Finger-pointing or accountability?


Finger-pointing or accountability?

In describing Buffalo's game-winning play Sunday, in which receiver David Nelson was so wide open in the middle of the end zone Ozzie, Harriet, Ricky and the mop-haired band Nelson could have joined the party, several Raiders players voiced their displeasure with how it went down.

Still, it was more along the lines of finger-pointing than throwing named teammates under a Silver & Black bus.

Said defensive tackle Tommy Kelly: "For a guy to score on the last play of the game wide open, c'mon, man. Do your job. That's what the man pays you for, do your job. If you got that guy, follow him to the bathroom."

Added cornerback Chris Johnson: "Basically, trying to do somebody elses job. Youve got to be on the same page. It was a blown coverage. (Bills quarterback Ryan) Fitzpatrick knew where he wanted to go, so it was an easy pitch and catch."

And this, from cornerback Stanford Routt: "I know you guys in the media, you all try to criticize or chastise a certain individual back there for getting beat on a play, but I dont think were lacking in confidence at all."

Then, the age-old conspiracy theories surfaced. That the refs decided to start throwing flags at the Raiders at the most inopportune times in the second half. Hey, it's not paranoia if they're out to get you, right?

Said Kelly: "Some reason, the refs started throwing the flags on any time we get a close, anything close on our side. I'm like, 'C'mon, man, you gotta let them play at some point. You're letting the other dude do the same thing on the other side and you ain't throwing no flag.' How many pass interference (penalties) we have? There was a lot of them. C'mon, man."

And when it appeared as though the replay officials were taking another look at the final play of the game, the Hail Mary pass that receiver Denarius Moore got his hands on, very few, if any Raiders actually thought the initial call of interception would be overturned in Oakland's favor and ruled a touchdown.

Said defensive tackle Richard Seymour: "We're the Raiders. Really? You think we're going to get that?"

Added receiver Chaz Schilens: "(The ref) didnt even know what to call, so obviously theres something more there than whatever they saw."

And another gem from Kelly: "Man, we the Raiders. We ain't going to get that call. I mean, (shoot), if we were probably the Patriots of the Bears or the Falcons or somebody, they probably would reverse it. But, they ain't going to reverse that call for us'cause we're the Raiders. We ain't going to get that call. You know we ain't fixing to get that call. It ain't going to happen."

Rookie coach Hue Jackson heard, read and saw it all. And he was not pleased. He said he addressed the blame game in a team meeting on Monday.

"I believe that is done," Jackson said. "There is no more frustration. There will be nothing addressed at a teammate anymore. Let me make that very clear. There will be no more addressing players, names, positions, any of that, as long as I'm the head coach here because here's the deal: all that crap about, well this guy, that guy, you've got to look in the mirror first as a football player. Last time I checked, I'm the head coach of this team, they're the players. Ain't nobody else going to be commenting on no other position. If they want to comment about themselves, they're more than welcome to, but we're done. That is over. Over. Those days are done."

Fair enough, but what about the conspiracy theory that, fact or fiction, has become legend in the Raiders locker room?

"Hear me clearly," Jackson said. "I've heard all of that. Listen, listen. That's over with. We're not dealing with that anymore. That's all crap in my opinion. Forget what the Raiders have done in the past and this official and that official and this, that and the other. We lost. Make more plays. Get them stopped on defense. Score on offense. Do what you need to do on special teams and win the game. Thats not what we did. So this has nothing to do with an official, has nothing to do with a call, has nothing to do with nothing. This has to do with a group of men finishing a football game that they had an opportunity to win, and they didn't do it. So it's like anybody else.

"You start looking for other things. Everybody self-checks everybody else's stuff before you check your own. So what we're going to do from here on in is check our own from here on in. We ain't going to get into the officiating game, we're not going to get into this guy, that guy, that position, that position. What we're going to do, this is coach Jackson's football team and this is the way he wants it done. We're going to work, and we're going to get better and when we become the team that we want to become, we won't be having these conversations."

So what do you think -- is there truth in what the Raiders players are saying? Or are they simply whining? Can they forget all about it, like Jackson says? Maybe there's a happy medium in there somewhere? What are your thoughts?

Lynch 'soaking up the system', easing into Raiders OTA practices


Lynch 'soaking up the system', easing into Raiders OTA practices

ALAMEDA – Marshawn Lynch didn’t bring his helmet to Tuesday’s OTA practice. Didn’t need it then, or on Monday.

Not for a cameo appearance during individual drills. The veteran running back wasn’t available during team sessions, and spent most of the two-hour practice working in the team’s performance center.

Lynch skipping full-speed work isn’t cause for alarm. First of all, it’s May. Second, Lynch is in great shape but still ramping back up after a season away from NFL football. It would make sense to ease him back in during the spring.

Head coach Jack Del Rio didn’t say when Lynch’s activity would increase, but wasn’t concerned one bit about Lynch’s limited OTA participation – he routinely skipped them while playing in Seattle -- and praised the Oakland native’s level of involvement in the Raiders offseason program since a new contract was worked out and his rights were acquired from Seattle on April 26.

“He’s coming along. He’s doing great. There are no issues there,” Del Rio said. “He has been here like he said he would. He has really been committed. He said, ‘Coach, this is home for me. It’s not like I’m going home and I won’t be here. He is committed to being here and is excited to be a Raider. We’re excited to have him.”

Lynch was on the practice field for some team periods analyzing plays with offensive teammates, and was working out with them after the session. Del Rio didn’t delve into when Lynch’s on-field activity would increase, but there’s no reason to rush a veteran player who ultimately must be ready come September.

“He’s doing great,” Del Rio said. “He’ll continue to do the things we’re asking him to do. He is really soaking up the system, and has done a great job fitting in.”

That’s clear. He gets on well with left tackle Donald Penn and kicker Sebastian Janikowski, and gravitates toward fellow former Seahawks like edge rusher Bruce Irvin and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. General manager Reggie McKenzie said last week Lynch was already entrenched in the Raiders locker-room culture, which was evident in how teammates talked about him.

“Getting Marshawn has been great,” Penn said. “He brings a lot of energy here and a lot of momentum. It feels good having him here. We joke around a lot, having fun. You all probably don’t know Marshawn, but he’s a pretty funny guy. He’s really cool, and it’s good having him around here.”

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.