Category Archives: Oakland Raiders

Cash Carr: Derek is worth the fat extension

Forget the yards per attempt. Forget the happy feet in the pocket and the leg injury. Derek Carr is worth every penny and he hasn’t won the Raiders a championship or NFL MVP, yet. Carr and the Raiders seemed poised for both until Trent Cole sacked the Raiders QB and ended hopes for either.

But this 5-year, $125 million extension isn’t about Carr’s past. It isn’t about Carr being the Raiders most stable quarterback since Rich Gannon or the most promising prospect since Kenny Stabler. It isn’t about Carr’s comeback wins or low interception rates. It isn’t even about the viable comparisons to Aaron Rodgers.

This extension is about Carr’s future as the unquestioned face of the Raiders franchise. I know he will share that title with Khalil Mack for most of their careers, but Carr plays the position that touches the ball the most. He will be a Raider until 2022 which means he will lead the team to their relocation to Las Vegas.

Carr is already renowned for his community work as well as sharing his beautiful family on social media. Just look at all the respect he got from opposing players and coaches. Todd Gurley and Kyle Long both congratulated him. This is because the California native is the face of the modern Raiders era. He understands what it takes to be an NFL quarterback because he watched his brother flame out but he also understands what it means to be a Raider on the field and the community.

For Raiders fans, we’ve witnessed Andrew Walters, Aaron Brooks, Dante Culpepper, Jamarcus Russell and so many other QBs who were not worthy of the Silver and Black. On countless Sundays, we watched the most important position let us down. For decades, we cringed as QBs couldn’t keep us in games or bring us back. Therefore, you can’t put a price on the intangibles that Derek Carr brings.

Many people have called this one of the best days in Raiders history. Many have broken down the contract and found that it is a fair deal for many. In fact, Carr might not even be the highest paid player for much longer if Kirk Cousins cashes out.

Either way, Carr is worth every penny. You can dive into the stats like everyone else. However, every Raiders fan can tell you he is worth it. You can’t put a price on feeling like your team has a chance against anyone. You can’t put a pricetag on knowing that your team is never really out of a game. This is the effect that Carr has on the Raiders and it is a wonder that he fell into the second-round.

Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie understands how lucky he was thatĀ  Carr turned out alright on and off the field. Like Raiders fans, he does not take that for granted. He locked up Carr and now it is time for the Raiders QB to deliver on his side of the bargain with an NFL MVP and Super Bowl.

Nonetheless, props to McKenzie and Carr for getting the deal done before we all sweated about it into the season. This is how contract negotiations should go on both sides. Teams should play their players and good players should want to stay with great franchises. Then again, we shouldn’t be surprised. Carr has been a textbook franchise quarterback since he landed in Oakland.

God Bless DC and the Raiders. Just Spend Baby!

 

Just Sin Baby!

The Oakland Raiders officially announced that they are relocating to Las Vegas. NFL Owners agreed on the proposal via a 31-1 vote. .

It’s stunning considering the Owners rarely agree on anything with that much conviction. The Miami Dolphins were the one team to vote no for whatever reason.

Clearly, the proposed $750 million in approved public funds had an influence on the decision. That is a lot of free money from a market, especially when you consider the East Bay was not putting any public funds out there. 

However, this is devastating for a community that embodies the Raiders’ mystique. The two are a perfect match due to the social and civil rights hisory of Oakland as well as the trailblazing, renegade culture of the Raiders. That community needs the team to give the hope. To inspire the community. To work with the kids and reach out to the Oakland community.

As for Vegas, some fans have reasons to be excited. Las Vegas is fun and new. More importantly, the Raiders are getting the shiny new stadium that they’ve wanted for decades. 

However, there are some major flaws in this whole ordeal. Does it really make sense that the Raiders would leave a top-5 market for a top-40 market? Not to mention, the Raiders need to take out lots of loans just to make this happen. 

Then you factor in Vegas’ legal prostitution and gambling. Is this really an environment for a winning football team? Does the NFL want their brand associated with a city based on the very things that they disapprove.

From a fans’ perspective, do you really want to tailgate in 100 degree weather? Would you rather be among drunken idiots at a football game when you can be around beautiful women at a party? Plus, are fans going to be priced out of the stadium by rich tourists?

