabrill Peppers, Michigan, Rob Rang, CBS Sports

Rang: With starting safety Matt Elam a pending free agent and Eric Weddle poised to enter his 11th NFL season, the Ravens may very well be looking for help in the secondary in the 2017 draft. Peppers starred as a linebacker in 2016 but possesses the agility and speed to handle coverage.

WR Mike Williams, Clemson, Dane Brugler, CBS Sports

Brugler: The Ravens have plenty of speed at receiver, but only average size. Williams has only average speed, but his body control, catch radius and overall size are where he shines.

WR John Ross, Washington, Bucky Brooks, NFL.com

Brooks: An electric playmaker with speed to burn would be a welcome addition to an offense that wants to play long ball with Joe Flacco at quarterback.

DE Charles Harris, Missouri, Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com

Jeremiah: Harris is a very productive edge rusher who is plenty athletic enough to drop in coverage if needed.

WR Mike Williams, Clemson, Chris Burke, SI.com

Burke: Baltimore has two receivers, Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman, who can scorch defenses deep. They need a physical, intermediate threat. Check.

CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, Peter Schragers, FOX Sports

Schragers: I seem to be a lot higher on Humphrey than other mock draft pundits. Oh well. I’ll ride with the star of the Alabama defensive backfield from last season. The son of NFL running back Bobby Humphrey, he was a stud at the well-known Hoover High and a prime recruit of Nick Saban’s. An opportunistic player who started for two seasons in Tuscaloosa, Humphrey forced three fumbles and intercepted two passes in 2016. Baltimore already has added Brandon Carr and Tony Jefferson to its defensive backfield but might not be done.

RELATED: REDSKINS MOCK DRAFT ROUNDUP