Bergstrom far from sexy pick, but a sensible one

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Bergstrom far from sexy pick, but a sensible one

Programming note: Get to know Tony Bergstrom with SportsNet Central's feature series "Meet the Rookies" at 10:30 PM on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

He was not the sexiest of of picks. Probably the most sensible, though.You don't get more blue collar than a grunt on the offensive line, and Tony Bergstrom fit that bill as the first draft pick of the Reggie McKenzie-Dennis Allen Era for the Raiders. Granted, it wasn't until the 95th overall pick of the draft as a supplemental pick to close out the third round. But the Raiders taking an O-lineman there spoke volumes.As well as the team's plans for the former Utah standout -- moving him from right tackle to left guard.That the Raiders are switching back to a zone-blocking scheme does not worry him much either, even if Bergstrom compared the first rookie minicamp to "mental gymnastics" and "drinking out of a firehouse," what with so much information flying the first-year players' way."At Utah that was always our first thing, establish the zone," said Bergstrom, the subject of Saturday's "Meet the Rookies" segment on CSN Bay Area's SportsNet Central. "A lot of teams do that. The big difference is the outside zone here. Theres a lot of that. I think a lot of this is pretty similar to what Ive ran in the past. Im used to it but at the same time there are a lot of new wrinkles thrown in."New offensive line coach Frank Pollack said versatility will only help the Raiders' top draft pick."In this league you have to be able to play more than one position," Pollack said. "Until youre a true, qualified starter in this league -- you only dress seven guys, so two guys back up five spots -- you've got to be able to move around."It was pretty unanimous. Our staff and our personnel department loved his tenacity. He was a physical player, he had good solid punch, a real mature kid so its been fun to see him going around here practicing."A veteran teammate also noticed a little something about Bergstrom's ethic."Good guy, keeps his mouth shut, comes to work every day," said right guard Mike Brisiel. "Hes going to succeed."Bergstrom's camp battle with veteran Cooper Carlisle, who is moving over from right guard for the first time in his tenure with the Raiders, figures to be one of the more intriguing in Napa. But Bergstrom needs to sign with the Raiders first.Along with fifth-rounder Juron Criner, Bergstom is one of two Raiders draft picks yet to sign. According to documents obtained by CSNCalifornia.com, Bergstrom has a first-year allotment of 516,504 with a minimum allotment of 512,504 and can expect, at the minimum, to have non-guaranteed base salaries of 390,000, 480,000, 570,000 and 660,000 on his four-year contract with a maximum signing bonus of 506,016.It was only the third time in franchise history the Raiders did not have a pick in the first two round of a draft, along with 1963 and 1989."Its a huge honor, especially my thought is, they sat there for pretty much three rounds," Bergstrom said. "They were on a clock but they had two full days to think about it, they had a lot of time to mull over their decision. So, that makes it a huge honor. It puts a little pressure on, but I feel extremely fortunate to be here and to be at a place like this, work this hard and play at this kind of tempo."Bergstrom served a two-year Mormon mission in South Sacramento and Stockton and turns 26 on Aug. 8. That does not make him soft, or satisfied, though. Especially not with a brother-in-law playing in Baltimore in Ravens defensive end Paul Kruger. Yes, they have the calendar circled for Nov. 11, when the Raiders play at Baltimore."What I want to accomplish, I want to get to a point where I can be a contributor," Bergstrom said. "I just want to do anything I can to help this team. Obviously weve all heard about the direction the Raiders are going. Theyre going in a good direction. I want to be a part of that. I want to be an asset to this team."As far as on the field, Im a big believer in finish. Im kind of the guy who wants to, as soon as the ref blows the whistle, thats my cue to hit someone else. Thats kind of my attitude, my thing."Sexy? Sounds pretty sensible, actually.e direction the Raiders are going. Theyre going in a good direction. I want to be a part of that. I want to be an asset to this team."As far as on the field, Im a big believer in finish. Im kind of the guy who wants to, as soon as the ref blows the whistle, thats my cue to hit someone else. Thats kind of my attitude, my thing."Sexy? Sounds pretty sensible, actually.

