Raiders

Players shoulder the blame after Raiders fire Jack Del Rio

Players shoulder the blame after Raiders fire Jack Del Rio

CARSON – Quarterback Derek Carr sat by his locker, still absorbing Sunday’s 30-10 loss to the L.A. Chargers when a teammate showed him his phone.

The screen delivered unwelcome news. Head coach Jack Del Rio had been fired.

Owner Mark Davis informed Del Rio of the decision right after the regular-season finale, a swift action to blow out the coaching staff after a disastrous 6-10 campaign.

Del Rio broke the news himself in a postgame press conference he didn’t have to attend, at which point word spread fast across the internet. Far quicker, it seems than in the Raiders locker room.

Several players didn’t know about Davis’ decision until media entered the locker room, leaving many surprised by the move. Few wanted to address it right away.

Captain Khalil Mack left without addressing the press. Derek Carr did his best in a postgame press conference.

“We weren’t good enough for him,” Carr said. “We have to take ownership of that as players. We’re angry that we let it get to that. We understand the business part of it. Our job is to come back better and hungry. We’ve been through some hard times together, and this is right up with the tough moments. There’s nothing you can do about it now, though the wound is still fresh, but it’ll scar over. It hurts, but you have to move on.”

Players who spoke were surprised that a person they generally cared for was dismissed, and shared some responsibility for his firing.

“We didn’t see this coming,” Carr said. “We were already talking about things we needed to fix to get this thing right. We were getting ready for what’s next. For it to just be done, that’s just crazy.”

Del Rio addressed the team before being formally let go, but not after. Then he met wit Davis, announced his own firing and eventually met with Carr and Mack after news broke.

“This is our team. There’s no secret about that,” Carr said. “It’s Khalil’s and my team, and went in and hugged him, told him we loved him. He’s a man’s man. When it was hard, he stood in there and talked to us. We’re a family that needs to be better together.”

This family has some bonding to do after cracks formed inside the Raiders complex. While players publicly supported Del Rio on Sunday and throughout the year, it's naive to think everyone in the locker room loved him. Some seemed shellshocked by the news. Quite a few, however, didn't seem to care. 

Falling below expectation comes with a price, and fingers started pointing at the coaching staff when the wheels came. Firing defensive coordinator Ken Norton during the season was met with furrowed brows, and upset several team leaders, but there were problems well before that. Bringing Todd Downing on and allowing Bill Musgrave to walk also irked some after it became obvious the move had backfired. Del Rio had his supporters, but not everyone will be sad to see him leave. 

The Raiders will now look to get back on track following an off year, now working under a new coaching staff.

Carr wouldn’t speculate about the prospect of having Jon Gruden as his new head coach – it seems likely the former Raiders coach will again don silver and black – but promised the next staff will inherit a talented and motivated roster.

“We have a bunch of dogs,” Carr said. “I think anyone would tell you that. The guy who comes in next will have a bunch of angry dudes who just want to fight and compete their tail off. That’s where we go from here.”

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.