Gutierrez: Boss, Bush, key to offensive success

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Gutierrez: Boss, Bush, key to offensive success

Aug. 6, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVE
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Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comNAPA -- They couldn't be anymore different. From their physical characteristics to their football acumen to their job descriptions.And yet, running back Michael Bush and tight end Kevin Boss might very well jointly hold the key to the Raiders' early-season offensive success.That both made their 2011 training camp debuts on Saturday only adds to the intrigue, especially with Bush showing up three days after Darren McFadden suffered a fractured eye orbital bone and Boss replacing Zach Miller, the most consistent offensive threat the Raiders have had the past three years after he left for Seattle.Bush, of course, is a familiar face. He's been in Silver and Blackdom since 2007, a "damaged goods" fourth-round draft choice from Louisville who did not play a down that first season as he still recovered from a broken right leg suffered in the Cardinals' 2006 season opener.And therein sat the drama.WIth Bush maintaining a media moratorium this offseason -- one that included an arrest for suspicion of DUI -- speculation grew that he was not happy being classified a third-year player. That he wanted to be a fourth-year vet to reap the financial rewards of the new CBA that had such players becoming unrestricted free agents. Especially since he had not signed his first- and third-round tenders.So 10 days after he could have reported to camp with his teammates, and five days before he would have had to report, lest he be labeled a hold-out, Bush insisted there were no issues. In fact, he was within his rights to report when he did in this most unusual of offseasons, thanks to the lockout and shortened signing period."It's a business part of it," Bush said, explaining why Saturday was his personal D-Day for showing up in Wine Country. "I think it was just best for me to come in at this time instead of stretching it out. I just came in. The sooner I got here, the better I can get in the playbook and the better I can move forward."Rarely has he shown better dance moves on the field.Still, Bush said he never entertained any other offers -- the price would have been too steep for teams in such a rushed time frame, he said -- and signed the one-year tender, worth a reported 2.6 million. He did, however, say he was looking to talk long-term deal with the Raiders when the time is right."I was never a free agent," Bush said. "I had no intention of coming into the season thinking I was a free agent because, bottom line, my first year, I didn't play."I pretty much knew I'd be back here again."If only the Raiders fans had been so confident, right?Because while there is no doubt McFadden is the Raiders' electric lead back, he's hurt and out for at least two weeks. And Bush, who suffered a broken left thumb in the exhibition season last year and missed two regular season games, brings the thunder.He ran for a career-high 655 yards and a career-best eight touchdowns in 2010 and in the season finale at Kansas City, with McFadden out, Bush rumbled for 137 yards on 25 carries. He also caught four passes that frozen day.Which is why his showing up in good shape -- not football shape, mind you -- was good news for the Raiders. Even if he only carried the ball in live drills a handful of times."I felt like I hadn't been playing football for a while," he joked. "But it's O.K. I'll get it back."He won't, however, regain the feeling of Miller and Nnamdi Asomugha as teammates in Oakland."I kind of knew the Nnam situation," Bush said, "but it was more strange not seeing Zach."Enter Boss.At 6-feet-7, Boss is two inches taller than Miller, though he is not as thick in his upper body.He too, though, hit the ground running as Boss practiced in live drills. He made a nice catch in traffic once, but also jumped off sides another time."Kind of learn under fire," Boss said, describing his first practice. "It's maybe the best way, actually, just kind of throw you in there. You hear (the play) called in the huddle and try to process it as quick as you can."It's coming along, and tomorrow will be great to spend some time in the playbook and really get ahead of this thing."The Raiders have invested a reported four-year, 16-million contract in Boss, who has a Super Bowl ring with the New York Giants and has caught 119 passes in his four-year career for 1,600 yards and 18 touchdowns.Boss said defensive line coach Mike Waufle, who was with him in New York when the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, was the first person associated with the Raiders to call him.Sounds like Tom Cable dialing up Miller from Seattle, right?But I digress. Boss visited Napa on Wednesday and worked out for the Raiders before heading back to New York to talk with the Giants on Thursday. Friday morning, the deal with Oakland was announced and Saturday, Boss and his surgically-repaired hip, which he says is 100 percent, were on the practice field.Right next to Bush."It's exciting," Boss said. "Whenever you have two backs like (Bush and McFadden) you're blocking for, it makes it exciting. You want to spring that key block that puts them in the end zone. It's going to be a lot of fun to have those two backs."No doubt, Bush feels the same about Boss. At least, he should.

