DeShone Kizer earns promotion during 'valuable' year with Raiders

DeShone Kizer earns promotion during 'valuable' year with Raiders

ALAMEDA – Quarterback DeShone Kizer started every game for Cleveland his rookie season. He was Aaron Rodgers’ backup last year, cut just before this season started and joined the Raiders on a waiver claim.

He was placed down on the depth chart, in the No. 3 spot. He has been inactive every week, until this one.

Kizer will throw on a silver and black game jersey for the first time Sunday against Tennessee as Derek Carr’s backup. He wrestled the No. 2 spot from veteran Mike Glennon, who struggled in garbage-time duty two games back against the New York Jets.

The Raiders also know what they have in Glennon. Kizer’s 23 now, still trying to find himself after NFL experiences good and bad.

This isn’t a see-what-we’ve-got move. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson said Thursday that all moves made right now are to win the next game, not for long-term evaluation.

Believe him on that. The Raiders can vault into an attractive position with a Sunday victory over Tennessee, with a real shot at the AFC’s final wild-card spot. Having the best available option a bad snap away from the quarterback slot is an important decision.

It’s one Kizer values as a sign that he has been making progress learning Jon Gruden’s offense without an offseason program, training camp or many practice reps. Carr takes virtually every preparation snap, with the backups left to run the scout team.

Kizer has tried to maximize each opportunity, no matter how rare they are.

“That’s what comes with being a pro. You have to perform under any environment,” Kizer said. “I have a little playing experience within my rookie year. I got to learn from some great minds last year and I’m learning from a great football mind this year. I’m trying to stay ready as much as possible and perform as much as possible in practice, and that led to this point now. I’m trying to do whatever I can to help this team win.”

Kizer’s an athletic sort and has been charged with mimicking agile quarterbacks the Raiders have faced. Now he has to be ready to step in and perform at a moment’s notice. It previous weeks, that wasn’t possible.

“The mindset does change,” Kizer said. “As much as I want to say this week's practice is exactly the same, it's a little different. You're a little more honed in on what we're doing."

Kizer has remained engaged despite his depth-chart status, finding ways to progress without much work. Olson said Kizer spent extra time working by himself in the quarterback room learning the offense.

“It’s me versus myself in these moments,” Kizer said. “It’s about whether you’re putting in the work and the extra preparation as if you were playing and if it comes out in practice. There are only a few reps to get, but I feel like I’ve been on top of things and helping Derek in practice. I’m watching as much film as possible and trying to rip it on the few scout team reps I get. I just hope it would translate into a game.”

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Kizer essentially has been a practice-squad player in previous weeks. The Notre Dame product took the right attitude into this endeavor, especially after losing his backup gig in Green Bay for a No. 3 role.

“It has been a different year for me, but at the same time I feel like it might be one of my more valuable years,” Kizer said. “It’s rare that you get a chance to step back and evaluate the process and make proper adjustments. I was provided that unique opportunity to see where I was the last two years and where I am now and what proper changes I could make. I made those changes, and now I’m in a position where I can potentially perform on a Sunday. That’s all that matters.”

Raiders sign cornerback Nevin Lawson to one-year contract extension


Raiders sign cornerback Nevin Lawson to one-year contract extension

The Raiders officially became property of Las Vegas on Wednesday, and the Silver and Black made their first official move as Sin City residents Thursday. 

The team announced they signed cornerback Nevin Lawson to a one-year contract extension. After joining the Raiders last offseason, Lawson made five starts and played in 11 games for the Raiders, seeing a bulk of his time in the latter stages of the season when Daryl Worley and Lamarcus Joyner were banged up. 

Lawson will enter next season serving a one-game suspension. The Utah State product was ejected late in the Raiders' Week 17 loss to the Denver Broncos and was given a punishment for using his helmet as a weapon.

[RELATED: Raiders can fill many holes with Senior Bowl prospects]

After opening the season 6-4, the Raiders, overcome by injuries and lack of talent, limped to a 1-5 finish to end the season at 7-9.

With the litany of issues the Silver and Black faced in 2019, 7-9 should be viewed as a good record for a team that relied on a dynamic rookie class.

There are a lot of reasons for the Raiders to believe the future is bright, and they hope Lawson is a part of it.

Las Vegas Raiders formally announce name change, dropping Oakland


Las Vegas Raiders formally announce name change, dropping Oakland

The Raiders started scrubbing Oakland from their name a few weeks back. Taking the city’s name off social media accounts was the most public step. Then, the team removed the word from the top of their Alameda training facility, where the organization will conduct business into July.

There were some legal maneuverings already in the works, and all that was a prelude to Wednesday's announcement.

The Silver and Black’s affiliation has formally changed: They are now the Las Vegas Raiders.

We all knew that was going to happen. The team applied for relocation to Las Vegas and the league approved it with a 31-1 vote back in March 2017. The Raiders remained in Oakland, with that name attached, for three seasons while their state-of-the-art stadium was being built just off the Las Vegas Strip.

On Wednesday afternoon, in front of the in-construction Allegiant Stadium, Nevada governor Steve Sisolak formally announced their new name. The announcement was made with owner Mark Davis, team president Marc Badain and several players in attendance, including quarterback Derek Carr, right tackle Trent Brown and tight end Darren Waller.

"The Raiders were born in Oakland and played 13 seasons in LA," Davis said. "Both cities will always be part of our DNA. But today, we begin a new chapter in our storied history. On Jan. 22, 2020, we are now the Las Vegas Raiders. And today, Las Vegas becomes our nation's capital."

[RELATED: Mayock confident Raiders' Vegas move will help in free agency]

The Raiders formally will move to Las Vegas after training camp in Napa, when their new training facility in nearby Henderson, Nev. will be complete.

The Silver and Black will execute free-agent signings, run the NFL draft and conduct their offseason program in Alameda. The team is scheduled to play in Las Vegas starting in the preseason.