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I still want to get him


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It has been only two games, but observers of the Raiders say S Michael Huff appears to be maturing as a playmaker in the secondary after a difficult and disappointing first three seasons.

Huff, the seventh overall pick in the 2006 draft, already has three interceptions, after making one in his first three seasons, and also has a fumble recovery, making him the league leader in takeaways through Week Two.

While the team isn't ready to make him their full-time starter at free safety yet, there will be pressure to start him over the current No. 1, Hiram Eugene, before long if he continues to perform well in his current role. After playing him out of position at strong safety early in his career and then moving him to the bench at midseason last season — one of the first major decisions Tom Cable made after being promoted to head coach — the Raiders might conclude that Huff is best in a rotational role. He's playing on passing downs primarily this season, although sources say Eugene has not performed at a level high enough to give him any more than a tenuous hold on a starting spot. Huff will get a start in Week Three as Eugene will be out nursing a calf injury.

Those who have watched him closely since he entered the league say Huff never publicly complained when the Raiders mishandled him and he would admit when his play was not meeting expectations as he took heat from the media and a large portion of fans. He's willing to face reality and has said all the right things during his current streak of success, not wanting to get caught up in the suddenly positive attention that is coming his way.

It has been a dramatic turnaround for Huff. Early in the summer sources told PFW Huff was no lock to make the team's 53-man roster and his future didn't look promising as he wasn't showing signs of breaking out in OTAs and minicamps. We're told one of the keys Huff has pointed to for his improvement is studying on tape every snap played last season by the league's top safeties, including Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu. That time in the film room is paying dividends for Huff thus far.

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