Raiders notes: Why did Palmer wait to throw to McFadden?


Raiders notes: Why did Palmer wait to throw to McFadden?

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- There was a reason Carson Palmer seemingly held onto the ball forever before throwing to Darren McFadden at the goal line late in the first half of the Raiders' eventual 35-13 defeat Sunday, and Palmer's pause seemingly had something to do with McFadden bobbling and dropping the pass.Rolling out to the right from the seven-yard line, Palmer was trying to look off a creeping cornerback in the end zone and get him to commit to one side."The cornerback had outside leverage on us and I came outside the pocket and got him where I wanted him," Palmer said. "I looked him inside and (he) stopped his feet and looked up, and I threw the ball to (McFadden) and unfortunately we didn't convert that play."Rather, the ball popped off McFadden's chest for an incompletion and three plays later, the Raiders had to settle for a 25-yard field goal and a 10-7 halftime lead.
RELATED: Raiders-Dolphins play-by-play recap
Keep in mind McFadden had been pocked in the left eye earlier in the quarter and would return with a protective visor on his helmet. He said he would wear the shield for the foreseeable future."It's very disappointing, but like I say, It's a long season, it's not a sprint," McFadden said of the team's 0-2 start. "It's a long run so we have to just keep pushing forward and getting better every week."Denarius Moore made his season debut and started, finishing with three receptions for 67 yards, including a 31-yard catch and run.But he was also targeted five other times as he and Darrius Heyward-Bey were each agreed a team-high eight times.Moore also had to leave for the locker room in the third quarter with cramping issues. So did the South Florida heat and humidity overwhelm Moore and the Raiders?"Man, you cant look at it like that," Moore said. "At the end of the day, it's 11 guys lined up against each other, playing football. That's all we know how to do and we just got to come out and compete."Long snapper Jon Condo, who was knocked out of Monday's season opener with a "friendly-fire" concussion and cleared to play on Saturday, admitted he was nervous before the Miami game."Am I going to be timid running down the field?" he said of the thought floating through his pre-game mind. "I just wanted to get that first rep and get running down the field. I got out there and I felt the energy and stuff like that and I felt like it was any other day out there snapping."Except, it was not. Not when he was wondering how he would react after the first hit."I just wanted to get some contact to the head to see how it feels, and I did," Condo said."The first punt, running down the field, there was a kid (on the Dolphins who) kept on saying something to me, I don't remember, but I just wanted to hit him, just to feel, just to see if I was really all right."He was. There were no long snapping snafus, as there were a week earlier, though a few of his snaps to punter Shane Lechler were a but high. Condo said he spent the week resting up and staying out of the sunlight to recuperate from the concussion.For the second game in a row, tight end Brandon Myers set a personal record for catches and yards, going for six receptions for 86 yards against the Dolphins. On Monday, he caught five passes for 65 yards.He was in no mood, though, to discuss his personal accolades. Not when the Raiders were embarrassed by the Dolphins."We've just got to establish the run," he said. "Our whole offense is based around the run. So, we've got to get there, fill in the holes and make some plays."Keep grinding. It's a long season. It sounds cliche but we just got to stick together."Per coach Dennis Allen, the only Raiders injuries to report were a strained groin to right tackle Khalif Barnes and a sprained right foot by cornerback Shawntae Spencer.Palmer, on how close the team is to breaking out offensively, despite two demoralizing losses: "Just one win gives you that confidence, it gets that bad taste out of your mouth and this team can catch fire. This team's explosive enough to catch fire and it starts with one win and we're looking to do that once we get home at the 'O' and play in front of our fans."In running for -1 yard on six carries after halftime, it was the second time in as many games the Raiders had negative yards rushing in the second half this season. They had -3 against the Chargers on Monday. The only other team Oakland had negative rushing yards in the second half was a -4 against San Diego in 1998.

Irvin, Mack given a day off from Raiders practice


Irvin, Mack given a day off from Raiders practice

ALAMEDA – Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin were out at Raiders practice Wednesday for the stretching period. Both edge rushers left one-at-a-time during the individual period, which open to the press, headed into the main building and did not return.

There was no reaction, certainly no surprise, from the coaching staff or players on the field. Irvin and new defensive coordinator John Pagano were seen joking around on the field before practice began in earnest. 

Both guys were given a day off, one scheduled earlier in the day. A Raiders official called it a day off/rest-type day that was not injury related. The Silver and Black typically practice in pads or shells on Wednesday, but were in jerseys and sweats in the interest of recovery.

Wednesday marked the first practice Irvin has missed since training camp. Mack hasn’t missed one in months.

Mack and Irvin’s downtime comes a day after beloved defensive coordinator Ken Norton’s firing.

Mack and Irvin especially were among those loyal to Norton. Mack and Norton developed a bond after the coach was named defensive coordinator in 2015. Norton and Irvin go way back to their days together in Seattle. Irvin credits Norton for helping him get on the right path and stay there.

Neither player was happy Norton got the axe. Irvin made his displeasure clear, tweeting “BULLS***” shortly after news of Norton’s demise broke. Mack told ESPN “I like to keep my thoughts private.”

It isn’t immediately clear if the non-injury related day off was related to Norton’s dismissal. Head coach Jack Del Rio won’t speak to the media again until Friday. New defensive coordinator John Pagano is scheduled to speak Thursday afternoon.

Del Rio addressed the media before Wednesday’s practice, and was asked how he’ll handle players unhappy with the in-season shake-up.

“I don’t try and 'handle' them,” Del Rio said. “I think the biggest thing is to understand the relationship, respect that, give him a little space and then at the end of the day, we’re going to get on with our work. But, I’m human. It wasn’t easy for me either.”

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.”