Cracking the Run DMC Code?


Cracking the Run DMC Code?

Programming alert: Tune into CSN California at 1 p.m. today for head coach Dennis Allen's day-after press conference, live from Alameda.
KANSAS CITY -- It would be easy to say Darren McFadden got the bulk of his season-high 114 yards rushing Sunday in garbage time.But it would also be wrong to demean it as such.Sure, McFadden, who has struggled mightily this season running behind the return of the zone-blocking scheme, had a mere 17 yards rushing in the first half. But while he was busy wracking up 73 yards on 12 carries in the fourth quarter alone, he was following the formula the Raiders hoped to implement -- keep running the ball until something breaks.That he was able to do so and protect the Raiders' lead in an eventual 26-16 victory over Kansas City was the bonus.ANALYSIS: Raiders keep first road win in perspective"That's part of being able to run the football," insisted Raiders rookie coach Dennis Allen. "When the score gets to a point where you continue to run it, continue to run it, continue to run it, eventually you're able to wear the defense down a little bit."I thought we were able to do that some. Darren was able to get a few big runs at the end of the game."And as a result, McFadden had his second 100-yard rushing game of the season, along with the 113-yard rushing day he had against Pittsburgh on Sept. 23.Plus, the Raiders improved to 9-2 overall in games when McFadden rushes for at least 100 yards.It did not look like it would happen early against the Chiefs, though, not when McFadden had 14 yards on nine carries in the first quarter, or the 17 yards on 12 carries he had at halftime. Five of the seven carries McFadden had for no gain or for a loss came in the game's first three quarters."I feel like it took us awhile to get it going, but once it finally got going, we finished the game out well," McFadden said. "We feel like, with our offense, you just have to stick with it."Call it the stick-to-itiveness factor of McFadden and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. Because McFadden said he could physically feel the Chiefs defense start to wilt down the stretch."Yes, you want to wear a defense down," he said. "I feel like we did that today and eventually we were able to start to get (runs) to break out."All three of McFadden's "explosive" runs -- gains of at least 12 yards on the ground -- came after halftime. He broke off a 19-yard run up the middle midway through the third quarter, on the first play after Kansas City had pulled to within 16-9.McFADDEN STATSThen, after his next six runs netted 16 yards, he went around the left end for a 28-yard pickup, setting the Raiders up at the Kansas City 37-yard line early in the fourth quarter. Six plays later, Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 32-yard field goal to put the Raiders up, 26-9.McFadden's last big run again came around the left side, a 21-yard scamper near the 2-minute warning that allowed the Raiders to sit on the ball to run out the clock.See, it all fits the formula. Even if it's not all that exciting or easy to watch early on."You're going to get one or two yards here or there," said McFadden, who finished with a season-high 29 carries, "and eventually, they're going to start popping."

Carr discusses contract negotiations with Raiders: 'These things take time'

Carr discusses contract negotiations with Raiders: 'These things take time'

Raiders general Reggie McKenzie plans to extend quarterback Derek Carr’s contract this offseason. That isn’t a new thing, something that has been in the works for some time. He re-affirmed that fact last week, citing his team’s commitment to work out a long-term deal likely the biggest in franchise history.

Carr was reportedly frustrated with the pace of contract talks after the NFL draft – they’re supposed to heat up this spring and summer – but said he believes a deal will get worked out before training camp begins.

That’s his deadline for an offseason deal, the point where he wants focus honed on football.

“I have an agent who is in charge of that and I am confident that he and Mr. (Reggie) McKenzie will work it out,” Carr, a Fresno State alum, told the Fresno Bee. “I am only focused on becoming a better football player and helping my teammates become better players.

“I have complete faith it will get done before training camp. These things take time. The Raiders know I want to be here; this is my family, and I know they want me to be their quarterback.”

The sides have discussed parameters of a long-term deal, with greater specifics to be ironed out in the future. Carr has long said he wants to be a Raider his entire career. The Raiders want him as the public face of their franchise. A new deal is expected by all parties, a sentiment that has never wavered on either side.

Carr is scheduled to make a $977,519 in base salary in 2017, the final year of his rookie contract.

Raiders offseason program intensifies as OTA sessions begin

Raiders offseason program intensifies as OTA sessions begin

The Raiders offseason program is five weeks old. Players have lifted weights. They’ve improved cardiovascular shape. They’ve done drills in position groups and discussed schematics. They’ve added rookies to a group now 90 strong.

On Monday, they can finally put on helmets. They still can’t wear pads or have full contact, but the Raiders can play 11-on-11. Receivers will be covered. Quarterback Derek Carr will throw into traffic. Generally speaking, the competition cranks up a bit.

The NFL collective bargaining agreement has strict mandates regarding offseason activity, and a period formally called “Phase III” allows for more realistic on-field football work.

The Raiders will conduct 10 OTA sessions over the next three weeks. The media can watch three of them. Tuesday is the first, with another in each of the next two weeks. These sessions are technically voluntary, though the Raiders generally hover around perfect attendance. Head coach Jack Del Rio prefers his team be unified in the offseason. Players know it and show up.

There is a mandatory minicamp from June 13-15 which wraps the offseason program and starts a quiet period that extends until training camp begins in late July.

These OTAs offer an opportunity for new players to learn the system, for adjustments to be made and for chemistry to be built heading into a 2017 season where expectations are high.