Overall, this Vegas relocation creates a ton of questions… Like the financing. The Raiders are relying on loans from Bank of America and the NFL to make this happen. How can this team afford to pay more money in relocation fees and leave added money from the NFL? All because of their quest to leave Oakland?

I get that the Davis Family has wanted a stadium for decades. I get that he has that in Vegas, but should it be at the expense of Oakland? 

The fans have supported him through thick and thin. Why should the NFL ignore the wants of their fan base for the third time in 15 months. It is even more disgusting when you factor in all the investment money that is happening in the Bay.

Why can’t the Raiders get those funds? Guess, the City will have to settle for a baseball stand and some condos. Does gentrification win again?

Ultimately, the Raiders’ relocation to Oakland raises more questions than answers. One thing is for sure, the move to Vegas is happening. It’s about the one thing we know for sure. They still got to work out the details on a lease, but it is happening if we like it or not.

For now, it is a time for us to mourn. Oakland will always be the Mecca for Raider Nation, and it is sad that the team is leaving that. 

Regardless, Raiders fans will endure. We always endure. We’ll go to and celebrate Las Vegas. It won’t be the same, but we’ll make it happen.

It’s a risky move that could pay off or flop horribly. At the end of the day, what else do we expect from Vegas or the Raiders?  

Just Sin Baby!

Is Marquette King Good or Bad for the Oakland Raiders?

It all started with some harmless dancing after a Marquette King punt. Somehow, that turned into a few 15-yard penalties.

Head coach Jack Del Rio couldn’t even understand it. He said he went without a single unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The head coach said he had no problem with King expressing himself, but the punter needed to not cost the team on the field.

Then King’s expression took on new life at the Pro Bowl.

At first, it seemed harmless. A few viral videos of King making up with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelcy after the two had a public back and forth in the media.

Then there were some harmless videos of King playing horse with the likes of Odell Beckham Jr. King even posted a video of him kicking and catching his own punt. Dope, right?

Then there was this:

King posted a video of him mocking an incident where Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree got his chain snatched.

Teammate Bruce Irvin commented on the photo by saying King had no loyalty. The punter responded with a social media post that basically said everyone was overreacting.

Either way, are King’s visibility and brand an asset or detriment to the Raiders?

On one hand, King is only having fun and increasing the visibility of his team and personal brand.

During his time in Oakland, King has been one of the most approachable Raiders in the media, community and social media.

On the other hand, King is only a punter who sees the field a few times per game. Therefore, his antics could be seen as a distraction.

Not to mention, the off-field antics only brings attention to himself, not his team.

Tell me what you think via the poll above.

Oakland Raiders: The D is for DevelopmentĀ 

Say it with me, “Development.”
That’s the keyword headed into the Raiders offseason. 

Many of us wish Oakland was playing in the upcoming Super Bowl, but they are not. A lot of that blame falls on the Raiders depth. 

At the end of the season, they cycled through three quarterbacks. The left tackle and tight end positions saw multiple starters in 2016. The receiver and running back packages rotated at various times, due to minor inconsistencies and injuries.

On defense, the Raiders cycled through three starting middle linebackers, three starting strong safeties, two nickel backs and multiple defensive linemen.

This is not a bad thing. Good teams use a variety of players for any given situation. They also rely on depth when injuries happen.

Not to mention, Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio has preached competition at every level since he took over. He is also a proponent of the next man up theory, as are most coaches.  

Hence, many of us will spend time addressing position upgrades via the draft and free agency. There is nothing wrong with that, because it is better to have one dominate starter than a few solid role players at any position.

Still, the Raiders need development from their recent draft picks. Players like Justin Ellis, Menelik Watson, and Denico Autry need to make up for the steps back that they took in 2016. Meanwhile, younger players like Vanai Alexander, Karl Joseph, Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and Cory James need to keep building towards their potential. 

Even young stars like Derek Carr, Khalil Mack, Gabe Jackson and Amari Cooper have room for development into superstars.

Oakland has no room for steps back in 2017. In order for the Raiders to keep ascending, they must maximize the experience of players already on the roster. That’s how you build a perennial Super Bowl contender. 

Everyone who watched NFL football this season can tell you that the Raiders were close to being the best team in the league. Now, they must prove it by continuing to develop the talent already on the roster. 

Forget adding any one free agent or top draft pick. Sure, the Raiders could use an infusion of playmakers all over the roster. However, they’ve also accumulated enough talent and experience to have one of the deepest rosters in the league.

