Jackson speaks to NFL, does not expect to be fined


Jackson speaks to NFL, does not expect to be fined

ALAMEDA -- Raiders coach Hue Jackson was coolly measured and calculated on Sunday when he offered his take on the officiating in Oakland's 27-21 defeat of Minnesota, saying things were, well, unfair.Monday, in his weekly media conference, he was asked if he thought he might be getting fined by the NFL for his postgame comments?"Me? Me, expecting to get a fine? Are you kidding me?" an incredulous Jackson said. "For what?"

Well, if, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan was just fined 75,000 for cursing at a fan, you might think Jackson would be in line to open up his personal checkbook for going after the NFL's holy cows in the refs, right?"I just said what I felt," Jackson said. "I didn't criticize an individual call or anything like that. I just said what I felt. I would do that for my football team. Like I said, I'm going to protect my team. I don't expect any (fine) is going to become of it. I think what needed to be said was said, and we move forward."An email to the league seeking comment had not been immediately replied to Monday afternoon.But Jackson insisted he had already had his seeming day in court with the league earlier this morning, even if he would not say with whom he spoke."I've had some dialogue," Jackson said, "and I feel very comfortable at it, and where it is now. And we'll move forward from it. I wanted to have an opportunity to say what I felt, and I didjust as the league always does, they'll do what they need to do, and we'll move on from there."Just know that I have talked to the powers that be. We had a great conversation and we'll move on."The Raiders lead the NFL with 103 penalties for 892 yards. They are on pace to set new records with 165 penalties for 1,427 yards. The current single-season mark is 158 penalties and 1,304 yards, both set by the 1998 Kansas City Chiefs.Meanwhile, Oakland's single-season mark for penalties is the 156 it committed in both 1994, while in Los Angeles, and 1996, while the 1,276 penalty yards the Raiders had last season set the franchise mark.Jackson was asked if the Raiders have to be that much better to overcome the waves of yellow flags thrown their way."I'm not going to say that," Jackson said. "As I told you guys before when this all started, I'm not going to complain about the penalties. And obviously after yesterday I've probably reached my boiling point. I think the league does a great job."Nobody's perfect, and I respect that and understand that. All I ask is that when people deal with our football team, with the Raiders, that it's done fairly. Now across the league everyone says everything is fair, and I'm not saying that its not. But yesterday it was one game that I felt very uncomfortable with what had happened."I'm going to move on from that because that does me no good, our football team no good. What we got to do is, still, we have a problem that we need to correct, also. At the end of the day, we still need to get better at doing what we do, but on top of that I just want to make sure that just because we do need to get better in some areas, people aren't saying, 'O.K., let's have a great day throwing this flag today because there's the Raiders out here.' I think it's been addressed and we'll go forward."

Cooper: 'I can go nowhere but up,' wants improved play down the stretch

Cooper: 'I can go nowhere but up,' wants improved play down the stretch

The Raiders searched in vain for dynamic receiving production before Amari Cooper came along. Thousand-yard seasons proved elusive even in the golden age of passing stats, with a full decade’s drought after Randy Moss posted a four-digit total in 2005.

Cooper’s made that old hat.

The 2015 first-round pick has two 1,000-yard campaigns in as many seasons. Ditto for Pro Bowl honors. Those feats have become increasingly common, Cooper’s already in rarified air.

Cooper’s career is off to a solid start, but the No. 4 overall pick two years ago believes he can be much better. That especially true later in the season, where production has waned in his first two seasons.

He has nine 100-yard performances in two seasons, with just two coming after week 8. He noticeably struggled with injury at the end of 2015, but wouldn’t make excuses for a production drop last season.

Cooper wants to finish as strong as he starts, and has full confidence that will happen this season.

“Of course it’s been on my mind, but it’s a good thing to me because I feel like I can go nowhere but up,” Cooper said after Tuesday’s OTA session. “I know that I can have a lot more production than I’ve had in the past two seasons, so we’ll just see.”

Cooper has sought counsel from other NFL greats – Calvin Johnson has been in Alamenda this week, offering sage advice – and Raiders coaches have identified ways where he can be even more dynamic working with quarterback Derek Carr.

