NAPA -- It's at the most basic level of the game and yet, the Raiders spent much of training camp working on perfecting the art of tackling.Yes, it's all about desire, but there's technique involved as well, obviously."As a coach you want to help players get better, so you want to put them in positions, No. 1, where they're not going to hurt themselves, and this is from teaching little kids to NFL players -- you've got to teach them how to tackle," said first-year defensive coordinator Jason Tarver. "You've got to teach them to keep their hips down and their eyes up and their feet moving and the correct leverage and know where their help is. So we drill it...we emphasize it in the team period. We talk about, for example, if you and I are going to make a tackle and I'm on the outside of you, I'd say, Outside, outside, outside."That lets those players know that I'm on his outside. Those little things and knowing where your help is, makes you a better team, makes you a better tackling team. And then, the body position. So knowing where your help is, and the body position on contact are things we've emphasized since Day 1. And you can do that without pads on."Strong safety Mike Mitchell came into the NFL with a reputation as a hard hitter and has taken Tarver's lessons to heart, calling him a "baby genius" earlier in camp."Tackling is a mentality," Mitchell said. "I remember a long time ago, a defensive coordinator I had in college was telling us about Vince Lombardi, and he said, 'Imagine that someone just took everything that you had...and you had to get it back. Thats tackling.'"Its more of a mentality and a desire to want to tackle. We can practice it as much as you want, but theres that moment in the game, and the guys got the ball, you got to have that intent and desire to get him down. Were all professionals, too, Ive been playing since I was six, but you know how to tackle, you know how to tackle."One of the bigger criticisms of middle linebacker Rolando McClain through his first two seasons in the NFL was his tackling, or lack thereof.Against Dallas in each team's exhibition opener on Aug. 13, McClain blasted Cowboys tight end Jason Witten hard enough to lacerate his spleen. But he did not tackle him, per se."As he was coming off the field, I said that was a great job on a bootleg, like we've been working all camp, now wrap him up," Tarver said, recalling his brief conversation with McClain. "That's exactly what I told him."And that's exactly what Tarver preached to his defense all camp.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has 247,000 Twitter followers and, given his popularity in the Bay Area, it’s assumed a significant portion stems from this region.
Carr put that megaphone to good use.
Oakland Police sent out an Amber Alert on Saturday hoping to find a young boy gone missing, and Carr retweeted that call for public assistance.
The boy was quickly found after a citizen replied on Twitter and provided information that led to the rescue.
That led an Oakland police officer to credit Carr for helping find the boy.
Carr responded to the news on social media, happy police were able to find a missing child.
@OPDChris great news! Thank you for letting me know they are safe! God bless y'all!— Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) January 15, 2017
Injury issues bookended Karl Joseph’s rookie year. The Raiders brought their first-round strong safety along slowly while recovering from ACL surgery, keeping him out of defensive action during 2016’s first two games. He missed four at regular-season’s end with a toe injury.
In the middle he played just fine. Joseph was solid against the run and impactful playing deep, allowing him and veteran Reggie Nelson to remain unpredictable in deep coverage.
Joseph finished the year with 60 tackles, an interception and six passes defensed.
That was good enough for recognition on the Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie team, which was released on Tuesday following a vote of the association’s membership.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa were the offensive and defensive Rookies of the Year, respectively.