Sense of sadness envelopes Raiders


Sense of sadness envelopes Raiders

HOUSTON -- A sense of sadness wrapped in remembrance enveloped the Raiders' team hotel as Oakland's traveling party got word of owner Al Davis passing away in California on Saturday morning.The team traveled to Houston on Friday and was told as a group of Davis' passing in a team meeting Saturday morning."It was hard," Raiders rookie coach Hue Jackson said of the mood of the team after telling the players. "Obviously, we want him to live forever. And I think our players never thought anything would ever happen to him because he's Coach. But I think they're sad, I think they're disappointed, but we'll channel it the right way. We're going to play a football game and we understand what his message would be to us -- Just win, baby. And that's what we're looking forward to doing."RELATED: Official Raiders statement
The Raiders face the Texans on Sunday, but Davis' legacy was first and foremost on their minds."It isn't 'Let's win one for the Gipper,'" defensive tackle Richard Seymour said. "I feel as if he would want us to go out and do what we do, and the end result would be winning. There will definitely be a moment of silence and definitely a lot of passion, for sure. We have to go out and emulate what he would want us to be."Seymour joined the Raiders in a trade with New England the week before the 2009 season began."In my short time of knowing him," Seymour added, "his passion, his will to win, will forever be with me."In my mind he's a legend. He'll always be remembered, not only in my heart or in the Raiders' heart, as a foundation in the NFL.Seymour said he last spoke with Davis "a few days after (the) Buffalo" game."He transcends black, white, it didn't matter," Seymour said. "To him it was about winning. It was about people. Even when you go to politics. It didn't matter, Republican, Democrat, he was about the end result. We all can learn a lot from him."Punter Shane Lechler was drafted by Davis and the Raiders in 2000 and Lechler said in a conversation with his wife earlier in the day he took stock of his own NFL life.RATTO: Raiders' future -- the pressing questions
"He's meant a lot, he's provided for me and my family a lot of great things," Lechler said. "You can look around at everything we have and we kind of owe him a lot. He gave me a shot here and it's worked out for me and I appreciate that from him and his family."Defensive end Jarvis Moss received a somewhat congratulatory phone call from Davis this week after his recent play."It was just a great experience," Moss said. "For him to be gone right now, it's tough for the whole Raider family. My heart just goes out to Coach Davis' immediate family and may he rest in peace."Running back and special teams standout Rock Cartwright echoed similar sentiments."Awesome man, awesome person, awesome individual," Cartwright said of Davis. "Someone whose door was always open. We're definitely going to miss him, but he's in a better place now."Quarterback Jason Campbell was compared to two-time Super Bowl champion Jim Plunkett by Davis when he first arrived in Oakland after a 2010 Draft Weekend trade with Washington."He's the one guy who would always call you to check on you to see how you're doing, how your family's doing," Campbell said. "We're definitely going to miss him. He's done a lot for the NFL."We're going to try to rally as a team."Lechler agreed."Not to say that we would play any different for him," Lechler said, "but this one's going to mean a little bit more to the organization, to the team, and (we're) looking forward to the challenge."Said Jackson: "I just know Coach would want us to go out and play like Raiders. What a tremendous person, a tremendous man, and I owe him so much. This league owes him so much. He's a legend, he's an icon and we will honor him by playing the way the Raiders should play."

Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the Patriots


Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the Patriots

MEXICO CITY – Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City:

1. So you’re saying there’s a chance

The Raiders aren’t stacking wins as they’d like. Nobody in the AFC West is, either. The Chiefs lost another one, meaning the AFC West crown remains within reach. They’re two games back in the division and one back in the wild card race.

That, above all else, will keep the Raiders motivated after a disastrous loss to New England.

“We're professionals and to me, so long as you have hope, you keep your hope, you keep hope alive,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “So, we'll continue to scratch and claw and fight for everything we can.”

The Raiders can harken Lloyd Christmas from “Dumb and Dumber.” So you’re saying there’s a chance.

The Raiders will only stay in it if they start a prolonged winning streak. There’s a chance do that on an upcoming two-game home stand. They play Denver and the New York Giants, respectively, in Oakland over the next fortnight. Those teams have five wins between them.

Wins can’t be assumed with the Raiders team, with the inconsistency and mistake-prone play to lose to anyone.

