Mike Mayock addresses Marshawn Lynch, Jared Cook's Raiders futures

Mike Mayock addresses Marshawn Lynch, Jared Cook's Raiders futures

INDIANAPOLIS -- Marshawn Lynch hasn’t been around the Raiders for a long time now. The veteran running back went on injured reserve with a groin injury after six weeks, and largely rehabbed on his own.

The Silver and Black carried on without him, making Doug Martin the featured back.

There’s some question as to whether the Raiders will carry on without Lynch again next year. General manager Mike Mayock said Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine that the Raiders want him back -- he and  coach Jon Gruden have expressed that sentiment to agent Doug Hendrickson -- but still aren’t sure about Lynch’s plans after his contract expires next month.

“The reality with Marshawn is that he’s still coming off an injury,” Mayock said. “He’s still trying to figure out what he wants to do. We would obviously be open to potentially having him back.”

The Raiders’ expected return to Oakland Coliseum will play a factor in Lynch’s decision. The proud Oakland native wouldn’t have wanted to play outside the Bay Area, and might have shied away from games even in San Francisco.

Silver and Black brass need to know Lynch’s intentions at some point soon, so they can address the position if need be.

“A lot of this has to come from Marshawn and what he wants to do, and how quickly he wants to return off the injury,” Mayock said. “It’s also about what he wants to make, about a commitment to go back to work again. I just love the fact that, if he’s in the running back room, we have somebody for our young guys to look up to and learn how to work from.”

Tight end Jared Cook is another impending free agent to watch. The Raiders seem content to let him test the market following a career year over signing him to an extension during their exclusive negotiating window.

“We’d love to have Jared back,” Mayock said. “He represented us in the Pro Bowl. Free agency is a jigsaw puzzle. We have a bunch of needs we have to prioritize. We’d love to have Jared back, but he’s trying to figure out what the market’s going to be, what does he want to do, and what can we do once we find out what that market is.”

Raiders training camp questions: Can Antonio Brown set new standard?


Raiders training camp questions: Can Antonio Brown set new standard?

Antonio Brown talked a good game at his Raiders introductory press conference. He vowed to set a new standard within the Silver and Black by setting a prime example of work ethic and accountability and, of course, by putting up crazy stats often under pressure.

He has only been through an offseason program since being traded from Pittsburgh, without much chance to back all that up. He has been excellent in spring opportunities to do so, showing great work ethic in private, behind closed doors as he does so often on social media.

The man practices so hard and so fast on every play that receivers can’t help but notice. He talks serious trash during drills, but has gained the respect of Raiders cornerbacks by helping them at times and always raising the level of competition.

Fans attending Raiders training camp in Napa starting this week will see incredible work rate firsthand.

He’s steady, dynamic and shockingly durable, the first Raiders offensive superstar since Jon Gruden’s previous head-coaching stint.

Superstars produce. If healthy, Brown will do that even in heavy coverage. He has six consecutive seasons with at least101 receptions, 1,284 yards and eight touchdowns, all of them played with the spotlight shining bright. He has had more than 100 catches, 1,499 and 12 touchdowns in half of those years.

The best superstars also lead. That’s what Brown said he wants to do here. That effort ramps up in training camp. He shouldn’t play much, if at all, in the preseason. Risking his health is foolish in meaningless games. He should push his teammates, and his quarterback for better throughout this summer stint in Napa.

Brown is an eccentric. Lots of players are. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially if the leadership by example trend continues and he helps elevate teammates by more than just drawing coverage.

The main question from now on is that effort’s sustainability through training camp’s dog days. And, what if the Raiders stumble out of the gate and struggle mightily through a grueling schedule? How will be react then, or if Carr struggles some finding Brown as well or as often as he did with the Steelers? While it didn’t end well with the Steelers, Pittsburgh never finished below .500 while Brown was there and averaged 10.4 wins per season. We simply don’t know how he’d adapt to steady losing if that happens because he hasn’t been through it as a pro.

Brown will set a new standard for work rate and production around here, but maintaining it through tough times might be equally important.

Is Derek Carr too sensitive? Raiders QB bashed by NFL coaches, exec

Is Derek Carr too sensitive? Raiders QB bashed by NFL coaches, exec

Derek Carr is entering a critical season in his second year under Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. It could be make-or-break for the QB as the Silver and Black head into their final season in Oakland. 

After looking like an MVP candidate in 2016, he's been trending down in the eyes of many. The Athletic's Mike Sando presented his Quarterback Tiers survey Monday after talking with fifty-five anonymous coaches and executives who rank the QBs from Tier 1 to Tier 5. 

Carr was voted into Tier 3 as the No. 20 overall quarterback, one spot behind 49ers starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo. And the comments on the Raiders' signal-caller aren't too pretty. 

Voters brought up three specific plays that show the kind of quarterback Carr was last season. One was him throwing the ball away on fourth down, another example was him looking scared in the final minutes of the Raiders' Week 8 loss to the Colts, but the final example is what really stands out. 

“The Chiefs game, he throws a pick-six and the guy (Jared Cook) isn’t even running the route. It was, ‘What the f--k?" the voter said to Sando.

Carr's ability to handle Gruden's style has been questioned ever since Chucky signed his 10-year deal with the Raiders. Through one season, those questions aren't going away. 

“He is sensitive and needs encouragement, and that is not the style he is going to get,” an offensive coach said to Sando. “When someone shows disappointment in him, he shrinks. The head coach not coming out and completely endorsing him has to be eating him alive."

[RELATED: Five bold predictions for upcoming Raiders season]

If the Raiders endure another losing season and Carr doesn't significantly improve, he could be looking for another job when the team moves to Las Vegas. It sounds like plenty of people around the league believe that could easily be the case.