If you can't beat them, take their coach

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If you can't beat them, take their coach

After watching the Broncos take their roundabout route to the playoffs, Raiders players knew they had their chance to be the AFC West champion. It didnt play out for the Silver and Black this season, but you know all the ol saying, nothing beats actual playoff experience.

Well then, enter Dennis Allen, who reportedly was hired as Raiders coach Tuesday.

REPORT: Raiders hire Allen as head coach
The Broncos' defensive coordinator is no doubt ready to get back into the mix after Denvers AFC Divisional loss to the Patriots, 45-10. And he probably knows a thing or two about the Raiders, after spending the last season with their division foe.The last time the Raiders hired from within their rivaled Rocky Mountain opponent was back in 1988, when Broncos assistant coach Mike Shanahan joined the Silver and Black.
And after the Raiders' most glaring struggles this season happened on the defense side of the ball, so it seems like a defensive-minded coach may be the way to go. Although new general manager Reggie McKenzie did say offense, defense it doesnt matter, he just wants the right guy.
McKenzie also shared with the media in his introductory press conference on Jan. 10 that he let Hue Jackson go, in favor of bringing in my guy. At that time, McKenzie said there was a short list of candidates he would be focusing on. But as the Packers, Saints, Broncos and others dropped out of the playoff hunt, the short list became seemingly longer and longer with DCs, OCs and former head coaches from coast to coast and all stops in between, surfacing on this rumored short list.And now for the first time, in a long time, the Raiders reportedly are turning to a man with a defensively-sound background to lead their team. It seemed to work out the last time they went this direction -- look back to 1969 when a linebackers coach by the name of John Madden was promoted to head coach. Although, looking back on the Al Davis era with the Silver and Black, the late managing general partner never went to outside the organization to bring in a defensive coordinator or such as head coach, so this would be a new direction for the Raiders.But it could be a step in the right direction. After all, in his inaugural season with the Broncos, Allen helped the team improve from allowing a league-worst in points and yards per game, to climbing the ranks to 20th and 24th, respectively. Throw in an AFC West title, and some impressive number increases when it comes to the Broncos and their individual players stats (ie tackles, sacks, etc) and Allen just might be the guy, McKenzie was looking for. Allen also runs a 4-3 defense, which matches the Raiders' philosophy as of late.As of Tuesday night, the team has yet to confirm the Allen reports. But it appears, as McKenzie and Mark Davis promised last week, a new era is upon the Raider Nation.

Vanderdoes out to 'prove people wrong,' show Raiders his very best

Vanderdoes out to 'prove people wrong,' show Raiders his very best

ALAMEDA – Eddie Vanderdoes knows his UCLA game tape is inconsistent. The powerful defensive tackle admits he wasn’t always at his best, especially after tearing his ACL in 2015. Before that, he was difficult to stop. Afterward, he wasn’t the same player. He doesn’t blame the knee.

He struggled with ankle injuries and weight issues in 2016, a lackluster campaign by his own standard. Since that season ended, Vanderdoes has returned to 100 percent. His ankles are fine. His knee is great. And he lost 40 pounds heading into the NFL scouting combine, preparing for a return to his old self.

The Raiders see great potential in the former Bruin and made him their third-round pick on Friday evening. The Auburn native was excited by the prospect, and believes the Raiders will get his absolute best. His voice was passionate, his determination clear even on a conference call with local press.

“I am going to be the player I was earlier in my career,” Vanderdoes said. “I had a bad season. That wasn’t me. That’s not the person that I am. That’s not the character that I hold. I’m definitely going to bring that to the Raiders’ defensive line. I’m going to bring that energy and I’m really happy to be an Oakland Raider.”

The Raiders will be thrilled if that’s true. They liked what he showed at the Senior Bowl and the NFL scouting combine, where he showed traits that should translate to NFL production.

“I am definitely back 100 percent, very confident with the combine, the Senior Bowl,” Vanderdoes said. “I got my explosiveness back. I got my speed back, my athleticism back. I am definitely at the top of shape right now, so I’m ready to get back to work and show them the player that they saw on the film and the player that they wanted to draft and I’m also looking to turn even more heads and do things that some people might expect that I couldn’t do.”

That includes rushing the passer, being a consistent three-down tackle in the Raiders scheme. He might be a rotational player first, filling the void created when Stacy McGee left in free agency.

“He’s a good, active defensive lineman that we think his best football is in front of him,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He had an ACL (injury) a couple of years ago. His weight has been up and down. We expect him to come in here and be a real professional and work hard with (head strength and conditioning coach) Joe Gomes and the strength staff and get himself ready to roll. He needs to come in here and add depth to our defensive line and give us a little interior push.”

Vanderdoes believes he can do more than that if he does things right. If his weight stays down, strength stays up and he learns the system well, he wants to compete for a significant role as a rookie.

“I’m coming in expecting to contribute and play right away,” Vanderdoes said. “That’s the mindset that I’ve always had. I’ve came with that mindset that I need to be the guy to step in and do what I do and dominate. I definitely think people slept on me a little bit this past offseason.

“I love the fact that (the NFL) slept on me, I think that’s what motivated me every morning waking up, knowing that I get to prove people wrong. I think I’ve done a good job so far of that, and I’m going to keep doing as well being an Oakland Raider because I know I’m at the bottom again. I have to work my way back up.”

Del Rio: Marshawn showed 'authentic passion' joining hometown Raiders

Del Rio: Marshawn showed 'authentic passion' joining hometown Raiders

ALAMEDA – The Raiders have been focused on the NFL Draft the last few days, and rightfully so. Friday night, however, was the right time to ask about what happened just before.

The Raiders acquired power running back and Oakland native Marshawn Lynch. If he’s close to top form after a year away from the NFL, the Raiders offense will be tough to stop.

He’s a big physical rusher the Raiders were looking for. The Raiders were the team Lynch wants to finish his career representing. The Oakland Tech High grad and Cal alum might be the town’s most popular citizen, someone who consistently gives back to the city he loves.

Lynch was downright giddy after formally signing with the Raiders, greeting everyone in the building with child-like enthusiasm. He got fitted in his Raiders helmet and refused to take it off, wearing it out of the building and the car ride home.

Del Rio loved the energy Lynch brought to the team’s complex, and believes that will carry on while he represents the Silver and Black.

“Authentic passion. That’s what I see,” Del Rio said Friday night. “He’s a homegrown guy. He’s extremely excited about joining this football team and being a part of the Raider Nation. We’re excited to have him.”

Lynch is a bruiser of the highest order, though some may wonder how effective he can be at 31, a year removed from professional football.

“There will be questions about how much is left in his tank, and we’re going to find out,” Del Rio said. “I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone else be more excited, more pleased to be joining a team, my team, our team.”

Del Rio understands where Lynch is coming from. The Hayward native longed to be a Raider at some point in his career, but never got the chance.

I told him he was lucky, because I didn’t get a chance to do that as player. I wanted to finish here as a player too. He’s getting that chance and he’s fired up about it.

“He’s a big man, and he plays with the violence that we like and appreciate. I think he’ll look forward to running behind (the Raiders offensive line) and those guys up front.”