Loss to Browns a microcosm of Raiders' season


Loss to Browns a microcosm of Raiders' season


OAKLAND -- Searching for a microcosm of the Raiders' lost season?Look no further than Sunday's curious 20-17 loss to an unimpressive Cleveland club. Because sure, while the Browns did just enough to win, the Raiders did even more to lose before a season-low announced crowd of 43,641 at the O.co Coliseum.Three separate developments marked the occasion and all-but guaranteed the Raiders losing a fifth straight game for the first time since 2007.1) Injuries wreak havoc with the Raiders' lack of quality depth
The Raiders lost three defensive players to concussions and their respective absences wrecked the Raiders secondary. First, starting free safety Matt Giordano was knocked out of the game on the final play of the first quarter knocking Browns tight end Benjamin Watson out of bounds.Then, late in the second quarter, cornerback Phillip Adams was concussed when he hit the ground after picking off Brandon Weeden on a long pass down the left sideline inside the Raiders' 10-yard line.Finally, safety Mike Mitchell took a knee to the helmet while tackling Browns running back Trent Richardson on those same sidelines at the Oakland 21-yard line and stayed on the field for a few minutes. He left the field and returned for one play before being taken off again, much to his protest.To put it in simpler terms, at one point Brandian Ross was in the game at free safety to replace the injured Mitchell, who had replaced the injured Giordano, who had been inserted to the starting lineup in place of Michael Huff, who moved to cornerback to replace the injured Shawntae Spencer.Where have you gone Lester Hayes and Mike Haynes?And oh yeah, strong safety Tyvon Branch lost his right shoe and tweaked his foot and had to come off the field for for a spell, too. Plus, cornerback Ron Bartell got benched for a bit after getting the Elvis "Toast" Patterson treatment on Josh Gordon's 44-yard touchdown reception.Any surprise, then, that Weeden passed for a career-high 364 yards?"It obviously was a factor," said Raiders coach Dennis Allen. "But injuries happen. We have to find ways to persevere and make it through that."2) A costly and back-breaking turnover
Yeah, you could most definitely Tweet that this one was PalmersFault.Momentum had shifted to the Raiders' side by the fourth quarter and, trailing by just three, Oakland was at the Browns' 33-yard line and had a 1st and 10 situation.Palmer dropped back and spied Juron Criner flying down the left sideline. Palmer threw and while Criner had a step on cornerback Sheldon Brown, the ball was badly underthrown and all Brown had to do was settle under it for the interception."Well, Carson threw a few deep balls at me today," Brown said. "You'd have to talk to him and see what he saw on tape last week when he was preparing. On that particular play I had an opportunity to cover the short field. I lined up in press like I was going to stay down tight. Criner released outside, I bailed out of there. And at that point I saw Carson throwing the ball and I just became the receiver and caught it."Sounds easy enough, right?"I tried to take a shot there and go for the touchdown quickly and didn't put the ball in the right spot," Palmer said. "Didn't give Juron a chance to make a play on the ball."I just didn't put it far enough outside."Said Allen: "We've got all the momentum. We can't have that self-inflicted wound."No, Palmer is not Jay Schroeder, or even Marc Wilson. But to a certain segment of the fan base, he's no Terrelle Pryor, either. For better or worse. Then again, we don't know what, exactly, Pryor can do in an NFL game yet.3) The defense gets gashed, again
Sure, Palmer's pick hurt. But there was still 9:31 to play in the game when the interception occurred, and the Browns' backs were in the Black Hole as Cleveland set up at its own 6-yard line.A defensive stop and Palmer would be in business to atone for his interception, like he did in Atlanta earlier this year.This time, though, the defense did not rise to Palmer's defense. Instead, it allowed the Browns to march 94 yards in a mind-numbing 14 plays that took 6:04 off the clock. So by the time Trent Richardson plowed in from three yards out, the Raiders trailed by 10, with just over three minutes to play.Ballgame."A 94-yard drive? Those are hard to manufacture early in the game," said Browns coach Pat Shurmur. "There were some guys that made some key plays. We were throwing it, we were running it. We converted a couple third downs on that drive. So that was a credit to the players involved."Said Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston: "We haven't been able to finish yet this year."Yup, a microcosm of the entire season, wrapped up in three tidy developments.

Carr plans to spread new wealth after Raiders contract extension

Carr plans to spread new wealth after Raiders contract extension

ALAMEDA – Derek Carr isn’t one for extravagance. The low-key Raiders quarterback already has some nice cars, a house and some luxury items to his name, but signing a $125 million contract extension Friday morning won't prompt a spending spree.

Cornerback Sean Smith suggested he get a Bugatti. That’s a $1 million car.

“Yeah,” Carr said with a smirk. “That’s not going to happen.”

That isn’t the 26-year old’s style. Carr had a his own plan after signing on the dotted line.

“I’ve been eating clean,” Carr said. “I’ll probably get Chick-fil-A.”

