Davis powerless to stop developing mudslide


Davis powerless to stop developing mudslide

Mark Davis takes full responsibility for the Raiders advancing regression. He also apologizes to the fans for whats happened, and feels as bad as they do.

And the Raiders are still going to have to do extraordinary work between now and seasons end to be better than 4-12. Feel better anyway?

Davis emerged from a postgame meeting inside Dennis Allens office, where he, the coach and general manager Reggie McKenzie shared their level of torqued-off-i-tude after watching the employees lay inert for a 38-17 beating by the New Orleans Saints. They looked lifeless, overmatched, confused and generally . . . well, generally Raiderrific.

But its the third straight week in which theyve looked that way. Since beating the horrific Jacksonvilles and Kansas Citys, they have given up a laughable 135 points, 56 in the third quarter alone when all the vaunted coaching adjustments are supposed to be distributed and put into action.

And after the usual nonsensical platitudes from Allen about all I know is how to work, and we have to keep grinding and working to get better, the message from the Coliseum was that this was a team that had either seen the future and vomited all over it, was outmatched, or just plain decided to mail in the holiday season.

Thus, when Davis came out of the postgame grouse-a-thon, a starved media corps surrounded him. Most of the players had left or decided not to speak, probably at the behest of the brain trust. Nothing good could be said, so they didnt say it. Lots of more work and continue to try to improve and other empty phrases that clearly mean nothing, given the results.

And Davis, who does not have his fathers gift for scaring people away with a single snarl, a single profanity, or a single bodyguard, decided to interpose his body between the outside world and the beleaguered employees. He sensed, or we suspect he had thrust upon him the sense, that someone had to say something about this developing mudslide.

So he did. Maybe it helped. For a bit, anyway.

As Ive said before, I didnt think we had a Super Bowl team, but you cant blame this on the new front office or the salary cap, he said, rejecting the obvious alibi offerings. You have coaches and you have players, and you have to play. We have to be Raiders.

But it clearly wont be done by Allen, or McKenzie for that matter certainly not in the middle of the slop-storm. And the players who might, most notably Tommy Kelly, are battening down their larynxes.

Not that they are required to do so, mind you. But the audience is already starting to hate the new cast because the team is considerably worse than the last few. Darren McFadden is hurt for the every-yearth-in-a-row time, the passing game is more shambolic every week to the point where the fans are now reflexively booing Carson Palmer, the receivers are clearly worse, and the defense which was momentarily tolerable has now returned to its spider-hole near the earths crust.

In short, the roster is broken, the new coaches havent gotten through to it, injuries seem to be a growing fallback position, and in general this team looks like its ready to take that dive, and start over in 2013.

Now everyone at once, in the key of L: Happy Holidays . . .

Rebuilding? I dont know what the word would be, Davis said when asked what he expected from this team. I know that we didnt have the talent, at the beginning of the year, to be a Super Bowl team. I thought that we had definitely potential to get maybe in the playoffs and beat in our division. Obviously that hasnt happened. Im not happy. But nobody in this room is.

And when he was asked if there was a way to save the season, he chose not to be Johnny Happy Face.

(Were going to) take it game by game, but uh, I dont know. I know theyre gonna fight.

Its just the results of the game. You win or lose. We havent been winning and it hasnt been close the last 3 weeks. I couldnt put (his frustration level) on a 1-to-10. Im not happy, Ill put it that way, but why should I be? Why should we be? Why should anyone in this room be? But theyll fight and fix it.

Or . . .

Like I say, Im patient. Im patient. But I want to see progress. I dont want to see regression. Nobody does. And thats why Im unhappy today. But as far as a pass, I wouldnt call it a pass. Theyve got contracts, theyre gonna be here.

Then he shared the news that hed had back surgery five months earlier to remove a cyst (or a tumor, he wasnt sure which), and in describing it, he really articulated the state of his team in ways that fan apologies and devotion to work ethic and being a Raider never really could.

