Raiders inspired by Warriors title run: 'Makes you dream those dreams'

Raiders inspired by Warriors title run: 'Makes you dream those dreams'

ALAMEDA – Derek Carr is from Bakersfield. That’s Lakers country. It certainly was with Kobe Bryant in his prime.

The Raiders quarterback will always stick with that team, but he got caught up in the Warriors NBA championship run. He lives in the East Bay now, and was pulling for his current home team to win a title. That happened Monday night, when the Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the NBA finals.

“I’ve been a Lakers fan and will be forever. Kobe’s my favorite athlete ever, but I root for the hometown team,” Carr said after Tuesday’s minicamp practice. “So to see them do that and see what it does for our city, it’s great that our city can experience something like that. All the Warriors fans, most of them anyway, are Raiders fans if they don’t travel back across the Bay and root for that other team. Whenever you have something going on the Bay Area, there’s no better place to win. It’s really cool.”

It also makes Carr think about bringing another title to the Bay Area.

“It makes you hungry every time you see another team celebrate a championship,” Carr said. “It makes you dream those dreams you had as a kid, of standing on the stage, holding trophies up. It was fun to watch and I’m happy for those guys. Hopefully they win a whole lot more.”

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio is from Hayward. He’s a longtime Warriors fan who has been visible at several key games this season, including the clincher at Oracle Arena.

“It was awesome to be over at the game last night and see the Warriors win a world championship and do it with that crowd,” Del Rio said. “It was a spectacular crowd full of happy people. It was great to be a part of that.”

The Raiders haven’t played a home playoff game next door at Oalkand Coliseum since 2002, though ending that streak is a realistic prospect in the 2017 season. Del Rio would like to help the Raiders go on a playoff run this season that includes a few home dates.

“Playing at home is something you have to earn,” Del Rio said. “Our fans here are the best, That atmosphere last night was great to be a part of. Regular season games are fun, but it always ramps up in the playoffs. We’d love to earn those opportunities in the future.”

Said running back DeAndre Washington: "You see that and understand that Bay Area fans are the real deal. When the Raiders win, it’s a different type of excitement. Congrats to the Warriors, and it definitely inspired us to bring one to the city."

Raiders retain E.J. Manuel, now have four QBs on the roster


Raiders retain E.J. Manuel, now have four QBs on the roster

The Raiders have a lot of quarterbacks under contract, certainly more than they’ll have come September.

That means the battle to be Derek Carr’s backup should be fierce. EJ Manuel had that title last year, with a shot to retain it after re-signing with the club on Thursday afternoon.

Veteran Josh Johnson signed up Monday, and those two will join third-year man Connor Cook behind Carr on the depth chart.

New head coach Jon Gruden loved Cook coming out of the draft, but the Michigan State alum failed to earn the backup job last season and must make a move up the depth chart to kickstart his career.

Manuel has a strong arm and starting experience, making him a steady and solid backup option. He completed 24-of-43 passes for 265 yards, a touchdown and an interception in two games when Carr was hurt.

Johnson might be a camp arm at this point, though he’ll be given a chance to compete this spring and summer.

Carr has been hurt for at least a small stretch in each of the last two seasons. Having Manuel in that spot might offer stability.

Gruden addressed last year’s backup quarterbacks last month at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Gruden on Manuel: “I think EJ is a young, talented guy,” Gruden said. “He’s been in the facility working out on his own every day. There is a bright upside to him, too, as a young quarterback to keep working with. He’s a free agent, but the Philadelphia Eagles proved that’s a pretty damn important position, isn’t it? Right? So we have to address that and see where we are.”

Gruden on Cook: “I am kind of surprised Connor hasn’t played in two years, other than the playoff game he got in as a rookie. After Derek got hurt last year, they turned the ball to EJ. I don’t know where Connor Cook is. I am frustrated right now that I can’t spend any time with him, but, April 9th (when the Raiders offeseason program starts) will be an exciting day for me and Connor Cook.”

Raiders sign tackle Breno Giacomini


Raiders sign tackle Breno Giacomini

The Raiders need help at right tackle, the lone vacancy along their offensive line. They signed a veteran presence on Thursday afternoon, adding 32-year old Breno Giacomini as the frontrunner to join the starting five.

He has 86 starts in 94 career games, and has been a full-time starter three of the last four years. Giacomini spent 2017 in Houston and the previous three seasons with the New York Jets.

He was a Seattle Seahawk before that, working with Raiders offensive line coach Tom Cable for three of his four years there. Cable gave Giacomini his first chance to start in the second half of 2011, and held the post through 2012.

The bond between the two is clearly strong, considering what Giacomini tweeted shortly after Cable got fired in Seattle.

Coach and player will reunite, hoping to provide steadiness on the right side of the Raiders offensive line.

He’ll compete for a starting spot with Vadal Alexander, second-year pros David Sharpe and Jylan Ware and possibly a drafted player. Giacomini should be considered the favorite unless the Raiders use an early pick on an offensive lineman.

Giacomini has plenty of starts, but his Pro Football Focus numbers aren’t pretty. The analytics says he allowed nine sacks, eight quarterback hits and 64 pressures with Houston last year. He had some decent years under Cable, and a return to that form might push him into the starting lineup for good. Time will tell on that front.