Four questions facing the Raiders -- No. 1

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Four questions facing the Raiders -- No. 1

Editor's Note: This is the first of four questions answered by Raiders Insider Paul Gutierrez. Each new question, or down, will be posted as gametime approaches.

A new era begins in Silver and Blackdom as the Raiders begin an exhibition season without Al Davis for the first time since the Kennedy Administration. General manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen are the new faces of the franchise, with Mark Davis' blessing, of course, and the product they've been assembling since January is on full public display for the first time today at 5 PT, against the Dallas Cowboys. The game will be televised live on ESPN and locally on KPIX Channel 5. Four questions, then, in the form of downs, facing fans and the Raiders heading into the exhibition opener at the ColiseumFirst downHow long will the starters play?
Generally, teams' starters get only a series or two in an exhibition opener. And with injuries starting to pile up in Napa, that would seem to be the smart choice here, right? Well, it is a new era, complete with new offensive and defensive sensibilities so you might see some extended snaps by the first-stringers. In any event, rookie coach Dennis Allen is not saying what his starters' respective work loads will be. Not to the media and not, he says, to the players themselves. "I want our players focused in on going out and playing and not how many reps they're going to get," Allen said. "I won't tell them until they've played the game, and I tell them they're coming out. Because there's only one way to play the game, and that's getting your mind right, and go out and compete. I think a lot of times when you tell them, 'Hey, you're going to play one quarter, you're going to play 10 snaps' there's a little bit of a mental letdown and I don't want that."

Report: Former Raiders RB arrested for domestic violence

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AP

Report: Former Raiders RB arrested for domestic violence

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.

Downing: Carr will have increased influence on Raiders game plan

Downing: Carr will have increased influence on Raiders game plan

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.”