Dance party of one: Marshawn gets lost in moment during perfect homecoming

Dance party of one: Marshawn gets lost in moment during perfect homecoming

OAKLAND – The Raiders scored their fifth touchdown against the New York Jets early in the fourth quarter. At that point, the rout was on.

So was a celebration of all things Raiders. Oakland Coliseum, as the kids say, was lit. 

A pre-kickoff break in the action didn't need to kill the vibe, so a venue DJ spun a local favorite.

“Oakland,” by Vell featuring DJ Mustard, blared through the Oakland Coliseum sound system. The chorus is catchy and, obviously, a local favorite.

”I’m really from Oakland doe, ‘cause I’m really, yeah, I’m like really, really, really from Oakland doe.”

That sequence should be familiar if you followed Marshawn Lynch’s journey out of retirement, free from Seattle’s clutches and into a Raiders uniform. He used those lyrics to tweet his official return to the NFL with the Raiders back on April 26.

That's also Marshawn’s jam.

Right there on the sideline, in the middle Sunday's 45-20 victory, it inspired a dance party of one.

Dreadlocks, elbows and knees swayed with the beat, completely lost in the moment. Then cameras found Marshawn, and this dance party turned 54,729 strong.

His teammates were inspired, but nobody joined in. This was Marshawn's moment with his city, on his homecoming day.

“It was great. He is Oakland,” linebacker Bruce Irvin, who played with Lynch as a Seahawk. “I’ve never seen him act like that in Seattle. It was great for him to be out there and be loose and have the success he had. It was great moment to see. I hope we can continue to have great moments like that.”

Lynch didn’t miss football in retirement. He returned when the Raiders were approved to bolt for Las Vegas, to give local kids a chance to cheer one of their own in person.

Lynch does so much for the Oakland community. Sunday was a chance to pay him back. They cheered his every move, never louder than his first trip into the end zone. It came early in the second quarter, as he busted through the middle across the goal line.

A roar engulfed Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in honor of a favorite son done well. Lynch simply got up, and took his football to the sideline. He wasn’t letting that one go.

“I’m going to give it to my momma,” he said after the game.

Lynch didn’t say much about his experience in a few moments with the press. The love from the crowd felt good. He never got too emotional. He’s excited about this offense’s playmakers.

Even if he remained outwardly cool, the fans were hyped having the Raiders dominate and Oakland’s most popular person take center stage.

“Did you see the crowd? The momentum was great,” edge rusher Khalil Mack said. “That’s a moment you want to experience as a football fan, to see a guy from your town dancing like that on the sideline. It was cool for the fans and cool for us too, seeing him enjoy himself and this win.”

Secondary takes another hit; injury updates for two key Raiders


Secondary takes another hit; injury updates for two key Raiders

ALAMEDA – The Raiders secondary has been beset by injuries this season. An already shaky crew never really had first-round pick Gareon Conley, who played two games due to a shin injury and is on injured reserve.

Even he did more than Obi Melifonwu. The second-round safety was active for five games but played just 34 defensive snaps. He won’t play another this season.

Melifonwu had surgery to repair an injured hip on Thursday, and was placed on season-ending injured reserve Friday afternoon. Cornerback Antonio Hamilton was called up in a corresponding move.

This is Melifonwu’s second IR stint this season. He spent the season’s first half on IR following knee surgery, but was designated to return. Melifonwu never played his natural position. The Raiders used him at cornerback, a desperate experiment that failed in a Week 11 loss to New England and barely played after that.

Injury may have played a part in that.

“I can’t tell you exactly when that occurred,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “I think it’s been a little bit that he’s been working with. It required surgery and he had it, so he’ll be out.”

Injuries ran deeper than the draft class.

Top cover man David Amerson has missed six straight games with a foot sprain, and remains doubtful for Sunday night’s clash against the Dallas Cowboys. That absence stings, especially with the secondary working without the young bucks.

Expect Sean Smith, TJ Carrie and Dexter McDonald to maintain their posts at cornerback.

