NAPA -- The theory has been floated by defensive tackle Richard Seymour that the well-documented difficulty the Raiders had against the run in 2011 started when end Matt Shaughnessy was lost for the season in Week 3 with a shoulder injury.
Shaughnessy takes it as a compliment, even if he's having none of it.
"I'm not saying they did bad because of me, because the people that come in behind me, they should be just as good," Shaughnessy said.
The record will show, however, that they weren't.
Jarvis Moss, a converted outside linebacker, wasn't nearly as stout in terms of getting off blocks against the run and collapsing the pocket with pure power against the pass.
Shaughnessy, who had seven sacks to go along with his ability to hold the edge in 2010, appeared poised for a breakout season at the time of his shoulder injury, which occurred against the New York Jets while he was reaching for a fumble.
Seymour said during the team's mandatory minicamp the team missed Shaughnessy "tremendously." The Raiders had hoped in 2011 to upgrade their run defense -- which has been among the worst in the league in each of the last five seasons.
Whereas the Raiders moved up two spots to 27th in terms of rushing yards allowed per game, opponents' average yards per carry of 5.1 was 32nd (last) in the league.
"I think he's the best (end) in the NFL against the run," Seymour said. "It was a big blow for us when he went down. It messed up our rotation a lot. Guys that weren't normally in there were trying to understand what we were trying to do. To get him back healthy this year is a big plus for us."
Shaughnessy, a third-round pick out of Wisconsin in 2009, didn't spend a lot of time feeling sorry for himself and instead immediately threw himself into rehabilitation after surgery.
He has a sense of perspective molded from experience -- Shaughnessy had a torn ACL and a broken leg in college -- as well as personal tragedy.
While at Wisconsin, Shaughnessy lost his older brother Jamie -- four years his senior -- to blood clots resulting from intestinal disease.
"You can't sit there and say 'Why me?' because a lot worse things happen to a lot more people," Shaughnessy said of his shoulder injury. "There are hurdles in life to see how bad you really want something. It's a chance for me to battle back and be better than I was before. I mean, hurting my shoulder in the grand scheme of things isn't that bad."
Raiders coach Dennis Allen sees Shaughnessy as a key component in upgrading Oakland's run defense.
"I think especially the way we're going to play our ends, it's important to have a guy that's got a little bit of size that can really set the edge for us," Allen said. "Matt's a big, tough, physical guy, and he enjoys playing the game that way. I'm looking forward to him producing and staying healthy for us."
Cornerback Ron Bartell, who reported with a hamstring strain, was activated from the non-football-injury list but cannot participate in a padded practice until Wednesday. Tight end Richard Gordon returned from a hip flexor injury and lower leg infection.