Raiders insist they're not dirty

Raiders insist they're not dirty

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) After the Oakland Raiders set NFL records in 2011 for penalties and penalty yards, rookie coach Dennis Allen made it a top priority to field more disciplined team.

Until recently, the plan seemed to be working.

That's why several Oakland players were caught off guard by comments made this week by Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali, who told a Kansas City newspaper the Raiders are a ``dirty'' team whose players ``cheap shot'' opponents, and said it was a tradition in the games between the AFC West rivals.

A few years ago that might have elicited a more profound reaction from the Raiders, but this is clearly not the same franchise it was when late owner Al Davis was calling the shots.

Allen brushed off Hali's comments while players like defensive back Michael Huff and fullback Marcel Reece laughed.

``If somebody's talking about you, you're doing something right,'' Reece said Thursday. ``We play hard, we don't play dirty. Obviously divisional opponents are going to feel it a little more because it's a rivalry.''

Hali's comments came on the heels of Oakland's two most penalized games of the season. The Raiders had 12 penalties in a loss to Atlanta on Oct. 14, then picked up nine more in Sunday's win over Jacksonville. They had 19 total through the first four weeks.

Reducing penalties has been a primary concern for almost every Raiders coach. Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie talked extensively about the need to be more disciplined.

Before the recent backslide, Oakland had been just that despite a rough start in the standings.

The Raiders (2-4) have 40 penalties but only three have been for unnecessary roughness and they've been whistled only once for roughing the quarterback. That's a significant reduction from 2011 when Oakland had 10 unnecessary roughness calls, five roughing the quarterback penalties and four flags for unsportsmanlike conduct.

So is this a kindler, gentler Raiders team?

``I wouldn't go that far,'' Huff said. ``I don't think we're dirty. I just think we play physical, aggressive football, like it's supposed to be played.''

Oakland set single-season NFL records for penalties (163) and penalty yards (1,358) in 2011 and historically is among the league leaders in that dubious category.

Hali, whose Chiefs host the Raiders on Sunday, doesn't believe much has changed even though Oakland has made sweeping changes in just about every corner of the franchise.

``It's a tradition,'' Hali told The Kansas City Star. ``The Raiders, they come in, they cheap shot, they hit you. I'm not saying names. It is what it is. We've got to be ready to play and keep our composure, stayed poised and be able to get this win.

``They are coming in and they're a good team and a fast team and they play dirty. We've got to come out swinging. We've got to be ready for that. You can let these guys come in and if they do it and you let them do it, they're going to enjoy themselves doing it and they'll run over you.''

Allen didn't seem too bothered by the comments. The Raiders are trying to win consecutive games for the first time this season and have enough issues on both sides of the ball for Allen to get caught in a war of words.

``He's entitled to his opinion,'' Allen said flatly.

The Chiefs (1-5) have more penalties (43) than the Raiders, though only two have been for unnecessary roughness, and Reece sounded surprised Hali would even broach the topic.

``I could expect it from some other people, but from him I was real surprised because he plays hard, he's a tough guy,'' Reece said. ``To each his own.''

NOTES: DT Desmond Bryant missed practice with a sore elbow but the Raiders are hopeful he will be able to play Sunday. ... Oakland lists 17 players on the injury report but none are considered serious.


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Bradley Beal sees Phil Chenier's jersey retirement as something to strive for

Bradley Beal sees Phil Chenier's jersey retirement as something to strive for

The relationship between Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal and Bullets legend Phil Chenier goes beyond your average friendship between a current and former player, or a current player and team broadcaster. Beal and Chenier are close to the point Chenier often offers advice as a fellow shooting guard who helped lead the organization to some of their most important accomplishments.

Beal is always open ears when Chenier is talking and took great honor in being the one to tell Chenier personally that his jersey would be retired by the Wizards. The day has come for Chenier's No. 45 to be raised to the rafters and Beal feels a unique sense of pride in seeing a man he reveres to the highest degree finally have his day in the sun.

"It's unbelievable. It's more than deserving," Beal said. "I was happy to be the one who told him about it. It's a special night for him. He's been a mentor to a lot of us for many years."


Chenier was a three-time All-Star for the Washington Bullets back in the 1970s. Following his playing career, he became a legendary broadcaster calling Bullets and then Wizards games for over 30 years.

Beal is now an NBA All-Star himself, having earned the honor for the first time this season. He is a shooting guard, just like Chenier.

Chenier was the color analyst for Wizards games for the first five years of Beal's career and Beal has always seen Chenier as a model to follow both on and off the court.

"It's always motivation for me to get better and I feel like this is the final touch of it, having your jersey retired by the franchise that you played a part in their success," Beal said.


The honor Chenier is about to receive is another goal to strive for. Beal wants to achieve a lot of what Chenier has accomplished in his life from winning a championship to making All-NBA to now having his jersey hang in the rafters at Capital One Arena.

"It definitely motivates me for that to be a goal of mine. Especially with the fact we both play the same position," Beal said.


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For more on Chenier's jersey retirement, check out our in-depth interview with him on the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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Ravens' Eric DCosta not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 16

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Ravens' Eric DCosta not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 16

And with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select.... a quarterback?

Assistant general manager, and soon to be general manager, Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility that the Ravens use their first-round pick on drafting a quarterback to eventually replace Joe Flacco. 

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of draft a quarterback in the first-round. 

Quarterback is just one of many offensive needs for the team. Joe Flacco's stats have been trending downward as the 33-year old is entering his 11th season.


Owner Steve Bisciotti though may disagree with DeCosta.

At his annual State of the Ravens press conference, Bisciotti said, "That’s not really something that we’re worried about right now. We’ve got bigger fish to fry, I guess. I don’t consider that a big worry," in regards to looking at life after Joe. Bisciotti also noted the team would be looking at all options in free agency and the draft for weapons for their QB.

From the sound of that, it appears the team's first choice would be a wideout, but the Ravens haven't drafted a quarterback since Joe Flacco back in 2008. 

The 2018 NFL Draft class has a handful of strong quarterbacks to choose from and not a ton of first-round wide receivers. 

Former Ravens scout, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has predicted the team with take Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield in the first-round. 

"It basically depends on our evaluation and how we feel about the guy, what we think he can become as a player and what we think his upside is and if he's there," DeCosta said

Backup Ryan Mallet is a free agent so the organization will have to find someone to fill the role, whether it's someone on a one year-deal, or the future QB of the franchise.