Blog Archives

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.

Oakland Raiders at New Orleans Saints: First Half Notes

The Oakland Raiders took on the New Orleans Saints for the first game of the season. The Saints lead 17-10 at home.

DEFENSE:

  • Bruce Irvin sacked and forced a fumble on Drew Brees which ends first drive. Leads to first points of the season off of Sebastian Janikowski kick.
  • Mark Ingrim gets 12 and 20-yard gains for Saints on the second series. Saints held to a field goal, which ties game at three all.
  • Tim Hightower gets run going again later in first. Willie Snead tears apart Raiders. Snead Catches a deep ball that puts them in the red zone. He then catches short fourth and goal touchdown pass to make game 10-10.
  • Saints go up 17-10 in second quarter thanks to Brandin¬† Cooks touchdown pass. He beat D.J. Hayden in coverage. Sean Smith also gave up the crucial play that put Saints inside the red zone. Michael Thomas catches a pass, then registers some yards after the catch.
  • D.J. Hayden gets defensive holding call that negates Bruce Irvin sack. Luckily, Raiders defense forces punt with a little more than a minute left in first half.

OFFENSE:

  • Latavius Murray gets the Raiders first touchdown of the year via an 11-yard run thanks to an Amari Cooper sprawling catch which put Raiders at the five-yard-line. It was Cooper’s second catch on the drive. Oakland goes up 10-3.
  • Jalen Richard made his first appearance with a catch in the first quarter. Meanwhile, Taiwan Jones loses eight yards on a carry later in the first half.
  • Derek Carr shows his scrambling ability in second quarter. Makes first down run and leaps for extra yards. However, this drive did not lead to points.
  • Menelik Watson goes down during Raiders final drive with about a minute left in the second quarter. He walks off the field on his own, but it looked like an ankle injury.
  • Cooper catches the final pass of the half via a hitch route.

Oakland must try to stop the run on defense. Hightower and Ingrim were having their way. On offense, look for Oakland to continue establishing the run. Hopefully, Watson’s injury is not serious. Backup right tackle Austin Howard got hurt last week, so he is inactive.

Raiders Rants: D.J. Hayden, Mario Edwards, Karl Joseph, Matt McGloin & more

The Oakland Raiders finished minicamp a couple of weeks ago. Here is my take on the biggest headlines since then.

Matt McGloin

Raiders QB Matt McGloin started minicamp as the No. 3 quarterback, behind Connor Cook.

My Take: It should not come as a surprise. McGloin was drafted by the previous regime. He is a game manager at best. Let’s see what we got in Cook. All reports indicate he looks good.

Karl Joseph

  • Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said this secondary is more talented than last season’s crop.
  • Norton Jr. said Raiders rookie Karl Joseph is a stick of dynamite, because of his explosiveness via film.

My Take: Norton Jr.’s comments are in line with what everyone has said about the Raiders secondary. However, they need to get healthy. We gotta see it on the field, because they haven’t played together yet due to injuries.

D.J. Hayden

Speaking of the Raiders secondary, head coach Jack Del Rio said D.J. Hayden had a good spring. He said he was excited about Hayden’s development.

My Take: I’ve made it a point to defend Hayden. I’m glad the Raiders are doing so as well. It is clear he will have the first shot at winning the slot corner position.

Max McCaffrey

My Take: Max McCaffrey made a name for himself this spring. That is a lot considering he is the son of a Broncos great and brother to a Stanford great. McCaffrey should be one of the leads to breakout as an UDFA this year. Think Seth Roberts, Andre Holmes, and Rod Streater mold.

Read more on dude here.

Pro Football Focus

  • The popular stats website graded Khalil Mack as the No. 6 overall player in the league.
  • Other Raiders like Amari Cooper and Derek Carr also made the list.

My Take: Shout out to the Raiders finally catching some respect.

Kick Returners

  • Apparently, the Raiders will keep the status quo at the returner positions.
  • T.J. Carrie is expected to keep his job as the punt returner, while Taiwan Jones will return kickoffs.

My Take: No surprise here. Both Jones and Carrie could see reduced roles at their normal positions. Carrie is no longer a starter at CB and Jones could lose his spot as RB No. 2. Both dudes are athletes who should make great contributions on special teams still.

Mario Edwards Jr.

Mario Edwards participated in minicamp. His status was questionable with an undisclosed neck injury.

My Take: Good for Edwards. He should breakout with more talent around him on defense. He balled as a rookie, until injuries cut his season short.