“Those guys have done a good job in a tough spot,” Hamilton said. “They’ve stayed healthy and available for us. That has been key.”

Hamilton tore the meniscus in his knee in a Week 4 loss at Denver and is healthy and ready to contribute.

The NFL’s No. 25-ranked pass defense must make do with what they’ve got down the stretch. There’s some hope Amerson will return, even after being removed from practice the past few days. He performed side work with a trainer Friday right next to the media area, and continues to work on a return despite having so few games left.

Cooper could come back: Raiders receiver Amari Cooper re-injured his sprained ankle in a loss at Kansas City and was ruled out for the Cowboys game. It might not, however, keep him out the rest of the season.

“I think he’s better than he was, but he’s going to be out this week,” Del Rio said. “I think we have a chance to get him back.”

Inconsistency paints the picture of Raiders' underperforming offense


Inconsistency paints the picture of Raiders' underperforming offense

ALAMEDA – Johnny Holton has made dynamic plays this season. The second-year Raiders receiver has three touchdowns in nine catches, and averages 24.2 yards per reception. His straight-line speed’s tough to match, which is why he has three catches of 40-plus yards.

Holton’s still developing. Therefore, good comes with some bad. He has lost two fumbles in as many games, with four drops and two passes headed his way that were intercepted.

“I think it all kind of is a great example of how our season’s been as an offense,” offensive coordinator Todd Downing said after Thursday’s practice. “We have flashes of really good production and executing well and then flashes or spurts where we’re not exactly executing the way we want.

“Johnny’s kind of a microcosm of that and so, I would say to him and have said to him and to the team, the message that we preach is let’s look for consistency and let’s look for doing the little things right. And then the big things happen.”

Downing’s analogy works. Inconsistency has plagued a talented offense playing below potential, with just enough flashes to drive players, fans and coaches crazy. Productive victories over the Tennessee Titans, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs provide stark contrast to a new normal, where the Raiders struggle to score or produce.

The Raiders have scored 17 points or less seven times in 13 games. They’re 22nd in scoring and 19th in total offense heading into Sunday night’s home game against Dallas.

That’s a drastic drop after last year’s production, a fact that’s been dissected extensively during a disappointing season thus far. We won’t go over them all here. Everyone, from quarterback to coordinator to skill players to the line, shares some of the blame.

Ultimately, it comes down to the inconsistency Downing discussed earlier. The Raiders have three games left to get it right, and even that might be unworthy of a postseason birth.

“We know how to throw the ball. We know how to catch it. We know how to run the ball. We know how to block,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “Now we just have to do those things better and more consistent. It always comes down to fundamentals of footwork and all those kinds of timing kind of things.”

“…Sometimes we go out there and it’s great. Then sometimes we go out there and it’s crap. That’s on us as players. We have to execute better.”

Carr says little details cause big problems. Problem is, it isn’t something you can circle with a red pen. It isn’t one thing that takes one permanent fix. The mistakes are coming from everywhere, and they’re coming often. That’s why so many Raiders have said they’re close to solid execution so many times this season.

That must drive detail-oriented offensive captains Carr and Rodney Hudson nuts. The entire offensive depth chart, remains committed to the process, hoping a talented roster will realize potential before the season’s out.

“There are a lot of things in life that look good on paper,” tight end Lee Smith said on this week’s Raiders Insider Podcast. “If you don’t put it together in the right way and form itself, it doesn’t matter what the pieces are if the puzzle doesn’t come together.

“We have to keep working as a football family from the top all the way down. We have three more football games to win. We plan on winning all of them. There are three good teams left on the schedule, and it’s excited to see what we’re made of now that we’re back into a corner a little bit.”

The Raiders receivers are backed into a corner, with Amari Cooper likely out a week at least with an ankle sprain. That'll put Holton back in the heavy rotation, meaning he'll have to avoid mistakes to keep the offense going. 

"Johnny is a hard worker and a guy that I know is excited to get back on that field Sunday and have an opportunity to make some plays for us and help us win this ball game," Downing said. "We’re looking forward to that.”