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.

Mack, Irvin feed off each other, form dynamic duo in Raiders pass rush

Mack, Irvin feed off each other, form dynamic duo in Raiders pass rush

The Buffalo Bills were running right through the Oakland Raiders early in Sunday’s contest, a never-ending assault that took its toll on defenders in silver and black.

That was the case for the most optimistic, steadfast member of that unit.

“We were giving up big plays, and I was frustrated,” star edge rusher Khalil Mack said. “Actually, I was pissed off.”

Bruce Irvin sensed a disturbance in the force. The veteran pass rusher knew how to fix it.  A little pep talk would get Mack going again.

“We feed off each other’s energy. … That dude pulls me up. I was feeling a little down towards the middle of the game, and he was like, ‘Come on. We need you. Come on. Let’s go. He pulled me up and kept pushing.”

That wasn’t the turning point in yet another comeback win. It wasn’t the only reason why defense locked Buffalo down during a run of 29 unanswered points.

It showed how strong a friendship Mack and Irvin have formed since the spring, one that helps get the best out of the other. Bonds formed from insatiable work ethic, one evident even in the offseason program.

“We’re both so hungry to be great that it just brought us together,” Irvin said. “When I got here, we talked right away. Khalil and (quarterback Derek Carr) were the first two guys I sat down with, and I told them I was coming over to play with Khalil, to help turn this thing around and become one of the top units in the league. Khalil and I just bonded quickly, and it was like we had been friends forever. It’s like whole thing was meant to be.”

It has turned out to be a productive pairing. There are 15 sacks, 94 other quarterback pressures and eight forced fumbles between Irvin and Mack this season.

Mack has the bulk of those numbers, especially during a second-half run where he has been outright dominant and jumped into the conversation for defensive player of the year. Mack has been involved in four turnovers the last two games, including game-sealing strip sacks while recovering his own fumble in consecutive weeks.

“You all don’t want to talk to Robin,” Irvin quipped. “Batman’s right over there.”

Irvin has used that line after two home victories in a row. The fifth-year pro is more than Mack’s sidekick. He’s on a roll himself, with sacks in three straight games. He uses speed and agility to create pressure off the strongside edge, dealing with left tackles on a consistent basis.

“I’m in a good groove right now,” Irvin said. “Mentality, physically, I’m in a very good place right now. It’s really showing on the field these past couple weeks.”

Irvin has been a productive defender either making plays on his side or driving traffic back towards Mack. It works both ways, with Mack drawing significant attention that often leaves Irvin in more favorable matchups.

The combination has been impactful, especially on a defense that doesn’t’ get pressure from other sources. They’ve been productive in the clutch as well, with six sacks coming in the fourth quarter. Mack has big plays the last two weeks, and Irvin has a big sack late in a victory over Houston in Mexico City.

The Raiders defense is improving, and having Irvin rushing strong recently helps Mack and the entire Raiders defense.

“He’s always been in a good groove, but there are things going well for this defense,” Mack said. “I’m on the other side, and you have coverage going well. (Opponents) try to do all the chipping and those things that play a factor in doing what we do. The fact that he’s rolling right now is not a surprise.”

Carr, Murray treat Raiders' linemen to Warriors game, witness history

Carr, Murray treat Raiders' linemen to Warriors game, witness history

No NFL regular starting quarterback has been sacked fewer times than Derek Carr. Latavius Murray has 11 touchdowns in as many games, with steady production running between the tackles.

These Raiders aren’t dumb. Carr and Murray know their success comes in large part from the big boys up front.

They acknowledged that with an early holiday gift. Carr and Murray bought five offensive linemen courtside seats to Monday’s game between the Warriors and Indiana Pacers.

Donald Penn, Gabe Jackson, Menelik Watson, Rodney Hudson and Austin Howard all attended that game and enjoyed watching Klay Thompson put up 60 points in a blowout Warriors win.

Afterward the Raiders had a shootaround on the Oracle Arena floor, without much success. Howard missed a dunk, an effort he says was complicated by wearing slacks and dress shoes. Murray missed a layup. “I was fouled,” he said with a smile. Donald Penn missed a free throw, though “my shoulder hurt.”

Then Carr stepped up and buried a 3-pointer much to the remaining crowd’s delight.

Taking care of offensive linemen is common in these parts. Last year Carr bought his line flatscreen televisions. Amari Cooper gave everyone Beats headphones. Warriors tickets were on the docket this year, in addition to a dinner at Carr’s house last week.

The Raiders were able to have a little fun after Monday’s practice as they prepare for a road game at Kansas City on Thursday night.