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Las Vegas Raiders could make sense

Mark Davis did not say a whole lot about the Oakland Raiders possible relocation to Las Vegas.

Davis said Las Vegas is a global city and a NFL market. He also relied on the old cliche when asked about the possible move.

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Davis said.

But can his professional team actually stay in Vegas?

There are a number of ethical concerns about putting a professional team in Las Vegas.

Does a city with a poor economy and bad public schools need a stadium?

Probably not.  However, UNLV is already getting a proposed $1 billion stadium. That means Davis and the Raiders only need to show up and pay for relocation fees.

How would the NFL handle sports gambling?

The NFL already excepts money from DFS providers which may or may not be gambling. Ultimately, the public is much more accepting of sports gambling.

It is still unlikely the league would ever endorse Vegas-styled sports gambling. There are ethical concerns like turning basketball players into even more of a commodity. These are men here, and we do not need to bet on them like horses. Plus, there are also valid concerns about players and referees avoiding conflict of interests. We know players already love gambling and Vegas too much.

Could Las Vegas really support a NFL team?

Let’s not forget Las Vegas is a basketball team. UNLV basketball games sellout when the team is good. It is home to the NBA Summer League, USA Basketball Showcases and many preseason games each year.

Hence, the team would have to immerse itself in the community. Luckily, the Raiders do a good job already in blue-collar Oakland. Also, the Raiders California fan-base would make the short drive and plane-rides to neighboring Las Vegas. Those reasons make the Raiders and Las Vegas a nice fit. There is also plenty of cheap rooms for Raidernation to save bucks.

Not to mention, the arena only needs to sellout eight games a year. The Raiders are on the brink of the playoffs and they could attract casual fans outside of their silver and black faithful. Besides, the NFL is so hot that people will want to go to a NFl stadium to be seen. Further, the NFL team would be the only pro sports team in town, which is a draw itself.

Could players succeed in Las Vegas?

Players and fans might worry about that scorching summer heat. However, that does not make players afraid of hot climates like Phoenix, Texas or Florida. Plus, Las Vegas is home to more luxury hotels and clubs than all those places. I am interested if players and owners could deal with that access to alcohol, money and gambling.

In closing, Las Vegas makes a lot of sense for the Raiders. Unlike San Antonio or Portland, Las Vegas has public funds and close proximity to California fans.

A Las Vegas move would be the power move that the Raiders need after rejection from Los Angeles relocation. Not to mention, Mark Davis could do some renegade things by being the first professional sports team in Las Vegas. It is the perfect move to piss off other NFL owners like his pops did many times.

 

 

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Trade deadline passes and Raiders stay put

Surprise! The Oakland Raiders made no changes before the trade deadline passed.

In four years as general manager, Reggie Mckenzie continues to not make any trades.

 

Of course fans like myself would like to see him take some gambles. However, the team is winning this year so I’ll keep my mouth shut.

In past years I have been adament about the Raiders making a play on some star power. This year I would have said the same, but the Raiders are in the playoff hunt. Moreover, they have all of their draft picks.

Raider fans know Reggie McKenzie loves him some draft picks.

Some of the names rumored on the trading block included Brian Cushing and Eric Weddle. Who wants some washed up defensive players?

Sheldon Richardson and Jason Pierre-Paul are probably the only names I would have traded for. They have enough off-field risks to warrant a discount price.

But let’s get real. It still would have cost a couple of high draft picks. Not worth it considering the Raiders are young and only getting better.

Plus, McKenzie has done a fine enough job scouring the waiver wire. He found gold in cornerback David Amerson.

Oakland basically resurrected Amerson’s career. Not to mention, he licked his chops with a hit on Geno Smith this Sunday versus the New York Jets.

Then there was also the Week 1 signing of Aldon Smith. Smith faced some legal troubles, but McKenzie took the gamble. Now he might have a cornerstone pass rusher across from Khalil Mack

Hence, we should forget about the trade deadline. Lets just be happy we are winning.