That makes sense. This is a guy who celebrated his first NFL victory with a trip through a Carl’s Jr. drive-in.

There will be other purchases. His wife Heather will get something nice in the near future. His family, especially Heather and sons Dallas and Deker, will be taken care of for life.

After all that, Carr plans to spread the wealth.

“The exciting thing for me moneywise, honestly, is this money is going to help a lot of people,” Carr said. “I’m very thankful to have it, that it’s in our hands because it’s going to help people. Not only in this country, but in a lot of countries around the world. That’s what’s exciting to me.”

Carr and former Raiders running back Latavius Murray took a missionary trip to Haiti, an impoverished nation had a profound impact on the star quarterback.

“I’ve been down to Haiti and I’ve seen some of those struggles that they have and the kids there, and my heart just… I cry sometimes thinking about it,” Carr said. “So, just knowing that we can go down there and make a difference and help, those are the kind of things that the money makes me kind of like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ Because now we can really do some things to help a lot of people.”

He plans to support those in that area, in addition to global and domestic charities he has been involved with over the years. Don’t expect a press release accompanying every donation. Carr would rather keep those decisions private.

“I’m going to do my best to make sure no one knows what we do with it,” Carr said. “I’ll just say this, I can assure you that it’s going to help a lot of people. I’m not stingy. My business manager will probably be on me saying, ‘Hey man, that’s enough.’ I won’t get into when, how or why. It’s not all about that for me. It’s about making a difference. That’s what’s exciting for me is that we’ll be able to do that.”

Carr didn't want to 'take every single dime,' handcuff Raiders long-term

Carr didn't want to 'take every single dime,' handcuff Raiders long-term

ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr signed a five-year contract extension Friday morning that will pay him $25 million in 2017 and $125 million over the life of the deal.

That’s a lot of scratch. Could’ve been more.

Carr received life-changing money. He didn’t want to handcuff the Raiders front office in the process.

“I just wanted to be a Raider,” Carr said Friday in a press conference. “It’s more than just a team to me. It’s family. The way it went down, it was easy. Both sides wanted it to get done, and it was about family members figuring out to get along. We figured out a way to do it so that we have the opportunity to sign other guys who are important to this organization. That was really important to me, not to just take every single dime that we could”

That list is long but it starts with homegrown talents Gabe Jackson and Khalil Mack. Jackson is up next, and could get locked up before the regular season starts. The Raiders have some time on Mack – his contract doesn’t expire until after 2018 – and Amari Cooper should be a keeper on down the road.

“The bottom line is we’re able to continue to move forward with it, keep all the players that we need to keep in the correct timing,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “This affords us to do that. We’re going to start on that ASAP.”

Carr got the deal he wanted. The 26-year old found market value and upped the ante for NFL quarterbacks a smidge while deferring some cash payouts – his big-time bonuses are broken up over two years -- to create windows of financial flexibility to sign other players. Carr’s percentage of the salary cap should decrease over time and won’t become an insurmountable burden to his employers. His deal won’t prevent the Raiders from keeping Jackson, Mack, Amari Cooper in time, or other vital veterans in house.

With Carr locked up, the McKenzie can work deals and the timing of them around his centerpiece.

Carr understands the NFL business and his role in the market, but he wants to maintain a competitive window as best he can and understands other guys will draw huge paychecks in the near future.

He’s scheduled to draw the NFL’s largest sum next season. A record $25 million is headed his way, though that total will decrease a bit in time and will certainly he surpassed by Matthew Stafford and possibly Kirk Cousins in the near future.

“I don’t care if they all do. We got our contract done, that’s all that matters to me,” Carr said. “The other thing that was important to me is that we didn’t worry about what other people were going to do or doing. I just wanted to get mine done and make sure that the team had, again like we talked about, flexibility to make sure my friends stay around.”

Carr was intimately involved in the negotiation process. Both sides said it was easy, wrapped up well before Carr’s training-camp contract deadline. Common ground was found in short shrift once talks warmed up – preliminary talks started months ago -- and a deal was ironed out that produced smiles on both sides once the deal was formally done.

Even after taking a relatively soft-line stance on dollars and the timing of payments – Carr could’ve been difficult all year and eventually forced a franchise tag – he’s still the league’s highest-paid player. His salary will now be compared with his stats. He was a second-round draft steal before. Now he’s a big-money player. In short, expectations will rise.

Carr insists it won’t add pressure to next year’s proceedings.

“You could give me a dollar, you could give me $25 million, it doesn’t matter,” Carr said. “To me, my No. 1 goal is to make sure that I give everything that I have to this organization. There’s no pressure. There’s no we’ll be on the 1-yard line and I won’t give it to Marshawn (Lynch), I’ll throw it. None of that stuff. I don’t care about the stats. That’s not my No. 1 objective. I don’t care if I throw 10 touchdowns next year. If we win every game, that’s all I care about.”