Raiders

49ers, Raiders reps quiet in NFC's Pro Bowl win

49ers, Raiders reps quiet in NFC's Pro Bowl win

Jan. 30, 2011

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HONOLULU (AP) A tropical rainstormmoved in from the Pacific and cleared just before the Pro Bowl began onSunday. What followed was a sloppy show that was not exactly rivetingentertainment a week in advance of the Super Bowl.The NFC's 55-41 victory, a game notnearly as interesting as that score would indicate, did nothing torepair the tattered image of the NFL's all-star contest.New England's Bill Belichick, the AFCcoach and a man of even fewer words than usual, might have come closestto summing up the game with his mumbled cliche, "It is what it is."MVP DeAngelo Hall had one of histeam's five interceptions and returned a fumble 34 yards for atouchdown to help the NFC match a Pro Bowl scoring record in a 55-41victory over turnover-prone AFC. He gets a new Cadillac for hisefforts."I was just about to buy anotherSUV," the Washington Redskins cornerback said, "so to come out here andgrab one for free, I like that."AFC quarterbacks Philip Rivers,Peyton Manning and Matt Cassel each threw first-half interceptions tohelp the NFC blow open a 42-0 lead in a performance ugly even by thehistorically low standards of this game.Fittingly for this strange contest,center Alex Mack of Cleveland scored the final touchdown on a 67-yardpass play that featured two laterals with 16 seconds left.Carolina's Jon Beason returned thefifth interception thrown by the AFC, and second by Matt Cassel, 59yards for the NFC's final touchdown to match the single-team scoringrecord set in the NFC's 55-52 victory in 2004."It feels amazing. It was a lot offun," Minnesota's Adrian Peterson said. "We came out and put up a bunchof points and had some fun doing it, so it was a good day."Belichick, after his Super Bowlfavorite Patriots lost to the New York Jets in the divisional playoffs,had to watch his AFC squad muddle through a first half that ended 42-7.Pro Bowls are, by their nature,laid-back affairs, seemingly played at half speed by players whosebiggest concern is to get on the plane home without injury.The AFC, though, took that attitude to an uncomfortable extreme early on before coming back to outscore the NFC 41-13.The NFC led 42-0 after StevenJackson waltzed through the AFC defense for a 21-yard touchdown - andthere still was 4 12 minutes left in the second quarter.Rivers, starting in place of injured Tom Brady, was picked off twice in the first quarter, the second by Hall."You underthrow one just a hair andthey intercept it," Rivers said. "You get a deflection for aninterception. ... They had all the breaks early."Manning, in his 11th Pro Bowl, cameon briefly in relief and his second pass was picked off. Then Casselgot his chance and quickly joined in the spirit of things, throwing hissecond pass of the game directly into the hands of Minnesota cornerbackAntoine Winfield.But just when it appeared it wouldbe the most one-sided game in Pro Bowl history, eclipsing the JoeTheismann-led 45-3 NFC rout of the AFC in 1984, the AFC scored threetouchdowns in a row. The last came on the game's seventh turnover, whenDevin Hester tried to hand the kickoff return to Hall, but the ballfell to the turf. Montell Owens of Jacksonville scooped it up and ranit in 10 yards for the score to make it 42-21 with 10 minutes left inthe third quarter.With his seven extra points, tying aPro Bowl record, along with two field goals, David Akers moved ahead ofMorten Andersen (45) for most career Pro Bowl points with 52. ThePhiladelphia kicker would have had more but his 36-yard field goal tryin the fourth quarter bounced off the right upright."Morten Andersen was a mentor ofmine and I competed with Morten for a job in Atlanta and he taught me alot," Akers said, "so it means a lot to be able to pass a legend likethat."The game returned to its traditionalhome in Hawaii after a one-year detour to Miami, much to the approvalof the players involved.Eagles quarterback Michael Vick started but played only the first quarter, completing 5 of 10 passes for 59 yards.Peterson rushed for 80 yards in 14carries for the NFC, including a 14-yarder to set a Pro Bowl recordwith four career rushing touchdowns. Atlanta got good performances fromMatt Ryan (9 of 13 for 118 yards and two touchdowns with aninterception), Michael Turner (eight carries for 53 yards) and RoddyWhite (five catches for 69 yards).Notes: A 70-yard punt by Mat McBriarof Dallas in the first quarter tied for second-longest in Pro Bowlhistory. ... The state of Hawaii is paying the NFL about 4 millionthis season and next to keep the Pro Bowl team in Honolulu. Locationfor the contest is up in the air after 2012. ... Peterson had been tiedwith three career rushing TDs with Earl Campbell, Chuck Muncie and MikeAlstott. ... Tony Gonzalez added to his Pro Bowl record for careerreceptions (42) and moved into first in TD catches with his sixth. ...The attendance of 49,338 was just shy of a sellout.

