AFC Notes: Raiders, Pryor, Jets, Texans, Jags

The Raiders brought in running backs Trent Richardson and Roy Helu Jr. to backup Latavius Murray, but Josh Dubow of the Associated Press says it’s been undrafted free agent Michael Dyer who’s been making the biggest case to be the No. 2 back. The Auburn/Louisville product gained 45 yards on 12 carries in last week’s preseason game.

“I feel like I got my confidence up because I was able to get into a rhythm and up to game speed,” Dyer said. “Going from the first game to second game you try to build confidence and get the offense down. By the third game you should be able to have control of the game and play hard and fast.”

Meanwhile, despite the fact that he’s a former first-round pick, Richardson is no guarantee to make the team.

“He’s got to earn it,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “He’s got to be good enough as a backup. We’ve got to see some of the explosiveness that he had when he was a young man playing for the Crimson Tide there. He’s got to have a role on special teams and he’s got to be able to help us win on Sundays. That’s the challenge for him right now.”

Let’s check out some more notes from the AFC…

  • Terrelle Pryor‘s quest to switch from quarterback to wideout hasn’t necessarily gone as planned, as the former Ohio State standout has remained sidelined with a sore hamstring. However, Browns coach Mike Pettine told Tony Grossi of that the injury doesn’t doom Pryor’s chance to make the team. “We know he’s a project. We understand that,” Pettine said. “We’re not expecting him to go out there and light it up and catch 10 balls for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Just continue to get better.”
  • Todd Bowles may have some tough decisions to make as he looks to trim his roster, but the Jets coach is confident in what he has. “I have a pretty good idea of what we have with the exception of about three or four guys,” Bowles told Brian Costello of the New York Post. “I have a good idea about everybody else. I understand what we can be, and I know what kind of work we have ahead of us, but I have a good idea of what we have.”
  • Bill O’Brien needs to cut the Texans roster from 90 players to 53 players in the next ten days, and the head coach is lamenting the inevitably tough decisions. “It’s a very difficult thing,” he told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “As a head coach, it’s one of the hardest parts of your job because you’ve got guys here that have really, really worked extremely hard…You want a competitive roster. You want to have tough decisions, but it’s still not an easy thing to do with guys you really care about, you really enjoy being around.”
  • Offensive lineman Derek Newton‘s five-year, $26M contract signed with the Texans this past offseason may prove to be a bargain, writes Wilson. “Well, we got him back here for a reason,” said offensive coordinator George Godsey. “He’s been playing some tackle for us. We’ve put him in there at guard with some of the things that we’ve had situationally. We put him over at left tackle and haven’t heard one gripe from him.”
  • The Jaguars may not have either Andre Branch or Sen’Derrick Marks for their preseason opener, report Mike DiRocco of and Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, respectively. Branch suffered a sprained MCL and will be out a “significant” amount of time, per Gus Bradley. The pass-rusher is entering his contract year and already saw a groin injury nullify much of his third campaign. The Jags’ sack leader with 8.5 last year, Marks is still recovering from the torn ACL he sustained in Week 17 of last season. Bradley described his top defensive tackle’s quest to suit up for Week 1 as an uphill battle.

Sam Robinson contributed to this report

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