Raiders

Four Raiders questions: No. 2 -- Who's affected by signings?

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Four Raiders questions: No. 2 -- Who's affected by signings?

Editor's note: This is the second of a four-part series posing Insider Paul Gutierrez's four biggest questions facing the Raiders in their final preseason game.

SEATTLE -- If ever there was a preseason game that meant next to nothing, this is it -- the fourth and final exhibition. Just don't tell that to the bubble guys trying to make one last impression before rosters are reduced to 53 players by 6 p.m. PT on Friday. Which begs the question, why would Raiders coach Dennis Allen risk playing his starters more than one series in Seattle, let alone against an eager beaver trying to make Seattle's roster by taking out a name player? It's about reps and cohesion and familiarity for Allen and his new-look Raiders in this game, broadcast now on KICU Channel 36 at 7 p.m. in the Bay Area. Four questions, then, in the form of downs, facing fans and the Raiders heading into their final exhibition game

First down -- Who can make their best case tonight?
Second down -- Who is affected the most by this week's signings of returners Roscoe Parrish and Coye Francies?

Knee-jerk answer -- Eddie McGee, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Chimdi Chekwa and, drum roll please, Jacoby Ford. Wait, what? Hear me out. Parrish was signed to return punts and unless he falls on his face in Seattle -- he's averaged 12.0 yards per punt return in his career and the Raiders are averaging 4.4 yards this preseason -- Parrish makes the squad not only as the team's punt returner, but as its sixth receiver. And McGee did not acquit himself well last week against Detroit with his two slips and the ball that bounced off his hands for an interception.

Francies, meanwhile, is a kick returner and defensive back, so the two second-year DBs in Van Dyke and Chekwa have been put on notice, so to speak. Neither of the youngsters have played particularly well in the preseason, despite Van Dyke having a strong start to camp.

So how does this affect Ford? Well, Ford was supposed to act as both the punt and kick returner this season but his injuring his foot in Arizona in the second preseason game forced the Raiders' hand in trying out others at the gigs. And while Ford, who will not play against the Seahawks, is also Oakland's third receiver, guess who else plays the slot -- Parrish. Just something to chew on while watching the game.

Trump targets Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch in Twitter rant

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USATI

Trump targets Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch in Twitter rant

MEXICO CITY – The President of the United States has taken several shots at players who choose to sit during the national anthem.

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch was in his crosshairs early Monday morning.

Trump was bothered by Lynch’s actions before Sunday’s 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots at Estadio Azteca.

Lynch sat for the United States’ national anthem, as he has in every game this season. Then he stood for Mexico’s anthem, though he spent most of that song getting his equipment adjusted.

The President took exception in a Twitter rant that has become a staple of his presidency.

It is believed that Lynch is sitting in protest of racial inequality, a movement popularized by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, though he has never declared that publicly. He refused to answer questions on that topic this summer.

That hasn’t stopped Trump from demanding he be suspended the rest of the season for his actions. The league won’t do that.

Trump won’t get his way, but with a quick tweet he brought the issue to the Raiders’ doorstep in what will become a topic in Alameda all week.

Lynch was probably asleep when Trump’s tweet went public at 5:25 a.m. ET, and therefore hasn’t responded in any way.

Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the Patriots

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USATSI

Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the Patriots

MEXICO CITY – Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City:

1. So you’re saying there’s a chance?

The Raiders aren’t stacking wins as they’d like. Nobody in the AFC West is, either. The Chiefs lost another one, meaning the AFC West crown remains within reach. They’re two games back in the division and one back in the wild card race.

That, above all else, will keep the Raiders motivated after a disastrous loss to New England.

“We're professionals and to me, so long as you have hope, you keep your hope, you keep hope alive,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “So, we'll continue to scratch and claw and fight for everything we can.”

The Raiders can harken Lloyd Christmas from “Dumb and Dumber.” So you’re saying there’s a chance?

The Raiders will only stay in it if they start a prolonged winning streak. There’s a chance do that on an upcoming two-game home stand. They play Denver and the New York Giants, respectively, in Oakland over the next fortnight. Those teams have five wins between them.

Wins can’t be assumed with the Raiders. With their inconsistency and mistake-prone play, they can lose to anyone.

Fight remains in this group. They’ll continue to push, especially with a 9-7 record being a legitimate playoff contender. They haven’t played worthy of such consideration, but remain hopeful a switch gets flipped.

“We are who we are, we're not going to turn on each other, we're not going to turn on anything about what we do,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “Obviously, we know that our culture and everything that we do works, because we have seen it work.”

2. Receiver corps becoming a weak spot

The Raiders have a talented group of receivers lacking consistency and production. That was the case on Sunday, when pass catchers hindered offensive flow and scoring opportunities.

Seth Roberts was the biggest offender. He had a drop, a false start and lost a fumble near the goal line with the Patriots up 14-0 late in the first half. Roberts had 12 yards in his pocket but held the ball one-handed, away from his body fighting for more. Marquis Flowers knocked it free and Patrick Chung recovered.

That was the turning point, a true 10-point swing. The Raiders lost a chance to reach the end zone, and allowed New England to get a field goal as the half expired.

“That was a major turn of events,” Del Rio said.

The slot receiver wasn’t the only receiver who stalled the Raiders offense. That group had five drops, according to Pro Football Focus, including two from Michael Crabtree. Johnny Holton wasn’t credited with a drop, but he had a perfectly thrown deep ball clang off his helmet and shoulder pads.

It’s a bad night in a bad year for the Raiders receivers, who haven’t been producing.

3. Lopsided score keeps Marshawn from going Beast Mode

Running back Marshawn Lynch was the only player who had a good Sunday. The bruising back ran roughshod over New England’s front seven, right from the start. He totaled 67 yards on 11 carries, and seemed primed for a big day and a higher-than-usual carry volume.

He and the Raiders run blocking was consistent, allowing him to reach the second level on several occasions.

The lopsided score, however, meant the Raiders had to abandon the ground game.

“I thought we ran the ball well early,” Del Rio said. “I would like to have ended up with 30-plus rush attempts in the ball game, but you got to stay within reasonable amount of the score in order to stick with the run.”

The Raiders were down two touchdowns in a flash, and were three scores behind at the half. That forced Derek Carr to chuck it towards an unreliable receiver corps. That method proved inefficient and never created the big moments.

Lynch has run well since returning from a one-game suspension. He has 25 carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games. If there’s a positive to take from Sunday’s beat down, Lynch’s efficiency might be it.