The Raiders have already built a foundation for continued success via their farm system of finding bargain free agents and solid late round draft picks. 

Therefore, capitalizing on the development of Oakland’s young players is the key to this upcoming offseason. As these young players get better, they will perform better when they step in for injured starters. They will also force older players to improve or lose their jobs. 

This how the Raiders can continue developing the competitive culture that will make them into one of the best teams in the entire NFL.

Simply put, the Raiders need their young players to get better after making the playoffs for the first time in 14 seasons. 

Oakland acquired the winning experience in 2016. In 2017, he Raiders’ next step requires development of young players across their roster.

Just Develop Baby!

Oakland Raiders: It is time to believe in Reggie McKenzie

Just a few seasons ago, you could scroll through a Twitter search to find lots of fans calling for the job of Reggie McKenzie.

Now, the Oakland Raiders General Manager seems poised for his first executive of the year award. It is well deserved considering he helped this team develop from 4-12 seasons to 12-4 seasons.

Guess, what Raider Nation?

It is time to put even more faith, hope and positive energy towards the efforts of McKenzie.

Oakland will be without quarterback Derek Carr. Plus, they will be without left tackle Donald Penn. Both players have been cornerstones in the Raiders return to greatness.

Therefore, it seems easy to say our team is done. I’ve already written a piece that says the Raiders are not dead, yet. Meaning the team must belive in themselves and not make excuses.

Beyond that, Raiders fans must believe in the personnel skills of McKenzie.

Rookie quarterback Connor Cook and tackle Menelik Watson must both fill in for the crucial Carr and Penn.

Cook will become the first rookie to make his first pro start via the playoffs. Therefore, he is a dark horse. We know he won a lot of games in college with Michigan State. Otherwise, we must believe that McKenzie saw a starting quarterback when he traded up in the draft to get Cook.

As for Watson, he has started 17 games. He made five starts this season at right tackle, but he will start on the left side Saturday.

Watson has been a mixed bag. He has battled for the starting posistion, and he has fought injuries since coming into the league.

Per Pro Football Focus, Watson has played 255 snaps this season. The subscription service gave him a 70.0 grade, which ranks him around the 40th best tackle in the league. Hence, Watson has proven to be capable.

Now, we will see him in a playoff setting versus Pro Bowl defensive end Jadaveon Clowney. Clowney was taken No. 1 overall in the same draft as Khalil Mack and Carr. He has six sacks this season.

Therefore, Watson has a good chance to prove himself. on Saturday.

Either way, we got to trust McKenzie’s selection of the second round right tackle.

McKenzie selected Watson and Cook for a reason. It is time for both young players to prove themselves.

Don’t lose the fiath in Cook, Watson or McKenzie. Keep the faith Raider Nation.

 

The Real Aldon Smith Question

The only news surrounding Raiders suspended end Aldon Smith is that there is no news.

The pass rusher has served his year-ban and awaits reinstatement by the NFL. Smith has met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other executives.

Smith has posted videos about his return. He even commented that he was back on Khalil Mack’s periscope.

However, multiple reports cite that their is no time table on his return.

Not to mention, Smith still needs to get into football shape and gel with his teammates.

I’ve maintained that he Smith is an x-factor for Oakland. His pass rushing ability and athleticism could easily help a Raiders defense that ranks towards the bottom of most categories.

Granted, Smith has to get reinstated before he can impact the Raiders defense.

Now, you can argue if he will return this season. You can argue if he deserves this cold shoulder treatment based on his history of being an offender of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. You can even if argue the Raiders need him as they gear up for their first playoff run in 14 seasons.

Nonetheless, my question remains. If the Raiders were not No. 2 in the AFC and leaders in the AFC West, would this even be a discussion? 

Does the Raiders’s success hurt or help Aldon Smith’s chances for reinstatement?

Would the NFL be more eager to announce a decision on the Edge rusher’s future, if Oakland was not in the middle of a playoff run?

I don’t know. Maybe, the Raiders’ recent success has no impact on Smith. Maybe, it does.

I’m not one for conspiracy theories. Just a thought. Let me know what you think via the Twitter Poll. 

Is Derek Carr the MVP?

Remember, when Matt Schaub was supposed to be the Raiders’ starting quarterback?