Oakland, Lott Group pen letter to NFL in last-ditch effort to keep Raiders

Oakland, Lott Group pen letter to NFL in last-ditch effort to keep Raiders

Through the office of mayor Libby Schaaf, the City of Oakland issued the following statement on Friday, revealing a letter they sent to the NFL a day earlier highlighting the viability and appeal of keeping the Raiders in Oakland.

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OAKLAND, CA — Today, the City of Oakland, Alameda County, the Lott Group and Fortress, who have been working in concert to develop a fully-financed local stadium proposal for the Oakland Raiders, shared publicly documents detailing the strength of the Oakland plan.

Specifically, they made public for the first time, their most recent correspondence to the NFL. The letters and accompanying documents were sent in follow-up to a March 6, 2017 presentation Mayor Libby Schaaf and former NFL player and real estate investor Ronnie Lott made to the NFL’s Joint Stadium and Finance Committee that outlined the economic advantages to the league and the team of staying in Oakland.

[RELATED: Letter to NFL from Libby Schaaf, Lott Group]

“We’re not giving up in the fourth quarter,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “Since I took office two years ago, I have been focused on taking a team-centered approach that is responsible to the Raiders, the NFL, the fans and the taxpayers of Oakland. We’ve been successful in doing the environmental clearance, aligning the City and the County which jointly own the land, engaging the league and bringing partners to the table in the Lott Group and Fortress who have the financial backing, compassion for this community and intimate knowledge of the game -- on and off the field -- to get a deal done. All that’s missing is the Raiders.”

“I know how passionate the Bay Area is about the Raiders,” said NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott. “To rip this team away from Oakland for a second time would be heartbreaking and entirely unnecessary given that we have a viable option on the table that keeps them here and helps this community and the team grow. We have a sophisticated financial partner in Fortress. We have done the due diligence, and it is clear that the only fully-financed, ready-to-roll option for the Raiders is in Oakland.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, City Council President Larry Reid, whose district is home to the existing Coliseum and the proposed new stadium site, Lott Group partner and former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete and Fortress Managing Director Drew McKnight plan to gather with fans, local business leaders, nearby residents and other community members to demonstrate support for the Oakland stadium plan at events planned for Saturday, March 25. This is the day before NFL owners begin a series of meetings during which they are expected to discuss, and possibly vote on Raiders’ owner Mark Davis’ request to move the team to Las Vegas.

City of Oakland media services

Why the Raiders 2013 draft class was disbanded

Why the Raiders 2013 draft class was disbanded

Reggie McKenzie has owned three top 5 picks since becoming Raiders general manager. He used one on Khalil Mack in 2014, another on Amari Cooper a year later. McKenzie got a defensive player of the year and a two-time Pro Bowl receiver.

Pretty nice haul.

His first big draft pick came in 2013, when a 4-12 record the previous year earned the No. 3 overall selection. He turned that into the No. 12 and No. 42 overall selections – the Raiders didn’t have a second-round pick, and also gave up a fifth-rounder in the deal – that garnered cornerback DJ Hayden and Menelik Watson.

Both guys were beset by injury early on, setbacks that kept them from realizing potential identified during the pre-draft process. The Raiders got some quality players from the 2013 draft class – Latavius Murray was a two-year starter and Pro Bowl rusher -- but none of them remain Raiders after their rookie contracts.

Sixth-round tight end Mychal Rivera was the last leave, signing with Jacksonville on Wednesday. The Raiders wanted a few back – Watson and Stacy McGee, in particular – but all of them ended up elsewhere.

That’s not ideal. McKenzie prefers to draft, develop and reward. That didn’t happen for his 2013 draft class. While he didn’t have a first or second round pick, the 2012 draft class has been gone some time now.

He compensated well for that veteran talent void in free agency, bringing in Bruce Irvin, Kelechi Osemele and others of that age.

