Raiders

Goodell: A Whack-A-Mole who makes eight figures

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Goodell: A Whack-A-Mole who makes eight figures

On the one hand, Roger Goodell recusing himself from the New Orleans Bounty Dance judging panel is good thing.

On the other, replacing himself with his former boss, Paul Tagliabue, is not.

On the third hand, maybe this is a step toward getting Goodell out of the prosecutorjudgejuryappeals court business, which is a good thing.

And on the fourth, maybe its also a sign that commissioners should either be paid by both players and owners so impartiality has a chance to flourish and absurd hatefest impasses can be minimized.

Nahhh. Thatll never work.

But it should. Either that, or the commissioners job should be temped out to some hiring hall that also furnishes court reporters, actuaries and consultants. I mean, in the last few years . . . well, lockouts, actually . . . weve seen through the veil and now understand that commissioners get paid not to oversee the game but to take sandwich orders from the owners and kick the players union in the groin on command.

Thats why they get booed every time they pop up in public, a festival a Whack-A-Mole that gets the mole paid in eight figures every year. And they get the job so that some owner doesnt have to be the mole. That alone is worth 10 extra large a year.

But you can see we already are exceeding our jurisdiction on the news that Goodell has decided to get off the HMS Bounty and concentrate on things that dont make him look so . . . well, relentlessly vindictive, high-handed and bullying. I mean, its nice work if you can get it, but it wears on a fella after awhile.

Goodell became a national villain over the last year or so, which was not part of the master plan when he took the job. He came in, punished a few miscreant players, and everyone cheered. Then he became the face of the lockout, and fewer people cheered. Then he got stuck neck-deep in the ongoing hilarity that is Louisiana politics, football style, and suddenly he looked like the hall monitor whose shorts ride up periodically so he takes it out on the students.

This, even at his magnificent salary and benefits, is not what he signed up for. And while hell still have to be the public mean guy so that Bob Kraft can go on pretending to be kindly old Uncle Bobby, some issues become a cavalcade of diminishing returns.

So, confronted by the knowledge that he was becoming caricatured as what he essentially is the owners beat cop, with all the objectivity of a Chicago ward-heeler he decided to pass this particular cup of merlot-gone-vinegar to Tagliabue, who used to be commissioner when being the commissioner meant a lot more invisibility.

Tagliabue was indeed the Bowie Kuhn of football, someone who tried to keep the demands of the job from lapping too forcefully at the door of his summer house. The commissioners job at the time was in many ways not much more powerful than being an owners cabana boy, and Tagliabue wasnt really asked to address the tougher questions of the day. He was a head, with someone elses figure.

But Goodells ascension meant more out-front work, more hands-on adjudications, more kicking the union into line, that sort of thing. He looked good doing it, and people largely approved.

The funny thing about being the front man, though, is that the sins of the invisible superiors eventually start becoming part of the front mans wardrobe, and then believabilitycredibilitysupport starts to rust and flake off. The New Orleans thing had become too much a drain on Goodells other work on behalf of his superiors, and people were beginning to sense that there was something inherently wrong with the arresting officer also being the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

So he passed that on to the guy he used to work for, and ultimately Tagliabue will get a nice little retainer for doing what Goodell would have done anyway. The process is still no more neutral than it was before, but at least Goodell doesnt end up looking quite so bad.

Until the next stupid thing one of his bosses clients does. Thats the thing about the job. Theyre not paying that kind of jack for any old P.R. work; and when the P.R. isnt going quite as good as you like, you either change the lineup, or you really change the lineup.

So think of Tagliabue in this instance as Colin Kaepernick. Hes getting a play, not the starting quarterback job. You still get the 49ers, for good or ill, but its something to change the mood a little.

Raiders put Amari Cooper in position to break out vs Chiefs

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AP

Raiders put Amari Cooper in position to break out vs Chiefs

Raiders receiver Amari Cooper has been creating steady separation for a few weeks now. That didn’t break him out of a prolonged slump.

