Are the Raiders' penalty woes fixed?


Are the Raiders' penalty woes fixed?

ALAMEDA -- The No. 1 matchup I wrote about, with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek, heading into Sunday's game in Kansas City was this -- the Raiders against the Referees.Yeah, I know. Buying into that whole conspiracy thing, right?Well, as I wrote at the time, the Raiders averaged 4.7 penalties for 34 yards with the replacement officials but were averaging 8.7 penalties for 69.7 yards under the real refs. Facts. Simply facts.Then came Sunday.In the Raiders' 26-16 defeat of the Chiefs, Oakland was flagged twicefor 20 yards. Wait, what?The two penalties -- an illegal block above the waist on left tackle Jared Veldheer and a roughing the passer on defensive tackle Richard Seymour.In fact, a year after setting NFL single-season marks for penalties (163) and penalty yardage (1,358) while leading the NFL in penalties for a record 17th time, the Raiders are tied for 24th in the league with Buffalo. Both teams have 42 penalties in seven games (11 teams have played eight games). Plus, the Raiders are 27th in penalty yardage (331)."Fixed" might be too strong, but how has the Raiders' new regime made such an impact in such a relatively short time, especially after deposed coach Hue Jackson said non-stop he was going to "fix it" a year ago?"It's the players," insisted rookie coach Dennis Allen. "It's the players. We can preach the message and we'll continue to preach the same message day in and day out. That won't change. But really, as with most things that happen successfully on the football field, it's because the players understand that it correlates to winning and losing games. They've done a nice job of eliminating those things."At Atlanta, the Raiders were flagged 12 times for 110 yards. A week later against Jacksonville, they had nine penalties for 58 yards. The two penalties at Kansas City were the Raiders' fewest in a game since Oct. 3, 2010, when they also had two, for 23 yards, against Houston in Oakland.The Raiders play host to Tampa Bay on Sunday.
"And every week it's a different story," Allen continued. "So, the last two weeks we couldn't get them stopped, and this week we only had two. We've got to continue to fight that battle on a daily basis."

Four-time Pro Bowl RB Arian Foster announces retirement from NFL

Four-time Pro Bowl RB Arian Foster announces retirement from NFL

MIAMI  -- Four-time Pro Bowl running back Arian Foster has announced his retirement midway through an injury-plagued season with the Miami Dolphins.

Foster, 30, tried to come back from a torn Achilles tendon, but was slowed this season by groin and hamstring injuries. He disclosed his decision Monday on the website Uninterrupted, and the Dolphins confirmed it.

The retirement is effective immediately.

Foster signed a $1.5 million, one-year contract with the Dolphins in July after seven years with the Houston Texans. He holds the Texans' franchise record with 6,472 yards rushing.

This season he rushed for 55 yards in 22 carries. His playing time was curtailed with the emergence of Jay Ajayi, who tied an NFL record by surpassing 200 yards rushing each of the past two weeks.

Jaguars WR confesses to directing racial slur at Raiders

Jaguars WR confesses to directing racial slur at Raiders

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee says he was flagged for using a racial slur in Jacksonville's 33-16 loss to Oakland on Sunday.

Lee acknowledged Monday that it was the reason for his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the third quarter, a flag that seemingly started Jacksonville's fourth-quarter meltdown in which defensive tackle Malik Jackson and cornerback Jalen Ramsey were ejected.

"I got flagged for saying the N-word," Lee said. "It was back and forth. In the midst of the game, emotion is going from both teams. It just so happened the ref heard me, so therefore I got the flag. I've just got to fess up to it."

Lee said he and several Raiders were "going back and forth as far as the words and stuff." The fourth-year receiver from USC said he let his emotions get the best of him and said "it went both ways."

The NFL made racial slurs a point of emphasis in 2014, reminding officials that the league already had a rule against abusive language.

Lee jogged off the field after his 15-yard penalty and was clearly frustrated as he explained to coach Gus Bradley what happened and why.

"Throughout the whole game, we had a lot of players saying a lot of different things, but that's just the midst of the game," Lee said. "It's kind of hard when you have refs out there trying to limit what people say when you've got grown men hitting each other.

"You've got a lot of things that's going on that's flaring as far as in your mind. ... It wasn't intentional at all. I know he woke up the next day not worrying about it at all, just like I woke up not worrying about it. I feel like you're going to always have that issue because you're going to always have situations flame up and both teams are going back and forth and things are going to get said regardless if the ref likes it or not."

Lee finished with seven receptions for 107 yards.

The Raiders were flagged 11 times for 117 yards. The Jaguars were penalized 13 times for 112 yards.

"That's a reflection of me as a head coach," Bradley said Monday. "It's a reflection of our discipline. It's a reflection of how our culture is and how we talk and how we handle things. Yeah, that part of it, that hits home with me because obviously it's my responsibility, the demeanor of this team and how we approach things and how we play with poise.

"I take personal responsibility for that."

Jackson was penalized twice on the same play in the fourth, first for roughing the passer on a third-and-10 play, and then for using abusive language toward an official. He was ejected four plays later following another exchange with an official. Jackson ran to the locker room, seemingly eager to get off the field early.

"It's an emotional game and we have to go out here and balance playing emotions from when to say things, not when to say things and not when to do things," Jackson said. "It's just hard to balance. Sometimes you lose control, and I think that's what happened. We lost control, but I don't see this being a tendency. I don't see this being an issue, and we're going to move forward."

Ramsey and Raiders receiver Johnny Holton were ejected for fighting in the final minutes of the lopsided matchup.

"They probably don't want me to say this, but I'm going to just keep it real with y'all," Ramey said. "If I was out there nine more times, I would do the same thing. I don't think I should have been thrown out of the game for it. Neither do I think he should have been thrown out of the game for it, to be real with you. But I'm not going to be disrespectful."