Hunter runs 49ers past Raiders 17-3

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Hunter runs 49ers past Raiders 17-3

Aug. 20, 2011
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- About the only thing new for Alex Smith in his return to Candlestick Park was the coach on the sideline.Considering the offense's performance last week, that was a major improvement.Smith threw for 126 yards and an interception in coach Jim Harbaugh's home debut, getting showered with a mix of boos and cheers in the San Francisco 49ers' 17-3 preseason victory over the cross-bay rival Oakland Raiders on Saturday night."We improved from last week. But if we want to be the team we're talking about being, we have to finish in the red zone and can't turn the ball over," Smith said. "In my thinking, those first few drives, we didn't finish and then had the pick. Can't do that."While the running game racked up huge chunks of yards, the passing game wasn't always crisp.Smith was 8 for 13 and came up empty in the end zone. He had a pass intercepted by defensive end Matt Shaughnessy in the second quarter and led the 49ers to a field goal in one half of play.The 2005 No. 1 overall pick at least left healthy. Oakland starting quarterback Jason Campbell didn't return after taking a couple of blows on a scramble play in the second quarter. He was scheduled to have test for a concussion.
NEWS: Raiders' Campbell leaves game 'feeling dizzy'Bay Area fans might have left with more questions than answers about the two starting quarterbacks.Although San Francisco's offense was a complete turnaround after a 24-3 loss in the exhibition opener at New Orleans last week, Smith's performance mimicked so many others from his previous six seasons: He anchored three long drives, showed signs of progress and made one major mistake.With second-round pick Colin Kaepernick waiting on the sidelines, the pressure is on Smith to finally perform. Kaepernick threw for 52 yards on 6-for-8 passing and - like Smith - benefited in long drives by a strong running game led by Kendall Hunter, who finished with 105 yards and a touchdown on nine carries."There's a lot to learn, new terminology and stuff like that," Hunter said. "With new coaches, you just got to adjust and learn everybody and get used to everybody."The Niners opened with a 16-play, 79-yard drive that stalled 2 yards short of the goal line. The ensuing field goal attempt was botched because holder Andy Lee couldn't corral the snap, throwing the ball away and injuring his hip getting pounded to the ground by defenders.On the second drive, Smith tried to squeeze a pass to tight end Vernon Davis on the left sideline, Shaughnessy dropped into coverage and was gift-wrapped an interception. Smith walked off the field to a slight chorus of boos, the only cheers coming from Raiders fans.Smith, the presumed regular-season starter, said he never saw Shaugnessy drop into coverage. Both Smith and Harbaugh believe it was an error in recognizing coverage and not a reminder of past mistakes."We talked about (the interception)," Harbaugh said. "We feel that's a correctable thing. I know why it happened. We just have to do a little better job of our eyes."The best highlight of the night for the 49ers came when new receiver Braylon Edwards made a one-handed catch on the sideline for 32 yards on final drive for the first-team offense. San Francisco settled for a 23-yard field goal by David Akers, who also had one punt blocked filling in for Lee.Not that the news was any better on the other sideline.The Raiders already were without several key players because of injuries, notably receivers Jacoby Ford and Louis Murphy and running back Darren McFadden. Now they could be adding another to the list.Campbell was hurt late in the second quarter when he scrambled to his left, was tackled by Justin Smith and appeared to take a knee to the helmet from linebacker Ahmad Brooks. Campbell was down on the ground briefly while being checked out by trainers."The ball got knocked out of my hands. I tried to go dive on it and caught a knee to the head," Campbell said. "
He sat on the bench after being replaced by Trent Edwards, finishing with 74 yards passing. Sebastian Janikowski made a 46-yard field goal in the fourth quarter for Oakland's only score.Raiders coach Hue Jackson, still searching for his first win at the helm of the silver and black, didn't blame the injuries for the poor performance."That has nothing to do with tonight," Jackson said. "Tonight we didn't play Raider football. We didn't play like a Raider. That's just the truth. Let's call it like it is."Hunter had a 52-yard TD rush in the third quarter and Xavier Omon ran for another from 5 yards out in the fourth quarter.After losing 24-18 to the Arizona Cardinals in its preseason opener, Oakland didn't exactly make any strides the second time out. The Raiders, who have struggled to find the end zone once they're close, have only scored one touchdown in eight trips inside the 30 this preseason."I think we are still knocking some rust off," defensive tackle Richard Seymour said. "It is good to get out here and work with our teammates, but we still have a lot of work to do."NOTES: Raiders TE Kevin Boss had a left knee injury. ... Lee was scheduled to undergo test on his hip. Harbaugh said he didn't think the injury was serious.

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.

Check back for further updates...