Raiders

Raiders seek to avoid layoffs with ticket sales plan

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Raiders seek to avoid layoffs with ticket sales plan

May 18, 2011RAIDERS PAGE RAIDERS VIDEO

ALAMEDA (AP) With no minicamps, offseason workouts or other football activities during the NFL lockout, every member of the Oakland Raiders organization is now part of the ticket staff.

Instead of forcing employees to take pay cuts or unpaid furloughs during the lockout as several teams are doing, the Raiders have implemented a plan that allows people to keep their full salary if they sell a certain number of season tickets.

"Different teams are taking different approaches," Raiders chief executive officer Amy Trask said Wednesday. "Certainly some teams are taking one approach: How do we decrease expenses during a work stoppage. We looked at this from the opposite approach. Let's all work together as an organization, every single department, to increase our ticket revenues."

To avoid a pay cut, employees must sell season tickets worth 10 percent of their salary during the lockout. For example, an employee making 60,000 a year would have to sell 500 worth of season tickets for each month of the lockout, which began March 12.

The cheapest season tickets for the Raiders cost 260 per year, with the most expensive non-club seats going for 960 annually.

The Raiders were last in the league in attendance last year, averaging about 46,430 fans per home game and selling out the approximately 63,000-seat stadium just once. Oakland had an extremely low season-ticket base as evidenced by the crowd of 32,218 for a game against Houston on Oct. 3, the smallest in Oakland since 1967.

The Raiders have had just two sellouts the past two seasons. They have had 83 of 128 regular-season games blacked out locally on television because games did not sell out since returning to Oakland in 1995.

"This is a program that's constructive and productive," Trask said. "We're working as a staff to build something together, so when we come out on the other side of this work stoppage we're going to be bigger and better and stronger for it because we have sold more season tickets."

Trask said the plan, which was first reported by USA Today, has been received well by the vast majority of the staff since being implemented in March. It applies to essentially all employees, including coaches, secretaries, executives and equipment staff.

"It's a privilege to work for the Raiders and to work for a National Football League team," Trask said. "Frankly work stoppage or no work stoppage, going out in the community and representing this organization and working to fill the stadium is something all of us should be doing anyway."

The tickets must be paid for one week before the first regular-season game to qualify, so employees don't need to get fans to pay up until they know whether games will be played.

Trask said she has personally sold enough season tickets to hit her target after the first two months of the lockout and has other sales in the works.

While Raiders employees work on selling tickets, the players have made their own plans for offseason workouts. Defensive lineman Richard Seymour and quarterback Jason Campbell have arranged a four-day "Team Passing Camp" next week in Duluth, Ga.

The camp will feature on-field drills, weightlifting, swimming and nutritional counseling. Seymour, who is funding the camp, sent out an email inviting his teammates to attend.

"Men, I hope everyone is well and staying in shape because we are going to outwork everyone we face this season, and it starts right now in the offseason," he wrote.

Seymour signed a 30 million, two-year contract with the Raiders in February, before the start of the league's lockout.

Raiders expect Lynch ruling soon; 'it would be the fairest thing'

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USATSI

Raiders expect Lynch ruling soon; 'it would be the fairest thing'

Running back Marshawn Lynch formally appealed his one-game suspension on Monday afternoon.

The Raiders hope to hear a ruling by Tuesday.

“I think we expect to hear something early in the week, hopefully by tomorrow,” head coach Jack Del Rio said in a Monday press conference. “(It) would be the fairest thing so that the team can prepare.”

That’s the expectation, according to an ESPN report. The Raiders should know by Tuesday whether Lynch’s suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct will stand.

The suspension stems from a Thursday night incident where he left the sidelines to join an on-field fracas involving Raiders offensive linemen and Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters. The third-year pro was penalized for a late hit on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr his linemen didn’t take kindly.

Peters and Lynch are extremely close friends and Oakland natives, and Lynch instinctively went out to protect someone he views as family. He inadvertently grabbed an official by the jersey and let go shortly after. He was flagged and ejected by rule.

He missed most of Thursday’s 31-30 victory over the Chiefs, and the NFL suspended him one game without pay on Friday. That could cost Lynch a $79,411 game check and a $31,250 per-game roster bonus.