Coaches were impressed by Cooper’s route running in a Week 5 loss to Baltimore. It only earned two targets and an eight-yard catch. They tried to find No. 89 more often in a Week 6 loss to the L.A. Chargers, though six targets generated five short catches for 28 yards.

Low production stretched through a four-game losing streak, with nine catches for 51 yards. Including stats from to early wins, Coopers season stats (18 catches, 146 yards and a touchdown) were worse than nearly 200 others.

Even that astonishment didn’t make Cooper demand the gosh darn football, please. The low-key Cooper attitude: The ball will find me.

It finally did in Thursday night’s 31-30 victory over Kansas City. Several times in fact.

Cooper had 11 catches for 210 yards and two touchdowns. He was targeted 19 times. Nineteen. That’s no coincidence.

They moved him around, including significant snaps in the slot. He was targeted 11 times from that position, per analytics site Pro Football Focus, and produced six catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.

They schemed opportunities and quarterback Derek Carr used them to create big plays early.

Carr’s first pass went 12-yards to Cooper. His third was a 38-yard touchdown strike. His seventh was an in-stride delivery that Cooper took across and then up the field for a 45-yard score.

Just like that, Cooper was off and running for the first time this year.

“We put him in positions to make plays, obviously,” Carr said. “We knew that there were certain things that we liked. Nothing changed in his demeanor or his mentality or the way he worked or anything like that. We just stayed the course. We know what we have here and we know that if we just stay the course and work and grind through the tough times.

“…For ‘Coop’ to just continue to grind and get on the other side of it, I just felt good for him. You guys know Amari. I think we all felt good for him.”

Cooper said the early explosive touches provided confidence. Ability produced a signature performance. The Alabama product is excellent extending production with his legs, and had 78 of his yards come after the catch. That’s an average of 7.1 yards after the catch per reception, per PFF.

His second touchdown reached him 15 yards downfield, and he hit the jets and reached the end zone. He turned a short catch into 15 crucial yards to start the game-winning two-minute drill, and later high pointed a 39-yard receptions.

“The way he finished after the catch was really special,” Carr said. “Obviously, we all know he can go up and get a ball and all those things. That second touchdown where he cam across, the burst that he had, that’s freakish. Not a lot of guys have that. To turn the jets on like that and just out run the angles of the defense, that was really special. I think just after the catch he just played with some dog in him, which we know he has. We were able to get him the ball and let him shine and do what he does.”

Cooper’s showcase was vital to a huge victory that kept his team in the hunt. It also ended a rough month where Cooper and the Raiders both struggled. Veteran running mate Michael Crabtree was never concerned with the downturn and told the young receiver to stay the course during tough times.

“(I told him), ‘Just be you,’” Crabtree said. “It’s just about everything coming together. Coop’s a fighter, man. Coop has got skills. I don’t worry about Coop and I’m sure he doesn’t worry about me. That’s why we are so good together.”

Reports: Peters to speak on Marshawn’s behalf during appeal hearing

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USATSI

Reports: Peters to speak on Marshawn’s behalf during appeal hearing

First it was Marshawn Lynch coming to the defense of Marcus Peters. Now, it appears the Oakland native is returning the favor. 

The Chiefs cornerback will be speaking on behalf of Lynch during the Raiders' running back's appeal of his one-game suspension, according to multiple national reports. The appeal will take place on Monday.

Lynch was ejected in the second quarter of the Raiders' 31-30 victory over the Chiefs on Thursday night. After the Chiefs and Raiders saw themselves in a heated exchange from a controversial late hit by Peters on Derek Carr, Lynch ran off the sidelines and came to the defense of his close friend Peters with multiple Raiders going after the young defensive back. 

But in doing so, Lynch put his hands on an official and was immediately ejected from the game. He was then handed his one-game suspension on Friday.

“They can say what they want to say, but one thing’s for certain: Family do come first," Peters said to Logan Murdock of The Mercury News on Thursday.

FOX Sports was first to report the news.