Raiders-Texans scene setter


Raiders-Texans scene setter

HOUSTON -- Greetings from the highest press box in the NFL, or at least, the highest one I've ever been in. It is a great view, though, even if the roof is closed, which is probably a good thing considering the downpours we've experienced already this morning.

Of course, the news of Al Davis' passing on Saturday is the talk of Reliant Stadium.

The Raiders are wearing stickers on the back of their helmets to commemorate Davis as it is a black decal in the shape of the Raiders' shield with "AL" in silver.

A moment of silence is planned. It will be interesting to see how the crowd responds, given that Houston was an original American Football League outpost in 1960.

As far as presume workouts several players are still wearing the pink cleats and gloves to commemorate breast cancer awareness.

Fullback Manase Tonga, elevated from the practice squad on Saturday, is getting his work in as well. Still, it could be a quick one-and-done for the rookie since quarterback Terrelle Pryor's five-game suspension ends after today's game and the Raiders will need a roster spot and starting fullback Marcel Reece seems close to returning from his ankle injury.

Also, Jacoby Ford is fielding punts, along with Denarius Moore.

Report: Day after loss to Raiders, Jaguars owner speaks to players

Report: Day after loss to Raiders, Jaguars owner speaks to players

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Several people familiar with the situation say Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan made a rare appearance in front of the team a day after one of the most embarrassing losses in coach Gus Bradley's four-year tenure.

The people say Khan's message Monday night was "why are we not winning and what can we do to fix it?" The people spoke to The Associated Press Wednesday on condition of anonymity because details of the meeting have not been disclosed.

The people say Khan's open forum allowed players and coaches to ask questions and exchange thoughts about what's gone wrong for a team that was expected to make a significant jump this season.

The Jaguars (2-4) play at Tennessee (3-4) on Thursday night.

Marquette King a renaissance man, though punting is his specialty

Marquette King a renaissance man, though punting is his specialty

SARASOTA, Fla. – Raiders players had free time on Monday afternoon, and most scattered through the Sarasota Ritz Carlton hotel and the surrounding town.

Not Marquette King. The Raiders punter found a baby grand piano and started tickling the ivories. He wasn’t practicing chop sticks. The guy can flat play.

“I’m like Nick Cannon,” King said. “I can’t read music, but I can play what I can hear.”

King can flat punt, too.

While he simplifies his duty to catch it and kick it, it’s a bit more complicated than that. King seems to have mastered the art in his fourth season and the Raiders’ full-time punter.

This season could be his best, and that’s saying something. He’s averaging 42.4 net yards per attempt – the highest of his career – and has put 15 of 34 punts inside the 20-yard line. To top off that excellent stat line, he only has three touchbacks.

King had an excellent day against Jacksonville. He averaged 50.6 net yards over five punts and put four inside the 20. He also made one hard to catch. Jacksonville’s Rashad Greene muffed a punt that Andre Holmes recovered, giving the Raiders the short field required to score an easy touchdown.

Oh, and there was something about a 27-yard run off a bad snap, where he earned a first down with surprising speed.

What was King thinking on that crucial run, one that helped put Jacksonville down on Sunday afternoon?

"I just thought that,” King said, “if I ran fast enough, my ratings would go up on Madden.”

That earned some honors. King was named AFC special teams player of the week on Tuesday morning.

King, a master of social media, came up with a term for doing all that: Punthlete.

That’s an accurate term for someone among the first of his kind, a rare athlete who has become a real weapon for a quality Raiders team.

He can do other things, but earns a great living specializing in one thing.

“There ain’t nothing to really talk about,” King said. “You just catch the ball and punt it. There’s technique to it, but…”

King trailed off at that point. He isn’t interested in talking about his craft. The guy knows how to have a good time, whether it’s acting like a mannequin in a Sarasota Gap store, playing drums with a local band or playing soul music without much effort.

King taught himself how to play piano two seasons ago out of boredom on road trips, and learned the trade pretty fast.

“When I see pianos in the lobby, I just wanted to play it,” King said. “Now that I know how to play it, I can just play.

“I need it myself. It’s therapy.”