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Oakland Raiders Quarterly Report: Defense

via photobucket

On defense, the Oakland Raiders have not done much well. They have faced plenty of growing pains in a new scheme with a new defensive coordinator. Between Jack Del Rio and Ken Norton Jr. leading this group, they should be playing a lot better.

Against the Bengals, Jeremy Hill tore apart the Raiders defense. Versus the Ravens, Joe Flacco looked precise and comfortable. Then against the Browns, Josh McCown kept his team in the game. Even Jay Cutler looked like a good quarterback against the Raiders.

So what has been consistent?

It has not been the passing defense. Everyone knows the Raider can not cover a tight end. Someone on Twitter said they want to be reincarnated as a tight end versus the Raiders, get in line bruh.

Then the secondary has been a mixed back. They make plays but they also make plenty of mistakes.

Here are some more specifics on position grades, after four games played.

Defensive Line: B-

The Raiders defensive line has played respectable. They have not been terrible, but they have not dominated either.

They find ways to create pressure, but not as a unit. To be fair, Aldon Smith just joined the unit. Justin Tuck and Justin Ellis have been on the injury report for a while. Khalil Mack also suffered an injury.

Outside of that, Denico Autry and Stacy McGee proved they are a little more than bums. C.J. Wilson and Mario Edwards should perform better with whatever snaps they get.

Hopefully they can bring it all together before the mid point of the season.

Linebacker: C+

The Raiders made headlines by completely rebuilding their linebacker corps. Gone are starters Miles Burris and Sio Moore from the past regime. Khalil Mack plays defensive end now.

However, the new additions have not been lights out. Ray Ray Armstrong struggled early. He seems to be getting more comfortable, but is he anything more than a depth guy?

Curtis Lofton struggles in pass coverage still. Personally, I would like to see him create some turnovers.

Malcolm Smith has probably been the best in the group. He too struggles in pass coverage though.

As a unit, their best games were probably against the Browns and Bears. Aldon Smith also plays linebacker but he gets a pass as he was a late addition.

Secondary: C

The Raiders secondary was mediocre at best. Now, they are mangled and doing their best to stay afloat. D.J. Hayden and T.J. Carrie both take turns getting picked apart. Charles Woodson and whoever has played in Nate Allen’s void also get beat in coverage.

Kudos to the coaching staff for finding David Amerson, he looks like he can be a contributor.

Nonetheless, the group is banged up. They’ve also saved themselves by creating some crucial turnovers. Against Baltimore and Cleveland, the secondary saved the game with an interception in the final moments.

What do you think about the Raiders defense thus far?

How the combine effected the Raiders’ board

The Combine makes prospects stock rise and fall every year. Here are some performances that should impact the Raiders’ big board.

Pass Rushers

Always at a premium, the combine helped differentiate some of the nation’s top pass rushers.

Dante Fowler from Florida stole the show displaying fluidity and charisma in drills and with the media. He has the long arms to be a true 4-3 end, which are hard to come bye as stand up rushers are more utilized now a days. He may be worth reaching for but could also be a target the Raiders move down for.

Randy Gregory from Nebraska didn’t do bad but he didn’t do great either. He was underweight and proved he is more stand up end than hand in his ground. Raiders should eliminate him from consideration at four.

Vic Beasley made headlines displaying an explosive 41′ vert combined with 35 reps on the bench press. Combined with displaying great tape at Clemson, Beasley should earn top ten consideration. He also showed up bigger than expected.

Odighizuwa Owamaghe also had a great outing at the combine. He looks like a pure hand down defensive end, and he should be the Raiders pick if available at the top of the second

Preston Smith also did well showing a 2.71 fourty yard dash. He too could get consideration at top of the second round, If he lasts until the third, he could be the highly productive collegian steal McKenzie finds in the draft.

Wide receivers

The big three reminded everyone why they are some of the best players in the draft period. DaVante Parker got lost in the shuffle behind Kevin White and Amari Cooper. Still Parker’s sub 4.5 fourty dispels any myths about his speed. Hence, Parker could be a viable option if the Raiders move down.

