John Madden talks about Al Davis


John Madden talks about Al Davis

On Monday morning, former Raiders coach John Madden commentedfor the first time about the death of his best friend, Raiders owner AlDavis, who passed away in Oakland on Saturday morning at the age of 82. Madden made the comments on his KCBS radio program. You can listento the full interview here.Here are a few of Maddens comments about the legendary Raidersowner:Early times:
I met Al Davisin the early 60s, came to work for the Raiders in 1967, and, directly orindirectly, I was with him the whole time
On hearing about Davispassing:
I was in shock when I heard it, and Im still a little thatway, I justAl Davis was the type of guy that you just didnt believe is gonnadieAnd, its AL DAVIS. When you hear it, it just doesnt seep inI mean, eventhough theres part of you that says that you know that hes gonna die, but theres another part that says Al Daviswill never die. And then, you know you think hes sick and not doing well, buthes a fighter and hell fight this and hes gonna win. And then, you hear thecall and you say well, you shouldnt be shocked, butIt was very, very shockingand I still am.On the differencebetween his public image and the person that so many Raiders, and former Raiders,knew:If you really knew him and were a part of him, he was themost loyal friend or person you could have...And like I said, I introduced Al into the into the Hall of Fame, and Al isnt for everyone. Everyones not going to Al was this or that, youknow that hes perfect, you know and all these things. But, if hes your friend,if you played for him, if you coached for him, if you were part of the NFL youknow, he was that guy. And there was no one that could be better at being thatguy than Al Davis.On the legendarily combativeAl Davis:
He stood up for what he believed. And he stood up for whathe thought was right, not only for him, but for other people. Now, that doesntmean that he was always right. But, he did enjoy that, I mean he enjoyed you know,standing up. No one was going to, he wasnt going to be a pushover for anyone.And, he did like a battle, and he did enjoy arguing. When I was coaching andall the way up until last week we had a phone call, and had an argument, but itwas a friendly one, I mean, he would always throw something out youd thinkwould be ridiculous and then hed want to hear what you said about it. So, a lotof that was manufactured. He wanted to know how strong you were on something sohe would say something contrarian, to have you defend it. And sometimes, he wasjust a contrarian, too.

Edwards Jr. emerges from Arizona unfazed: 'Pushed that under the rug'


Edwards Jr. emerges from Arizona unfazed: 'Pushed that under the rug'

NAPA -- Mario Edwards Jr.’s second season went south in a hurry. The Raiders defensive lineman suffered a hip injury in the 2016 preseason opener that kept him out 14 games and prevented progress after a solid rookie year.

He walked into University of Phoenix Stadium so full of hope, so ready to become a impact player on the inside. He left on crutches, with disappointment etched on his face. Edwards Jr. played thrice in 2016, but never made a real impact.

He’s expected to make one in Year 3. Edwards Jr. is back to full health, without restrictions of any kind. He’s been that way a while now, completely recovered from a hip injury that took forever to heal. He passed standard injury milestones required to overcome a major injury. He regained great shape. He tested the joint several times, and was confident it would provide explosiveness and withstand jarring hits.

One last mental hurdle was cleared Saturday night, when he returned to the crime scene. The Raiders opened this preseason against Arizona, at University of Phoenix Stadium, on the anniversary of his injury.

Flashbacks were unavoidable.

“I definitely thought about it,” he said.

It didn’t consume him. Edwards was played 22 productive snaps and emerged no worse for the wear. That, above all else, was the important thing.

“Going back to where it happened and completing the game, that was important,” Edwards said. “I thank God that I walked off the field the same way I came on it. That boosted my confidence and showed it can hold up. I was happy with that, and happy to have come out of everything just fine.”

Edwards has dealt with significant injuries throughout his career. He had a neck issue late in his rookie year, and a hip problem that stole his 2016 campaign. Edwards is thrilled to say those issues are behind him now.

“I’ve pushed that under the rug,” he said. ”I’m completely done with it. Now I’m focused on moving forward and playing faster.”

There’s no doubt the Raiders are better with Edwards on the line. General manager Reggie McKenzie said so this offseason. Edwards is a versatile, powerful, athletic player capable of playing most every technique from inside out. He played everywhere as a rookie, from stand-up edge rusher to nose tackle.

He’ll be a roving chess piece again this year, Edwards should play end in the base defense, often with Bruce Irvin on his flank. He’ll slide inside to provide a pass rush in a sub packages. Good push from Edwards, Denico Autry, Jihad Ward and Eddie Vanderdoes is vital, especially after struggling to create pressure in years past. Head coach Jack Del Rio said last season’s effort wasn’t good enough. His players heard that, and are hell-bent on showing better.

“We take what people said about last year’s interior push as a challenge,” Edwards said. “We know we’ll be better, and we’re out to prove that the Raiders interior defensive is pretty good.”

Practice report: Conley locking in mentally while rehabbing injury


Practice report: Conley locking in mentally while rehabbing injury

NAPA – Gareon Conley ran Sunday for the first time in two months. The Raiders first-round cornerback remains on the physically unable to perform list with a shin injury originally suffered during a June minicamp. He wants to get back on the field. He just isn’t ready yet.

Missing training camp certainly sets back a dynamic cover man, but it doesn’t mean Conley can’t make an instant impact. While he hasn’t been seen on the practice field, the Raiders have been encouraged that Conley’s proving a quick learner and an inquisitive mind.

“We’d love to have him out there right now,” Raiders assistant head coach – defense John Pagano said. “When he’s out there, he’ll be out there. Until then, I think he got the reps he needed in OTAs. His mental game has picked up tremendously. He’s always asking questions, even more. It’s hard for a lot of injured players in this league to stand there on the sidelines and be able to just watch and look out there, but he’s always asking. He’s getting those mental reps.

"When he’s able to come back, he’ll be at a fast level. Injuries are part of the game, you deal with it and you just have to make sure, as a rookie, you’re taking those mental reps.”

Conley has been on the practice field with his position group most days, with a play sheet in hand to follow along. He has also lifted weights the past two days and worked on the JUGS machine Wednesday.

Nearly a month remains until the regular season starts, leaving Conley time to get back in the mix.


-- Cornerback Sean Smith took some reps with the first unit on Wednesday, though most of them came as an outside corner in the nickel package. TJ Carrie slid inside in those instances, and generally remained outside in the base defense.

Smith had his second straight quality practice, a sign he might be rebounding after a rough week where he practiced with the second unit and didn’t fare well at Arizona. The Raiders hope he can build on good work and be steadier in coverage.

“I think he’s growing every day,” Pagano said. “There’s always highs and lows in this game. You don’t want to make it, as we term, inconsistent. We’re always looking for the consistency. It’s how you build. It’s how you learn. It’s how you come off those things. There’s always room for improvement in the backend, in the front, all across our defense. There’s guys we’re asking them to go out there and make plays. Has he been improving at practice? Yeah. Then our job is to take that practice stuff and take it to the game field and have that consistency and that carry over to those types of games.”

-- Offensive line coach Mike Tice praised Ian Silberman’s play in a position switch to center. He has seen extensive reps there in camp, including a massive amount in the preseason opener at Arizona. Silberman will play some left guard in coming weeks to establish versatility and give him a shot to make the team.

-- Undrafted rookie Nicholas Morrow played with the first unit in sub packages, as the Raiders continue searching for coverage options in those personnel groups.

-- Jon Feliciano worked with the first unit on Wednesday at left guard. He will be a primary backup at every interior line spot. He is working back from a knee injury that kept him out until last week.