Relocation approval 'offers more clarity' when Raiders recruit future free agents

Relocation approval 'offers more clarity' when Raiders recruit future free agents

PHOENIX -- The Raiders are entering a limbo period, with just a few seasons in Oakland before relocating to Las Vegas. NFL owners formally approved a move on Monday, though the Raiders don’t want to leave the East Bay until a new stadium is ready in 2020.

While there are contingencies to leave the market early based upon how fans react to the Raiders remaining in Oakland after committing to Las Vegas, that isn’t what the Raiders want. After years of stadium uncertainty, they leave the NFL owners meetings with clarity regarding their long-term future.

General manager Reggie McKenzie believes that should help free agents considering silver and black. The uncertainty prompted questions in recent years that McKenzie can answer when recruiting veteran talent now that relocation has been approved.

“By Mark saying that the plan is for us to be in Oakland for two more years (at least), but we will be in Vegas, I think it offers more clarity,” McKenzie said. “It lets the players know. It’s better than two months ago, when everyone had questions. When you were talking to a free agent, they know we want to move but weren’t sure if it was going to pass. They didn’t know. Now they know a decision has been made by the league to let us move.”

That will help McKenzie more in the future than present. Roster turnover is high these days, meaning most currently employed by the Raiders won’t play for the home team in Las Vegas. Only David Amerson, Kelechi Osemele and Marquette King are would be under contract when the team wants to move.

The Raiders are working on extensions for Derek Carr, Gabe Jackson and Khalil Mack, with others possibly locked up down the line.

In addition to playing with Carr and Mack and for head coach Jack Del Rio, there’s another attraction to signing with the Raiders. There’s no state income tax in Nevada, meaning a contract there is worth more than the same deal in California. The Golden State generally takes 13.3 percent of significant income earned there.

There will be other issues about playing in Las Vegas, where gambling is legal, a drink can be had 24 hours per day and vices abound in a place called Sin City.

The Raiders will construct a support system to keep players focused, and are ready to handle any questions players and their families may have about an upcoming move.

“Now there are questions from the drafted guys about when they become free agents, because they might be in Vegas. That’s going to be different. There are questions that way, but it’s not going to alter the way we go after players. Some of the guys, parents and agents may have questions, but I don’t think it’s anything out of whack.”

 

NFL centralizes replay reviews, Del Rio wants more freedom in challenges

NFL centralizes replay reviews, Del Rio wants more freedom in challenges

PHOENIX – Fans won’t see special teams players leaping over the long snapper in an attempt to block a field goal or extra point. Seattle’s Kam Chancellor made some big plays with that technique, but won’t have the chance anymore.

The NFL outlawed that option on Tuesday as one several rule changes enacted at the league meetings.

“There are some safety concerns,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “that are legitimate.”

The NFL also centralized replay reviews, taking that power away from officials on the field. NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino and associates at the NFL’s command center will handle reviews in an effort to add consistency to important calls.

Del Rio hoped replay challenges would be expanded further, but a proposal by Seattle and Buffalo allowing coaches to challenge any play save scoring plays and turnovers, which are automatically reviewed, did not pass.

“I think there are a number of coaches who feel like, if there’s an obvious error, we should have a mechanism to correct it,” Del Rio said. “We catch most of them, so you’re talking about a small percentage. It’s hard to move the needle for such a small percentage. That’s the problem. The fact is, if it’s important enough that we’re willing to use that challenge, we’d like that right and ability. Things happen, and you don’t want to lose a big game, a game that decides whether you advance in the playoffs or make the playoffs and it’s something you could overturn, that you could challenge or change. Why not?”

Here's a list of new rules and bylaws adopted by the league on Tuesday.