Season review -- Raiders WRs

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Season review -- Raiders WRs

The purported strength of the Raiders receiving corps was that there was no clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver. And as such, no divas living in their ranks.

But something happened when quarterback Jason Campbell went down with a broken right clavicle on Oct. 16 and Carson Palmer was acquired two days later. Heyward-Bey emerged as the top target and Jacoby Ford and Louis Murphy, both of whom are standing up in Campbell's wedding next month, became afterthoughts.

Yes, injury had a lot to do with it, but their close off-field relationship with Campbell, at whose house they crashed during the lockout for workouts, might have been a positive for the team before Campbell's injury, a hindrance after it.

And now that it appears fairly certain Campbell will be leaving as a free agent, it will be interesting to see how the young receiving group responds with a full offseason with Palmer as their quarterback.

And despite any rift, real or imagined, the Raiders receivers helped Oakland finish with the No. 11-ranked passing attack in the NFL.

Grade: CWIDE RECEIVERSDarrius Heyward-Bey -- Raise your hand if you predicted before the season began that Heyward-Bey would not only lead the Raiders in receiving but would be within a mere 25 yards of hitting that 1,000-receiving yards threshold? Now give yourself a Barry Horowitz-style slap on the back.
Not bad for a guy that entered his third season on the fast track to Bustville, right? Well, his maturation as a pass catcher has been a sight to behold -- a week after being carried off the field on a stretcher at Minnesota he started against Chicago -- even if he is more of an intermediate route runner than the deep threat Al Davis envisioned when he took him with the No. 7 overall pick in 2009.
He still has his fair share of drops, though no receiver on the Raiders roster works harder off the field to improve. And his work ethic has paid off as quarterbacks have begun to trust him with aplomb -- he was targeted a team-high 115 times, including 17 targets in the season finale -- and his 64 receptions were 27 more than Oakland's second-leading pass catcher, running back Michael Bush.
He had four touchdowns but no reception was as impressive, or important, as the 53-yard long bomb from Carson Palmer on the first play of overtime at Kansas City on Dec. 24 that put the Raiders in field-goal position.Denarius Moore -- The fifth-round rookie revelation turned heads in training camp with ridiculous plays seemingly every day. "I'm not a playmaker," Moore said in ah-shucks fashion. "I just make plays."
That he did, especially at Buffalo (five catches for 146 yards and a TD), at San Diego (five for 123 and two TDs) at Kansas City (four for 94 and a TD) and in the season finale against the Chargers (three for 101).
His five touchdown receptions led the team, even as he missed three games with an injured right foot and ankle suffered at Minnesota on Nov. 10.
Moore's 18.7-yards per catch average on 33 receptions, for 618 yards, led the team.
Yet as explosive as he could be, he would also sometimes disappear. He had a total of five catches in games against Denver, Houston, Cleveland, Kansas City, Minnesota and Detroit.
With experience and more reps, he only figures to get more consistent. "Denarius Moore," coach Hue Jackson said, "I give him an A." He's also considered the Raiders' best pure route runner.Chaz Schilens -- The oft-injured possession receiver stayed relatively healthy in 2011, missing only one game after missing a combined 19 games the previous two seasons.
Schilens tied a career-high with two touchdown catches and his 23 receptions for 271 yards were both second-best in his four-year career. No, Schilens did not have the impact expected of him when the Raiders trumpeted him in a famous (infamous?) press release a few years back.
But that's the issue with proclaiming receivers as game-changers -- they can only do so much when the ball is thrown their way and can do nothing when the ball is not thrown their way.Jacoby Ford -- A broken hand suffered in training camp was followed by a lost fumble the first time he touched the ball in the season opener, ensued by a strained hamstring, and bookended by a sprained foot.
The icing was the, ahem, icy glare Ford received from Palmer when Ford purportedly "slipped" in the season finale and Palmer's throw to the diminutive receiver was picked off.
Not exactly a season to write home about for Ford, who did, however, return another kickoff for a touchdown, in Week 6.
In all, Ford missed half of the season and caught 19 passes for 279 yards and a TD. Not quite the playmaker he was as a rookie in 2010, when he had 25 receptions for 470 yards and two scores while returning three kicks for touchdowns.
He seemed to take especially hard the loss of Campbell and how the arrival of Palmer was handled.Louis Murphy -- An offseason Viagra-related arrest preceded sports hernia surgery and Murphy was not the same player he had been the previous two seasons, when he led the receiving corps in catches and averaged 38 receptions, 565 yards and three TDs in nine starts.
In 2011, Murphy started one of the 11 games in which he played and caught 15 passes for 241 yards and did not have a touchdown catch.
Like Ford, he too seemed to struggle with the transition from Campbell to Palmer and some might say the most interesting nugget we learned about Murphy this season was that he prepares his chicken without washing his hands, courtesy of CSN California's "Raiders Unplugged."T.J. Houshmandzadeh -- The 11-year veteran's mere arrival on Nov. 1 as a free agent raised some hackles in that he was seen as Palmer's personal receiver, what with their prior relationship in Cincinnati.
After all, Houshmandzadeh caught an NFL-high 112 passes in 2007 with Palmer as his QB. Really, though, the 34-year-old Houshmandzadeh was used more as a third-down safety valve.
In eight games, he ended up catching 11 passes for 146 yards and his 13.3-yards per catch average was actually the second-highest of his career. Small sample size, yes, but it was also the same average he had the previous year in Baltimore, when he had 30 catches.Derrick Jones -- An undrafted free-agent rookie who blew out his Achilles' tendon in training camp and spent the season on Injured Reserve.