I remember seeing a young Derek Carr perform during a scrimmage against the Dallas Cowboys. It never seemed like it was too much for the young professional.

Sure, his feet were happy. He missed some throws, but he had a presence before his first NFL start.

Later that season, Carr received a lot of criticism for throwing the ball to check downs. Some of his top receivers were James Jones and Mychal Rivera. We don’t even need to mention some of the gems on defense and at offensive line.

Fast forward a few years and Carr’s MVP consideration is well documented. I’ve written about it as have many major outlets.

You look at Carr’s second season and we saw the glimpses in the first half. Carr’s performance tailed off at the end of the season as well as the team.

Then, he and the Raiders caught fire again this season.Is it a coincidence that the Raiders have risen with Carr?

Sure, the Raiders can attribute a lot of that success to Carr’s 22 touchdowns and five interceptions. Just look at last week’s victory over the Carolina Panthers.

Carr left the game with a pinky injury and the offense sputtered. Once Carr returned, he helped lead the team to another fourth quarter comeback.

Can this success be attributed to Carr alone?

First, you got to look at Carr’s offensive line. Anyone who watches tape can see Rodney Hudson, Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn bring a nasty presence to the offensive line. Gabe Jackson and Menelik Watson are not too bad themselves. This group usually grades out as one of the best units in the league every week.

Then you got to look at Carr’s receivers. Both Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper are on track to surpass 1,000 yards. If you’re looking for impact, both players have their moments. Crabtree catches those passes that keep drives alive. Cooper turns those short passes into game changing plays like the touchdown versus Houston.

Don’t forget the other side of the football.

The Raiders defense has not been that good. They are No. 29 in yards per game and gave up the 11th most points this season.

But without Khalil Mack this unit would be much worst. Mack has registered an interception, three forced fumbles and nine sacks. He is tied at No. 6 in the league in sacks.

Even in that game versus the Panthers, Mack became the first player since 2009 to register a sack, forced fumble, interception and touchdown since 2009.

When Mack plays well, the Raiders are noticeably better. However, players like Bruce Irvin and David Amerson have also earned their keep.

Therefore, Derek Carr may become the league’s MVP after this season, but he has a lot of improved play from his teammates to thank as well.

Carr may be the most valuable player on the team tied for the best record in the AFC, but there are other players who could be labeled the Raiders’ MVP too..

Included their head coach Jack Del Rio who reversed the losing culture of Oakland.

Raider Nation: Embrace the New Era

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Raiders writer Maurice Moton wrote a good piece about the new era of Raider Nation via Bleacher Report. In it, he calls for Raiders fans to embrace the franchise as they rise into an elite football team.

To piggy back off Moton’s writing, Raider Nation needs these young and bandwagon fans. These are the people that put us on national television. That is the sort of attention we need as young players like Derek Carr, Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper ascend to greatness.

These casual and new fans ensure that our players get their due respect. They also bring the revenue needed to help our team stay in their home market. Funny how the city of Oakland finally has a proposal after the Raiders put together their best season in 14 seasons.

Nonetheless, I get it. It’s hard to embrace warm-water fans when you’ve been riding with these teams through 14 years of obscurity. It’s hard to celebrate with the same people who were laughing at you. Us “real fans” have been defending this team on twitter, at lunch tables, and via radio for years.

All of a sudden we see people with Raiders beanies and snapbacks? Hence, we have a right to distance ourselves from those people who did not ride for the team during the Lane Kiffin or Jamarcus Russell eras.

However, we also have a right to welcome them to the most passionate and educated fan base in the world. Granted, I am biased.

Currently, I live in Los Angeles. The kingdom of bandwagon fans. All of these people who were embracing the return of the Rams suddenly admire the Raiders. Go figure.

I could be petty and tell them to F**** themselves. Otherwise, I could be happy that they are finally seeing what I have been loving for years. The Raiders have the best history, colors and brand of football in the NFL. Of course, that is just my bias speaking.

The point is, don’t test everyone’s fan card. These young and bandwagon fans can easily convert into die-hard members of Raider Nation. Let’s all unite under the Silver and Black. We all can enjoy the highs because it has been a hell of a ride to get here.

Oakland Raiders: Keys to beating the Carolina Panthers

Last week, the Oakland Raiders nearly suffered a letdown. The Houston Texans led throughout the Monday Night Football matchup in Mexico City.