White shocked the world running a 4.35. His frame combined with mentioned speed make him receiver with the most potential. Enough that many have the Raiders selecting him.

Cooper did not bomb the combine. He showcased the numbers people expected. It would have been fine if White and Parker didn’t do so well. I still prefer Cooper’s resume of production over the other guys, but it is definitely a matter of taste when separating the three.

Inside linebackers

Denzel Perryman and Tavrion Dawson both bombed the fourty yard dash. Good news is they are still the type of players with instincts and production that will translate. Better news is, either could be available in third our fourth rounds as Raiders have a glaring need at inside linebacker.

Meanwhile, Stephone Anthony increased his draft stock massively running a 4.5. He may be the type of athlete at inside linebacker that the Raiders reach for at the top of the second. Added, Kendricks out of UCLA did not hurt his stock, he may still be top Mike prospect.

Running Backs

None of the running backs cemented themselves as the top guy. Most performed as expected, hence it will be a matter of preference based.

Even with cap space to throw at a free agent back and an incumbent Latavius Murray, I still expect them to make a move in the draft.

Depending on how the draft shapes up, I’d love to see Jay Ayayi, TJ Yelton, Duke Johnson or Ameer Abdullah wearing silver and black.

All of the information above is from NFL.com

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Raiders got it right with Del Rio

Call it uninventive, or predicted but the Raiders got it right hiring Jack Del Rio.

The former Jaguars Head Coach wasn’t much of a candidate for any other coaching jobs but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t the perfect fit for the Raiders.

Granted, Interim Head Coach Tony Sparano earned the support of veteran players like James Jones among others. Still, Del Rio’s experience as player and coach combined with his connection to the Bay Area just made a ton of sense. So much sense even Al Davis would have liked this move.

Even if he isn’t the hot, innovative coordinator, Del Rio still had a top ranked defense each of the years he was in Denver. With almost 30 years of experience, Del Rio should net some experienced coordinators. Plus you remember the last bright young minds the Raiders hired? Cough, Lane Kiffin. Cough, Dennis Allen.

Either way, a lot rides on this coming season. It is year four of the Reggie McKenzie era and both he and Owner Mark Davis need a winning season.

The Raiders are amongst the leagues’ worst in attendance and tv ratings. They have been losing for more than a decade. Plus their stadium status is in complete limbo.

Therefore, why not give the coaching reigns to someone who the fans and owner can be excited for?

He and the organization stand with a lot to prove. It took Del Rio a while to net his second head coaching gig. Del Rio understands that he must seize this current opportunity with the Raiders as there might not be a third coaching job.

For the first time in a while, the Raiders have young pieces to be excited for and signing Del Rio is just another reason Raider Nation should be enthralled for the upcoming season.

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My First Raider Game

My pilgrimage to the Mecca for Raider Nation was everything I had ever imaged. A place where I can be loud and drunk in favor of my R-A-I-D-E-R-S what else could I ask for? To make things even better, the Raiders got the W over the Buffalo Bills. Here are somethings I noticed on my trip.

The O.Co Colisem

With all the controversy over the Raiders trying to find a new home, you would think the Coliseum is a horrible place. I did experience the toilets flooding by aesthetic wise, the arena isn’t any worse than Dodger Stadium. Sure, it doesn’t have the same upgraded big screens but outside of that the Coliseum isn’t ugly. I never noticed the green seats though, #A’scity. Either way, their wasn’t a bad seat in that whole house.

Raider Nation

Words can not express how enthralled I was to be immersed within Raider Nation. It felt like home being amongst people with the same knowledge and love for the Raiders as I. Our fans get such a bad rep but it is not even necessary. I did not witness a fight now did I even hear a curse word. Not to mention it was new seeing white Raider fans opposed to the minority Raider fans I am used to seeing in So Cal.

Derek Carr’s improvement

From seeing Carr against the Cowboys in Training Camp til now, the improvement was exponential. Carr went from looking like an NFL QB and playing like a college QB to being the intangible franchise quarterback of this team. He did miss some open receivers but overall he showed much improved footwork and comfort in the pocket which was one of his biggest knocks coming out of the draft.

