Hue Jackson has issues with NFL officials

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Hue Jackson has issues with NFL officials

MINNEAPOLIS -- For what seems since the halcyon days of JFK's Camelot, the Raiders have been seen as the dirtiest, most foul team in professional football. As such, it's the most heavily-penalized, too.But after another rain of yellow flags, Oakland coach Hue Jackson wants a sit-down at the NFL's roundtable to discuss his team being penalized so much.Unprovoked, Jackson broached the unbroachable following the Raiders' 27-21 victory over Minnesota, a game in which the comedic became the absurd with Oakland being flagged 12 times for 117 yards.

"I am going to reach out to the league myself personally," Jackson said. "I normally don't complain about officiating. I don't make any bones that way because I said I wouldn't. But today, I just truly felt like it was a little unfair. I really do."As a head coach of this football team, I have to look out for my players also and there was a string of calls there where I will go back and see them and review them. But at the end of the day, the description on what was said to me, I just didn't feel that (was satisfactory)."Jackson was referring to a sequence in a single fourth-quarter series in which the Raiders were flagged for defensive pass interference on Lito Sheppard on 4th-and-2, illegal contact on Rolando McClain two snaps later, unnecessary roughness on Desmond Bryant two plays after that and defensive holding on Mike Mitchell on the next snap."I understand that I am a rookie head coach, and maybe I don't get all those calls," Jackson said. "And that is fine. But at the end of the day, I am going to protect my football team, too."I know everyone says we are the most penalized football team in football, and that's a fact and I am not running from that. But there is no way that some things that happened today in that football game (happened)."Jackson said he was also dismayed at what he felt were lack of explanations afforded him."Sometimes I would get brushed aside," Jackson said. "Sometimes I would get talked to as if they didn't know what I was asking, and I just don't think that is fair. I asked several times for explanations and I wouldn't get them."I don't like (talking about ) this because it is not, obviously, about the officiating. And I have always said that when we get good enough, it won't be. Obviously, we might be getting good enough because we are winning games."The Raiders now have a league-leading 103 penalties for 892 yards and are on pace for 165 penalties for 1,427 yards. The single-season record is 158 penalties and 1,304 yards, both dubious marks held by the 1998 Kansas City Chiefs.The Raiders' single-season mark for penalties is the 156 they committed in both 1994 and 1996, while the 1,276 yards in penalties they had last season set the franchise mark."I want us to have the same opportunity that everyone else has in this league," Jackson added. "All of the other 31 teams, we go to the game and it is officiated correctly and people give you explanations as to why things are done and if I can get that, then I am fine. If somebody can tell me exactly why it is like it is, I respect that."But when people just brush you aside and we can't get the ref over here then all of a sudden there is a break in the action but yet he is over there on the other bench having conversations with them but can't come over to me, and I have to remind everybody to come over and see me, I have a hard time with that."Jackson was also dismayed when asked his view of the play that knocked receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey out of the game. Was it clean? Was it dirty? Was it a forearm?"You know, I don't even know what football is anymore," Jackson said. "I don't know what hitting is. I don't know what tackling is. I have been in this game a long time and I can't tell you what hitting, or tackling, is, or what a personal foul or even what anything is anymore."At the end of the day, this team is 6-4 and that is what I am proud of."

McKenzie focuses Raiders' 2017 draft on defense, beefs up secondary

McKenzie focuses Raiders' 2017 draft on defense, beefs up secondary

ALAMEDA – Raiders general manger Reggie McKenzie made nine selections in this weekend’s NFL draft. That was a requirement given the state of his roster, featuring a stacked offense and a Swiss-cheese defense. It has holes.

He spent significant draft capital trying to upgrade the middle of his defense especially, adding three defensive backs, two defensive tackles and a fifth-round pick in Marquel Lee who will compete to start at middle linebacker.

He needs a few immediate impact players on the defensive group headlined by first-round cornerback Gareon Conley and second-round safety Obi Melifonwu.

“How much do I think I can get out of this group? I hope a lot,” McKenzie said Saturday after the NFL draft was complete. “They’re all going to come in and compete. We’re signing guys post-draft also. We’re going to give them all the opportunity to compete with the veterans that we already have on board. We hope that out of it all, the competition part of it, the cream rises and we have a very good 53-man roster.”

McKenzie follows a draft board thoroughly constructed through hundreds of scouting reports and cross checks, and extensive evaluation at combines and pro days. He trusts it. It has certainly treated him well before, which productive hauls in 2014 and 2015 especially.

While he lost out on some likable players taken before his slot, McKenzie believes the Raiders added quality and depth in previously lacking position groups. He stuck with size and athleticism at times over college production and, as always, beefed up both the offensive and defensive lines.