Oakland, Alameda County to vote on possible Raiders stadium term sheet next week

Oakland, Alameda County to vote on possible Raiders stadium term sheet next week

The Oakland City Council and Alameda County Supervisors will soon hold a public hearing and vote on a term sheet for a stadium proposal designed to keep the Raiders in Oakland, the City of Oakland announced on Friday afternoon.

These actions will occur on Dec. 13, as local authorities attempt to expedite a stadium plan that will prevent the Raiders from being approved to relocate to the Las Vegas market.

Oakland and Alameda County have paired with Fortress Investment Group to create a stadium funding plan that does not include taxpayer dollars. The public will contribute to infrastructure improvements, but stadium construction will come from private sources.

The private investment group is fronted by former NFL players Ronnie Lott and Rodney Peete.

Details of this stadium framework were released by the city of Oakland on Friday afternoon. 

The term sheet calls for 105 acres of Coliseum site land for a 55,000-seat football stadium and 7,000 parking spaces, with another 15 acres reserved for an Athletics ballpark. If all goes according to plan, the term sheet set a target date for the stadium to be ready by the 2021-22 season. The plan also accounts for  mixed use areas on the site that could be used for ancillary development. 

The financial framework calls $200 million in public funds, generated through private and public bonds, would be used for infrastructure improvements. The Coliseum site land was valued at $150 million, and would be transferred to the Lott group. It is uncertain how the public will recoup that land value. 

The Lott Group would invest $400 million dollars, and the Raiders and the NFL would put in $500 million combined, with $200 million from the league's stadium loan program. The Raiders could also raise funds from the sale of personal seat lisences, a common funding tool used in new stadiums throughout the league. 

The stadium project plus infrastructure improvements is estimated at $1.3 billion. The Lott Group would be responsible for financial overruns. 

City and county votes are the next step in creating a plan enticing enough to the NFL that it would pump the brakes on allowing the Raiders to move to Las Vegas.

That is Raiders owner Mark Davis’ stated desire. He has not negotiated with local public officials in some time, pouring focus into a Las Vegas stadium plan that has already received $750 million in public subsidy to construct if the Raiders are given the green light to move.

There are several complications associated with this deal, most notably that Davis wants no part in it. The NFL is reportedly intrigued by Oakland’s market potential, and generally prefers that teams remain in their home markets.

Oakland and Alameda County will vote on whether to continue working on this term sheet and present it to the NFL. The league meets on Wednesday to discuss relocation, and East Bay officials want to show they have a viable alternative to keep the Raiders in Oakland. 

 

Raiders snap count: Nate Allen plays every defensive down

Raiders snap count: Nate Allen plays every defensive down

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Raiders left guard Kelechi Osemele spent Thursday morning in a Kansas City hospital with an undisclosed illness, and was unfit to play that night against Kansas City.

That was a big blow to the Silver and Black, who played a pivotal game against the Chiefs without their tone-setter up front.

The Raiders have depth along the offensive line, giving position coach Mike Tice options to fill Osemele’s spot. He took an unconventional route, having rookie Vadal Alexander take most of the snaps for Osemele.

Alexander, who has played tackle as a professional but spent most of his collegiate career at guard, took 66 snaps at left guard. That information comes from the official NFL game book.

Jon Feliciano, typically the first guard off the bench, rotated series with Alexander early on. That apparently stopped as the game progressed, with Feliciano taking just nine offensive snaps.

Alexander allowed four quarterback pressures including a hit on Derek Carr.

Safety Nate Allen played all 55 defensive snaps at strong safety for Karl Joseph, who missed Thursday’s game with a toe injury.

Denico Autry and Dan Williams also saw more action with Darius Latham and Stacy McGee out with ankle injuries.

The Raiders played out of the shotgun and pistol formations to protect Carr’s ailing right pinky, which generally kept a third receiver on the field. Seth Roberts played 71 snaps on Thursday, and didn’t do much with them. He had just two catches for 12 yards on nine targets. He also had two drops.

Let’s take a look at the entire Raiders snap count:

OFFENSE
75 – OL Donald Penn, OL Austin Howard, OL Gabe Jackson, QB Derek Carr, OL Rodney Hudson
74 – WR Amari Cooper
71 – WR Seth Roberts
66 – OL Vadal Aleander
63 – WR Michael Crabtree
52 – RB Latavius Murray
44 – TE Clive Walford
23 – TE Mychal Rivera
18 – RB Jalen Richard
12 – WR Andre Holmes
9 – OL Jon Feliciano, OL Menelik Watson
7 – FB Jamize Olawale
2 – RB DeAndre Washington

DEFENSE
55 – S Nate Allen, LB Perry Riley, CB Sean Smith, S Reggie Nelson, LB Malcolm Smith, CB David Amerson
52 – DE Khalil Mack
48 – DL Denico Autry, LB Bruce Irvin
25 – DT Dan WIlliams
23 – CB TJ Carrie
15 – DT Justin Ellis
10 – DE James Cowser
6 – DL Branden Jackson

SPECIAL TEAMS
25 – Daren Bates
21 – Keith McGIll
19 – Andre Holmes, Jamize Olawale, Brenden Trawick, Cory James
18 – Taiwan Jones
15 – Nate Allen
13 – James Cowser, Marquette King, Jon Condo
11 – TJ Carrie
10 – Branden Jackson
8 – Sebastian Janikowski, Dexter McDonald
6 – Khalil Mack, Denico Autry, Bruce Irvin, Dan Williams, Justin Ellis, Tyrell Adams
5 – Jalen Richard
4 – Donald Penn, Austin Howard, Gabe Jackson, Vadal Alexander, Clive Walford, Mychal Rivera, Menelik Watson, DeAndre Washington
NOTE: Snap counts taken from official NFL game book