Notes: Osweiler impacted by green laser aimed at his eyes

Notes: Osweiler impacted by green laser aimed at his eyes

MEXICO CITY – There was a large, pro-Raiders crowd at Estadio Azteca for Monday night’s clash between the Silver and Black and the Houston Texans.

The crowd tried to knock Houston off its game, and used more than just cheers to do so.

A fan shined a green laser into Brock Osweiler’s eyes starting in the second quarter, something that was certainly a distraction in the Raiders’ 27-20 victory over the Texans.

“I never want to say one thing is a difference maker,” Osweiler said, “but certainly having a laser zoomed in on your eye definitely affects how you play a game.”

NFL security went into the crowd to find the fan at halftime, but the laser showed up again in the third quarter.

Osweiler didn’t want to put too much weight on the adverse situation, but admitted it was an issue.

“As far as the laser goes, it was certainly very distracting,” Osweiler said. “I’ve never experienced a laser being shined into my eyeball in a football game, let alone a professional football game in the National Football League so I think that was certainly disappointing, but at the end of the day that is not why we lost the game. That was just one small factor, but it certainly affected how I was playing and able to see down field.”

The Raiders saw it on defense, and weren’t sure what to make of the situation.

“I saw it and I thought I was in the twilight zone a few times,” Raiders edge rusher Khalil Mack said, “but I didn't really know what it was.”

Malcolm make play of the day: Many consider Jamize Olawale’s 75-yard touchdown as the game-changing play that helped the Raiders surge to victory, but Raiders quarterback Derek Carr picked out a different play.

He highlighted inside linebacker Malcolm Smith’s tough tackle of Akeem Hunt for no gain twice to forced a turnover on downs. The spot was poor, but the Texans lost a challenge trying to overturn it.

Carr brought up Smith’s great effort on third down, shedding a tough block in time to bring Hunt down early. Smith actually did that twice to give his offense the ball back.

“Watch him on that play, he almost gets thrown because he's trying to get off the block and he almost, he could have easily quit, could have easily been blocked, but he kept fighting,” Carr said. “Malcolm made the play of the day right there. I think that's the play of the game that goes unseen and unheard, but that was the play.”

In addition to clutch tackling, Smith also had an interception earlier in the game.

Cooper’s great cut: Raiders receiver Amari Cooper scored the game-winning touchdown on Monday night, turning a short reception into a 35-yard into a massive gain.

Seth Roberts made a great block in front of him, but he broke free with an excellent cut that left Texans defenders grabbing air. Cooper surged through heavy traffic and found the end zone to give the Raiders a 27-20 lead later in the fourth quarter.

“The last game I had the same play and I kind of got it and got like a yard on it,” Cooper said. “So I just told myself to catch it and just get vertical and run and that's what I tried to do, so the cut was just instinctive.”

Davis, Goodell have pre-game chat: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was in Mexico City for the Raiders game, and was in a long conversation with Mark Davis on the sidelines before kickoff. Del Rio also stopped by to exchange pleasantries.

General manager Reggie McKenzie joined him for a spell. They'd all have things to discuss with Goodell, including  still exiled edge rusher Aldon Smith. Davis is also pushing to relocate to Las Vegas, with an application coming as early as this winter.

This ‘n that: The Raiders recorded their first four-game winning streak since 2002, which also marks their last winning season. …The Raiders have allowed just 19 points in the first quarter of games, which marks a league low. … Bruce Irvin recorded his third sack of the year against Houston, and matched Karl Joseph and Malcolm Smith with a team-high 10 tackles. …QB Derek Carr was 21-of-31 passing for 295 yards and three touchdowns, giving him a 117 pass rating. It’s the 11th time Carr has had a triple digit passer rating.

Reports: Marshawn Lynch to remain with Raiders in 2018


Reports: Marshawn Lynch to remain with Raiders in 2018

The Raiders signed veteran running back Doug Martin on Thursday, prompting many to believe the move meant the end of Marshawn Lynch's time in Oakland.

But as it has been expected, Martin is just another piece to go along with Lynch in the Raiders' backfield. According to multiple national reports, Lynch will remain in Silver and Black this upcoming season. 