ESPN reports that Peters by phone spoke at Lynch’s appeal hearing, where the running back’s team also cited precedent of others contacting an official without getting suspended. Leaving the sideline, however, may not help his appeal.

Del Rio said he hadn’t spoken with Lynch since the ejection.

“I said the other night I was disappointed that we had a player leave the bench,” Del Rio said. “It’s something we talk about – don’t leave the bench area.”

The Raiders ran with Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington after Lynch’s ejection, and combined for 67 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. The pair with shoulder a rushing load Sunday at Buffalo if Lynch is unavailable.

“They don’t have the size and the power but they have a little more quickness, they catch the ball a little easier, better route-runners, things like so,” Del Rio said. “So, if you’re playing a little more wide open, in some respects they give you a little more juice. Marshawn give you the power back when you want to finish people and in tough situations. Those guys give you more than a change of pace.”

 

Raiders put Amari Cooper in position to break out vs Chiefs

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AP

Raiders put Amari Cooper in position to break out vs Chiefs

Raiders receiver Amari Cooper has been creating steady separation for a few weeks now. That didn’t break him out of a prolonged slump.

Coaches were impressed by Cooper’s route running in a Week 5 loss to Baltimore. It only earned two targets and an eight-yard catch. They tried to find No. 89 more often in a Week 6 loss to the L.A. Chargers, though six targets generated five short catches for 28 yards.

Low production stretched through a four-game losing streak, with nine catches for 51 yards. Including stats from to early wins, Coopers season stats (18 catches, 146 yards and a touchdown) were worse than nearly 200 others.

Even that astonishment didn’t make Cooper demand the gosh darn football, please. The low-key Cooper attitude: The ball will find me.

It finally did in Thursday night’s 31-30 victory over Kansas City. Several times in fact.

Cooper had 11 catches for 210 yards and two touchdowns. He was targeted 19 times. Nineteen. That’s no coincidence.

They moved him around, including significant snaps in the slot. He was targeted 11 times from that position, per analytics site Pro Football Focus, and produced six catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.

They schemed opportunities and quarterback Derek Carr used them to create big plays early.

Carr’s first pass went 12-yards to Cooper. His third was a 38-yard touchdown strike. His seventh was an in-stride delivery that Cooper took across and then up the field for a 45-yard score.

Just like that, Cooper was off and running for the first time this year.

“We put him in positions to make plays, obviously,” Carr said. “We knew that there were certain things that we liked. Nothing changed in his demeanor or his mentality or the way he worked or anything like that. We just stayed the course. We know what we have here and we know that if we just stay the course and work and grind through the tough times.

“…For ‘Coop’ to just continue to grind and get on the other side of it, I just felt good for him. You guys know Amari. I think we all felt good for him.”

Cooper said the early explosive touches provided confidence. Ability produced a signature performance. The Alabama product is excellent extending production with his legs, and had 78 of his yards come after the catch. That’s an average of 7.1 yards after the catch per reception, per PFF.

His second touchdown reached him 15 yards downfield, and he hit the jets and reached the end zone. He turned a short catch into 15 crucial yards to start the game-winning two-minute drill, and later high pointed a 39-yard receptions.

“The way he finished after the catch was really special,” Carr said. “Obviously, we all know he can go up and get a ball and all those things. That second touchdown where he cam across, the burst that he had, that’s freakish. Not a lot of guys have that. To turn the jets on like that and just out run the angles of the defense, that was really special. I think just after the catch he just played with some dog in him, which we know he has. We were able to get him the ball and let him shine and do what he does.”

Cooper’s showcase was vital to a huge victory that kept his team in the hunt. It also ended a rough month where Cooper and the Raiders both struggled. Veteran running mate Michael Crabtree was never concerned with the downturn and told the young receiver to stay the course during tough times.

“(I told him), ‘Just be you,’” Crabtree said. “It’s just about everything coming together. Coop’s a fighter, man. Coop has got skills. I don’t worry about Coop and I’m sure he doesn’t worry about me. That’s why we are so good together.”