I had a sciatic nerve problem, a pain in my ass, he said. And I had surgery five months ago, and it didnt fix it. And then so they took pictures again, they found a big cyst-tumor, right on the sciatic nerve. So Im feeling a lot better. Its not totally healed yet, (but) January 1 I can start working out (patting his stomach). The triplets go away then. I deliver. But again, its a sad day today, the last three weeks have been sad, but were gonna fight. Thats what it is. And well see what happens.

If only his other and more chronic gluteal issue was as easy to repair.

Raiders TE Cook 'proud' of Marshawn, but will he join the RB?


Raiders TE Cook 'proud' of Marshawn, but will he join the RB?

NAPA –  Raiders tight end Jared Cook hasn't formally spoken to teammate Marshawn Lynch about his decision to sit during the national anthem during Saturday’s exhibition opener against Arizona. 

It’s assumed by many to be in protest of racial inequality and mistreatment of minorities, especially on the heels of racially fueled violence in Charlottesville, Va. Count Cook among them.

The veteran running back has remained mum on the matter in public and, with Cook at least, in private.

If he was in fact protesting by sitting out the national anthem, tight end Cook is glad Lynch took a stand. Cook has stood up against racial inequality, most notably after racial unrest caused by police shootings in Ferguson, Mo., while with the St. Louis Rams. He said it’s vital to speak out against injustice.

“I’m proud of him,” tight end Jared Cook told reporters, with quotes via the Associated Press. “I think it’s awesome. Everybody has points of discussion after what happened in Charlottesville just the night before. I think it’s important for men in our position to step up and speak on unnecessary situations we find ourselves in as minorities in this country. That’s why I’m proud of him.”

Former 49ers Colin Kaepernick became the face of the anthem protest movement last year, when he kneeled during the national anthem and was joined by others around the league.  

Cook said he has thought about joining a new round of protests, including one executed by Seattle’s Michael Bennett before a Sunday exhibition against the Los Angeles Chargers. Unlike Lynch, Bennett articulated his reasoning well in postgame comments. Cook said it’s uncertain whether he’ll join in.

“As far as the future goes, I don’t know. I don’t know,” he said. “I know I feel uneasy about the situation going on in this country and have been for a while.”

Practice report: Absent from preseason game, Raiders' stars return from injury


Practice report: Absent from preseason game, Raiders' stars return from injury

NAPA – The Raiders were pretty banged up last week, missing several key players due to injury. That crew sat out Saturday’s preseason opener along with several other scratches sidelined to sustain health.

Several of those guys returned for Tuesday’s padded practice, with some big names among them. Receiver Amari Cooper and edge rusher Khalil Mack returned to work. So did second-round safety Obi Melifonwu.

That’s an important trio.

Cooper was active after missing six of seven practices, and looked great despite wearing a compression sleeve on his left leg.

One play in particular proved Cooper was ready to go. He blew past Antonio Hamilton and Reggie Nelson on a deep post and caught a perfectly timed deep ball from Derek Carr for a touchdown. Cooper made it look easy, and should continue practicing steadily this week.

Mack was limited during team drills, though that was the case when he was healthy. The Raiders have given significant reps to backup James Cowser, who continues to impress working with the first unit. The reigning defensive player of they year has been impactful when active as he moves toward the regular season.

Melifonwu remained limited to a few individual drills as he returns from an undisclosed ailment. He has suited up a few times, but hasn’t participated heavily in over a week.

-- Offensive lineman Denver Kirkland suffered a leg injury during Saturday’s exhibition at Arizona, and was carted to the locker room from the sideline. Head coach Jack Del Rio said Kirkland won’t practice again in camp, which has two practices remaining. Kirkland could be out an extended stretch.

-- Sean Smith got demoted to the second unit last week, was used some as a hybrid linebacker and struggled mightily against the Cardinals. Smith took a small step in a positive direction on Tuesday, with his best practice showing yet. He worked outside in the nickel package – TJ Carrie moved from the outside in – and knocked down a pass intended for Michael Crabtree in the end zone. He made a few other nice plays on the ball working there as well.

-- Antonio Hamilton worked some as a first-unit nickel back over undrafted rookie Breon Borders on Tuesday, though the Raiders jumbled units several times during the practice session.