Four questions facing Raiders: No. 1 -- What happened to Van Dyke?


Four questions facing Raiders: No. 1 -- What happened to Van Dyke?

This is it, the all-important third preseason game that teams use as a dress rehearsal for the regular season. And for the Raiders, what better challenge for their rebuilt defense than the passing juggernaut that is the Detroit Lions?

GUTIERREZ: Raiders break camp in Napa with eye on future

The Raiders, who will have had a full week to gameplan for the Lions after playing Arizona a mere four days after opening their exhibition season against Dallas, will come into the game missing several recognizable names. Receivers Denarius Moore (right hamstring) and Jacoby Ford (left foot) will miss the game, as will linebacker Aaron Curry (knees) and center Stefen Wisniewski (right calf). Backup quarterback Matt Leinart (right index finger), tight ends Richard Gordon (ribs) and Tory Humphrey (hamstring) and defensive tackle Richard Seymour (veteran-itis) will be gametime decisions for the the exhibition, which will be broadcast delayed on KICU Channel 36 at 7 p.m. PT.

Still, tight end Brandon Myers (shoulder) and running back Taiwan Jones (hamstring) will make their preseason debuts, and the Raiders' starters should play into the third quarter. Four questions, then, in the form of downs, facing fans and the Raiders heading into their exhibition game at the Coliseum

First down -- I thought you said DeMarcus Van Dyke had a great camp?
He did, at least early on. Before veteran Ron Bartell's balky hamstring allowed him to practice, DVD was having the best camp of the defensive backs. But two things happened when Bartell returned -- Shawntae Spencer's play improved dramatically, and DVD's play in exhibition games took a turn for the worse, giving up big pass after big pass against Dallas and Arizona.

"I would really like to see him play like he plays out here (in practice), and just play (how) we know he can do," said defensive coordinator Jason Tarver. "And he's heard that from me this week, so that's what I'd like him to do. Play like he plays at practice, because he plays pretty good at practice."

To his credit, Van Dyke agreed. "Ive got to pick it up," said the second-year cornerback. "Im not satisfied with how Ive been playing. I havent been playing like I thought I was supposed to be. But its a process, its game by game, preseason games. So hopefully this game Ill come out and play good."

And this time, he'll have the ultimate measuring stick in Detroit's Calvin Johnson.

Relocation approval 'offers more clarity' when Raiders recruit future free agents

Relocation approval 'offers more clarity' when Raiders recruit future free agents

PHOENIX -- The Raiders are entering a limbo period, with just a few seasons in Oakland before relocating to Las Vegas. NFL owners formally approved a move on Monday, though the Raiders don’t want to leave the East Bay until a new stadium is ready in 2020.

While there are contingencies to leave the market early based upon how fans react to the Raiders remaining in Oakland after committing to Las Vegas, that isn’t what the Raiders want. After years of stadium uncertainty, they leave the NFL owners meetings with clarity regarding their long-term future.

General manager Reggie McKenzie believes that should help free agents considering silver and black. The uncertainty prompted questions in recent years that McKenzie can answer when recruiting veteran talent now that relocation has been approved.

“By Mark saying that the plan is for us to be in Oakland for two more years (at least), but we will be in Vegas, I think it offers more clarity,” McKenzie said. “It lets the players know. It’s better than two months ago, when everyone had questions. When you were talking to a free agent, they know we want to move but weren’t sure if it was going to pass. They didn’t know. Now they know a decision has been made by the league to let us move.”

That will help McKenzie more in the future than present. Roster turnover is high these days, meaning most currently employed by the Raiders won’t play for the home team in Las Vegas. Only David Amerson, Kelechi Osemele and Marquette King are would be under contract when the team wants to move.

The Raiders are working on extensions for Derek Carr, Gabe Jackson and Khalil Mack, with others possibly locked up down the line.

In addition to playing with Carr and Mack and for head coach Jack Del Rio, there’s another attraction to signing with the Raiders. There’s no state income tax in Nevada, meaning a contract there is worth more than the same deal in California. The Golden State generally takes 13.3 percent of significant income earned there.

There will be other issues about playing in Las Vegas, where gambling is legal, a drink can be had 24 hours per day and vices abound in a place called Sin City.

The Raiders will construct a support system to keep players focused, and are ready to handle any questions players and their families may have about an upcoming move.

“Now there are questions from the drafted guys about when they become free agents, because they might be in Vegas. That’s going to be different. There are questions that way, but it’s not going to alter the way we go after players. Some of the guys, parents and agents may have questions, but I don’t think it’s anything out of whack.”


NFL centralizes replay reviews, Del Rio wants more freedom in challenges

NFL centralizes replay reviews, Del Rio wants more freedom in challenges

PHOENIX – Fans won’t see special teams players leaping over the long snapper in an attempt to block a field goal or extra point. Seattle’s Kam Chancellor made some big plays with that technique, but won’t have the chance anymore.

The NFL outlawed that option on Tuesday as one several rule changes enacted at the league meetings.

“There are some safety concerns,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “that are legitimate.”

The NFL also centralized replay reviews, taking that power away from officials on the field. NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino and associates at the NFL’s command center will handle reviews in an effort to add consistency to important calls.

Del Rio hoped replay challenges would be expanded further, but a proposal by Seattle and Buffalo allowing coaches to challenge any play save scoring plays and turnovers, which are automatically reviewed, did not pass.

“I think there are a number of coaches who feel like, if there’s an obvious error, we should have a mechanism to correct it,” Del Rio said. “We catch most of them, so you’re talking about a small percentage. It’s hard to move the needle for such a small percentage. That’s the problem. The fact is, if it’s important enough that we’re willing to use that challenge, we’d like that right and ability. Things happen, and you don’t want to lose a big game, a game that decides whether you advance in the playoffs or make the playoffs and it’s something you could overturn, that you could challenge or change. Why not?”

Here's a list of new rules and bylaws adopted by the league on Tuesday.