Raiders

Raiders suspend McClain

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Raiders suspend McClain

As suspected, the Raiders have suspended middle linebacker Rolando McClain two games for "conduct detrimental to the team," the team announced in a release Friday morning, rather than cut him.The longest the team can suspend a player without pay is four weeks. The Raiders have five games remaining on their schedule.With a CBSSportsline report saying a "heated" discussion between McClain and coach Dennis Allen ended with the player being sent off the practice field on Wednesday, Allen said Thursday, "Theres going to be consequences to his actions and its a team-related issue."Allen would not elaborate further.But this much is already out there: after allegedly being kicked out of practice, McClain purportedly took to his Facebook page."Officially no longer an Oakland Raider!!" he wrote, before adding, "Well technically I am. But I'm mentally done. Just waiting on my papers."Later: "It's out of my hands right now." Then, "I'm gonna weigh my options. Looking forward to playing for an actual 'team.'" His final post: "I'd like to be anywhere besides here."McClain, the disappointing No. 8 overall pick of the 2010 draft out of Alabama, probably gets his wish as he's most likely played his final game with the Raiders, because cutting him would actually be rewarding him, in a sense.The middle linebacker, who played inside in a 3-4 alignment in college, is still owed a prorated 285,294.12 of his 970,000 base salary for 2012. Simply cutting him would keep the Raiders on the hook for that money, and McClain would be free to sign elsewhere and double-dip paycheck-wise while being allowed to share his knowledge of the Raiders' schemes.
RELATED: Rolando McClain career stats 2012 game logs
Still, McClain has struggled mightily this season, being taken off the field in nickel packages after Week 4 this season and losing the "green sticker" on his helmet and thus, no longer being the playcaller on defense. In his career, McClain has 6 12 sacks, one interception, on forced fumble and no fumble recoveries in 41 games.Plus, it was one year ago today when McClain was arrested for, and later convicted of, charges of third-degree assault, menacing, discharging a handgun in city limits and reckless endangerment and was sentenced to six months in jail and slapped with a 2,000 fine. Former coach Hue Jackson allowed him to play the following weekend in Miami.Since then, the Raiders are 4-12.Earlier this month, after he appealed, the charges were dropped."I'm aware of the bad publicity that I've given the Raiders," McClain said in a statement to reporters back in May. "After talking to Coach (Dennis) Allen, I have the support of the Raiders, my teammates, as well as the coaching staff. I apologize for the bad publicity that's been put out there. But it is a legal process and I can't talk much about it, but I think in due time the Raiders and the Raiders fans that are out there will see it all come to an end. It is what it is; I can't really talk much about it but it will be resolved in the near future."WIth a new regime in place at 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway, McClain was given a clean slate by incoming general manager Reggie McKenzie."Since we've been here, he's been great," McKenzie told a group of reporters in a roundtable session following the end of mandatory minicamp in June. "I'm not going to hold anything over his head about what he's done in the past. We're only concerned what he does from here on out."McClain is due to make 4.005 million in base salary in 2013 (with a salary cap number of 6.675 million), 5.805 million in 2014 (8.475 million cap number) and 2.665 million (5.085 million cap number) in 2015, all per his rookie contract.

Days after signing with Raiders, NaVorro Bowman expected to play vs Chiefs

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USATSI

Days after signing with Raiders, NaVorro Bowman expected to play vs Chiefs

ALAMEDA – NaVorro Bowman was a sponge this week, absorbing the Raiders defense as quickly as possible.

The veteran inside linebacker signed with the Raiders Monday afternoon and did enough to play Thursday night’s pivotal home game against Kansas City.

That’s a huge plus for a Raiders team looking to snap a four-game losing streak. Bowman should be able to help right away despite being new to the scheme.

“He’s a veteran. He understands ball,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said Wednesday. “We haven’t tried to install the entire playbook, but specific game plans and things. He’s had a good week. Even though it’s a short week, we feel good and he’ll play.”

He’ll probably start at inside linebacker and play the base defense as least. While many have criticized his speed and coverage skills diminished from major injuries, Bowman remains a sure tackler who can provide solid on-field leadership.

Veteran savvy and natural ability should carry Bowman while he masters a new scheme, allowing him to make the immediate impact required with the Raiders reeling at 2-4.

“He is very instinctive,” Del Rio said. "He’s a veteran guy that’s been there before. He understands what it looks like to lineup against a good football team and help us win.”

