Raiders

Lynch won't go alone: Richard, Washington vital to Raiders offense

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AP

Lynch won't go alone: Richard, Washington vital to Raiders offense

ALAMEDA – The Raiders announced offensive starters before Sunday’s home opener against the New York Jets.

Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington aren’t in that class. The second-year rushers were headed out to the field with everyone else when Marshawn Lynch halted the advance.

“We were getting ready to go out and he was like ‘Hey, I want you all to come out with me’. I was like, ‘They cool with this?’” Richard said. “He said ‘It doesn’t matter what they say. You boys are coming out with me.’”

It seemed off. This was, after all, Marshawn’s homecoming. A sellout Oakland crowd was waiting to cheer their favorite native son.

Marshawn didn’t care. He wanted the running backs to go out as a unit.

“They’re my (boys),” Lynch said.

Marshawn jogged through a deafening roar, flanked by his protégées.

“That just got me pumped from the get-go,” Richard said. “That just lets you know how much he believes in us, the confidence in us. It makes us play harder.”

The kids have played hard, and listened to Lynch’s sage advice. That’s a requirement in this offense, because Lynch can’t do it alone. Not anymore. Not at age 31.

The Raiders plan to use all three backs in rotation, with Lynch as its lead dog. He carried 18 times in a season opening win at Tennessee. He had 12 in a 45-20 victory over the Jets.

Thus far Lynch has started most games and can close games where the Raiders hold a late lead.

Washington and Richard will have moments in the sun. They generally split remaining touches – unless, like Sunday, Cordarrelle Patterson gets in on the action – to bring a change of pace.

They might also pull a star turn.

Richard did so the Jets, even on Marshawn's big day. Richard registered 109 yards of offense and a touchdown on just eight touches. That included a 52-yard run blocked expertly by tackles Marshall Newhouse and Donald Penn, with Seth Roberts doing dirty work downfield.

“I caught the ball and felt somebody rush up the field,” Richard said. “It made me come inside. The whole week they were telling me to wait rather than get out, so I waited and the Jets overflowed. I put my foot in the ground and creased it. The safety couldn’t see me because I had a blocker, he went this way and I dipped right and then I outran everybody to the end zone and scored. IT was a great blocking play, great game plan play. It was cool.”

Richard also had a 39-yard reception where he took advantage of open space, proving adept finding the right time to turn on the afterburners.

Washington will have his turn making big plays in the backfield, with an efficient track record as a rookie. Lynch has a certain set of skills, able to get tough yards by brute force. The younger guys are game breakers in their own right – Richard proved that Sunday – and will be counted on at times to make the offense go.

“Jalen and DeAndré, they’re both explosive,” quarterback Derek Carr said last week. “We all know that. Really good hands, good route runners, they’re really good in pass protection… I think that with both of those guys in the game, they do similar things, but they give us two options. They give us two fresh bodies so to speak.”

Jon Gruden gets Raiders fans ready for training camp with party

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USATSI

Jon Gruden gets Raiders fans ready for training camp with party

To celebrate his return to the sideline, Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden threw a party for fans on Friday at Ricky's Sports Theatre and Grill in San Leandro.  

Raider Nation showed up in droves. 

In all, over 500 fans showed up, according to a Ricky's spokesperson.

"We are honored to be a part of the love story between Jon Gruden and this fan base," the spokesperson said. "It's incredibly special. And the significance of this event, at this time, is not lost on us."

The Raiders, Gruden, and Ricky's all collaborated on the event, which came together because of Gruden's relationship with Ricky's owners, Ricky and Tina Ricardo. Gruden paid for the catering and entertainment himself, according to the spokesperson. 

Plenty of Raiders alumni attended, including Cliff Branch and Lester Hayes, according to ESPN's Paul Gutierrez. Branch even took the mic and made a guarantee. 

Gruden broke in as an NFL head coach with the Raiders in 1998, and coached Oakland for four seasons. It was in Oakland where Gruden was first given the nickname "Chucky," after the murderous puppet in the Child's Play film franchise. Gruden paid tribute to those roots at Ricky's with a... creative autograph signing. 

Raiders training camp begins on July 27. Whether or not the team will be joined by its best defensive player remains to be seen. 

Star defensive end Khalil Mack skipped the team's mandatory minicamp in June in pursuit of a new contract. Gruden told fans on Friday that the team will "find a way" to bring Mack back. 

Raiders confirm Greg Papa out as team's radio voice after two decades

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AP

Raiders confirm Greg Papa out as team's radio voice after two decades

The Raiders made it official Thursday. Legendary broadcaster Greg Papa, who also serves as an analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area, no longer will be the radio voice of the team.

[RAY RATTO: Raiders' exit feels much more imminent after reported broadcaster swap]

Raiders owner Mark Davis made the following statement Thursday: 

The Raiders organization would like to thank Greg Papa for his two decades of service to the Silver and Black.. He wasn’t just given the job.. He earned it.. With intense preparation Greg was always ready for the call.. Just as my generation remembers Bill King and “Holy Toledo”.. The Raider Nation will remember Greg Papa and “Touchdown Raiders”.. We wish Greg and his family the best in whatever the future brings..
-Mark Davis-

Brent Musburger reportedly will replace Papa in the booth. That hasn't been made official, however.