Al's rage would have powered a neighborhood

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Al's rage would have powered a neighborhood

Jerry Jones angrily pounded the Dallas locker room door after the Cowboys latest eggy performance. Bud Adams essentially threw his entire Tennessee Titans team under the road grader he was driving for giving up 51 to Chicago.But there was not a sound in Oakland, where the Raiders let Doug Martin become a household name. In other words, just one more reason to wish Al Davis was still around.Not that he would have said anything after Sundays 42-32 loss to Tampa Bay, mind you. He reserved that level of entertainment for coaches hirings and firings, so he averaged a performance a year for the last 10.But his rage would have powered a neighborhood, and the walls at Raiders Intergalactic Headquarters would have bled for days. Youd have known he was there. Damn straight you would have.This is something we get too little of these days. The new generation of sporting entrepreneur is good at hiding from the public eye, hiring people to explain his (or her) whims and demands without him ever having to pop up at all.The old owners tended to stand out front more, doing odd things like taking responsibility and blowing off steam and shaking their fists and saying Why I oughta . . . The new ones want to lay in pile of money and dream of being holograms.In the Bay Area, the only owner who is eminently visible is Joe Lacob, who sits courtside, often with his arms folded across his chest and looking like he wishes he had heat vision. He is the Warriors, and the Warriors are him. And hell pretty well talk to anyone, any time.This could change, of course, if the Warriors overcome their quick start and settle into their much-predicted high-30s win projection. He is reaching that stage in his progression as an owner in which someone with a tape recorder or camera is more bother than opportunity.But he isnt there yet. And that makes him, well, special. Especially in these parts.

Mark Davis, who inherited the big chair from his father, fulminated privately Sunday if at all. Jed York leaves the football P.R. to Jim Harbaugh (and wouldnt you have killed to see him do the Raiders presser today?), though he will bloviate about the new stadium pretty much on command.The As and Giants exceeded expectations, the Giants winning it all, and other than celebratory moments, neither John-Boy Fisher nor Charlie Johnson made an appearance. Sharks front man Kevin Compton has spoken for the record once, before the lockout.In other words, Jones and Adams are old school. Lacob is kind of old school. The rest of them are . . . well, no school. They attend, but their participation in classroom discussion is nil.It is a safer place to be. Someone else deals with the outside world. Someone else has to handle the art of the spin. The value of invisibility is evident.But its also a little weak.The perfect owner is available for blame deflection after losses, even if its just to say, These are my guys, and theyre going to stay my guys. You want to yell, yell at me. After all, Im part of this too.The perfectly awful owner is available only for victories, to explain his (or her) magnificence when it is safe to do so.But the perpetually invisible owner resides in a netherworld where their very existence is really none of your business. Being above it all is a constant, and frankly, safety is boring.None of this will change, mind you. Our localities owners will occasionally be there when they need us, but never when we need them. They like that deal. Its the one where they win either way, and it explains their business practices in general. Thats how they got to be owners.But I speak for all America when I say that we could have used some public Mark Davis rage Sunday. It was a game that demanded it, frankly, and there are so few demands the Raiders make upon us otherwise.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

Penn still haunted by only sack allowed in 2016; 'That play sticks with me'

Penn still haunted by only sack allowed in 2016; 'That play sticks with me'

Editor's Note: The above video is from Dec. 24, 2016.

Donald Penn was nothing short of awesome last season. The veteran Raiders left tackle proved impenetrable, allowing just one sack and 27 quarterback pressures in 676 pass-blocking snaps.

He ranked high among the NFL’s best left tackles at 33, engulfed a career renaissance that began after joining the Raiders three years ago. Penn made the Pro Bowl. He was a vital piece of a 12-4 team that helped the Raiders reach the playoffs.

He hasn’t reveled much in that. Penn’s driven by opportunities missed, and one mishap that haunts him still.

Penn locked horns with Indianapolis linebacker Trent Cole off the left edge during a Week 16 contest against the Colts, and slipped as he was tracking his man away from the pocket. Penn’s feet got tangled and the big man fell. Cole remained upright, darted in and sacked quarterback Derek Carr.