Bowman’s fresh and healthy, a step above his others at his position. Inside linebackers Cory James (knee), Marquel Lee (ankle) and Nicholas Morrow (ankle) are all questionable heading into Thursday’s game.

He has also been a willing teacher to a group of inside linebackers featuring a second-year pro and three rookies.

“They’re just soaking it up,” Del Rio said. “They’ll ask, ‘When do you lift? How often do you lift? When do you meet? When do you cover this?’ It’s good stuff to have for a really young group.”

In other injury news, right tackle Marshall Newhouse is out, leaving Vadal Alexander to start in his spot. David Sharpe should be the swing tackle in reserve.

Downing: Raiders offense off track, answers exist ‘in our scheme’

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AP

Downing: Raiders offense off track, answers exist ‘in our scheme’

ALAMEDA – Todd Downing has friends with fantasy football teams. Those faux general managers, like many across the roto world, took Raiders with high draft picks.

They would like to know why Derek Carr isn’t throwing touchdowns in bulk, Amari Cooper’s in a slump and Marshawn Lynch isn’t getting more carries.

“I have friends that have him on their fantasy team that are mad at me for that,” Downing said after Wednesday’s practice. “That’s part of the business.”

Ah, the life of an NFL coordinator. Players get credit when things go right. Play callers sit over a Bunsen burner the rest of the time.

Downing understands that part of this gig.

“I welcome the responsibility that this job has afforded me,” he said. “I understand that I’m going to have to deal with negative comments and consequences when things aren’t going well. I’m looking forward to standing up here in a more positive fashion some time soon.”

Positives were expected right away. He was given the keys to a Lamborghini with a franchise quarterback under center, 1,000-yard receivers on each flank, an older back considered among the best of his generation, and the NFL’s biggest and most expensive offensive line.

The Raiders ranked No. 6 in total offense before adding Lynch, tight end Jared Cook and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson in free agency. Now they’re 30th heading into Thursday night’s game against Kansas City.

The mob is lighting torches, armed with pitchforks. After six weeks.

Everyone has an opinion on what’s wrong and how to fix this offense. More interior runs, less outside zone. More play action, please. Go deep, a lot. Have Derek hold on to the ball longer. Have Derek get rid of it quick. Do all that at once. Do it now.

Downing’s going to stick with his system. The Raiders will stick with their process, thank you very much, with faith that things will turn.

“When you look at the tape, you can see that we’re so close on so many things,” Downing said. “I know that sounds cliché and I know that sounds like someone sitting up here and trying to give you the rose-colored glasses, but it’s the truth. We know that we’re just this close to making a couple more plays each game and being able to come out on top and feeling like we put together a good product.

“…We’re looking for answers right now, but we know those answers exist in our room and in our scheme. Once we hit our stride, we’re excited to see what it looks like.”

There’s reason to believe that can happen. Take the season’s first two games, for example. The Raiders scored 71 points in that span. There’s talent everywhere in the starting lineup and behind it.

That’s why concern reigns during a four-game losing streak where the offense is averaging 13.1 points. They can’t sustain drives, come through on third down or block consistently in the run game. Their play count is dismally low. According to the Associated Press, the Raiders aver averaging 54 plays per game. Every other team has at least 60. The 2005 49ers were the last team that averaged such a sum. The Raiders haven’t had a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher or a 100-yard receiver.

Offense is blamed for a dismal 2-4 start. Even the universally beloved Carr has taken some heat for lackluster performances.

“I don’t think there’s a single guy that can look back over the last few weeks and say, ‘You know what, I’m really pleased with how I’ve played over the last three weeks,’ or, ‘Called the last three weeks’ or, ‘Coached my position the last three weeks.’ We all own this together,” Downing said. “There’s no one guy that is going to save it or break it or anything in between. We need to do this as a team and everybody needs to make the plays they’re afforded the opportunity to make and I need to call the right plays when afforded the opportunity to call them.”

The Raiders can and must do better before falling further. Righting the ship too late to reach the season’s goals might hurt as much as a completely dismal campaign.

Pressing, however, isn’t the answer.

“You do have to stay patient,” Downing said. “I tell the offense this every week, but it’s never been more true than where we’re at now as an offense. We have a belief in what we’ve done this far, and the system we’ve put in place, and the playmakers we have in that room, and the coaches that are up in the room with me, and you will never see me waiver in my belief of any single one of those guys, including myself. If I did, and I started acting different or started calling games differently, then that would mean I didn’t really believe in the first place.”