Ten questions as Raiders open training camp

Ten questions as Raiders open training camp

The Raiders are a good football team. Rosters of this caliber generally don’t carry much uncertainty even into training camp, but questions still remain heading into training camp. There are a few key position battles, some important rookies to watch and, of course, to figure out what’s going on at inside linebacker. Instead of asking and answering my own questions, fans put topics on the table by submitting questions on my Facebook page. I picked the 10 best questions heading into a training camp that should provide answers.

1. Who will be the starting linebackers in Week 1? (Johnny Carrasco)
Head coach Jack Del Rio told NFL Network this offseason that the Raiders didn’t adequately address their interior linebacker position. He was right. They don’t have much depth or experience at middle linebacker or weakside linebacker, positions vital in interior run defense and pass coverage.

Cory James and Tyrell Adams ran the first unit during the offseason, with fifth-round rookie Marquel Lee and free-agent signee Jelani Jenkins on the second unit. The Raiders will continue to evaluate talent currently on the roster, but it remains likely a veteran will be added to the group before summer’s out.

Last year’s starter Perry Riley remains on the open market. So does Ray Maualuga and Connor Orr. More guys will become available after roster cuts. Right now, starting spots at middle linebacker and weakside linebacker are as wide open as it gets.

2. I'm wondering who the last receiver on the active roster will be? I like Mickens and Holton and I know you like (KJ) Brent. Who wins? (Landon Weber)
There were several questions about the No. 3 receiver spot, but Seth Roberts will hold on to his position in the slot. Cordarrelle Patterson is the No. 4 guy, and could be involved more on offense than previous years in Minnesota.

Johnny Holton was the No. 5 guy last year, and his speed and special teams prowess could help keep the job. He’ll be pushed by first-year players Jaydon Mickens and K.J. Brent and some undrafted rookies. I do like Brent’s size and ability, but ultimately think Holton holds on to his roster spot.

3. Who will be the odd man out at safety (Nelson, Joseph, Obi)?? (Steve Guzman)
Reggie Nelson will play most every snap at free safety. Karl Joseph should do the same at strong safety. I still wouldn’t say there’s an odd man out. Second-round rookie Obi Melifonwu will have plenty to do as a rookie if he continues to develop this summer. The Raiders hope to use him in sub packages to cover tight ends or extra receivers in the slot. He has great size and coverage skills, and could be an asset especially with uncertainty at interior linebacker. All three guys should see significant snaps and play more to their strengths.

4. How many carriers per game are we expecting to see from Lynch? How much platooning should we expect in our backfield? (Joe Ram)
Marshawn Lynch has taken significant carries in seasons past, with at least 280 carries from 2011-14. He is now 31 and a year removed from football, so it’s unrealistic to think his carry county returns to previous levels.

The Raiders ran 434 times last year, with 195 carries given to lead back Latavius Murray. That total might be a target for Lynch, especially if Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington continue producing well. While his action should be limited in camp, the Raiders can adjust Lynch’s workload based upon health and effectiveness, with an eye on keeping him strong down the stretch.

5. I have (Shilique) Calhoun improving and having a bigger role on the D-line. Does anyone else look good in that group? (Alexander Duarte)
Calhoun wasn’t impactful as Bruce Irvin’s understudy, though he didn’t get many defensive snaps to show his stuff. He bulked up this offseason in hopes of fitting in better with this defense.

