Raiders

Gabe Jackson 'still can't relax' after signing new deal with Raiders

Gabe Jackson 'still can't relax' after signing new deal with Raiders

Gabe Jackson logged just one season's NFL service when Rodney Hudson came to town. The veteran center joined the Raiders offensive line after signing a massive contract worth $44.5 million.

Kelechi Osemele donned silver and black the following year after signing a $58.5 million deal.

Those two deals made one message clear: The Raiders value interior offensive linemen.

The young guard took note. Jackson believed hard work, clean living and steady production could glean a deal like that. 

“I knew both Rodney and KO prior to them signing with us, mostly from watching them on film,” Jackson said Monday. “Those guys worked their butts off and were for being good players, so I figured I had a shot. There were no promises and nothing was guaranteed, but if I kept doing little things right and improving as a player, I believed I could find a long-term home here.”

Jackson has done exactly that. An excellent start to his NFL career was rewarded with a five-year, $56 million contract extension heading into the final season of his rookie deal.

The new pact was expected, part of a long-term plan to keep homegrown talent in house. Quarterback Derek Carr came first, with a five-year $125 million deal structured to allow Jackson’s deal to get done right away.

The Raiders are prepared to pay a few more guys. Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper should get extended in future years and form the backbone of this Raiders era.

All save Cooper were part of a tide-turning 2014 draft class that brought top talents in each of the first three rounds.

“Sometimes during the season we’ll reflect on our rookie year, when we were 0-10 and really struggling,” Jackson said. “There’s a real appreciation for where we are. We know what it’s like to lose, and now we know how good it feels to win. It’s great, and we want to keep this good thing going.”

Jackson has been excellent in three seasons, including a 2016 campaign where he moved from left guard to right for Osemele. His production never waned in a new position, and didn’t allow a sack in 735 pass-blocking snaps.

Jackson remains an efficient run blocker and pulling guard in open space. The Raiders were confident in his ability to sustain production and help lead the offense, easily dispensing a large sum to a still ascending talent.

Jackson said the deal came together in a week and a half, completed exactly one week after Carr’s deal got done. Jackson was in Las Vegas – where he’ll play the second half of this deal -- for Hudson’s bachelor party when an agreement was made. He was surrounded by friends and teammates when life-changing money was given in a moment he considers surreal.

“It was crazy, and I was just like, ‘Wow.’ I never could’ve imagined something like that going down,” the Mississippi State alum said. “I was excited, but at the same time I feel honored and blessed. All the hard work over the years lead to this opportunity. It’s finally here, but I still can’t relax. I don’t have to worry about another deal. I just worry about football and winning a championship.”

Jackson didn’t have grand plans for his big paychecks, though there’s a long-term vision that involves him going back home

“Nothing big,” Jackson said. “I’m just going to find some land in Mississippi and build a house. Eventually.”

Trump targets Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch in Twitter rant

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Trump targets Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch in Twitter rant

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

Raiders running back 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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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.