Bill’s young receivers

If you have read this blog before, you might recall my man crush on Sammy Watkins. It was a privilege seeing him play as he is the real deal. His explosiveness is as advertised and he should be a cornerstone for the Bills. Robert Woods also looked good. Meanwhile, Kyle Orton looked like Kyle Orton.

Raiders finally learning to win

From the get go, the Raiders never seemed intimidated by the potentially playoff bound Bills. The Raiders looked like a team with enough confidence to beat them. Then when it seemed like the Raiders might blow it, the Defense made the plays to stop the Bills including a Brandin Ross interception. Not to mention some of the big plays the Raiders put together on Offense via McFadden, Murray, and Rivera.

Credit Tony Sparano for getting this team to believe in themselves. Don’t look now, but the Raiders losing culture seems to be on the downswing. Maybe, this rookie class and home stretch is enough to save Reggie McKenzie’s Job.

Finally, it was one of the best days of my life. I will always remember my first Raider Game, and I am glad it was capped off with a win!

Sparano deserves another shot

Don’t get me wrong, the man is still 2-8 as the Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders but another team should consider adding him.

Playing the toughest schedule in the NFL combined with a rookie quarterback and roster filled with post prime veterans, Sparano wasn’t put into a position to succeed.

The fact that Sparano has had this team competing is a testament to the kind of coach he is. Two wins isn’t enough to make him the Raiders future coach but beating the two playoff contenders decisively proves Sparano can be a NFL Head Coach.

But we knew that! Sparano was responsible for turning around the Dolphins a few years back. Either way, rookie Derek Carr bought into Sparano and endorsed him as the coach of the future.

But really, what else is Carr going to do? Of course he’ll endorse Sparano but that doesn’t mean he should be back next season.

If Sparano did come back he would face too much pressure to win immediately. Any losses would put him right on the hot seat and the Raiders would be in the same spot we are now.

So it is best for the Raiders to move on and find a new visionary to start on a clean slate in 2015. Regardless, another team would be wise to consider Tony Sparano for a head coaching job.

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Image via google

Derek Carr starter sooner than later

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Don’t be surprised if Derek Carr wins the starting job headed into the season. Sure he is a rookie, but few quarterbacks are chatting up opposing defenses with their older professional brother.

I get NFL bloodlines do not mean much, but I think Carr’s learning curve is going to be less than other rookies. Added the Raiders have four capable recievers in Denarrius Moore, James Jones, Rod Streater, and Andre Holmes. Combined with Marcel Reece and Mycheal Rivera as the versatile mismatches, and the Raiders could actually run more spread style sets for Carr.

He threw a lot of screens in college, but did also run some pro sets. Further the running game and running backs are there to build around Carr. He brings more of a gunslinger mentality that will open up the playbook.

We seen it last season, when Pryor beat out Flynn. Schaub and Flynn are different quarterbacks, but the moral of the story is the coaching staff is not afraid to play the best player. Not to mention, Schaub and Flynn share the experience of quarterbacks loosing their starting jobs with their previous teams. Carr can capitalize on Schaub’s shaken confidence, and seize the attention of fans, coaches, and teammates.

Either-way, I would not be surprised if Derek Carr starts at some point in the middle of the season. You never want to wish injury on him, but you never know now-a-days. Plus, if the team struggles facing the toughest schedule in the league, then you roll with a big armed gunslinger like Carr, so he develop as the signal caller of the future.

Carr has already shown the intangibiles to be the quarterback of the future. Before he can do that, he has to be the quarterback of the now. He is a lot closer to that than the media or coaching staff leads on. Whatever the case, the first step of his journey begins by beating out Matt McGloin as the back up QB

Day Two still a lot of options for Raiders

via usa today


The Oakland Raiders added an impact offensive player in the first round of the draft, by selecting Khalil Mack. The Raiders built on that by selecting Derek Carr as their developmental quarterback of the future in Derek Carr.

