Lechler stands by criticism of Raiders

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Lechler stands by criticism of Raiders

Jan. 27, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVERAIDERS PAGE RAIDERSVIDEOPaul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.com

KAPOLEI, Hawaii Shane Lechler started a potential firestorm with his incendiary remarks to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area the night of Jan. 4, disagreeing strongly with Raiders owner Al Davis decision to send Tom Cable packing.Lechler said at the time that Cables dismissal had the potential to be a huge setback for the Raiders while calling out several key team employees for not answering their phones on live television.REWIND: Lechler: 'this is ... a huge setback' for Raiders
Said Davis, in his Jan. 18 media conference: My first reaction (to Shanes comments) was three years ago. If you get out your newspaper, Shane said publicly he wasnt coming back, he didnt like it here. A month later, he was coming back because I gave him the highest-paid contract of a specialist in pro football. No, these things happen. Thats a part of our lives. I read about marriage breakups, all those things.
RELATED: Lechler named to All-Pro team
Three-plus weeks after his pointed words, Lechler is still not so sure about the move but is not as angry about it. Since that fateful evening, much has changed in and around Silver and Blackdom. Hue Jackson was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach, Lechler was named to his sixth All-Pro team and, the punter had to catch his flight to Hawaii for his seventh Pro Bowl game.GUTIERREZ: My Lechler and Asomugha-less ballot
CSNCalifornia.com caught up with Lechler, the Raiders fifth-round draft pick out of Texas A&M in 2000, following Thursdays practice at Kapolei High School. Lechlers thoughts, then, on a variety of subjectsLechler, on the Cable dismissal: I mean, it still kind of bothers me a little bit. Cables a good coach, man. Im not going to ever disagree with that. You know, the things I said at that time, I meant them and Im not backing off, Im not apologizing for what I said. It was what I felt and what I meant. Im not apologizing for any of it. But in the long run, yes, we do need to move on; I need to move on and well go and play another year. Get it done. Lechler, on if Davis ever called him back: No.Lechler, on if hes worried about any potential backlash from Davis: No. I aint worried about anything. Ill find a job if they dont want me.Lechler, on Jackson as the new coach: Hue, I think hes going to be good. He brings a lot of positive energy and a lot of competitiveness to practice, which is needed and I like that. Hes a go-getter and hopefully we can get some key acquisitions here taken care of, with this off-season (labor) stuff and free agents. Weve got a lot of them, 20-something of them.Lechler, on if hes reached out to Jackson: Weve texted back and forth. He congratulated me on this and All-Pro, too. I havent spoken to him but its only been, theres so much stuff going on right nowbusy, busy, busy. Ill get in touch with him, sooner rather than later.Lechler, on if he expects to be a Raider next season: Yeah. Yeah. If not, Ill find something. But I do expect to.Lechler, on if the Pro Bowl is a bittersweet affair because with much labor unrest, no one is sure when football might be back: Were going to leave that up to our guys. Theyll get it figured out. Hopefully it comes out in a timely manner and it doesnt drag on too long. Weve got too good a deal going on.Lechler on his running mate, Raiders placekicker Sebastian Janikowski, being snubbed again by the Pro Bowl: SeaBass had a good year. Hopefully it will put him on the map where hell be here next year for sure and he did, he had a hell of a year. I think he deserves it. But Billy (Cundiff) had a good year too so I cant take anything away from him.Lechler, on special teams coach John Bones Fassel being retained: Yeah, that is good. They need something to stay steady there.What'syour take? Email Pauland let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag.

Tom Hanks rants about Raiders leaving Oakland for Las Vegas

Tom Hanks rants about Raiders leaving Oakland for Las Vegas

Tom Hanks went to Skyline High School in Oakland.

He is not happy that the Raiders are moving to Las Vegas.

“When the Raiders leave, I am going on an NFL moratorium for two years," Hanks said on Monday night, according to Peter Hartlaub of The San Franicsco Chronicle. "You cannot take the Silver and Black, put them in an air-conditioned dome in the desert, make them play on artificial turf within a stone’s throw of the fountains of Caesar’s Palace, and call them the Raiders.

“Here’s the thing I don’t quite understand. And I’m not trying to -- this isn’t one of the causes I’m fighting for. I’m just thinking as a fan: It’s a billion-dollar industry, they have billion-dollar TV contracts. All the owners are billionaires. And yet when they want to build a stadium they’re going to use for 10 weeks out of the year, they expect the city taxpayers to buy the building.

“The only good thing that is going to come out of the Oakland Raiders leaving -- and there is nothing good that will come out of that, by the way -- is that the Oakland A’s might get their own ballpark.

“I must say I hate that frigging D.H. rule. I always have, ever since that bastard Charlie Finley installed it. We’re not proud of that over on the other side of the East Bay.”

The Raiders' new stadium in Las Vegas is scheduled to open in 2020.

Defense on the menu as Raiders enter 2017 NFL Draft

Defense on the menu as Raiders enter 2017 NFL Draft

The Raiders offense is stacked. It was before this offseason, when tight end Jared Cook, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse entered the mix.

Then Marshawn Lynch signed up on Wednesday and filled the last immediate offensive need.

The Raiders have talent and depth at most every offensive position, contrasting the defensive depth chart.

The Raiders need help there, possibly with a few instant impact players taken in this weekend’s NFL draft. The first round starts Thursday evening, with the next two rounds Friday afternoon and the remainder of this draft starting Saturday morning.

Despite clear needs, Reggie McKenzie says position is secondary to his ranking system.

“We’re going to take the best player,” McKenzie said in his pre-draft press conference. “There are some good defensive players in this draft, but we’re going to follow our board like always.”

The Raiders general manager says that could lead to an unexpected draft haul. At least he tried.

“Don’t be surprised if I draft all offensive players,” McKenzie said, unable to keep a straight face. “How about that?”

McKenzie knows his roster is strong, with clearly identifiable needs on defense. The Raiders need a starting inside linebacker. They need a slot cornerback. They need help rushing on the defensive interior. They need safety help.

McKenzie tried to fix some of those areas in free agency, but could find a match beyond weakside linebacker Jelani Jenkins. The draft offers the best opportunity to upgrade on defense, and volume could help fix that unit.

“Hopefully we can get a couple of defensive players that can help our team,” McKenzie said. “But, like we both said, we just want to help this football team, regardless of who comes at a spot whether it’s first or seventh round. And hopefully we get some good players after the draft. That’s the plan, we just want to keep stocking and let the chips fall.”

This draft is critical as the Raiders enter a new phase. He deconstructed the roster and reconstructed it while getting right with the salary cap. Now they need to extend members of the awesome 2014 draft class, including quarterback Derek Carr, guard Gabe Jackson and edge rusher Khalil Mack. Drafted quality must continue to cycle through to keep the team strong and the team’s competitive window open.

McKenzie must keep an eye on the horizon, though a few more quality players could push his unit into serious contention for a conference title.

“What we want as a team moving forward, we just want more impact players,” McKenzie said. “You can never have enough playmakers on both sides of the ball and depth on both sides. That’s when you come in and try to get you the best player who can do those things. We’re not just going to plug holes if that’s what you’re asking. We’re going to get some good football players regardless of who we have here.”