Fight remains in this group. They’ll continue to push, especially with a 9-7 record being a legitimate playoff contender. They haven’t played worthy of such consideration, but remain hopeful a switch gets flipped.

“We are who we are, we're not going to turn on each other, we're not going to turn on anything about what we do,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “Obviously, we know that our culture and everything that we do works, because we have seen it work.”

2. Receiver corps becoming a weak spot

The Raiders have a talented group of receivers lacking consistency and production. That was the case on Sunday, when pass catchers hindered offensive flow and scoring opportunities.

Seth Roberts was the biggest offender. He had a drop, a false start and lost a fumble near the goal line with the Patriots up 14-0 late in the first half. Roberts had 12 yards in his pocket but held the ball one-handed, away from his body fighting for more. Marquis Flowers knocked it free and Patrick Chung recovered.

That was the turning point, a true 10-point swing. The Raiders lost a chance to reach the end zone, and allowed New England to get a field goal as the half expired.

“That was a major turn of events,” Del Rio said.

The slot receiver wasn’t the only receiver who stalled the Raiders offense. That group had five drops, according to Pro Football Focus, including two from Michael Crabtree. Johnny Holton wasn’t credited with a drop, but he had a perfectly thrown deep ball clang off his helmet and shoulder pads.

It’s a bad night in a bad year for the Raiders receivers, who haven’t been producing.

3. Lopsided score keeps Marshawn from going BeastMode

Running back Marshawn Lynch was the only player who had a good Sunday. The bruising back ran roughshod over New England’s front seven, right from the start. He totaled 67 yards on 11 carries, and seemed primed for a big day and a higher-than-usual carry volume.

He and the Raiders run blocking was consistent, allowing him to reach the second level on several occasions.

The lopsided score, however, meant the Raiders had to abandon the ground game.

“I thought we ran the ball well early,” Del Rio said. “I would like to have ended up with 30-plus rush attempts in the ball game, but you got to stay within reasonable amount of the score in order to stick with the run.”

The Raiders were down two touchdowns in a flash, and were three scores behind at the half. That forced Derek Carr to chuck it towards an unreliable receiver corps. That method proved inefficient and never created the big moments.

Lynch has run well since returning from a one-game suspension. He has 25 carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games. If there’s a positive to take from Sunday’s beat down, Lynch’s efficiency might be it.

Del Rio calls out NFL for Raiders losing home games to go abroad


Del Rio calls out NFL for Raiders losing home games to go abroad

MEXICO CITY – The Raiders have played in Mexico City the last two years, and have given up a home game to do it.

You already know head coach Jack Del Rio’s stance on the matter. He doesn’t like it. Not one bit.

The NFL announced Sunday morning that Mexico City will host games annually through 2021. The Raiders will be on the short list to return during that span.

“They’ve done a nice job for us over the last two years,” Del Rio said. “If it was a road game, I’d enjoy it. If they stop making (international contests) our home games, we’ll be fine.”

Hate to be the bearer of bad news Jack, but the Raiders will keep giving home games away. That’s expected each year until the Raiders formally move to Las Vegas.

The Raiders might not come back to Mexico for a third straight season, but could host a game in London next year. The NFL sent four games to the United Kingdom this year.

The Raiders have a massive fan base in England and Mexico, which makes them an attractive option to play abroad.

It might make financial sense for the team and the league to expand its base beyond borders, but the football people don’t find it fun.

The Raiders had more fans watching Sunday’s 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots at Estadio Azteca, but it’s no substitute for playing in Oakland.

“I think the crowd down here is pretty excited for the Raiders, so we appreciate that,” Del Rio said. “When you travel four-and-a-half hours, you’re not at home. We appreciate the hospitality and the good people who came out and supported us, but it’s hard to call it a home game.”

This one, especially. The Raiders had overwhelming support last year’s game against Houston, but Patriots fans were a large and vocal minority. They had plenty to cheer, as the Patriots waxed the Silver and Black over four quarters.

It’s hard to say the Raiders had a home crowd this time around, with plenty of noise when they were on offense.

“You know what, traveling down here, I think it was like four hours or something like that, and getting here, I think that hospitality was great, but it really wasn't, it wasn't the Coliseum,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “It didn’t have that feel. Now, we loved playing here, we loved coming down here and playing, but it felt more neutral.”