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?

Edwards Jr. 'believing in myself again' after rough stretch


Edwards Jr. 'believing in myself again' after rough stretch

ALAMEDA – Mario Edwards Jr. has always been a big kid. He stood 6-foot-1, 215 as a freshman in high school, but could bench 315 and run like a receiver. Freak size and athleticism made him a dominant football player.

Edwards Jr. was a five-star recruit at Billy Ryan High in Denton, Texas, rated the nation’s best defensive tackle and the No. 3 overall recruit. Not in the district or the state. In the country.

Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Alabama, Notre Dame and LSU, among others, were knocking on the door, but Edwards Jr. ultimately followed his father’s footsteps with an early commitment to Florida State.

Have all that going for you and a driver’s license and you can be a prince of Texas.

“It was kind of cool,” Edwards Jr. said on the Raiders Insider Podcast. “At 16 and 17 years old, I was doing magazine cover shoots and things like that. It sped up the process of dealing with where I’m at now. It got me prepped for this in a sense. And having my dad there, giving me the blueprint also helped as well.”

Mario Edwards Sr. blazed a trail from Florida State to the NFL as a defensive back. Junior knew exactly what it would to live his dream in professional football. As a prep and early in college, it didn’t require much work. His father instilled an improved work ethic later in college that got him ready for the pre-draft process and the pros.

“It was like I had all the answers to the test,” Edwards said. “He’s been everywhere that I’ve tried to go. He’s played at the highest level. He has been hurt. He has been to a top college and the pros. Having him there to filter out all the bad thoughts and help me to stay positive and continuing to work was great.”

That sounding board was a luxury during good times. It was a necessity during a recently rough stretch.

Edwards Jr. burst onto the scene in 2015, shortly after the Raiders took him No. 35 overall. Then he suffered a neck injury in Week 15 that year – Mario explains that situation in the podcast -- and didn’t return until June. He was back and rocking again in 2016’s training camp, but suffered a hip injury in the preseason opener and missed 14 weeks.

He wasn’t himself upon return, but another full offseason brought his explosiveness back. That’s clear watching Edwards Jr. play this season. He’s on a tear to start the year with two sacks – a full sack and two half sacks – and four quarterback pressures. He’s an effective part of the line rotation inside and out, with versatility to play multiple techniques.

The Raiders have been waiting to pair Edwards Jr. with edge rushers Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. They can do that now, with impact rookie Eddie Vanderdoes added to the mix. Edwards Jr. is happy, healthy and playing well, free and clear of questions about his health. His dad helped him get through the down times, and continue improving during this productive period.

“I was talking to him the other day, and saying how much I have prayed and trusted the process and am believing in myself again,” Edwards Jr. said. “I’m finally getting my mojo back, and feeling like myself.”

Raiders QB Derek Carr channels inner pop star in mock music video ad


Raiders QB Derek Carr channels inner pop star in mock music video ad

ALAMEDA – Derek Carr is trying to moonlight as a pop star. That’s what a guerilla marketing campaign by a San Joaquin Valley credit union would have you believe.

They released billboards and short video teasers of the Raiders quarterback prepping to shoot a music video this summer, and the full video/commercial spot was released on Monday.

It’s well, something else. Clearly meant to be self deprecating, Carr is pumping up Educational Employees Credit Union and their great rates in the mock music video, where Carr is given a certain boy-band vibe. Take a look: 

Derek’s brother David shows up later in the ad, clearly upset at being outshined by little bro.

It’s the latest in an annual series of ads with the Carr brothers.

“It literally took us a couple of hours. That’s it,” Derek Carr said. "All of the takes were because I kept laughing. I couldn’t even take myself serious because they had the TV prompter so I could see it, and I couldn’t even take myself serious. But it was good. It was fun because every commercial we do with them, all we want to do is, the end goal is we want people to laugh. And if they laugh at me for it, that’s good, that’s what we want. I laughed at myself, so it’s all good with me.”

That begged a hard-hitting, journalist follow-up question. So, Derek, did you keep the jacket?

“I didn’t keep it, no. Gosh, no,” Carr said. "As soon as I walked in and we had our little dressing rooms, me and my brother looked at that jacket and I was like, ‘I really hope that’s not the one.’ And sure enough it was. But that’s alright. We have a good relationship with them and it was a lot of fun.”