Four questions facing Raiders: No. 1 -- What happened to Van Dyke?

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Four questions facing Raiders: No. 1 -- What happened to Van Dyke?

This is it, the all-important third preseason game that teams use as a dress rehearsal for the regular season. And for the Raiders, what better challenge for their rebuilt defense than the passing juggernaut that is the Detroit Lions?

GUTIERREZ: Raiders break camp in Napa with eye on future

The Raiders, who will have had a full week to gameplan for the Lions after playing Arizona a mere four days after opening their exhibition season against Dallas, will come into the game missing several recognizable names. Receivers Denarius Moore (right hamstring) and Jacoby Ford (left foot) will miss the game, as will linebacker Aaron Curry (knees) and center Stefen Wisniewski (right calf). Backup quarterback Matt Leinart (right index finger), tight ends Richard Gordon (ribs) and Tory Humphrey (hamstring) and defensive tackle Richard Seymour (veteran-itis) will be gametime decisions for the the exhibition, which will be broadcast delayed on KICU Channel 36 at 7 p.m. PT.

Still, tight end Brandon Myers (shoulder) and running back Taiwan Jones (hamstring) will make their preseason debuts, and the Raiders' starters should play into the third quarter. Four questions, then, in the form of downs, facing fans and the Raiders heading into their exhibition game at the Coliseum

First down -- I thought you said DeMarcus Van Dyke had a great camp?
He did, at least early on. Before veteran Ron Bartell's balky hamstring allowed him to practice, DVD was having the best camp of the defensive backs. But two things happened when Bartell returned -- Shawntae Spencer's play improved dramatically, and DVD's play in exhibition games took a turn for the worse, giving up big pass after big pass against Dallas and Arizona.

"I would really like to see him play like he plays out here (in practice), and just play (how) we know he can do," said defensive coordinator Jason Tarver. "And he's heard that from me this week, so that's what I'd like him to do. Play like he plays at practice, because he plays pretty good at practice."

To his credit, Van Dyke agreed. "Ive got to pick it up," said the second-year cornerback. "Im not satisfied with how Ive been playing. I havent been playing like I thought I was supposed to be. But its a process, its game by game, preseason games. So hopefully this game Ill come out and play good."

And this time, he'll have the ultimate measuring stick in Detroit's Calvin Johnson.

Report: Aldon Smith meets with Roger Goodell, NFL officials

Report: Aldon Smith meets with Roger Goodell, NFL officials

Raiders edge rusher Aldon Smith is pushing to get reinstated into the NFL after more than a year banished after repeated violations of the league’s substance abuse policy, and took a necessary step in his quest on Friday.

Smith met with NFL officials and Commissioner Roger Goodell, according to an NFL Network report, to plead his case for reinstatement.

It’s uncertain how that meeting went, or how it will influence Goodell’s ruling on Smith’s case. The commissioner is judge and jury in these situations, and there is no formal timetable for him to issue a ruling.

Smith applied for reinstatement on Oct. 3, a few weeks after his application could get turned in. He was eligible for reinstatement on Nov. 17, but the NFL has remained silent on the matter in accordance with league policy.

The Raiders hope Smith can return this season, and give the Raiders pass rush another potent weapon off the edge. There are only three games left in the regular season, but Smith is in fantastic shape and wouldn’t need much practice time to be ready to contribute as a rotational pass rusher.

Smith spent 120 days in a rehab facility in Colorado starting this summer, and hopes his case is sound enough that Goodell will let him return to work.

Smith signed with the Raiders just before the 2015 season began. He was released by the 49ers following his latest run-in with the law, which resulted in misdemeanor charges of DUI with a prior conviction, hit and run and vandalism.

He played nine games in Silver and Black before the NFL took punitive action. He has been away from the team ever since, only able to communicate with the team’s director of player engagement. He also stays in touch with his teammates.

Interviewed briefly at a Warriors game in early November, Smith expressed confidence that he would return when eligible. That hasn’t happened yet, though a meeting will certainly increase the possibility Goodell makes a ruling in this case.

