Raiders

Khalil Mack missing as Raiders mandatory minicamp begins

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AP

Khalil Mack missing as Raiders mandatory minicamp begins

ALAMEDA -- Khalil Mack isn’t in the Bay Area, wasn’t present Tuesday to begin the Raiders’ mandatory minicamp, and isn’t expected for any part of the three-day session.

That decision’s part of Mack’s decision to skip the team’s offseason program while waiting for a big-money contract extension. He missed the strength and conditioning workouts and OTAs. Those sessions were voluntary.

This minicamp is not. The offseason program’s capper is mandatory, which officially makes Mack a holdout.

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden isn't thrilled about it, but he isn't losing sleep over Mack missing three practices in June. He would, however, love to see him working in Paul Guenther's defense. 

"One of the big reasons I came here was to coach that man," Gruden said Tuesday afternoon. "I don’t want to speculate. There are several guys around the league in similar situations. We’re trying to resolve it as soon as possible and, in the meantime, coach the players that are here."

The Raiders can fine him for missing the entire minicamp, though fines are levied at team discretion and can be erased down the line if they are given.

While Gruden wouldn't discuss whether the Raiders would fine Mack, such financial penalties won’t be a significant issue for either side. Mack and the Raiders want to work out a contract extension this offseason. Total compensation is obviously the sticking point. Mack could easily set the market for defensive players. NFL Network reporter Steve Wyche said earlier this offseason he was looking for $65 million guaranteed – Von Miller got $70 million guaranteed from Denver two years ago – on what could be a nine-figure contract.

The Raiders budgeted for Mack’s big payday, but are trying to find a balance and way to pay him, quarterback Derek Carr and several high-priced offensive lineman while maintaining a level of future financial flexibility under the salary cap.

Mack is currently under contract, set to make $13.84 million under a fifth-year team option available for first-round draft picks. It if fully guaranteed.

Mack doesn’t want to risk injury in an offseason practice. If he suffers a serious injury, the mega deal could vanish before his eyes.

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is in a similar position, choosing to skip offseason work looking for a new deal. The first player in this pair to sign could set a market the other could exceed, creating a slow play that might impact the timing of both deals.

The Raiders hope Mack signs before training camp starts in late July. Both Carr and right guard Gabe Jackson signed in the dead period between the offseason program and training camp.

It’s uncertain if Mack’s deal will get done in time. While he hasn’t been part of the Raiders offseason program under new head coach Jon Gruden and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, there’s no doubt he remains in excellent shape. Guenther said he’ll have a plan to catch Mack up once he arrives, especially after missing so much scheme installation. Mack’s absence isn’t a serious concern at this stage, but that could change if the stalemate carries well into training camp.

His presence is missed by teammates, but they know prime Khalil Mack will be ready when he returns. 

"He’s taking care of his situation, and we respect it," safety Karl Joseph said. "The other guys have done a good job learning the system, but you can’t replace a guy like Khalil. When he’s ready to come back, we’ll be ready for him." 

Brandon LaFell out for Raiders' 2018 season with torn Achilles tendon

Brandon LaFell out for Raiders' 2018 season with torn Achilles tendon

Brandon LaFell’s season is over, and now the Raiders need another wide receiver.

Because of course they do.

LaFell tore an Achilles tendon during Sunday’s 23-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals, a team source told NBC Sports California’s Scott Bair, but an MRI is needed to confirm that diagnosis.

LaFell was seen in the Raiders’ locker room at Arizona’s State Farm Stadium in a walking boot.

Even before LaFell’s season-ending injury, the Raiders were digging deep for receivers during this lost season. Marcell Ateman and Saeed Blacknall both made their NFL debuts Sunday, and although they both performed well, the Raiders will need depth at the position, especially if Martavis Bryant and Jordy Nelson can’t play because of their knee injuries. Both veterans missed the game in Arizona.

So, who’s available in Week 11 of an NFL season? The Raiders will have to find out.

Then again, Ateman ended up leading the Raiders with four catches for 50 yards -- including a big grab on their game-winning drive -- so maybe they’ll want to see what they have in him and Blacknall.

Raiders report card: Grading offense, defense in win over Cardinals

Raiders report card: Grading offense, defense in win over Cardinals

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Raiders lost five straight by at least 14 points heading into Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.

They snapped that streak, and not just with a close loss.

The Raiders actually won. For real.

Derek Carr orchestrated his 15th career fourth-quarter comeback to help the Raiders beat the Cardinals 23-21 at State Farm Stadium.

We typically hand out Fs by the bushel in this space, but not tonight, my friends. Not tonight.

The Raiders were far from perfect, but still did several things well in this win. Here’s the report card from the Valley of the Sun.

[BAIR: Raiders wanted to win for fans impacted by California wildfires]

Rushing offense

The Raiders were committed to the run against the Cardinals, and it paid off in spades. Running backs Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and Doug Martin rushed 33 times for 152 yards. That’s 4.6 yards per carry, a strong effort that gave the Raiders a balanced offense for once.

The offensive line opened holes and the backs burst right through them to keep the offense moving. Good job all around by the ground game.

Grade: A

Passing offense

Derek Carr didn’t pile up stats, but he completed passes at critical times. That was especially true on the game-winning field goal drive. He worked with the bottom of the depth chart, but still made plays with depth receivers Marcell Ateman and Seth Roberts, as well as Jared Cook.

The pass protection was spotty at best, and the entire operation needs to be cleaner. But, these guys got the job done when it counted Sunday.

Grade: B-minus

Rushing defense

After a terrible first drive, the Raiders did a solid job corralling star Cardinals running back David Johnson. All it takes, however, is one bad play to ruin a day. That came on a 55-yard run by Johnson that set up a go-ahead score with five minutes left.

In all, the Raiders allowed 154 yards on 31 carries, which will get you beat in most scenarios. Just not Sunday. 

Grade: D

Pass defense

The Raiders secondary delivered on Sunday with interceptions from defensive backs Gareon Conley and Karl Joseph. Both takeaways created great field position and resulted in Raiders touchdowns.

Cardinals rookie quarterback Josh Rosen was awful, and completed only 9-of-20 passes for 136 yards thanks to errant throws and some solid coverage from the Raiders secondary.

Grade: A-minus

Special teams

Daniel Carlson nailed the first game-winning field goal of his career as time expired. That’s all you need to get an ‘A.’

The rookie from Auburn is coming on strong the past few weeks. He could be a long-term answer at kicker if he keeps this up.

Grade: A

Overall

A cynic would say the Raiders blew it by winning, hurting their draft position in an already lost season. That’s not how the players and coaches think. They wanted to win and were able to.

It might not happen much the rest of the year, so they have to bask in this victory.

Grade: A