Raiders notes: TE Boss injures left knee


Raiders notes: TE Boss injures left knee

Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comSAN FRANCISCO -- More than an organization held its breath when recently-acquired tight end Kevin Boss limped off the field Saturday night.So, too, did a fan base.Boss had just caught his first pass of the game, a clutch 14-yard reception across the middle from Trent Edwards that put the Raiders at the 49ers' 12-yard line late in the second quarter, when something went wrong."After I caught that pass," Boss said, "the guy came and just put his helmet on the knee."Tarell Brown was credited with the tackle, Boss spent most of the second half with a huge ice pack on his left knee and Raiders coach Hue Jackson called the injury "a minor strain."Boss was asked after the Raiders' eventual 17-3 defeat if it was a minor injury.RECAP: Hunter Runs 49ers past Raiders 17-3"It's hard to tell," he said. "It's nothing serious, that's for sure. Take a little time to heal up."Boss was signed to a four-year, 16-million free agent deal on Aug. 5, after the Raiders lost Pro Bowler Zach Miller to Seattle.The Raiders surrendered 239 yards rushing to the 49ers, 100 yards in the first half, when the starters were in the game.So were they surprised at how easily the 49ers carved up their defense on the ground?"They had a good day," said defensive end Matt Schaughnessy, who also had an interception. "You can't take anything away from them."Gutierrez: Raiders take major steps backwardRookie cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke, on his first NFL start: "I was nervous the first play, but after that, I was just playing ball. The speed of the game slowed down a lot for me the second game. I got my feet wet the first game and I was much better tonight."Right tackle Khalif Barnes admitted he was surprised the Raiders' hard work in camp did not translate onto the field at Candlestick Park."We've been grinding and digging and going after each other and tonight was a night to try and get after somebody else," Barnes said. "But we didn't start fast and we made some mistakes. If everybody fixes the mistakes they made, we'll come back stronger."Right guard Bruce Campbell also made his 2011 exhibition debut and immediately got into it with 49ers defensive tackle Will Tukuafu on his first two plays."Of course," Campbell said. "I mean, I've been out for a while. In practice, I've got to make sure I practice on my leverage."In the second half, Oakland had a line with a rookie in Stefen Wisniewski at center, Cambell at right guard and another rookie in Joseph Barksdale at right tackle."Pretty much it's three rookies," Campbell said, "so we're just trying to get a connection going now so we all can flow if anything happens later on the line."Added Barksdale: "You focus on what you do, but at the end of the day you're still a unit with 11 moving parts. It takes 11 people to score and we've got to get those 11 on the same page."Besides Boss and quarterback Jason Campbell being knocked out of the game after taking a knee to the helmet -- he was scheduled to take a concussion test -- Jackson said the only other Raiders player to emerge injured was safety Jerome Boyd, with a contusion to a leg.There were no surprises in the list of Raiders "scratches," as receivers Jacoby Ford (left hand), Shawn Bayes (unknown), Louis Murphy (hamstringgroin) and Chaz Schilens (knee), running backs Darren McFadden (fractured left eye orbital) and Taiwan Jones (hamstring), James McCluskey (unknown), safeties Hiram Eugene (dislocated left hip), Mike Mitchell (unknown) and Zac Etheridge (knee), cornerback Chris Johnson (unknown) and offensive linemen Lou Eliades (unknown) and Alan Pelc (unknown). Also, while offensive lineman Stephon Heyer (strained right triceps) was not listed as scratched, he was not in uniform.

Will a Gruden-Lynch partnership work? ‘Guys like him interest me’


Will a Gruden-Lynch partnership work? ‘Guys like him interest me’

Jon Gruden asked to speak with Marshawn Lynch several times but got turned down.

His job title earned an automatic veto. The enigmatic running back doesn’t talk to the press, even a Monday Night Football analyst with Gruden’s street cred. No production meetings, no insight flowing outside the inner circle.

Lynch must honor the next request. Gruden’s his boss, after all.

“I’m anxious to sit down with Marshawn and meet him,” the new Raiders head coach said Tuesday during his introductory press conference. “We’ll talk about his future and the Raiders. I can’t wait. He came back to the Raiders for similar, I think, reasons that I did. I think he loves Oakland. I think he loves the Raiders and guys like him interest me, so I’m looking forward to talking to him.”

The veteran running back and Oakland native has a year left on a two-year deal struck last April. The 2018 payouts, per, include a $4 million base salary, a $250,000 workout bonus, a $1 million roster bonus and $750,000 in per-game roster bonuses. There are also significant performance-based incentives.

