SEATTLE -- You think Eddy Carmona is fazed at all by the unlikelihood of him beating out Sebastian Janikowski as the Raiders' placekicker?Carmona himself acknowledges he should not be here. But not because of any real, or imagined, lack of talent in his kicking foot. Rather, his entire involvement with the national obsession of football came by accident.Having come to Charleston, Ark., from Monterrey, Mexico with his parents at 12 years old, Carmona did not speak any English. Neither did his parents.So when they all heard and saw that "football" signups were going down, the Carmona family quickly signed up young Eddy. One problem, though."My parents thought it was soccer," Carmona said with a laugh this week. "I went out there and I was on the field and I was like, this is not a soccer field. The other players were like, 'No, it's football.'"The language barrier had struck and Carmona quickly quit. He knew nothing about futbol Americano, after all. His game was futbol.But later, he said, his eighth-grade English tutor took Carmona and his sister outside to practice the language. The lesson of the day happened to involve a football. They got to kicking the pigskin around and Carmona was pretty good at it.As luck would have it, his junior high had a team."By that time, the football coach was coming out to practice and they watched me kick and asked, 'Do you want to be our kicker?'" Carmona recalled."I said, 'Sure, talk to my parents, though.'" They said, 'As long as he don't get hit.'"Carmona laughed again."That's how it started," he said. "When I went into the games, they just told me, 'Just kick the ball hard and straight.' I didn't know what to do. Kickoffs? Just kick it hard. Extra point and field goals? Just kick it through the uprights."He turned into a two-time all-state kicker for Arkansas and played collegiately at Central Arkansas and Harding. Carmona successfully converted 171 of 181 point-after attempts (94.5 percent) and 48 of 67 field-goal attempts (71.6 percent) in college, numbers that pale in comparison to the career NFL figures of 99.2 percent and 79.6 percent put up Janikowski in PATs and FGAs, respectively.Still, Carmona did drill a 62-yard field goal at Harding, just under the NFL record-tying 63-yarder Janikowski booted last year at Denver,And Carmona's 56-yarder to end the first half of the Detroit exhibition was pretty, nicer even than his Janikowski-esque second-half kickoff that flew out of the back of the end zone. And definitely better than the four that bounded off the left upright in Napa during training camp.Realistically, though, what does Carmona hope to accomplish as the Raiders close out their exhibition season Thursday night in Seattle, and with Janikowski already on the roster?"Just do my thing, that's about it," Carmona said. "First of all, I'm blessed to be here and learn from someone who's one of the best kickers ever. Just show them what I can do and whatever happens, I mean, happens."
Trent Richardson is reportedly in some trouble.
Richardson was arrested on Thursday night for domestic violence, according to TMZ Sports.
The former running back was taken into custody on a third degree charge, the report states, with bail being set for $1,000.
The arrest was made in Hoover, Alabama.
The Browns selected Richardson with the third overall pick in the 2012 draft.
He was traded to the Colts in 2013 and played for Indianapolis in 2014.
He signed with the Raiders in 2015 and appeared in three exhibition games, but did not make the team.
The 26-year old was cut by the Ravens last August.
Derek Carr and Todd Downing are tight. A strong friendship was forged between the Raiders’ franchise quarterback and his position coach these past two seasons, one that should help the Raiders now that Downing will call plays.
The Raiders new offensive coordinator will use his young signal caller as a resource formulating a game plan. Carr has a bright offensive mind – he called his own plays in high school and in college at times – and Downing plans to use it to put his quarterback in positions to succeed.
Carr’s influence in preparation will expand over previous seasons under coordinator Bill Musgrave.
“Where I see him needing a little bit more command is just being able to share his thoughts of game plans,” Downing said Wednesday in a conference call. “Being a student of the game, as he already is, but vocalize what he likes and doesn’t like. I think my relationship with him is something that’s going to give him the opportunity to voice his opinions. I look forward to him really taking charge of expressing his thoughts on the offense.”
Carr has always had freedom to adjust at the line of scrimmage, but that could increase with Downing in charge. Derek Carr’s brother Davis Carr told 95.7 The Game as much a few weeks ago, a topic Downing addressed on Wednesday.
“There’s been a lot made about his command at the line of scrimmage,” Downing said. “There’s certainly going to be opportunities for Derek to do that. That’s not something I feel we’ll even have to get into until we’re much further into this offseason and into training camp.”
Downing had opportunities to interview with other teams this offseason, but head coach Jack Del Rio wanted to pair Downing and Carr together. The young duo have similar personalities and a strong working relationship based on a love of the game.
“My relationship with Derek starts there,” Downing said in Wednesday interview on 95.7-FM. “We both love coming to work each day and respect the heck out of each other. When you have that kind of relationship with any coach, you’re taking a step in the right direction. Derek’s the leader of our franchise. In my opinion, he’s the best young quarterback in football. We’re fortunate to have him. Why wouldn’t I be in a good mood every time I am around him?”
Carr made great progress working with Downing the past two years, and was an MVP candidate in 2016. Downing sees continued room for growth and refinement as next season approaches.
“I think Derek made big strides in 2016, just in terms of his command of the offense, being the field general, being able to get through progressions more efficiently,” Downing said. “His footwork took big strides. I certainly want him to remain focused on all of those attributes. You don’t want to feel like you’ve arrived in a certain area of your game and then have it go backwards when the next season starts. Certainly, I want him focused on all of those.”