The news will become official when the Raiders pay Lynch his $1 million roster bonus on Sunday. 

“One of the reasons I’m excited to be with the Raiders is to join forces with Lynch. We’ll see what happens," Jon Gruden told Insider Scott Bair at the NFL Scouting Combine. “We have to take a look at the entire roster, but I’m counting on him. I’m counting on him being a big part of this football team.”

Lynch, 31, rushed for 891 yards, averaging 4.3 yards per carry, and scored seven touchdowns for the Raiders in 2017. 

New Raiders cornerback supremely confident, 'here to dominate the league'


New Raiders cornerback supremely confident, 'here to dominate the league'

Rashaan Melvin has the supreme confidence of a No. 1 cornerback, with none of the pedigree. Top cover men are often drafted high, paid well or both, with a steady ascent to elite status.

This undrafted talent bounced around the league without job security, trying and often failing to find NFL footing.

Melvin spent time with Tampa Bay, Miami, Baltimore, New England and Miami again before establishing himself in Indianapolis. The Colts gave him a real shot and he took advantage, evolving into the team’s top cornerback. Last year was Melvin’s best, but it didn’t provide a long-term contract despite a bull market for cover men.

Melvin signed a one-year, $6.5 million deal with the Raiders on Friday, the type of prove-it deal that could establish a big payday down this time next year. The 28-year old doesn’t consider that pressure. Melvin knowns another big year's on the way, one that proves he's an elite cornerback

"I’m here to dominate the league," Melvin said Friday in a conference call. "It might be time for some new faces at the cornerback position. That’s my take on that. I’m excited for it.”

Melvin wouldn’t trade his long road for a conventional path, and believes experience both good and bad has prepared him for a pivotal season.

“I’ve been cut four times,” Melvin said. “I’ve been in four different locker rooms, and I was able to gain my teammates’ trust, my coaches’ trust and the organization’s trust as well. My confidence just grows over time. There are not a lot of players that can say they’ve been cut four times and end up in a situation where I’m at today. Like I said, it’s perfect timing. My work ethic, my style of play and the way I approach the game and the way I approach my job, my business, it speaks for itself.”

Melvin’s work ethic is unquestioned. His reputation as a grinder is well documented, especially after establishing himself in Indianapolis. Commitment to a craft has created a player with consistent coverage and ball skills.

Melvin was excellent last year. According to Pro Football Focus, Melvin created an incomplete pass (combining passes defensed and interceptions) on 23.6 percent of his targets.

Passers had a 60.3 passer rating against him in 2017, with just 29 completions for 328 yards on 55 targets. The passer rating was 86.6 in 2016, his only other season as a regular starter.

The Raiders need that type of player on the outside. They’ve had inconsistent cornerback play (that’s being kind) in recent seasons, and are hoping Melvin provides stability at a key position. The Northern Illinois alum has loftier aspirations, individually and as the leader of a young position group.

“The goal is to be the best player I can be, first-team All-Pro,” Melvin said. “I’m going to show my leadership, help these young guys out this year. They have tons of potential to be successful in their own careers. For me coming in here and being the leader and showing that, hey, this is what it takes to be successful in this football league, that’s what I’m willing to do. That’s what I’m willing to bring to the table. On the football field, but outside as well.”

Paying $6.5 million for all that would be a bargain. Melvin’s the key acquisition in a secondary built around 2016 first-round safety Karl Joseph and 2017 first-round cornerback Gareon Conley. This secondary can be solid if those guys can realize potential and Melvin’s a true No. 1 cornerback.

He considers that title appropriate, and is ready to show he’s more that a one-year wonder. The Raiders have great confidence in Melvin, something clear after targeting him early in the free-agent process. Financing’s always a big factor, but Friday’s meeting with head coach Jon Gruden, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and secondary coach Derrick Ansley convinced Melvin that Oakland’s a proper fit.

“I can relate to these guys,” Melvin said. “They have big plans for me, big plans for the organization. I was born to be a part of something special; that’s happening in Oakland. It was a good thing. We were able to get everything done, a deal done. I’m just excited to be here and I’m excited to see what the future holds for us as a team and me as a player.”