ALAMEDA -- While Rolando McClain has been practicing and preparing for the start of his third NFL season with essentially a clean slate from the Raiders' new regime, he has also been doing so under the veil of a potential suspension by the NFL.Not that McClain has been sweating it. Not even with the league saying McClain's situation -- he was convicted of four counts of third-degree assault, menacing, discharging a handgun in city limits and reckless endangerment in May and it is under appeal awaiting a jury trial -- is still under review."No, I dont think Ive ever had a talk of anything about a suspension," McClain said Monday, when asked if it has been difficult to stay focused. "I havent heard it. I guess thats all speculation."So, it has not been hard to stay focused on the field, then?"Its football," he said. "I get paid to play football."McClain, who does not particularly enjoy speaking to the media and shooed away a camera on Monday, was talking to reporters for the second time since reporting to training camp in July.He also broached several other topicsOn if he senses the new defense suits his game better: "I feel good about the defense. Its not just my game or anybodys game in particular. I think it suits everybody on the defense from linebacker to D-line to secondary. Were all able to make plays on the defense. We just have to make them when your number is called."On if the new defense will give the Raiders an edge by being more active: "I dont know. I think the Raiders have been so accustomed to playing straight 'man' with everybody knowing what were going to be in. Now its just being a little diverse, changing things up will benefit us some. At the same time offenses, they still game plan. Eventually theyll see our pressures and theyll pick up on them. Its just about executing the defense, whatever is called. Is it pressure or straight zone. You just have to execute it and play the rules and what happens, happens."On new defensive coordinator Jason Tarver: "Crazy little guy. Hes a fiery coach. We need somebody on this side of the ball thats active. I like him. He brings energy to the defense."On if having a defensive-minded head coach will help: "I dont know. Its good to have a defensive head coach. At the end of the day the players have to go play. You can have the best coach in the world but the players have to go out and make plays. Thats how I feel about it."On if he's learning or growing as a vocal leader: "I wouldnt say learning. I was a pretty good leader at Alabama in college. Its different here. Its just different. Youre not dealing with guys your own age. Youre dealing with grown men. Being a leader is just not about yelling but understanding guys that youre working with. Different people respond to different things in different ways. Its figuring out your teammates and how they respond to things to get them to work. Its still a process."On his two new starting linebackers, Philip Wheeler and rookie Miles Burris: "So far, so good. The real bullets will start flying this Monday. Thats what matters. We dont get paid for preseason or practice. We get paid for what happens in a game. So, well see."On how the defensive underachieving last year affected him: "I dont know. Im not talking about the past. This is a new year. The past is the past for a reason. Its a new year, and we got a chance to go out and be as good as we want to be."On if camp was run this year like they were at Alabama under Nick Saban, in terms of attention to detail: "We have a great head coach, we have a great general manager, and theyre doing things the right way. I dont know if this is coach Sabans way, so to speak. But theyre doing a great job."On how the stem-cell treatments he received in the spring helped him: "I feel fine. The stem cell stuff was just so I wouldnt have these nagging injuries and they dont prolong into the season. Right now, I feel good going into the season. So, well see."
Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio has hired former Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano, the team announced on Monday evening. He will be the team’s assistant head coach on the defensive side of the ball.
Pagano has spent most of his coaching career in San Diego, working with the Chargers in various capacities since 2002. He was promoted from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator in 2012, where he led that unit for five seasons.
Pagano and Del Rio worked together in 1997, when Pagano was a New Orleans Saints defensive assistant and Del Rio was the assistant strength coach.
Pagano was a longtime linebackers coach before becoming a play caller. He has worked with several quality pass rushers and has proven to be adept at creating pressure.
The Raiders created a position for Pagano, who will help a defense that ranked 26th in yards allowed and dead last in sacks. Pagano was looking for a different gig after new Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn hired Gus Bradley as his defensive coordinator.
Ken Norton Jr. remains defensive coordinator, but Pagano will bring experience and creativity to the game-planning process.
He has worked within a 3-4 defensive scheme, but has experience in all formations. The Raiders run multiple defensive fronts.
Pagano is the assistant coach on defense, while offensive line coach Mike Tice has a similar title on the offensive side. The Raiders have a vacancy on the staff, and are looking for a new defensive backs coach.
John Pagano is the younger brother of Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano.
Last week was a sports business headline grabber in the Bay Area. On Tuesday the Golden State Warriors went all Cirque Du Soleil for a groundbreaking ceremony for Chase Center in Mission Bay. Then, the Oakland Raiders filed their relocation papers on Thursday, making a pair of gut punches for Oakland sports fans.
It’s time to separate the fact from fiction and examie what comes next...
- The Warriors will be playing in the Chase Center in San Francisco for the 2019-20 NBA season.
- The Raiders officially filed relocation papers on Thursday, Jan. 19 with the NFL for permission to relocate to Las Vegas.
- The Raiders have raised season ticket prices across the board for the 2017 season in Oakland.
