An intense Allen agrees with Davis

945073.jpg

An intense Allen agrees with Davis

ALAMEDA -- How would you react if your boss came down for the first time in your first year on the job and gave a scathing, albeit, truthful review of your product regressing?Dennis Allen, some 20 hours later, did not blink. In fact, the Raiders' rookie head coach agreed with Mark Davis' assessment. In fact, you could say Allen seemed more intense in front of the media than at any other time during his nascent tenure in Oakland. Especially after Sunday's 38-17 loss to New Orleans meant the Raiders had lost their last three games by a combined 135-69.RATTO: Davis powerless to stop Raiders' 'mudslide'
The 135 points surrendered is the fourth-most given up by any team in a three-game stretch since the 1970 merger, the most by the Raiders in such a stretch."Hey, I'm right there with him," Allen said in his weekly media conference Monday. "I'm frustrated. I'm disappointed. You know, you wake up this morning and your gut hurts. But, at the same time, when a man gets knocked down and man gets up and fights. And that's exactly what we intend to do. I understand his frustration; I can appreciate that. And let me tell you, there's nobody that's going to work any harder to get it corrected than I will."Perhaps it's not only that that Raiders are 3-7 that has the fan base restless, but perhaps how bad they've looked of late in getting to 3-7. Meaning Allen's statements might be taken as so much lip service, at least until Oakland starts winning games, right?Cincinnati, Carson Palmer's first team and the current employer of former Raiders coach Hue Jackson, awaits."When you lose, it hurts. Rips your gut out," Allen said. "But a win turns everything around. A win makes everybody feel a lot better. And that's what we need to do. We need to come together as a football team and we need to all make a decision that we're going to do whatever it takes to win football games."Its on everybody individually. The term is corfing, which is to deflect yourself away from things when things begin to go badly. Thats the thing that you have to fight as much as anything else. We got to internalize it and determine, what can we do as individuals to make it better? And we all got to pull the rope in the same direction."RELATED: Davis -- 'I'm embarrassed and I take full responsibility'
So does Allen have anything to draw upon from his days as an NFL assistant?"We were 5-11 with the Atlanta Falcons back in 2003," Allen said. "Dan Reeves was the head coach. So I've been through this before. It's not my first rodeo going through this. Obviously it is as a head football coach, but there are people such as Dan Reeves that I can call for advice on how to handle different situations."Yes, Allen called Reeves earlier in the season."Listen, theres not a magic formula," Allen said. "It really comes down to our mindset and our ability to focus in and do our jobs, not just during the game. Its everything. Its how we go about with our meeting process, how we go about with our practice process. Those are the little things that you have to do on a daily basis which get you the results that youre looking for on game day."

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...