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.

Healthy Edwards, NFL Draft could help Raiders improve interior pass rush

Healthy Edwards, NFL Draft could help Raiders improve interior pass rush

The Raiders had an NFL-worst 25 sacks last season, and that’s with Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin in their employ. That duo had 18 sacks (and 11 forced fumbles) between them. That left only seven for everyone else. Stacy McGee and Denico Autry had 2.5 each, and McGee isn’t here anymore.

Mario Edwards Jr. was certainly missed last season, when he missed 14 games with a preseason hip injury. The versatile defensive lineman is a solid edge run defender and internal pass rusher in the sub package.

If he’s healthy, Edwards Jr. could pose a real threat rushing the passer next to Irvin or Mack.

“Having Mario healthy will make us a better defense, and that’s not just as a pass rusher,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said in March. “He’s a solid run player. We’ve just got to have him healthy.

“But we’ll continue to add there, too.”

McKenzie subtracted one Tuesday, releasing Dan Williams to free salary cap space. He hasn’t yet added a defensive tackle in free agency, but could certainly do so in next week’s NFL draft.

There’s some quality interior pass rushers in this class. Let’s take a look at some options the Raiders could select and when:

Good fits: The Raiders select 24th overall in this draft, far lower than years past. Some quality defensive tackles might be a proper fit there, especially with depth at positions of need.

They could use some versatility, players like Edwards Jr. who can play multiple techniques. Michigan State’s Malik McDowell is an strong, athletic freak who analysts believe needs to improve his effort and technique. McDowell could develop into a top talent and be viewed as a steal at No. 24, or not realize full potential.

Michigan’s Chris Wormley is a versatile player in the Edwards Jr. mold, a player who seems to fit Raiders needs. Analysts says inconsistency is troubling but has the leadership quality and character the Raiders love. He can be a base end and move inside when required. He also has the size at 6-foot-5, 298 pounds and could develop well at the NFL level while making an immediate impact.

Florida’s Caleb Brantley is also an intriguing prospect adept at reaching the offensive backfield. Analysts say he’s a powerful player with quickness and an ability to work through blocks despite being slightly undersized. Brantley is potential to be a quality NFL pass rusher, and is confident in his ability. He didn’t play a high snap count at Florida, but the Raiders might use him in sub packages as a rookie and fill an important role right away. He’s viewed as a second round pick, and the Silver and Black might cross fingers he’s available at No. 56.

Auburn’s Montravius Adams could help if the Raiders are looking for more of a run stuffer. Clemson’s Carlos Watkins could also play multiple spots and could be available later in the middle rounds. Old Dominion’s Rashaad Coward also fits that mold and would be available in later rounds, though he hasn’t had much pass-rush production.

Controversial RB Joe Mixon impressed Raiders during pre-draft visit

Controversial RB Joe Mixon impressed Raiders during pre-draft visit

ALAMEDA – The Raiders visited with former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon at the team’s Alameda facility on March 21.

General manager Reggie McKenzie came away impressed by the controversial figure notorious for punching a female in 2014 while at Oklahoma, who has spent significant portions of the pre-NFL draft process trying to show that violent incident caught on video doesn't define him.

“We thought he was a really good kid. He came off very well and explained each and everything, the questions that we had,” McKenzie said Friday in a pre-draft press conference. “He had an explanation and he was up front about everything. The kid really came across as a good kid.”

Mixon is also a premiere talent going pro, but there’s no telling how far his off-field issues will drop him in next week’s NFL draft. There’s debate where he’ll be taken, though many expect Mixon to go in the first two rounds.

He was not invited to the NFL scouting combine due to an incident where he punched victim Amelia Molitor and fractured several bones in her face. Mixon has made several pre-draft visits and meet with dozens at Oklahoma’s pro day trying to explain his actions and why he’s a safe pick in this year’s NFL draft.

Mixon and Molitor released a joint statement on Friday announcing the settlement of a civil suit, with both parties hoping to move on from an ugly incident after which the victim spoke out about being harassed.

“I am happy we were able to bring the lawsuit to an end,” Molitor said in a statement. “Joe and I were able to meet privately, without any attorneys, and talk about our experiences since that night. I am encouraged that we will both be able to move forward from here with our lives. From our private discussions I am satisfied that we are going to put this behind us and work towards helping others who may have found themselves in similar circumstances. I greatly appreciate his apology and I think the feelings he expressed were sincere. We both could have handled things differently. I believe if we had a chance to go back to that moment in time, the situation would not have ended the way it did.”

The running back is obviously a polarizing public figure, and the team that drafts him could take flak for selecting him.

“When stuff like this happens, whether it’s domestic violence or drunken driving, whatever issue that comes up, we’ll be prepared to answer questions,” McKenzie said. “We’ll do our research and if we make a decision, we’re going to prepare to have answers for each and every decision that we make.”

Raiders owner Mark Davis has taken a hardline stance against players involved in domestic violence incidents – this was technically assault of a man on a woman, as Mixon and Molitor were not in a relationship -- and he would have to okay a Mixon selection. The Raiders put considerable thought and research into select players with character concerns.

“What we do, we research everything. We get all of the information. We will not make a decision until all the information is in front of us,” McKenzie said. “With certain issues, like domestic violence, we consider that and we really look into everything that is surrounding that. Every decision will be well-researched so if it’s one way or the other, we are going to make it where that decision is based on all the facts, all the research and on the kid moving forward. But yes, we hold that very dear to what we do, as far as who we bring in, absolutely. We will not tolerate that at all.”