“I think the way it fell, we got a lot of players, at the end of the day, it looks like we needed,” he said. “We felt like we got a lot of good players with high talent levels from top to bottom. Some are going to be more raw than others. We’re going to have to see down the line, more so. I think talking to the board, you said, ‘Job well done.’”

McKenzie also focused on fixing a lackluster pass defense with speed. Conley can be a shutdown cornerback outside or in the slot. Melifonwu is a heavy hitter who can play both safety spots and is expected to contribute as a rookie. The secondary must improve to prevent big plays and help Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin get after the quarterback.

“You have to have speed to play the game the way it’s going now,” McKenzie said. “You have to be able to play in space. You have to be able to match up. We took all of that into consideration when we brought these players in. To the players that you mentioned, Obi and Conley, both of those guys have great range, speed, very athletic. So, they make tackles in space. That’s one of the things that we looked at. Make sure short to medium plays don’t turn into big plays. I think they will help in that scenario.”

Here’s a full list of Raiders draft picks:

Round 1 (No. 24 overall): CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
Round 2 (No. 56 overall): S Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut
Round 3 (No. 88 overall): DT Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA
Round 4 (No. 129 overall): OT David Sharpe, Florida
Round 5 (No. 168 overall): LB Marquel Lee, Wake Forest
Round 7 (No. 221 overall): S Shalom Luani, Washington State
Round 7 (No. 231 overall): OT Jylan Ware, Alabama State
Round 7 (No. 242 overall): RB Elijah Hood, North Carolina
Round 7 (No. 244 overall): DT Treyvon Hester, Toledo

 

Raiders 2017 UDFA tracker: McKenzie adds safeties, mining for more gold

Raiders 2017 UDFA tracker: McKenzie adds safeties, mining for more gold

ALAMEDA – The Raiders have had great success mining gold from undrafted free agency. Jalen Richard and Darius Latham were kings of last year’s crop, which was six strong by season’s end. with Seth Roberts and Denico Autry other examples of undrafted free agents done good in recent years.

Can Raiders scouts find more helpful pieces from those left out of the NFL draft? Time will tell on that one, but finding the right undrafted players is something the team takes seriously. Scouts revel in undrafted players who make it in the league.

“It’s very rewarding,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “If we sign him as a free agent, we may have had him on the board as draftable, but getting guys post draft, that helps you down the road. To maintain a consistent winner, you have to hit on some of those guys. You have to. The way that the contracts are these days, you have to have some of those type players to help you win football games year in and year out.”

The Raiders will search for those players into Saturday evening to fill the 90-man roster. McKenzie secured some of his top targets with four seventh-round picks, though several more have signed with the club. Here’s a list of those who have signed with the team thus far:

-- OL Jordan Simmons, USC: The hulking offensive lineman signed with the Raiders, he announced on social media. Simmons stands 6-foot-5 and 335 pounds, and will turn pro after being denied a sixth year of college eligibility. The talented guard had an injury-riddled career.

-- WR Isaac Whitney, USC: Whitney is yet another undrafted Trojan to join the Raiders roster. He announced the signing on social media. He didn’t have many college stats, but is fast with the size the Raiders prefer in outside receivers.

-- WR Keon Hatcher, Arkansas: Hatcher will reportedly join the offseason receiver group in hopes of taking a roster spot. He had 44 catches for 743 yards and eight touchdowns in his final college season. (Houston Chronicle)

-- WR Ishmael Zamora, Baylor: The Bears official website reported that Zamora will sign with the Silver and Black. He had63 catches for 809 yards and eight touchdowns in 2016. He was suspended three games for abusing a dog in an incident that was caught on video. 

-- S Ahmad Thomas, Oklahoma: The Raiders need safety depth, so it was smart of Thomas to sign in Oakland. He was a three-year starter and a team captain. (Houston Chronicle)

-- S Anthony Cioffi, Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights’ official Twitter account reported a four-year starter in college will give the pros a try in Oakland.

-- DT Jordan Wade, Oklahoma: The 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive tackle will join the Raiders. (SoonerScoop.com)

-- TE Pharaoh Brown, Oregon: The Ducks didn’t have a single player drafted, but Brown will join the Silver and Black. The tight end announced a signing on Twitter. He had 33 catches for 426 yards and five touchdown.

-- DT Paul Boyette, Texas: The Raiders continue adding volume at positions of need, including this 298-pound run stuffer. 

-- S Rickey Jefferson, LSU: Yet another safety joins the mix, according to LSU's football Twitter account. There will be a battle at that position all offseason as the Raiders try to sort out which players work best in their system. 

 

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