McKenzie’s draft record after 2013 has improved dramatically. A 2014 group that includes Mack, Derek Carr and Gabe Jackson was franchise altering. The 2015 bunch stands strong, and 2016 has talent but can’t be evaluated quite yet.

Let’s take a look at the 2013 draft class and why it didn’t work out:

CB DJ Hayden (No. 12 overall)
Current team:
Detroit (1 year deal, $3.75 million; $2.25 million guaranteed)
Comment: The Raiders didn’t pick up Hayden’s fifth-year option, proof their first-round pick didn’t work out as planned. Hayden was drafted despite a heart condition stemming from a practice injury in college, but a series of soft-tissue injuries slowed him down. He was ineffective at times, though he played better in his final season as a nickel back.

OL Menelik Watson (No. 42 overall)
Current team:
Denver (3 year deal, $18.3 million, $5.5 guaranteed)
Comment: Watson was an athletic, nasty offensive lineman the Raiders hoped to keep, someone who showed real potential when healthy. Those moments didn’t come often for a player who lost 2015 to injury and never made it through a full season.

LB Sio Moore (No. 66 overall)
Current team:
Free agent
Comment: Moore made an instant impact as a rookie working off the edge. He started on the weakside in 2014, but never seemed to recover from a late-season hip injury. He didn’t fit in well with new head coach Jack Del Rio, and he was traded to Indianapolis before the 2015 season began, he has bounced around ever since, playing as a reserve and special teams player. He remains on the open market.

QB Tyler Wilson (No. 112 overall)
Current team:
Out of football
Comment: Tyler Wilson never fit in at the NFL level and didn’t give the Raiders anything for a mid-round selection. Wilson lost his No. 3 job to undrafted rookie Matt McGloin, spent most of 2013 on the practice squad, and was signed by Tennessee late in the year. Wilson was the highest 2013 draft pick to not make the opening day roster.

TE Nick Kasa (No. 172 overall)
Current team:
Out of football
Comment: The converted defensive end struggled with injury, and suffered a season-ending knee injury during the 2014 preseason. He spent the year on injured reserve and didn’t return to the active roster.

RB Latavius Murray (No. 181 overall)
Current team:
Minnesota Vikings (Three year deal, $15 million, $3.4 million fully guaranteed)
Comment: Murray was the most productive player in the draft class. He missed his rookie year with an ankle injury, but assumed the starting spot by the end of his second season. Murray exceeded 1,000 yards and made the Pro Bowl in 2015, and had nearly 800 yards and 12 touchdowns the following year. He wasn’t a perfect scheme fit for the Raiders, who didn’t pursue him once he hit the open market. Murray signed with the Vikings, and should be a major contributor in that offense.

TE Mychal Rivera (No. 184 overall)
Current team:
Jacksonville Jaguars (Two year deal, worth up to $6.75 million)
Comment: Rivera was a vital receiving option on bad Raiders teams, but fell out of favor under Jack Del Rio. That cut his opportunities way down, giving way to 2015 third-round pick Clive Walford. Rivera has receiving skill but isn’t much of a blocker, and his exit was no a surprise after he was a healthy scratch several times in 2016.

DT Stacy McGee (No. 205 overall)
Current team:
Washington (Five year deal, $25 million, $9 million guaranteed
Comment: McGee flashed interior talent when healthy in 2016, and cashed in with Washington on the first day of unrestricted free agency. The Raiders hoped to bring him back, but he got far more than they were willing to pay. McGee developed well during his time in Oakland, which ultimately priced him out of town.

WR Brice Butler (No. 209 overall)
Current team:
Dallas Cowboys (One year deal, $1.1 million, $300,000 guaranteed)
Comment: Butler was an occasional contributor during two seasons with the Raiders, though the athletic pass catcher was a bit too inconsistent. He finished the 2015 as the fifth receiver, and McKenzie got something for him via trade. Butler remains a Cowboy, and signed a new contract with them this offseason.

DE David Bass No. 233 overall)
Current team:
Free agent
Comment: Bass was cut after the 2013 preseason, but he hung on during the next four seasons with Chicago and Tennessee as a reserve and special teams player.