Are the Raiders' penalty woes fixed?

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Are the Raiders' penalty woes fixed?

ALAMEDA -- The No. 1 matchup I wrote about, with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek, heading into Sunday's game in Kansas City was this -- the Raiders against the Referees.Yeah, I know. Buying into that whole conspiracy thing, right?Well, as I wrote at the time, the Raiders averaged 4.7 penalties for 34 yards with the replacement officials but were averaging 8.7 penalties for 69.7 yards under the real refs. Facts. Simply facts.Then came Sunday.In the Raiders' 26-16 defeat of the Chiefs, Oakland was flagged twicefor 20 yards. Wait, what?The two penalties -- an illegal block above the waist on left tackle Jared Veldheer and a roughing the passer on defensive tackle Richard Seymour.In fact, a year after setting NFL single-season marks for penalties (163) and penalty yardage (1,358) while leading the NFL in penalties for a record 17th time, the Raiders are tied for 24th in the league with Buffalo. Both teams have 42 penalties in seven games (11 teams have played eight games). Plus, the Raiders are 27th in penalty yardage (331)."Fixed" might be too strong, but how has the Raiders' new regime made such an impact in such a relatively short time, especially after deposed coach Hue Jackson said non-stop he was going to "fix it" a year ago?"It's the players," insisted rookie coach Dennis Allen. "It's the players. We can preach the message and we'll continue to preach the same message day in and day out. That won't change. But really, as with most things that happen successfully on the football field, it's because the players understand that it correlates to winning and losing games. They've done a nice job of eliminating those things."At Atlanta, the Raiders were flagged 12 times for 110 yards. A week later against Jacksonville, they had nine penalties for 58 yards. The two penalties at Kansas City were the Raiders' fewest in a game since Oct. 3, 2010, when they also had two, for 23 yards, against Houston in Oakland.The Raiders play host to Tampa Bay on Sunday.
"And every week it's a different story," Allen continued. "So, the last two weeks we couldn't get them stopped, and this week we only had two. We've got to continue to fight that battle on a daily basis."

Raiders 2017 UDFA tracker: McKenzie mining for more gold in new crop

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Raiders 2017 UDFA tracker: McKenzie mining for more gold in new crop

ALAMEDA – The Raiders have had great success mining gold from undrafted free agency. Jalen Richard and Darius Latham were kings of last year’s crop, which was six strong by season’s end. with Seth Roberts and Denico Autry other examples of undrafted free agents done good in recent years.

Can Raiders scouts find more helpful pieces from those left out of the NFL draft? Time will tell on that one, but finding the right undrafted players is something the team takes seriously. Scouts revel in undrafted players who make it in the league.

“It’s very rewarding,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “If we sign him as a free agent, we may have had him on the board as draftable, but getting guys post draft, that helps you down the road. To maintain a consistent winner, you have to hit on some of those guys. You have to. The way that the contracts are these days, you have to have some of those type players to help you win football games year in and year out.”

The Raiders will search for those players into Saturday evening to fill the 90-man roster. McKenzie secured some of his top targets with four seventh-round picks, though several more have signed with the club. Here’s a list of those who have signed with the team thus far:

-- OL Jordan Simmons, USC: The hulking offensive lineman signed with the Raiders, he announced on social media. Simmons stands 6-foot-5 and 335 pounds, and will turn pro after being denied a sixth year of college eligibility. The talented guard had an injury-riddled career.

-- WR Isaac Whitney, USC: Whitney is yet another undrafted Trojan to join the Raiders roster. He announced the signing on social media. He didn’t have many college stats, but is fast with the size the Raiders prefer in outside receivers.

-- WR Keon Hatcher, Arkansas: Hatcher will reportedly join the offseason receiver group in hopes of taking a roster spot. He had 44 catches for 743 yards and eight touchdowns in his final college season. (Houston Chronicle)

-- WR Ishmael Zamora, Baylor: The Bears official website reported that Zamora will sign with the Silver and Black. He had63 catches for 809 yards and eight touchdowns in 2016. He was suspended three games for abusing a dog in an incident that was caught on video. 

-- S Ahmad Thomas, Oklahoma: The Raiders need safety depth, so it was smart of Thomas to sign in Oakland. He was a three-year starter and a team captain. (Houston Chronicle)

-- S Anthony Cioffi, Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights’ official Twitter account reported a four-year starter in college will give the pros a try in Oakland.

-- DT Jordan Wade, Oklahoma: The 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive tackle will join the Raiders. (SoonerScoop.com)

-- TE Pharaoh Brown, Oregon: The Ducks didn’t have a single player drafted, but Brown will join the Silver and Black. The tight end announced a signing on Twitter. He had 33 catches for 426 yards and five touchdown.

Check back for further updates...

New Raiders RB Hood modeled game after Marshawn, wants to learn from Lynch

New Raiders RB Hood modeled game after Marshawn, wants to learn from Lynch

ALAMEDA – It took significant time for Elijah Hood’s name to be called in this year’s NFL draft. The North Carolina running back was nearly last, the No. 242 overall selection.

He didn’t care. Hood was ecstatic, genuinely emotional on a Saturday conference call with local media.

He was excited to be a Raiders. He was over the moon about working with Marshawn Lynch.

The 220-pound power runner has tried to emulate the Oakland native, who became a Raider on Wednesday. Learning from him is a dream come true.

“Marshawn is the back who I’ve modeled my game after the most,” Hood said. “I just can’t wait to be in that running back room with him. He has so much to offer. He’s a veteran and a professional is how he conducts business. I feel like I have so many questions I need to ask, and so much I need to learn from him about what it takes to be successful. He’s the man I wanted to become as a running back.”

Lynch ranks high among the most elusive, physical, tackle-breaking backs of his generation, and Hood will be a sponge whenever he’s around his new teammate.

The running back room is full, with Lynch, DeAndre Washington, Jalen Richard and Jamize Olawale. That’s the group expected to hit the regular season, but Hood believes he can earn a spot and continue to develop with the organization.

He dropped more than 10 pounds this offseason to be a more elusive runner, without losing his trademark power rushing style. Hood hopes to stick around and earn more carries in time.

“I have nothing but work ahead of me, and I can’t wait to do it,” Hood said. “I’m so blessed to be with this team and work with the running backs already there.”