Camp Report (826): Raiders break camp

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Camp Report (826): Raiders break camp

Aug. 26, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVE
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Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comPractice No. 22Summary: For their final practice of training camp in Napa, the Raiders went long and hard and fully-padded, though they did not tackle to the ground. After taking Thursday off, and before a walk-through Saturday at their Alameda compound, the Raiders spent most of the final full practice in front of the media working on special teams and red-zone offense. Plus, there were a couple of new faces in camp in quarterback Terrelle Pryor and cornerback Lito Sheppard. There were some light-hearted moments, as when receiver Chad Jackson was flagged for lining up offsides and Jackson pleaded his case to the rent-a-ref, going so far as to spike his mouthpiece. And when placekicker Sebastian Janikowski nearly took out the Raiders' camera atop the hydraulic lift behind the south goal posts on a 39-yard field goal. But especially when assistant coach, safeties, Kevin Ross berated Jeremy Ware after he dropped an interception in position drills, saying, "JuJu, you spiked it. This ain't volleyball." For a Raiders camp, it was particularly, well, staid. "That's the way it should be," said rookie head coach Hue Jackson. "I don't want drama. It's hard to become a good football team when there's a bunch of drama surrounding your team. We head into this season on a clean slate when it starts."
RELATED: Sheppard hopes to shepherd young Raiders CBs
Injury report: Defensive tackle Richard Seymour started practice but did not feel comfortable and took the rest of the afternoon off. As such, 16 players sat out practice with various "nicks," including receivers Louis Murphy (hamstringgroin), Chaz Schilens (sprained right knee) and Shawn Bayes, tight end Kevin Boss (left knee sprain), fullback James McCluskey, offensive linemen Lou Eliades, Ben Lamaak and Roy Schuening (left hand), linebacker Travis Goethel (knee), defensive backs Hiram Eugene (dislocated left hip), Chris Johnson (oil change, yes, he said oil change), Mike Mitchell (left knee), Zac Etheridge (knee) and DeMarcus Van Dyke and defensive tackle John Henderson. Offensive play of the day: Is there a better way to end practice for the offense than with a touchdown? Rolling out to his right, Kyle Boller found Rock Cartwright underneath and dumped a pass to him underneath. Cartwright cruised into the end zone untouched and three horns signified the end of practice and thus, the end of camp in Napa.Defensive play of the day: Minutes before the touchdown, though, the defense got the best of the offense. Boller was rolling right and saw receiver Damola Adeniji flash open in the back of the end zone. Boller, though, did not see safety Jerome Boyd spying the play. Boyd jumped the pass and came up with the end zone interception.Returning to work: Middle linebacker Rolando McClain was back on the field after sitting out the previous two practices and enjoying the team's off day on Thursday. Same with rookie tight end David Ausberry. Cornerback Chris Johnson, meanwhile, was working on agility drills on the side.Eye on reps: In his first time under center in his first NFL camp, Terrelle Pryor took 16 snaps as the fourth-string quarterback. He completed four of nine passes, though many of his throws looked like wounded ducks, and fumbled two of his first six snaps from third-string center Alex Parsons, while handing off or pitching the ball on five running plays.Personnel report: Terrelle Pryor got in his first practice less than 24 hours after the third-round supplemental draft pick signed his contract. Also, the Raiders signed 10th-year cornerback Lito Sheppard to provide leadership and depth to the dinged-up and youthful secondary. The Raiders also released undrafted rookie free agent quarterback Jordan La Secla as well as waivedinjured undrafted rookie free agent guard Alan Pelc. The Raiders are at 89 players on their roster -- the max is 90 -- but have to be down to 80 by Tuesday at 1 p.m. PT, and at 53 by 1 p.m. PT on Sept. 3. Also, Ricky Hunley has appeared on the team's Web Site as the team's assistant linebacker coach.Quotable: "Coach won't let me wear No. 2. Why? I don't know. You tell me. He won't let me wear No. 2. I'm just going off what coach tells me." Quarterback Terrelle Pryor, on why he's wearing No. 6, rather than the number he wore in college. As an aside, the last Raiders QB to sport No. 2 was JaMarcus Russell.Next practice: Saturday, closed walk-through in Alameda.

McKenzie still not over Raiders playoff loss, striving 'to hold up the trophy'

McKenzie still not over Raiders playoff loss, striving 'to hold up the trophy'

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie acknowledged being named the NFL’s executive of the year was a big deal. It’s the highest individual honor bestowed on a personnel man.

Not in McKenzie’s eyes. His name’s on the plaque, but the general manger considers it a team honor. It takes a village to raise a roster, something McKenzie knows after working through the ranks.

“The acknowledgement, to me, is for the organization, from the top down,” McKenzie said. “From the patience and the vision together with me and (owner Mark Davis) on through the work, the daily work of the coaches and players and to play on Sunday. That’s what the acknowledgement is really all about.

“You see the entire organization working together to win. That’s what I see. It’s an accomplishment from the standpoint that we’re winning now. That’s what I feel good about. That’s why this award is special. It’s a team award, but it’s special to me that this thing is resulting into wins.”

