Raiders camp report (731): The 'Plus-30' Club


Raiders camp report (731): The 'Plus-30' Club

Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comSaturday, July 31Practice No. 4

Summary: In the movie "Logan's Run," these players would have been, well, taken out behind the Napa Marriott and put down. In Hue Jackson's first training camp as an NFL head coach, they got the day off. Jackson called it the Plus-30 Club and any player over the ripe old age of 30 got the day off, save for backup quarterback Kyle Boller and running back Michael Bennett. Both of whom are fighting for jobs. Could the break have been because it was the day after the Raiders' first padded practice of camp? Most likely. In any event, it was another spirited, physical practice, even if the players were only in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts. Injury report: Receiverkick returner Jacoby Ford was nowhere to be found after breaking his left hand in practice on Saturday. Rookie cornerback Chimdi Chekwa sat out with his left arm in a sling a day after his shoulder "popped out" on a hit-and-wrap drill. Rookie running back Taiwan Jones sat out a day after a lower body "nick." Defensive end Trevor Scott (knee), offensive lineman Bruce Campbell (knee) and receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (undisclosed) continued working on their own.Eye on reps: With both Ford and Heyward-Bey sidelined by injury, the injury-prone Chaz Schilens has taken advantage. He has been healthy and dominated as the No. 1 receiver on Sunday, going deep and beating Sterling Moore, Tyvon Branch and Stevie Brown. The coaches held their collective breath, though, when Schilens was tackled. But he popped right back up. Also, rookie receiver David Ausberry was impressive on a slant, along with Denarius Moore, who made an acrobatic grab.Extra work: In one-on-one drills, left tackle Jared Veldheer and defensive end Matt Schaughnessy waged a spirited battle. A year ago, Shaughnessy essentially had his way with the Division-II offensive lineman. But on Sunday, Veldheer more than held his own.Coaching moment: Much has been made about the up-tempo speed of the first four practices. And while the Raiders were not in full pads Sunday, things still get testy. Like when Louis Murphy beat Jeremy Ware and new offensive coordinator Al Saunders sprinted onto the field to get in Murphy's earhole. "That's," Saunders screamed, "what tempo gets here."Notable: The Raiders have officials working the scrimmages to get more of a gameday feel in camp. So it was amusing to see receivers coach Sanjay Lal run onto the field to complain after Nick Miller was absolutely mugged by rookie Sterling Moore on a deep pass and no flag was thrown. "We led the league in penalties (yardage) last year," Jackson said. "That's a fact. It's something that we have to get better at."Quotable: "There have been some great players that have played here and we need to uphold that standard, and that's what we talked about -- put on for this city. That's a song that everybody talks about. It's our turn to put on for this city and we're going to rep this city and we're going to do it well." - Hue JacksonNext practice: Monday, 3:30 p.m.

Del Rio: 'Nobody should feel comfortable,' following Norton firing


Del Rio: 'Nobody should feel comfortable,' following Norton firing

ALAMEDA – Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio put out a statement Tuesday explaining why he fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.

He went into greater detail Wednesday afternoon, his first time facing the media since a change was made

Specifics will be discussed further down this story. We don’t, however, want to bury the lede.

Del Rio’s main message wasn’t about Norton. It applied to all in Silver and Black. This season has not met lofty expectations. That is unacceptable.

“I know one thing,” Del Rio said. “Nobody should feel comfortable, because what I’ve been watching is not good enough.”

Del Rio didn’t absolve himself from blame. Norton got fired, but everyone has played a part in this disappointing 4-6 record.

“It’s always shared,” Del Rio said. “A change was made, obviously. We all share in it, all of us, starting with me. It’s coaches and players. It’s a team game, and we’re all in it together. And nobody is coming to help us.”

The Raiders must look inward to start a prolonged winning streak they’ve shown little evidence they can create.

The seat will be warm under players and coaches alike, even if only one change was made. Expect further shakeup on the coaching staff after the season, if vast improvements don’t come down the stretch, possibly with several position coaches being shown the door. More than a few higher profile players could be cut or allowed to leave, especially on defense.