“Certainly there are things that we think we can do to help,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “Also, for him, I think he has a much greater understanding. I thought last year was a step forward. I know he wants to continue to push. It’s great when you have a young, talented player that’s really eager to be special, wants to make a mark in this league. The way he’s working at it right now is outstanding. That’s all we want of our guys.

Cooper is a versatile presence, able to do most everything well. His route running was luaded out of college, though he can be a good deep-ball receiver and can create big plays after the catch. Cooper knows his hands much be more consistent, but the Raiders want to exract more from his natural talents.

“There are a lot of different facets to him,” Del Rio said. “Where his speed is really one of his greatest strengths, obviously, his route running ability was pretty doggone polished when he got here, but even that can continue to improve and the timing with Derek. We think he’ll continue to ascend.”

That’s the goal heading into his third NFL season now armed with greater knowledge of how he’s being covered and muscle memory of what went wrong at times later in the year.

Cooper believes detail work will help him this fall and winter, and that starts in earnest during the offseason program.

“It’s easy to forget the small things like high-pointing the ball, looking the ball all the way through and not trying to run before you actually catch the ball,” Cooper said. “Overall, I’m just working hard in the offseason so that you can come back and you can be dominant.

“I want to be the best Amari Cooper that I could possibly be. I want to be better than every other year that I’ve played football, so that’s how I am looking at this year.”

Penn still haunted by only sack allowed in 2016; 'That play sticks with me'

Penn still haunted by only sack allowed in 2016; 'That play sticks with me'

Editor's Note: The above video is from Dec. 24, 2016.

Donald Penn was nothing short of awesome last season. The veteran Raiders left tackle proved impenetrable, allowing just one sack and 27 quarterback pressures in 676 pass-blocking snaps.

He ranked high among the NFL’s best left tackles at 33, engulfed a career renaissance that began after joining the Raiders three years ago. Penn made the Pro Bowl. He was a vital piece of a 12-4 team that helped the Raiders reach the playoffs.

He hasn’t reveled much in that. Penn’s driven by opportunities missed, and one mishap that haunts him still.

Penn locked horns with Indianapolis linebacker Trent Cole off the left edge during a Week 16 contest against the Colts, and slipped as he was tracking his man away from the pocket. Penn’s feet got tangled and the big man fell. Cole remained upright, darted in and sacked quarterback Derek Carr.

It was Penn’s only sack allowed all season. And Carr got hurt. He suffered a broken fibula that ended his season and realistic hopes of a Raiders playoff run.

Nearly five months have passed since that fluke play. Carr is healthy and a full participant in the Raiders offseason program. The Raiders offensive line might be better after allowing a league-low 18 sacks last season.

There’s plenty to be excited about as the Raiders enter OTAs and a mandatory minicamp. Penn can’t help but lament that isolated incident when Carr went down.

“You have to be an athlete. You try not to think about it too much,” Penn said Tuesday. “You wish you could go back and get it back. I’ve taken that same set I don’t know how many times, on the same field and never just slipped out of nowhere. I’m not going to put it on myself. I should have been able to do something better. You know me, I’m never going to blame the slip for happening. I should have blocked him and held on to him and taken him down with me. That play sticks with me.”

That isn’t all bad. It fuels Penn to continue growing as a player, even at 34 coming off an excellent Pro Bowl season.

“I’m going to try to do what I can do better and make sure it never happens again,” Penn said. “I’ve never gotten a quarterback hurt in my life since I’ve been playing. That was a first. That’s something I take pride in. I’m going to try my hardest to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Penn wants a different ending to this season. Last year the Raiders lost the AFC West crown and a shot to win the team’s first playoff game. Penn suffered a knee injury the following week that kept him from playing in the postseason.

The goal is to realize vast potential now that the Raiders offense is back healthy again.

“I’m all about karma and stuff like that,” Penn said. “Maybe (God is) trying to tell us that this is our year. We have to put in the work to get it. I know D.C. is happy, I’m dang sure happy to get him back. We’re growing and masterminding this offense trying to make it as explosive as possible.”