The Raiders went 12-4 in 2016 and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2002 season. That postseason experience was not positive. The Raiders got waxed in Houston, completing a brutal two-loss stretch where an AFC West title was lost and the season formally ended.

The downward spiral started in Week 16, after quarterback Derek Carr broke his fibula. Backup Matt McGloin played poorly and then hurt his shoulder the next game, which forced the Raiders to start rookie Connor Cook against Houston.

A loss seemed likely – Pro Bowl left tackle Donald Penn was also sidelined – but that didn’t make it easier for McKenzie to handle.

“Well, I’m still getting over it, (likely) until I win my next game,” McKenzie said. “It’s tough anytime you lose your last game. It’s going to eat at you and that’s one thing about being a player, being associated in this, it’s the drive for the next game. What can I do to help us win that next game? And that’s the hope we have now, is the opportunity to play again, you know? Albeit, in ’17, but that’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to set the course for this ’17 season. So, it’s going to eat at you until then.”

It’s that drive that pushed McKenzie during difficult times, when talent piled up but didn’t translate to wins. Seeing the fruits of that labor is incredibly gratifying for McKenzie and staff. This award is part of that – to the victor go the spoils – though the end goal remains out of reach and will until the Raiders win a Super Bowl.

“Nobody likes losing, so I get that. If you really believe in what you’re doing and you’re supported, the hope is to start to win games, and to get to the playoffs is a step,” McKenzie said. “We feel good about that, but we’re only scratching the surface. We still want to hold up the trophy. That’s what we’re going to continue to strive to do. That’s our next step. We need to win playoff games.”

Five events that could derail the Raiders' move to Las Vegas

Five events that could derail the Raiders' move to Las Vegas

Finally, we are at the end game for the Oakland Raiders – a billionaires’ vote. Game to 24.

The Raiders filed the paperwork to move to Las Vegas Thursday, which was utterly no surprise to anyone. The City of Oakland pretended to be hurt but hopeful, which was no surprise. The NFL sat stolid and grumpy, which is its standard pose when it comes to the Raiders specifically and California in general.

In other words, the kabuki is done, and now we wait to see the sausage getting made. Or at the very least, watching it ground.

All the reporting and conjecture of the past few weeks is that Mark Davis has convinced the three-quarters majority that he has done more than enough to quell any concerns about Vegas’ smaller market or its stadium financing. The problem with that is, a lot of the same people thought that Davis and Dean Spanos would have been sharing the Los Angeles market by now, having been approved to move as a tandem last January.

That was 373 days ago, and as you all know, a lot has happened since then. The Rams moved from St. Louis instead, had a season so repellent that Los Angeles went from the league’s crown jewel to a serious problem area. The Chargers lost a stadium vote in San Diego by a lot more than Spanos hoped, and he went to L.A. to double the size of the hot mess. The Raiders turned a defeat into a new deal that first did include Las Vegas kingpin Sheldon Adelson and now may not include him. They even got $750 million in state money to help build their idealized new stadium, which is currently listed at $1.9 billion but may in fact end up costing significantly less.

Now there is only the matter of votes.

Jerry Jones (Dallas) has claimed to be in favor, and he was a chief whip in the Rams-to-L.A. deal. Bob McNair (Houston) is happy Davis isn’t again casting a phony eye towards San Antonio. Bob Kraft (New England) has been pro-Vegas through most of the hunt. Clarke Hunt (Kansas City) worried about competitive balance when the Raiders and Chargers were angling toward L.A. but seems less concerned now. And Jed York will have access to the Bay Area’s disposable income to himself.

The only apparent opponents could be Spanos and Stan Kroenke (Los Angeles), though Kroenke is pleased that the Raiders won’t be his co-tenants, Mike Bidwill (Arizona, for geographical reasons), John Mara (New York Giants) because of old-line gambling and market size jitters and maybe Paul Allen (Seattle) for . . . well, because he helped derail the Raiders a year ago and might have liked the way it felt.

But the NFL has been in Vegas for some time examining the territory, ever since it became clear that Oakland wasn’t going to play traditional civic ball (giving the local owner and the league everything it wants and then having the rest stolen from it). Mayor Libby Schaaf opted to agree with the Fortress group to handle the land and stadium issues, which sat very poorly with the NFL and made the option of keeping Davis in Oakland against his will even less palatable.

So what could derail the plan now? In descending order of likelihood:

* There could be eight of the remaining 31 owners (not counting Davis) who band together to vote en bloc against him, since he is not connected enough to fight back.

* There could be demands made of Davis in exchange for those votes that Davis finds too onerous (think divestiture, either at once or over time).

* Adelson could play nasty again, although now that most people believe that Davis can do the deal without him, that is less worrisome a scenario.

* The economy could crater (hey, laugh at your peril).

* The state could decide to renege on its contribution for fiscal reasons (politics are funny that way).

In short, today’s announcement was a sheer formality that makes the Las Vegas Raiders seem like a fait accompli, but the votes people think are in place are not actually in place until they’ve been cast.

And nobody knows that better than Mark Davis. He still has the muddy year-old prints from his “colleagues’” boots imprinted on his right buttock from the Carson vote.