Jackson not apologizing for play calls

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Jackson not apologizing for play calls

ALAMEDA -- A day later, and Hue Jackson was still comfortable with what have turned out to be two of his more controversial calls in the Raiders' 28-27 loss to Detroit.He was making no apologies for them.That third call, though, kicking the extra-point instead of going for the two-point conversion following Aaron Curry's fumble recovery and return for a touchdown that gave the Raiders a 27-14 lead with 7:47 remaining? Yeah, Jackson might like a do-over for that and go for the "two" that would have given the Raiders a 14-point lead if successful and, if things played out as they did, led to overtime."I figured, there's no way this team's going to score 13 points," Jackson said Monday in his weekly media conference. "You know, you look back at it now, maybe that's a decision you could have did differently. But at the time ... I felt very comfortable where our team was, being 13 up -- Let's kick it, let's go in.
"I think the rhythm, the team was excited, the special teams unit was out there. I was talking to the defensive coaches to get a stop, make sure we slow this team down. That's where my head was. Not that I wasn't into the game, or thinking about, Well should we be up 14, should we be up 13? I just felt very comfortable ... we kick it, let's go play defense, get this ball back, three and out, let's go."Earlier, though, in the first quarter, Jackson chose to go for it on 4th-and-1 from the Detroit 24-yard line, rather than kick a field goal. Carson Palmer overthrew an open Denarius Moore in the end zone, though it appeared as though the rookie receiver was held by Lions cornerback Chris Houston."I mean, was the guy wide open, or not?" Jackson said. "At the end of the day, if we hit that play you guys are all saying, 'Boy, what a great call.' And when you miss it, 'It's three more points you could have had.' Well, I understand that, and that's part of this deal -- the good coaches that make those calls and they get them and sometimes you come up the wrong way and it doesn't happen that way."And on that 3rd-and-3 bomb from midfield to Chaz Schilens that bounded off the receiver's hands with 2:27 to play and the Raiders nursing a six-point lead?"It was a long three (yards to go)," Jackson said. "Everybody thought that that was a go-route. That's not a go-route; that's a slant-and-go. If I'm not mistaken we were one-of-seven at that point in third downs. They had packed the box. Everybody was standing up there. The one thing this team had been biting on, and if you studied the tape, was slants, so that's why Chaz was so wide open."It goes back to the same thing -- you hit it, we're not having this conversation. It's notwe're trying to throw the ball long. That's not the design of the play. That's not where it is. But I think, like I said, when you hit them, it's great. When you don't, then you leave yourself open for questioning."If you make them, we all feel good, if you don't, that's what happens."Still, Jackson allowed that he contemplated calling a run play for Michael Bush, who was averaging 5.7 yards per run on nine carries in the fourth quarter."But if you go back, they had put a linebacker over the tight end, they took the safety, they had no safety helphe was four yards from the line of scrimmage, behind the linebacker, so, in their opinion, they were going to stop us from running the ball," Jackson said. "Can you say, 'Boy, you run it, you don't make the first down, you bleed more clock,' or do you throw it and you end the game?"Because you knew the play was there. You knew it was set up. That play was as there as the 4th-and-1 call was. I mean, excellent looks at them both. What you have to do is execute those plays. As I've said before, I believe in those players, I think they can make those plays. I've seen them in practice. We just didn't make them yesterday, when they counted most."

Raiders sign rookie OT Sharpe, LB Lee, all four seventh-round draft picks

Raiders sign rookie OT Sharpe, LB Lee, all four seventh-round draft picks

The Raiders signed several members of their 2017 draft class, the team announced on Friday. Later round picks put pen to paper following the first week of OTAs, which began on Monday.

Fourth-round offensive tackle David Sharpe and fifth-round linebacker Marquel Lee highlight this group of signings, as both players inked four-year rookie contracts.

All four seventh-round picks also signed their first professional contract. That group includes running back Elijah Hood, safety Shalom Luani, offensive lineman Jylan Ware and defensive tackle Treyvon Hester.

These deals aren’t hard to work out. The NFL and the league’s players union agreed on a rookie wage scale in the last collective bargaining agreement that slots salaries by draft order, which leaves little negotiating room within the set payment structure.

The team’s top picks remain unsigned, though they’ll get done in time. First round cornerback Gareon Conley, second-round safety Obi Melifonwu and third-round defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes remain unsigned.

Here’s a list of estimated contract values over a four-year rookie deal for each signed draft pick, per spotrac.com:

OT David Sharpe (No. 129 overall): $2,986,415 total; $586,415 signing bonus
LB Marquel Lee (No. 168 overall): $2,653,693 total; $253,693 signing bonus
S Shalom Luani (No. 221 overall): $2,494,414 total; $94,414 signing bonus
OT Jylan Ware (No. 231 overall): $2,484,295 total; $84,295 signing bonus
RB Elijah Hood (No. 242 overall): $2,469,750 total; $69,750 signing bonus
DT Treyvon Hester (No. 244 overall): $2,468,601 total; $69,750 signing bonus

Marquel Lee gets to play for his father's favorite team: 'He started bawling'

Marquel Lee gets to play for his father's favorite team: 'He started bawling'

ALAMEDA -- Marquel Lee’s NFL draft weekend wasn’t always fun, a byproduct of high hopes unrealized. The former Wake Forest linebacker wanted to go early, but slid into Saturday and waited well into the fifth round before his phone lifted spirits.