It was Penn’s only sack allowed all season. And Carr got hurt. He suffered a broken fibula that ended his season and realistic hopes of a Raiders playoff run.

Nearly five months have passed since that fluke play. Carr is healthy and a full participant in the Raiders offseason program. The Raiders offensive line might be better after allowing a league-low 18 sacks last season.

There’s plenty to be excited about as the Raiders enter OTAs and a mandatory minicamp. Penn can’t help but lament that isolated incident when Carr went down.

“You have to be an athlete. You try not to think about it too much,” Penn said Tuesday. “You wish you could go back and get it back. I’ve taken that same set I don’t know how many times, on the same field and never just slipped out of nowhere. I’m not going to put it on myself. I should have been able to do something better. You know me, I’m never going to blame the slip for happening. I should have blocked him and held on to him and taken him down with me. That play sticks with me.”

That isn’t all bad. It fuels Penn to continue growing as a player, even at 34 coming off an excellent Pro Bowl season.

“I’m going to try to do what I can do better and make sure it never happens again,” Penn said. “I’ve never gotten a quarterback hurt in my life since I’ve been playing. That was a first. That’s something I take pride in. I’m going to try my hardest to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Penn wants a different ending to this season. Last year the Raiders lost the AFC West crown and a shot to win the team’s first playoff game. Penn suffered a knee injury the following week that kept him from playing in the postseason.

The goal is to realize vast potential now that the Raiders offense is back healthy again.

“I’m all about karma and stuff like that,” Penn said. “Maybe (God is) trying to tell us that this is our year. We have to put in the work to get it. I know D.C. is happy, I’m dang sure happy to get him back. We’re growing and masterminding this offense trying to make it as explosive as possible.”

 

Raiders OTA observations: Conley, rookies must earn their stripes

Raiders OTA observations: Conley, rookies must earn their stripes

ALAMEDA – Rookies have been immersed in the Raiders system most of this month, but still have a lot to learn before training camp begins this summer.

There’s significant work ahead this spring during OTAs and mid-June’s mandatory minicamp, and young players will do so from the second and third teams. Even the highly touted ones.

First-round draft pick Gareon Conley played slot cornerback with the second unit and outside cornerback on the third during Tuesday’s OTA open to the media. It’s a position the slick, speedy cover man will vacate posthaste, but the Raiders prefer rookies earn their stripes.

“All of our young guys are going to earn their way,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “We have a good football team. We’re going to let them earn their way. We’ll let them compete. We’re early in the competition, so we’ll just go through the offseason and continue to get (Conley) involved and get him reps. These guys will ascend and take their positions as they earn it. We’re really happy with the way he’s started.”

The Raiders didn’t feature a single rookie on their first units Tuesday. Second-round safety Obi Melifonwu, fourth-round offensive tackle David Sharpe and middle linebacker Marquel Lee were featured on the second unit.

Here are some other observations from Tuesday’s OTA sessions.

-- Del Rio said Marshall Newhouse had the inside track to be the team’s starting right tackle. The versatile veteran worked there with the first team, joining a front five otherwise intact from a season ago.

-- Second-year pro Connor Cook, who switched from No. 8 to No. 18 this offseason, ran the second offensive unit. E.J. Manuel worked with the third team.

-- Inside linebacker Ben Heeney worked on a side field with a trainer during Tuesday’s practice, as he continues to rehab from surgery to repair an ankle broken early last season. Jelani Jenkins also did side work after practicing on Monday.

Cory James and Tyrell Adams worked with the first unit at inside linebacker.

-- Veteran running back Marshawn Lynch was limited to individual drills for a second straight day as the Raiders ease him back into football activity.

-- Offensive lineman Austin Howard is working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery, and only practice during individual drills.

-- Cornerback Sean Smith had offseason surgery, but was a full participant in Tuesday’s session.

-- Third-round defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes remains away from the Raiders complex due to an NFL rule preventing players from schools still in session to work with their teams. He won’t re-join the squad until training camp. Undrafted rookie Nicholas Morrow is in a similar spot, but will return next week.

-- Edge rusher Shilique Calhoun played last season at 250 pounds, but looks decidedly bigger now. He told the team website he’s up to 270 pounds.