Here are the requirements for reinstatement, according to the league’s substance abuse policy:

Any Player who has been banished under Stage Three may apply formally in writing for reinstatement no sooner than 60 days before the one-year anniversary date of the letter so banishing him.

The application should include all pertinent information about the Player’s:

(a) Treatment;
(b) Abstinence from Substances of Abuse throughout the entire period of his banishment;
(c) Involvement with any Substances of Abuse related incidents; and
(d) Arrests and/or convictions for any criminal activity, including Substances of Abuse-related offenses.

Set forth below are the procedures to be used when an application is received by the Commissioner.

1. Within 45 days of receipt of the application, the Player will be interviewed by the Medical Director and the Medical Advisor, after which a recommendation will be made to the Commissioner with regard to the Player’s request for reinstatement.

2. The Player will execute appropriate medical release forms that will enable the Commissioner’s staff and NFLPA Executive Director’s staff to review the Player’s substance abuse history, including but not limited to attendance at counseling sessions (individual, group and family); attendance at 12-step and other self-help group meetings; periodic progress reports; and all diagnostic findings and treatment recommendations.

3. The Player will submit to urine testing by an NFL representative at a frequency determined by the Medical Advisor.

4. The Player will agree in a meeting with the Commissioner or his representative(s) to comply with the conditions imposed by the Commissioner for his reinstatement to the status of an active Player.

5. All individuals involved in the process will take steps to enable the Commissioner to render a decision within 60 days of the receipt of the application.

Cooper 'didn't stumble,' NBC says incompletion didn't hit camera cable

Cooper 'didn't stumble,' NBC says incompletion didn't hit camera cable

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had pass rushers all around, but evaded them just long enough for Amari Cooper to do his thing.

He put an extra move on Marcus Peters and came free over the top. Carr saw his favorite target wide open, stepped up amid the chaos and let it fly. His volley went skyward, and Cooper veered right, tracking it as gravity brought the ball back. The pass ended up falling left, too far for Cooper to catch it.

“That’s a play we typically make,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said Thursday. “We didn’t make it tonight.”

The Raiders were down 21-13 in the fourth quarter when that opportunity came about. Neither team scored again, and that result moved Kansas City over the Raiders and atop the AFC West.

There were other chances to score, including a long drive that stalled at the Kansas City 19-yard line with two minutes remaining. The deep incompletion came on 3rd-and-7 on the Raiders’ penultimate series, and a missed connection proved costly in their comeback efforts.

The whole exchange was uncharacteristic. Cooper doesn’t believe he misread the pass or took a false step to his right. He said it altered course at the worst time.

“I didn’t stumble,” Cooper said. “The ball, as it was coming down, moved at the last minute. That’s why it looked like I might have stumbled. I was running in the right direction and it kind of moved inside at the last minute, and I didn’t have time to get it.”

That has led many on social media to claim Carr’s pass hit a cable supporting a Skycam, a mobile camera that gets aerial shots during a game. The technology uses a series of cables to give the camera free motion over the field.

There is no conclusive video to show whether a ball hit the cable. Carr’s pass leaves the frame and doesn’t come back into view until it’s already off course.

NBC is certain the camera didn’t play a role in one of many missed opportunities to complete a comeback and beat the Chiefs.

“The camera is always behind the play and cables are really high over the surface,” NBC executive producer Fred Gaudelli said in an email to Deadspin. “Look at the replay we showed from sky cam - if anything hits the wire it would effect a bump in the camera and you would see that on the air.”

Punts have hit camera cables before, and NFL rules mandate a down be replayed if interference occurs.

The NFL mandates the camera always be behind the play. On the third down in question, the camera was in the Raiders backfield as it should’ve been.

There’s no solid evidence that the ball hit a cable, it’s entirely possible Carr’s pass simply went awry. The typically accurate quarterback struggled with touch all night, and never found the passing rhythm characteristic of his MVP-caliber season.

Arrowhead Stadium often has unpredictable wind gusts that could’ve changed trajectory upon descent. No Raiders or official questioned the play at the time, which fell harmlessly incomplete when the Raiders needed a big play.

To see the replay in slow motion, click here.