A 510 area code brought Lee out of an emotional rut, one so deep he started wondering whether he’d get drafted at all.

“When I got the call from the Raiders, everything changed,” Lee said in the latest episode of NBC Sports California’s Raiders Insider Podcast. “I was so excited to play for this organization.”

Marquel Lee wasn’t the only one. His father jumped over the moon.

“He might’ve been more excited than I was,” Marquel Lee said. “He started bawling. I’ve never seen my dad cry like that.”

Corey Lee’s tears don’t come easy. He’s a no-nonsense military man who served 11 years in the Navy before entering the private sector. He was a strict but fair father and football coach who instilled the discipline and work ethic required for his son to realize great potential.

Corey Lee is also a lifelong Raiders fan. Seeing his son get drafted by his favorite team created a perfect emotional storm.

“I’m as die-hard as they get,” Corey Lee said. “When they called his name in the fifth round, it was such a great, powerful moment. There was some relief, because he worked so hard and sacrificed to reach this point. When families were on vacation, we were in summer camps and working out hard.

“Everything we did was to prepare him for the next level. I was so proud to see him achieve a goal he had.”

Corey Lee didn’t break down completely when Marquel Lee officially became the Raiders’ fifth-round selection. This proud papa let emotion overcome for a beat, and then darted for his bedroom. He returned to the party with a brand new Raiders hat and a No. 89 Amari Cooper shirt from his vast Raiders collection.

Marquel Lee threw on dad’s gear to honor his new team and the golden opportunity to play for a linebacker-starved Raiders team.

That wasn’t Marquel Lee’s first time in silver and black. He rocked a full Raiders uniform at age 2, complete with a helmet, football pants and a Tim Brown jersey.

He donned one again when rookies reported to the Raiders offseason program earlier this month. The full-circle moment wasn’t lost on Marquel, a man proud of his past and excited about an NFL future.

“There’s a picture of me in a Raiders jersey, pants and a helmet on my second birthday,” he said. “I look at it now and think, ‘Wow. It really happened.’ I’m wearing a Raiders uniform for real. My dream is becoming a reality.”

Corey Lee grew up a Raiders fan in Southern California, going to games with his family at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Pardon Marquel for not following in those footsteps. He grew up on the East Coast when Donovan McNabb was a superstar and gravitated toward the Eagles. Ray Lewis performed in Lee’s Maryland backyard and became an athletic role model.

Marquel watched tons of NFL football with his dad, complete games where father and son would talk about strategy and scheme. Marquel would watch game tape with his father at an early age and when Corey Lee deployed with the Navy, his mother Katanya – she, too, understood football -- made sure that practice continued.

Marquel Lee was armed with natural athletic gifts and cultivated knowledge of the game, allowing him play quarterback and middle linebacker as a junior at Westlake High in Waldorf, Md. His dad was a guiding light as youth instructor, a JV head coach and a varsity linebackers coach, but took steps to separate family and football.

“As a father, I never would allow him to call me dad on a practice field or anywhere,” Corey Lee said. “I was always ‘Coach’ during the season, whether we were at home or at practice, because I wanted to keep him in that mindset.”

Football was a primary focus back then, when the family often traded summer vacations for skills camps. Despite buzz around Marquel’s talents, Corey was against his son doing interviews with recruiting websites or ranking services. Father wanted his son’s head on straight, and it has remained that way. 

Top schools were slow to come around, but gravitated after Marquel fully recovered from a torn patella and stood out early in his senior year. He chose Wake Forest, a commitment his father wanted upheld even with late interest from other programs.

His growth continued as a collegian, and took a real spike during the 2016 season. Wake Forest’s defensive captains graduated, leaving him to assume a leadership role and put team over stats. Lee considered his junior season at Wake Forest subpar, and vowed to do better.

“I was pressing a lot, trying to rush my time and trying to get to the NFL,” Lee said. “I was on a road where I thought I wanted to leave (school) early. I was so hard on myself, especially if I didn’t produce. That’s why I said it was subpar. I don’t think I played like a team player that year.

“(The next season) I made a decision to finish what I started and be the leader I always knew I could be. I wanted to help my team get to a bowl game. I hadn’t played in one. That was a major part of me coming back in 2016. … I grew up a lot. I feel like I gained respect as a team leader, and really understood what it took to own that responsibility.”

Lee might have major responsibilities as an NFL rookie. The Raiders don’t have many options at middle linebacker, and Lee will be allowed to compete for a starting spot. It’ll take a solid spring and summer to earn it and give the Raiders confidence to hand an important starting spot to a rookie. The Silver and Black could add a veteran to that position group, though they have high hopes for their fifth-round pick. Lee could well make an instant impact. 

“We definitely think he has the potential to start,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said in an interview with 95.7-The Game. “He’s a long ways away from that. We haven’t even begun to get the pads on, so a lot will be determined in training camp and the preseason. So far, he has looked very good.”

Lee considers himself well prepared for the challenges ahead, and believes he can compete at the professional level.

“I’ve been getting ready for this a long time,” Marquel Lee said. “My dad has been telling me that this experience will be different. It’s not like college anymore. It’s a job, and I have to be mentally prepared for everything I’m about to do. I’m here and I’m learning and I’m trying to do my best.”