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Raiders Training Camp 2017: Goodbye to Austin Howard and Taiwan Jones, and where is Donald Penn?

Oakland concluded their first day of 2017 training camp with a press conference. Here are some notes from the first day.

Donald Penn

Quarterback Derek Carr did not want to comment on his left tackle holding out of Training  Camp. Carr said he did not want to comment on another man’s pockets. He also said he wanted to concentrate on the players who were in camp.

Ultimately, Penn is holding out of training camp one-year after signing a team-friendly two-year deal with the team in 2016. Penn has been one of the most reliable starters on the Raiders offense since he came here three years ago. At age 33, Penn is just trying to get a little more compensation for the beating his body takes during the year.

Either way, the Raiders have the cap space to get a new deal done. Penn protects the blindside of Carr so the Silver and Black need him. He is also a nasty mauler which makes him a perfect fit on the Raiders offensive line. This group is among the best in the league and they need to Penn to uphold that situation.

Austin Howard and Taiwan Jones

Penn wasn’t the only Raider missing from training camp. Taiwan Jones and Austin Howard were one of the more tenured Raiders on the roster before they were cut earlier this week.

Jones was one of the last draft picks of late owner Al Davis. Howard was a marquee free agent signing in 2014. Both players were good character guys and figures in the community.

Howard battled for the starting right tackle position the last two seasons and he was supposed to do that again. Rather, the Raiders decided they wanted to save a few million in cap space by cutting the 30-year-old tackle. The timing is weird considering Penn’s contract situation. Plus, Oakland will let David Sharpe and journeyman Marshall Newhouse battle for the right tackle position. Neither has as much starting experience as Howard.

Jones was a bay area native and one of the fastest players in NFL combine history. He switched from running back to corner and back to runner during his time in Oakland. Injuries and size prevented him from really using his speed as a runner or pass catcher on offense. Otherwise, he was a solid contributor on special teams. However, he had been phased out on that team by younger players too. Jones got cut a day after his birthday.

Ultimately, Raiders are always Raiders once they wear that Silver and Black. It is sad to see some fan favorites go but this added cap space should help the Raiders get Penn a new deal.

In the end, at least a new season is officially underway thanks to the start of the 2017 NFL Training Camp.

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Oakland Raiders at New Orleans Saints: Monday Morning Takeaways

Here are five lessons from the Oakland Raiders 35-34 defeat of the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 11.

The secondary needs work

Usually, you do not take much away from preseason football. However, the Raiders secondary showed signs of struggling during the exhibitions. This carried into the week one game with the Saints.

D.J. Hayden had some crucial penalties that kept some drives alive in the second-half. Willie Snead also got the best of Hayden from the slot.

Plus, Sean Smith got dusted for a 98-yard touchdown catch.

Even before that big play, Smith took his lumps against the New Orleans receivers.

Saints receivers Brandin Cooks and Snead both made plays. Snead registered 172 receiving yards, while Cooks got 143 yards.

That is way too many yards for a secondary group that was suppose to improve exponentially. The group may need more time playing together. However, the pass rush may also need to step their game up. Quarterback Drew Brees was only sacked one time.

The run defense?

Honestly, the New Orleans Saints got away from the run too early. Otherwise, maybe Oakland made some adjustments.

Either way, the Saints made some effective running plays in the first-half. Mark Ingrim dragged some defenders. However, that was not the case in the second-half. Not sure if that is attributed to an Oakland adjustment or if the Saints just liked what they were getting in pass coverage.

Ultimately, our run defense did some and bad. Inside linebacker Ben Heeney played his usual game. He did some good things, but struggled taking on linemen. Our defensive line played well versus the run in the second half. They also got drove back a few times.

Nonetheless, I need to see more from this group to determine how they will play.

Raiders are deep on the offensive line

Oakland had both of their right offensive tackles, Menelik Watson and Matt McCants go down versus the Saints. This is after they lost Austin Howard last week.

The team shuffled the line by moving Donald Penn from left tackle to right tackle. Meanwhile, Kelechi Osemele played left tackle and Jon Feliciano came in at right tackle.

This mismatched group did not prevent the Raiders from moving the ball via the run or pass. Clearly, this group is much improved from top to bottom. Hopefully, Oakland can get those guys back healthy.

Oakland plays to win

When was the last time Oakland started the season 1-0? More importantly, when was the last time you really thought the team could come back in a game that was a shootout?

Despite Oakland trailing in the second-half, you never felt like the game was out of reach. Further, the Raiders went to go and get the win.

They scored on the go ahead two-point conversion thanks to quarterback Derek Carr leading the drive.

Carr matured in yesterday’s game. He proved capable of leading a game-winning drive, and he did not play outsde of his normal abilitites. His decision-making seemed a little late, but Carr’s competitive toughness should never be questioned. Carr reminded us that, yesterday.

Oakland is deep at the skill position

The Silver and Blacked proved their offense can play with the best of them. Not only by the last-minute score, but Oakland played well throughout.

Eight different players caught passes and six players got rushing attempts. This shows Oakland’s depth and it illustrates a regime willing to utilize different players in positions that help the team.

Taiwan Jones, Seth Roberts, Clive Walford and Jamize Olawale made plays that kept the offense on the field. Latavius Murray, Jalen Richard, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree all played their roles outstanding. Therefore, the Raiders have a group on offense.

Othere defenses should be scared as everyone will continue meshing together.