He’ll join a pass rush that finished last with 25 sacks last season and a supporting cast that must help Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin get to the quarterback. Mario Edwards Jr. will play a huge part in that. He’s an impactful interior pass rusher, and could fare well playing right next to one of the edge rushers. Rookie Eddie Vanderdoes could help right away on the inside, and coaches expect Jihad Ward to be more productive in his second season. The Raiders long to be impactful without blitzing, meaning the front must be consistently get penetration on their own.

6. What’s going on with Aldon Smith? Damn, the dude has served a long enough suspension. (Chris Pehrson)
Aldon Smith has stayed out of the public eye for the past few months, a positive from his perspective after run-ins with the law this spring. That included him being a passenger of a vehicle that hit an unmarked police car. The driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI and Smith didn’t seem right during interviews after the incident.

Bill Williamson of FanRag Sports reported Wednesday that Smith isn’t close to being reinstated to the league. The Raiders aren’t counting on Smith’s return soon. Also, as a note, Smith isn’t suspended. He has been banished from the NFL as a repeat offender of the league’s substance abuse policy, and commissioner Roger Goodell has complete authority on when and whether to review his application for reinstatement. There is no timetable to do so.

7. Do you think we can be a middle of the pack defense this season? (Peyman Bastani)
It’s certainly possible. If that’s the case, the Raiders should win a lot of games. Derek Carr’s offense is potent and should score a ton. Keeping teams down even a little might sap some drama from results and help the Raiders stack wins.

The pass defense must improve in order to do that, and the interior linebackers must provide consistent play against the run and pass. Can they do that? Time will tell.

8. How do you think the defensive backfield will work out, with rookies and depth? (Todd Sheehan)
Sean Smith and David Amerson should start at outside cornerback, with Gareon Conley in the slot. Reggie Nelson will be the free safety and Karl Joseph is the strong safety, with an ability to play both spots. Obi Melifonwu will help as a hybrid safety/linebacker in sub packages as well.

There will be some competition at cornerback. Conley could push for a full-time job, starting over Smith or Amerson in the base defense while moving inside in the nickel package. TJ Carrie is also in the mix, and can play inside and out.

9. Is (Marshall) Newhouse still leading the RT battle? (Cody Knudtson)
He is, even after missing work in the offseason program. The free agent signing has pole position right now, though Vadal Alexander will certainly push him throughout camp. Austin Howard is another factor, and will try to re-claim a starting spot he held most of the last two years. Should he come up short in that effort, he might end up on the chopping block in the interest of saving the Raiders some cash.

10. How much variation do you see from (assistant head coach – defense John Pagano)? Is he greasing the wheels or reinventing the secondary (Parker, via Twitter)
I would definitely choose option A. Pagano isn’t changing the Raiders defensive scheme. He’s working to improve its execution through better communication. He’ll spend significant time with the secondary on working better together and disguising coverage. He’ll also have input on the game plan – head coach Jack Del Rio also has significant say -- and how to use player strengths, but defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. remains the play caller.

Source: Raiders release one of their longest-tenured players

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AP

Source: Raiders release one of their longest-tenured players

Taiwan Jones was one of the longest tenured Raiders entering 2017, one of the few acquired by late owner Al Davis.

The Raiders released Jones on Thursday morning, a league source said, concluding his six-year run with the club.

The running back turned defensive back turned running back (again) carved a niche on special teams as a gunner and quality cover man.

He wasn’t an offensive asset, pushing him firmly on the roster bubble. It burst just before camp.

The San Francisco native and Antioch Deer Valley High alum was a popular locker room presence during his time in Oakland. His speed was always attractive, but durability and ball security issues dectracted from more positive traits.

Jones had just five offensive touches last season and just eight kickoff returns. Cordarrelle Patterson is an All-Pro returner and an excellent gunner. Johnny Holton also serves as a speedy cover man on special teams.

Releasing Jones now gives him a full preseason to latch on with another team.

Only long snapper Jon Condo and kicker Sebastian Janikowksi remain on the roster from the Al Davis era.

The Raiders now sit one player below the 90-man roster limit, a vacancy that should be filled soon.

ESPN first reported the news.