Raiders

Raiders rookies Clelin Ferrell, Maxx Crosby have impressed offensive line

Raiders rookies Clelin Ferrell, Maxx Crosby have impressed offensive line

NAPA -- The Raiders' pass rush need was glaring after a season in which the team only sacked the quarterback 13 times. Enter: Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby. 

Head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock put a focus on edge rusher in the draft, selecting Ferrell and Crosby in order to shore up the Silver and Black's greatest weakness from last season. While the expectations are different for each player, both have impressed early on in their Raiders tenure. 

Following the second day of training camp, offensive lineman Trent Brown and Kolton Miller heaped praise on the two rookie edge rushers. 

"Maxx is good. Maxx is good as hell," Brown said. "He can rush the passer. He can defend the run. He has a high motor. He's going to be somebody to watch out for I think." 

Coming out of Eastern Michigan, Crosby is a bit of a wild card as the Raiders head toward the preseason. A fourth-round draft pick, the Raiders have hopes that he can at least contribute some right away. He checked in at 255 pounds at rookie minicamp, so he will need to add some weight in order to go up against NFL blockers. His speed, agility and bend are what makes him a good pass rusher, and he's given Brown a glimpse of that early on in non-padded sessions. 

As for Ferrell, who will be under quite a bit more scrutiny than Crosby, he's already received a glowing report from quarterback Derek Carr, and left tackle Kolton Miller, who Ferrell has been going up against in practice, echoed those sentiments Sunday. 

"He has good speed and he's strong," Miller said when asked about Ferrell. "I think he can hold the edge. I think he'll be an immediate impact on our team."

[RELATED: Brown 'thirsty' for 'more rings', ready to dispel doubts]

The Raiders will put pads on for the first time Monday, which will give the coaches, fans and media the first true look at Ferrell and Crosby up against Brown and Miller, and whether or not all the talk surrounding the young edge rushers has been warranted. 

Raiders legend Cliff Branch denied in latest Pro Football Hall of Fame bid

Raiders legend Cliff Branch denied in latest Pro Football Hall of Fame bid

The Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted an expanded class in honor of the NFL’s 100th season, providing an opportunity to right some wrongs from way, way back.

They formed a blue-ribbon panel to select a larger group for induction, including 10 seniors who played at least 25 years ago, two coaches and three contributors.

But that still was not enough to get Cliff Branch in the Hall.

The legendary Raiders receiver was not included among the inductees, a disappointing turn for a Raiders franchise still mourning Branch’s loss.

Branch passed away last summer at the age of 71. Making the Hall of Fame proved elusive for the three-time Super Bowl champion and dangerous deep threat known for elite athleticism and speed.

[RELATEDBranch leaves lasting NFL legacy, earned Hall of Fame induction]

He had 501 catches for 8,685 yards and 67 touchdowns, averaging 17.3 yards per reception. Those totals match some of his contemporaries who have been enshrined, but his case has yet to be validated with a positive vote.

This was Branch’s best chance to get in. Now he’ll be reliant on the senior committee, which nominates one or two older players for enshrinement every year. Quarterback Ken Stabler was the last Raider inducted by the senior committee in 2016.

Roger Craig, who played for the Los Angeles Raiders in 1991, also was not selected.

The centennial class of enshrinees will be joined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020 by five modern-era players who will be elected the day before Super 54 in Miami.

Here is the complete list of inductees selected by the blue-ribbon panel as part of the 2020 Hall of Fame Class that consists of 10 seniors, three contributors and two coaches:

Coaches

Bill Cowher – 1992-2006 (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Jimmy Johnson – 1989-1993 (Dallas Cowboys(, 1996-99 (Miami Dolphins)

Contributors

Steve Sabol, Administrator/President – 1964-2012 (NFL Films)
Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner – 1989-2006 (NFL)
George Young, Contributor/General Manager – 1968-1974 (Baltimore Colts), 1975-78 (Miami Dolphins), 1979-1997 (New York Giants), 1998-2001 (NFL)

Seniors

Harold Carmichael, WR – 1971-1983 (Philadelphia Eagles), 1984 (Dallas Cowboys)
Jim Covert, T – 1983-1990 (Chicago Bears)
Bobby Dillon, S – 1952-59 (Green Bay Packers)
Cliff Harris, S – 1970-79 (Dallas Cowboys)
Winston Hill, T – 1963-1976 (New York Jets), 1977 (Los Angeles Rams)
Alex Karras, DT – 1958-1962, 1964-1970 (Detroit Lions)
Donnie Shell, S – 1974-1987 (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Duke Slater, T – 1922 (Milwaukee Badgers), 1922-25 (Rock Island Independents), 1926-1931 (Chicago Cardinals)
Mac Speedie, E – 1946-1952 (Cleveland Browns AAFC/NFL)
Ed Sprinkle, DE/LB/E – 1944-1955 (Chicago Bears)

NFL rumors: Raiders fire D-line coach Brentson Buckner after one season

NFL rumors: Raiders fire D-line coach Brentson Buckner after one season

Brentson Buckner's time with the Raiders appears to be over after only one season. 

NFL Media's Jim Trotter reported Tuesday that the Raiders have fired Buckner and will name Rod Marinelli as their new defensive line coach. As Trotter pointed out, the Raiders improved tremendously under Buckner in 2019, improving their sack total by 19 compared to the previous season. 

Buckner reacted to the news later Tuesday afternoon.

While the Raiders vastly improved their sack numbers, they still finished the regular season tied for 24th in the NFL. But fifth-round draft pick Maxx Crosby finished the season with 10 sacks and 14 QB hits this season as a rookie, and there's no doubt Buckner played a large role in Crosby's fast transition to the NFL.

Marinelli served as the Dallas Cowboys' defensive coordinator since the 2014 season. He coached the team's D-line the year before. 

[RELATED: Gruden, Mayock spotted at East-West Shrine Bowl practice]

The Cowboys ended 2019 with 39 sacks, good for 19th in the league.

Coach Jon Gruden's decision to fire Buckner as one year in Silver and Black surely comes as a surprise.