However, the Raiders found a way to win.

This week, the Raiders can not rely on the same heroics. Despite their record, the defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers (4-6) still have the reigning MVP, big receivers and a scary defensive line. Don’t forget Oakland’s only two losses this season came at home. Hence, this could combine for a huge Panthers’ road victory over the Raiders.

Here is the formula which should help Oakland protect their home-field

1) Pound the football

Oakland made their running backs relevant via pass attempts. Jamize Olawale and Jalen Richard both caught touchdown passes and Latavius Murray caught five passes for 59 yards.

Otherwise, Oakland only rushed for 30 yards on 20 carries. The Texans owned them in time of possession by more than 13 minutes.

Hence, Oakland must bounce back this week. The Raiders have one of the best offensive lines in football, and they face a great Carolina defensive line that is deep. It should be fun watching Kelechi Osemele and Kawann Short battle in the middle. Hopefully, the Raiders can take advantage of their versatility at the running back position with Murray, Richard and company.

Plus, Carolina will be without their all-pro run linebacker Luke Kuechly. This should open up some running lanes for the Raiders.

Expect them to get back to the ground game against the Panthers. This is the easiest way to limit Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s impact on the game.

2) Pressure Cam Newton

Raiders edge rusher Khalil Mack enters this game with a chance to get a sack in his sixth consecutive game. However, it won’t be easy against the forever mobile Newton.

Thus, it will be on the entire defensive line to contain Newton. It is well documented that Newton has problems with the way he is hit on the run and in the pocket. Therefore, Oakland must get into his head by pressuring and hitting him in legal ways. This will keep the Panthers’ rushing and passing attack out of rhythm.

Further, the Raiders must stay in their passing lines. Newton can extend plays with his feet, so the Raiders must not let him run around. The Raiders secondary makes too many mistakes, and the Panthers receivers are too big and fast. It could spell disaster if the Raiders do not pressure Newton and keep contain.

Granted, that is easier said than done.

3) Secondary must improve

The Carolina secondary has not been the same since losing Josh Norman to free agency. Therefore, the deep group of Oakland receivers should exploit the Carolina corners.

However, the Panthers could make this a shootout. We know the Raiders secondary makes mistakes via penalties and big plays. This week, they matchup well against the big-bodied receivers in Carolina. Raiders corners Sean Smith and David Amerson are just as big and skilled as Panthers receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Tedd Ginn Jr.

Hence, the Oakland secondary must improve. D.J. Hayden, Karl Joseph, Reggie Nelson, Malcolm Smith, and Perry Riley could all see matchups versus tight end Greg Olsen. Olsen is one of the best in the NFL.

Oakland can not let the Panthers keep this game close by giving up big plays in the passing game. No mistakes this week, guys!

The Oakland Raiders and Carolina Panthers play at 1:25 p.m. PST.

Las Vegas: What’s the latest?

A few huge developments happened over the past couple of weeks, while my personal life put this blog on the backburner.

First, the Nevada State Senate approved the increase in tax that would allow Las Vegas to raise the $750 million to lure the Raiders via a new stadium. Second, Mark Davis attended a ceremony celebrating the announcement. He also said he was committed to the city. However, Jerry Jones and his ton of influence says the Raiders will definitely leave Oakland.

Meanwhile, the City of Oakland said they were working on a serious proposal to keep their franchise. Their proposal may or may not include a group of investors led by Ronnie Lott. Roger Goodell echoed that the league had Oakland as the perferred destination.

The County Commission also okayed an extension of the monorail with visions of the Raiders’ stadium in mine.

Finally, Sheldon Adelson said he could live with or without the proposed stadium that would bring the Raiders.

So basically, we still do not know where the Raiders will play once their lease is up in Oakland. We do know that they are still on a quest for a new stadium. That baseball field for a quarter of the season is not a good look. Neither are the flooded bathrooms on the upper concourse.

Still, Oakland will always be MeccaĀ  for Raider Nation. Hopefully, Oakland will put together something real soon. The Raiders mean too much to the community. The Raiders do too much outreach. Their brand represents the East Bay too much.

Don’t forget that the Oakland is getting gentrified. That means the Raiders have a booming economy in their home market. They need to take advantage of it and stop courting Vegas.

Plus, the Raiders are relevant again. Oakland must fight for their team which will become a perennial playoff team.