- Nevada has $750 million dollars in public money approved for the construction of a $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed Raiders stadium in Las Vegas.
- If the relocation is approved, the new home of the Las Vegas Raiders would become the largest taxpayer-subsidized stadium deal in NFL history, more than the $600 million in public money used to build the Atlanta Falcons’ $1.5 billion stadium and $500 million the public is picking up for U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis for the Vikings.
- Sand’s Casino Chairman Sheldon Adelson has pledged $650 million dollars of his own money to help build the Las Vegas stadium. Negotiations with Mark Davis on the details of his investment are ongoing. The Raiders have a deal with global investment bank Goldman Sachs to assist in financing the Las Vegas stadium deal.
- The Raiders plan to be playing in their new Las Vegas stadium by the 2020 NFL season. The Raiders have lease options to continue playing at the Oakland Coliseum in 2017 and 2018.
- The cost of the Raiders' one-year lease extensions at the Oakland Coliseum is in the area of $3 million a year.
- Oakland and Alameda County still owe a large chunk of the $95 million dollars of debt for the Oakland Coliseum retrofit that brought the Raiders back from Los Angeles.
- NFL owners will next meet in Arizona from March 26 to 29. A vote on the Raiders relocation may take place at that time, or it may be postponed. Davis needs 24 "yes" votes to approve a relocation.
- Rams owner Stan Kroenke paid $550 million dollars to the NFL to relocate from St. Louis to Inglewood.
- The San Diego Chargers will be moving to the new shared stadium in Inglewood scheduled to open in 2019. In the interim they will play in the StubHub Center in Carson. It will be the smallest capacity stadium in the NFL at 27,000 seats.
- Relocation fees for the Raiders and Chargers have not been publicly released.
- The A's continue to review sites in the Oakland area for the building of a new ballpark.
- The Oakland Alameda County Coliseum is the only location in North America that has a MLB and NFL team playing in the same facility.
- Las Vegas will have its first NHL team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, skating next season in the new T-Mobile arena in Paradise.
- The Raiders' request for a relocation vote has been officially added to the NFL owners meetings scheduled in Arizona from March 26-29.
- The exact location of the Las Vegas domed stadium has been selected.
- Mark Davis has $500 million dollars to put into the Las Vegas stadium deal.
- Las Vegas is a stronger economic market than Oakland.
- The Raiders have a lease to play in Sam Boyd Stadium, home of UNLV football.
- The Raiders have announced they will be selling seat licenses for their Las Vegas stadium.
- The Raiders are interested in exploring a remodel of the Coliseum as a football-only facility.
- The A’s are interested in exploring a remodel of the Coliseum as a baseball-only stadium.
- The A’s will move quickly on announcing new stadium plans based on the four-year minimization of MLB revenue sharing money, which begins this season.
- The A’s have selected Howard Terminal as the site of their new ballpark.
- Mark Davis has an interest in selling a major stake in the Raiders to Sheldon Adelson or any other interested billionaire to help him build a new stadium in the Bay Area or Las Vegas.
- What will happen with the Ronnie Lott/Fortress investment group that is negotiating with Oakland and Alameda County?
They have no agreement of any kind with the Raiders to play in their proposed $1.25-billion, 55,000-seat stadium.
Three previous third-party investor-backed deals to finance and construct new sports venues in Oakland have failed. Floyd Kephart, Forest City and Colony Capital all struck out.
- What will the NFL charge the Raiders for relocation to Las Vegas and where will that money come from?
The NFL is a proponent of two teams playing in one stadium in major metro areas, as we have seen work with the Jets and Giants at Met Life and with the Rams and Chargers in Inglewood.
The Raiders have adamantly opposed sharing Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers.
- What legal or business actions will the Oakland authorities pursue against the Raiders and NFL if the team receives approval for a Las Vegas move?
- Will the Warriors and Raiders pay back tens of millions owed the city and county for the improvements of the Coliseum and Oracle.
- How will the A's use the incredible leverage they will have if they wait until the Warriors and Raiders leave town?
Former A’s partner Lew Wolff said that the A’s won’t require a penny of public money to build a new stadium. Wolff is now out and A’s owner John Fisher could easily change that position.
PLACE YOUR BETS
Oakland has been dealt a bad hand and it doesn’t look like it will get any help from the house. But I do not believe the Raiders will receive relocation approval at the NFL owners meeting in March.
Remember, the momentum was behind the Raiders and Chargers to get a "yes" vote on their proposed move to Carson in January of 2016. Owners instead voted 30-2 to approve the Rams' move to Inglewood.
If the Raiders do get approval, the A’s and Major League Baseball could have a big surprise for Oakland. As the last team/league standing, they could ask for hundreds of millions in public money to support stadium construction. They could ask for control of all the land around the Coliseum at pennies on the dollar. They could threaten to move to another city with MLB approval.
This sports saga reads like War and Peace, but it's light on the peace and we're only getting started...