Carr’s big-body and big-arm made him a candidate to be selected in the first round, so the value at 36 is tremendous. Added with Nor-cal connections and NFL Bloodlines, it seems like a no brainer that the Raidersselected Carr. However, there is still so much talent available that the Raiders can still nabb an impact player in the third round or trade back into the second.

Defensive Line

Mack’s addition solidifies the Raiders pass-rush, but they still need a force on the inside rotation. Lucky for them, them one with a first round grade are still on the board for a trade-up. Louis Nixx, and Timmy Jernigan are two disruptive forces on the inside. Any of these guys could warrant trading up, because they fill a need and provide immediate impact. However, They may even wait until the third round to select ASU’s Will Sutton, Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt, and Penn State’s Da Quan Jones who all would also be young upgrades on the inside.

Wide Recievers

Many slated the Raiders to select Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans at the top of the draft. Mack fell to them, and they did not second guess themselves. However, this is a very deep class. Allen Robinson, Cody Latimor, and Jordan Matthews are the big recievers Reggie McKenzie perfers, so any of them could be potential options to trade up for. Even if they do not elect to trade up and select a reciever in the second round, their are plenty of guys who may fall to the 3rd and possibly day 3. Donte Montecrief, Davante Adams, Paul Richardson, and Latarvius Murray are a little bit more raw then the guys mentioned above, but could have an equally high ceiling. The Raiders will probably only draft one of them if they are the best player available.

Defensive Backs
The Raiders still have a need in the defensive back field. Brock Vereen could be available as a safety in the third round. Otherwise they would be better off waiting for day 3 to select a safety. Jaylen Watkins would be a wanted slot corner/safety combo at the top of the third round. Bashaud Breeland, Keith McGill, Phillip Gaines, and Stanley Jean-Baptiste could all be other names to keep an eye on. They have Different skill sets but could be best players available when the third round comes along.

Offensive Line

The Raiders missed out on Bitinio and Suo Fila at the top of the second. However, centers Weston Richburg, Marcus Martin, and Travis Swanson could all be available when the Raiders select again in the third round

No Suprise if Raiders select Evans

Mike Evans showcases abilities and athletecism at NFL Scouting Combine, via SI.com


Many in the media, have predicted a for-gone conclusion that the Raiders will target Khalil Mack or Sammy Watkins with the fifth draft pick. Otherwise, the two may consider some of the elite tackles, but will likely trade down the board.

However, in the scenario that Mack and Watkins are off of the board, could the Raiders hold their water and select Mike Evans. NBC football talk reported the Raiders may lean towards Evans over Watkins, and another source broke their was a team in the top ten with similar thinking.

Well I have been adament about the Raiders selected Watkins, it would not suprise me if they select Evans even if Watkins is available.

The truth is, Reggie McKenzie likes big recievers. Evans could be the big possession reciever for Greg Olsen’s west coast offense. Sure they already have Rod Streater and Andre Holmes in that role, but who wouldn’t want another big reciever as there is a trend of defensive backs getting bigger and more physical.

McKenzie already admitted in interest in the one and one a recievers of this class of Evans and Watkins. He said he would take their great abilities over the rest of the classes’ good abilities anydays.

While Watkins may be the more polished and pro ready reciever, Evans seems to have more upside, with a 6’5 frame and fast fourty time. He does not offer the same value as Watkins in space and returning, but Evans has plenty of god given talent.

It is tough to evaluate him, because he played with Johnny Manziel. Just as many times as he took over games with big plays, he also dissapperead. No one is sure if Evans made Manziel or vice versa, but both have value at the next level.

However, this could just as well be a smoke screen to increase leverage at trading out of their pick. Or it could be a method to hide the Raiders’ interest, whom the media thinks they have predicted.

Ideally, either Watkins or Evans would be needed additions to a Raiders’ offense which is desperate for an identity. Matt Schaub should be happy to get either of these guys, but it would not suprise me if the Raiders stay at five and select Evans over Watkins.

Even if it is a reach, McKenzie proved last season, he is willing to get the player he wants even if it is at a higher cost. Whatever the decision is, hopefully it pans out for McKenzie, because this will be his defining draft selection.