Marshawn is under contract, but also has some say in this matter. He could post an image of cleats hanging on a telephone wire like he did after the 2016 Super Bowl and call it a career. Lynch made it clear in a rare press conference that he didn’t miss football. He returned for the opportunity to play in front of a East Bay community he champions and bring attention to his significant charitable efforts.

There are several possible outcomes from the Gruden/Lynch tete-a-tete. Gruden might not consider him worth the while. Lynch may walk away, for good this time. Or, the two could traverse 2018 together.

Predicting Marshawn’s movements is a fool’s errand. We can, however, make an educated pros and cons list. Let’s take a look at some factors influencing the ultimate outcome.


-- The phrase in Gruden’s last sentence above may have tipped his hand: “Guys like him interest me.” Lynch is an intense presence, one of his generation’s most physical runners. Gruden can use on-field talents like him, though it’s uncertain whether he’s a perfect fit in an offense that has certainly evolved during nine years in the broadcast booth.

Also, Gruden loves Oakland. Lynch loves Oakland. That may be a good starting point.

-- Marshawn still has it. The 31-year old was the Raiders’ most productive skill player in 2017’s second half. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry over the last season games, totaling 625 rushing yards and five touchdowns. He also had at least 92 yards total offense in five of those contests. When he’s motivated and healthy – he didn’t miss a single practice with injury – Lynch can be a force on the ground

-- Gruden reportedly hired Tom Cable as offensive line coach a few days back. That’s probably a plus from Lynch’s perspective. Cable was Seattle offensive line coach, and heavily involved in the running game, during Lynch’s best seasons. He ran a system that fit Lynch well, though Gruden said schemes will be based around team strengths. Lynch and Cable reportedly get along well, and could be a major reason why Lynch finds it appetizing to return.

-- Lynch carried locker room clout. Last year’s coaching staff didn’t love him, but player certainly did.


-- Lynch comes with some baggage. He’s an eccentric sort who does his own thing, at times without regard for small rules. That may rub Gruden and staff the wrong way. It certainly bothered Del Rio’s crew, especially when he seemed to have his own set of rules.

The Raiders tolerated Lynch’s choice to sit during the national anthem all year, despite being vocal against such actions the year before. He also had a production crew following him around quite often, especially in camp.

He got suspended for sticking up for the other team in Week 7, protecting great friend, Oakland native and Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters in an on-field altercation. He then practiced with his old high school during the suspension.

Gruden may not love the prospect of dealing with extra weight, depending on how strict he plans to be during this coaching tenure.

-- Lynch turns 32 in April. While Lynch might be an exception, running backs often fall off a production cliff in their early 30s. Can the Raiders get good value from Lynch at that age, knowing full well another running back might be added to the roster?

-- Lynch may simply not be into another year in Oakland. He enjoyed taking 2016 off, travelling the world and increasing charitable and business endeavors. Is his drive still strong?

Report: Former Raiders head coach returning to join Gruden's staff


Report: Former Raiders head coach returning to join Gruden's staff

Jon Gruden isn’t the only Raiders head coach returning to the Silver and Black.

Tom Cable’s on the way, albeit in a lesser role. Gruden already has the top job. Cable’s coming back, NFL Network reported Saturday afternoon, as offensive line coach.

He occupied that role in Oakland from 2007 until he assumed the head coach role when Lane Kiffin was fired five games into the 2008 season. The interim tag was lifted in 2009, and he coached the Raiders to an 8-8 record in 2010.

He followed that feat with the now famous quote, “We’re not losers anymore.” The Raiders had seven straight losing seasons before finishing .500 in what would be Cable’s last season with the club. He was 17-27 in two-plus seasons as Raiders head coach.

He went to Seattle after that, and spent seven seasons as Seahawks assistant head coach in charge of the offensive line. He also worked extensively with Marshawn Lynch during the rusher’s salad days in Seattle.

Cable returning to the Raiders seemed highly unlikely after late owner Al Davis detailed Cable’s misgivings in a post-firing press conference. Cable was allegedly involved in a 2009 incident where then Raiders assistant Randy Hanson was left with a broken jaw. ESPN also aired a report where three women accused Cable of domestic violence. One of Cable’s accusers sued Cable and named the Raiders as a co-defendant. Davis docked Cable’s pay in relation to that litigation.

Cable is a respected position coach, though the Seahawks offensive line has fallen on hard times. He and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell were fired after a disappointing season where the Seahawks missed the postseason.

Offensive line coach was a top priority as Gruden built a staff. Cable is known for using a zone blocking scheme, though it remains uncertain what he’ll use in Oakland with a powerful, expensive offensive front locked in place save the right tackle spot.