While Del Rio has taken more heat the past month than at any other time in his Raiders tenure, expect him to be around a longer term. He was given a contract extension in February, and has significant capitol built after changing the culture in Oakland and re-teaching this team how to win. One bad year, even if this season continues heading downhill, shouldn’t erase that.

Del Rio was looking to shake things up, and Norton was the obvious move. Experienced play caller John Pagano was on staff – he was Chargers defensive coordinator from 2012-2016 – and firing the popular Pagano’s style could create some new waves and looks that any offensive Norton would make an impact in the locker room and prove this story’s opening quote, that no one should feel comfortable.

Del Rio hopes firing Norton will be a shock to the defense’s system.

“I really felt like I needed to shake things up,” Del Rio said. “We couldn’t continue doing what we’ve been doing to this point. So I made the call. The whole idea is to change what we’re doing and make sure…what I’m looking for at the end of the day is for us to play fast on defense. We weren’t playing fast enough. We weren’t playing confident enough.”

Broncos name new starting quarterback ahead of game vs Raiders


Broncos name new starting quarterback ahead of game vs Raiders

ALAMEDA — It’s time to see conclusively if quarterback Paxton Lynch is a bust or just a late bloomer.

The Denver Broncos’ former first-round draft pick will make his first start this weekend at Oakland, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Denver coach Vance Joseph won’t announce his starter until Wednesday.

General manager John Elway moved up in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft to select Lynch with the 26th overall pick, but the former Memphis QB proved to be a project.

Trevor Siemian, a 2015 seventh-rounder from Northwestern, handily beat out Lynch in 2016 and again this season. Shortly after coming up short in Denver’s quarterback competition for the second time, Lynch bruised his throwing shoulder against Green Bay in a preseason game.

That led to the re-signing of Peyton Manning’s longtime backup, Brock Osweiler, who had been released by Cleveland following a trade from Houston.

Osweiler supplanted a turnover prone Siemian (10 interceptions, two lost fumbles) three weeks ago but went winless in his three starts, including a 20-17 defeat to Cincinnati on Sunday in which Lynch was active for the first time.

On Monday, Joseph fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and replaced him with quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave.

McCoy raised eyebrows with his overly complex game plans and stubbornness in sticking to three-receiver formations despite a flurry of sacks, flags and turnovers that resulted from a porous line and lack of depth at tight end and wide receiver.

Joseph said he wanted Musgrave, who guided the Raiders’ offense from 2015-16, to simplify the game plans.

Although no team has ever recovered from a 3-7 start to reach the playoffs, it will be interesting to see how Lynch’s promotion is met in the locker room.

Teammates have been effusive in their praise of the work ethic and leadership displayed by Osweiler and Siemian and they usually speak in terms of promise and potential when talking about Lynch, who’s never been known to get to work first and leave last like so many quarterbacks do.

Last week, when Lynch worked as the backup at practice for the first time and even handled some passing plays with the starters, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders praised Osweiler’s energy and experience that he brought to the equation and said what Lynch brings is a promising upside if he ever buckles down.

“Brock, he’s been there before, he’s been groomed by Peyton, so he understands the ins and outs of how to play quarterback,” Sanders said. “Paxton has a big-time arm, big-time talent. He has all the intangibles. It’s all about going out and getting more and more comfortable with the playbook, learning and growing as a player, becoming a pro.”

Lynch went 1-1 last year in place of an injured Siemian, losing to Atlanta and beating Jacksonville. He completed 49 of 83 passes for 497 yards and two TDs to go with an interception. He was sacked nine times.

He had to learn a new system when Gary Kubiak stepped down and was replaced by Joseph, who brought in McCoy to replace Rick Dennison.

With Musgrave’s promotion, Lynch will be working under his third system in less than two years in the NFL, albeit one that will be pared down for him.

He’ll face a Raiders defense going through its own shakeup . The Raiders fired defensive coordinator Ken North Jr. on Tuesday and coach Jack Del Rio handed those duties over to assistant head coach John Pagano.