Raiders

Jerry Jones helped make Los Angeles world's most-resistant football town

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AP

Jerry Jones helped make Los Angeles world's most-resistant football town

Jerry Jones thinks Roger Goodell is an overpaid buttinsky and mall cop and wants him to be served a great whopping helping of chicken-fried crow.

Fine. If Goodell gets a paycheck haircut, what care we? If he gets shown the door, not a problem. He went from amiable servant of the people to arrogant and bullying poop-emoji in quicksilver time, and one does not cross the boss too many times without being crossed off the list.

But the NFL’S ALREADY burgeoning list of issues has increased by one – the Los Angeles Sinkhole – and the man who presented that one was, yes, Jerry Jones.

Jones is the one who whipsawed the deal by which the St. Louis Rams moved west to solve a problem that wasn’t rather than run point on the San Diego Chargers/Oakland Raiders stadium time share plan that would have definitively solved two others – all because he liked Stan Kroenke’s portfolio a lot more than Dean Spanos’ billfold or Mark Davis’ rubber band.

But he also saw to it that Spanos would not be left in the cold and helped broker the deal that allowed him to go to L.A. anyway.

And what did all that Jerry arm-wrenching work do for his partners? It made Los Angeles the world’s most football-resistant town.

The citizens have voted with their feet and made the Rams an uncool thing and the Chargers a veritable slum. They choose with great and careful thought to avoid both the Coliseum and StubHub Center as though the game-day giveaway was an anthrax-coated trucker’s hat – not because they hate the Rams and Chargers, or because they love the Raiders so much, but because when push comes to shove, Californians say no by not caring.

And let’s be honest here – disinterest is worse than hatred.

There are those who have called this an embarrassment to the league, but that misses the target. The league is 32 men, of which only a few control the rest as long as everyone gets paid. And the strongest of those men wasted the Los Angeles “opportunity” and gutted the fan bases of two teams just for a real estate deal and because he just liked rolling with other billionaires.

And if the Raiders don’t hit the ground at a dead sprint in Las Vegas, there may be a third – although in fairness that is not so much Jones’ work as it is Davis’ persistence and ability to find tactical geniuses to guide him to what he wanted, even if it doesn’t turn out to be what he needs.

In short, whatever happens in the Goodell-v.-Jones battle, you have no rooting interest save perhaps mutually assured destruction. We can all live better with that as a possibility.

 

Does Gruden see Lynch, Crabtree on Raiders in 2018?

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USATSI

Does Gruden see Lynch, Crabtree on Raiders in 2018?

Jon Gruden doesn’t love offseason restrictions on player-coach interaction. They weren’t so strict when Gruden last coached nine years ago, but the new collective bargaining agreement prevents the new Raiders head coach from extended contact with his players at this stage in the NFL’s downtime.

He has, however, run into several Raiders stopping by the team’s Alameda complex.

Count running back Marshawn Lynch and receiver Michael Crabtree among them. Conversations with those talented, yet mercurial players will be key as Gruden and general manager Reggie McKenzie decide how best to use the salary cap.

Both guys have a long history of NFL production. Both guys are getting up there in age, and have some drawbacks. Both guys can be cut without a salary cap hit.

Gruden had nice things to say about both guys in a Wednesday interview with the Bay Area News Group.

He was asked directly if Lynch will be on the 2018 roster.

“I don’t know,” Gruden said. “I bumped into him. Some of these players that live locally do come to the facility to get a workout, see the trainer. I’ve been downstairs and met several guys. I have talked to Marshawn briefly. We’ll see. We’ll keep everybody posted. Right now, he’s our leading ball carrier. He’s our back, and we’re counting on him. Hopefully we get an opportunity to work together. That’s a man that has a lot of respect in this league as a player and I certainly have respect for him also.”

Lynch started slow but finished strong, and was the team’s best skill player in the season’s second half. He’s contracted to make up to $6 million in 2018.

Crabtree came up later in a discussion of what he likes on the roster.

“I got to bump into Crabtree,” Gruden said. “Hopefully we can get the best out of Crabtree and his career.”

Crabtree is coming off a down year following two stellar seasons in Oakland. He had just 58 catches for 618 yards – he still had eight touchdowns – but his targets and snaps decreased the last two weeks. He seemed at odds with the previous coaching staff, a group that was dismissed at season’s end.

Crabtree is set to make $7 million next season, though none of it is guaranteed.

Gruden meeting reinforces T.J. Carrie's desire to remain with Raiders

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USATSI

Gruden meeting reinforces T.J. Carrie's desire to remain with Raiders

PALO ALTO – Raiders cornerback T.J. Carrie became a father on Super Bowl Sunday. Newborn son Elijah Carrie has been the sole focus these last few weeks, as T.J. learns on the job how to be a dad.

Pardon him if he hasn’t thought much about impending free agency. The 2014 seventh-round pick turned full-time starter has a rookie deal expiring soon, with a raise on the horizon following his best season as a pro.

That’ll come in March. Early February, however, has kept him otherwise engaged.

“I’ve been so busy with my little one, and I haven’t been getting any sleep,” Carrie said Thursday. “Learning how to be a dad has been so engulfing that I haven’t delved into the details of what free agency will mean to me.”

Soul searching wasn’t required to realize his dream scenario. The East Bay native wants to stay in Oakland, with a Raiders team he loved as a kid.

“My intention is to be here,” Carrie said. “I’m a Bay Area guy, a hometown kid. I couldn’t see myself being anywhere else. This is a passion for me. I dreamed about playing for the Raiders for such a long time. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to play there for four years, I want to finish (with the Raiders).”

Carrie wants to work with a new Raiders regime. He visited the team’s Alameda complex on Wednesday and met with new head coach Jon Gruden and defensive assistants. The interaction left Carrie wanting more, furthering his belief that be belongs in Silver and Black.

“Coach Gruden is very energetic,” Carrie said. “He’s a coach that likes to have fun but it a very business oriented guy. There are a lot of things, I imagine, that are going to change, just from the way he has done things. It’s going to be different, but I embrace it. It’ll be very challenging entering into a new regime, but there are a lot of positive factors involved with it.”

The Raiders don’t have many cornerbacks under contract come mid-March. They released David Amerson, and could do the same with Sean Smith later this offseason. Gareon Conley should start at one spot, but everything else is wide-open entering free agency and the draft.

Carrie could find value on the open market after recording 70 tackles and nine passes defensed in 16 starts. He’ll explore his options further next month, before free agency begins in earnest March 14.

“I know March is really when it starts to go down,” Carrie said. “My son will be a little older then, so I can focus more on free agency and make some more decisions.”