Goethel: 'I wish it never happened'


Goethel: 'I wish it never happened'

OAKLAND -- Travis Goethel's nightmare of a game began when Jon Condo was knocked out of said game Monday night.

REWIND: Raiders' Bartell, Condo knocked out of game vs. Chargers
Goethel is a backup middle linebacker by trade; Condo a two-time Pro Bowl long snapper.So it only made sense that Goethel, who last long-snapped in high school and never on dirt replaced Condo in the Raiders' season opener on national television, right?Well"Trust me," Goethel said, "I wish it never happened."One of Goethel's long snaps to six-time All-Pro punter Shane Lechler bounced to him. Another was blocked, though it was not Goethel's fault, so to speak. And a third rolled to Lechler on the A's infield dirt like a 4-6-3 inning-ender.Actually, game-ender. And, truth be told, Goethel was in a rough spot. Teams, you see, do not carry backup long snappers on their 53-man roster. So rookie coach Dennis Allen essentially asked for volunteers when Condo was lost with what was described as a head injury."He asked if I knew how to long snap," Goethel said of Allen, "and I was the only one at camp that stood out. That's kind of how I got put in there."REWIND: Instant replay -- Chargers 22, Raiders 14
Said Allen: "He's worked on snapping the ball. Actually, he's done a nice job in practice. It's obviously a lot different when you get put in a game-like situation. He was put in a tough situation and it hurt us."The two flubbed snaps cost Lechler eight- and seven-yard losses. The blocked punt was recovered by San Diego deep in Oakland territory. The three plays resulted in nine points for San Diego. The Raiders lost by eight, 22-14. But it would be too simplistic to place the blame on Goethel.Or, as Lechler said in making like Dean Wormer when asked how many long snaps he takes from Goethel in a typical week, "Zero," as in Bluto's grade-point average in Animal House."My hats off to him just for doing it," Lechler said of Goethel. "That (stuff) aint easy. You know, he went out and did his best. Thats all you ask from a guy (who is) put in a situation like that."Two years ago, the satirical Web Site The Onion had prescient fun with Goethel when the Raiders selected him as a sixth-rounder out of Arizona State, saying he was drafted as a "realtor." But, The Onion said, it was "far better than being asked to switch to car dealer, casino greeter or long snapper."After Monday night, perhaps Caesars Palace is hiring? I joke, of course, and Goethel insisted his flubs were not mental.RELATED: Ratto -- Raiders get new coach, same game-day face
"It was just mechanics of snapping," he said. "If you don't snap that often, if you don't snap in a game since high school, it's a little different."Still, he had the backing of Lechler, who gave Goethel a pep talk."I said, 'Man, you got put in a tough situation,'" Lechler recalled. "'You got credit for having (guts) to step up and do it, you know? A lot of people would have walked away from that idea.'"I know he feels terrible. But he shouldnt."

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.

They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.

Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.

“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”

While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.

The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.

“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.

"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.

Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.

Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.

“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”

Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.

“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”