Newton flashes 'Cam' and 'Scam' against Raiders

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Newton flashes 'Cam' and 'Scam' against Raiders

CHARLOTTE -- Cam Newton flashed all of his enviable traits at the Raiders in Carolina's 17-6 victory Sunday -- big arm, physical presence, fast feet.

But the Panthers' second-year quarterback and self-described icon and entertainer also showed his underbelly -- sneak peeks at his immaturity. And really, he did not pay the full price for any of his on-field "infractions," despite being caught on camera several times.

"I don't think he liked to get hit," offered Raiders safety Mike Mitchell. "He was doing a lot of complaining. This is full-speed tackle football.

"Complaining all the time gets old."

Early in the game, Newton threw jab-like punches at Mitchell and linebacker Miles Burris after being taken down. Then, midway through the second quarter, after being sacked by Desmond Bryant and Tommy Kelly, Newton kicked Kelly in the facemask as Kelly lifted himself from the pile. At the end of the scrum, and after Kelly went after Newton, Kelly was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.

"I wasn't fixing to take that from nobody," Kelly said. "I'm a grown-ass man.

"What you going to do when somebody kicks you? You going to take it? Nah."

Newton's response was just as hilarious.

"Looking at the replay, I realize it looked like I kicked him," Newton said. "But I was just trying to get up as fast as I can to get the next play."

One thing, though: that play occurred on 3rd-and-10 and it would have been 4th-and-19 had Kelly not reacted to getting kicked in the facemask.

Not that Raiders coach Dennis Allen was buying it, though.

"We're trying to change the culture and what we have to understand is we've got to keep our composure in those types of situations because nothing good comes out of it," Allen said. "We've got to keep our composure no matter what happens in the game."

Newton lost his in the fourth quarter.

After being taken down by Mitchell following a completed pass, Newton jumped up and got in referee Jerome Boger's face to complain about the lack of a flag. Newton bumped Boger and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct while Boger announced it was for "bumping" the official, which would have meant an immediate ejection for Newton.

Instead…

"I misspoke when I said he bumped the official," Boger said. "What I was penalizing him for was disrespectfully addressing the official. There was some contact between he and I, but it wasn't of a malicious nature. It was where I was moving away and when I stopped to confirm what he was saying, we slightly brushed each other."

Newton remained in the game.

And still, the Raiders did a decent job of containing him. Sure, Newton had a game-high 60 yards rushing, but 29 of those yards came on one play. He also threw for 170 yards on 18-of-29 passing with a touchdown and an interception, but was sacked twice.

Plus, the Raiders had added incentive against the Panthers after Greg Hardy knocked Carson Palmer out of the game in the first quarter with a helmet to the back.

"It's the quarterback," Kelly said. "We tried to get their quarterback out of the game. Nothing illegal…

"You take our guy out, we're going to try to take your guy out. We're not out to hurt someone, but when that happens…"

Meh, if Newton bumping an official was not going to get him out of the game, what did the Raiders think they were going to do?

Locals among cornerbacks who can help Raiders early in NFL Draft

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AP

Locals among cornerbacks who can help Raiders early in NFL Draft

The Raiders have an opening in their secondary.

Finding a slot cornerback is a top priority with DJ Hayden now in Detroit. TJ Carrie is an option there, but the Raiders could add a young, versatile talent capable of taking a more prominent role down the line.

That’s true despite the fact Sean Smith signed a free-agent deal through 2019 last year and David Amerson received a contract extension through the 2020 season. Those contracts, however, become pay-as-you-go deals after this season.

The dead money goes away, freeing the Raiders to look for long-term upgrades if they see fit.

Head coach Jack Del Rio loves creating competition and depth, especially at such an important position in today’s NFL. The Raiders like larger, physical cornerbacks with ball skills, and there are plenty in this year’s draft.

Many analysts have the Raiders taking a cornerback at No. 24 overall, and that’s a realistic possibility. They could certainly look to help last year’s No. 24-ranked secondary in the early rounds.

Let’s take a look at some top options available in this week’s draft:

Good fits:There are quite a few quality cornerbacks who could be available at No. 24 overall, even if there’s an early run on the position.

Oakland native and Washington alum Kevin King visited the Raiders during the pre-draft process, and certainly fits what the Raiders like in a cornerback. He’s confident and aggressive, unafraid to use great physical traits to make plays on the ball. He’s tall and long and isn’t afraid to tackle.

USC’s Adoree Jackson has the quality ball skills the Raiders like, and is adept high-pointing the ball. Analysts say he can play several coverage techniques and has the agility to make up for mistakes. He can work in the slot, but at 5-foot-10 isn’t as tall as the Raiders like. They’d have to take him in the first round. He may not last beyond that.

San Jose native and Colorado product Chidobe Awuzie is another interesting local defensive back ready to turn pro. He can play outside or in the slot, and analysts say he has excellent one-on-one coverage skills but needs tackling work. He was a solid slot blitzer at Colorado, and could fill an immediate need crucial against so many three and four receiver sets.

Louisiana State’s Tre’Davious White has experience playing the slot, and could help right away there before transferring outside if asked. He can cover extremely well, though analysts say he isn’t much of a tackler. He might be a tweener as far as the Raiders are concerned, not worthy of the No. 24 pick but long gone before the Raiders pick in the second round.

Central Florida’s Shaquill Griffin visited the Raiders this spring, and rightfully so. A willing run defender with good ball skills and tackling ability who could be available in the third round should intrigue them.

Lynch outcome should determine whether Raiders draft a running back

Lynch outcome should determine whether Raiders draft a running back

It’s officially NFL draft week. Marshawn Lynch still isn’t a Raider.

A contract impasse remained as of Sunday morning, a few days before general manager Reggie McKenzie’s desire for a by-Thursday resolution.

Deadlines, even soft ones, prompt deals. But Marshawn is unique, adding a level of uncertainty to procedings. 

The Raiders would prefer Lynch agree to terms on a new contract so they can acquire his rights from Seattle -- that’s the easier part – and know where they stand heading into the NFL Draft.

McKenzie left several doors cracked during a Friday pre-draft presser, saying Lynch’s presence wouldn’t stop him from drafting a rusher, not having the Oakland native wouldn’t guarantee it, and that there’s always a chance Lynch could come later no matter what happens during amateur selection.

Those things could be true. Or, you know, not. McKenzie prefers mystery this time of year.

Bottom line: The Raiders need a bigger back to pair with smaller, yet elusive runners DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard.

The Raiders want Lynch to fill the void. Ditto for Raider Nation, especially the Oakland state. A few free-agent options remain, including LaGarrette Blount. Or the Raiders could draft a back, something the Raiders have done well in later rounds.

They got Latavius Murray in the sixth round four years back, and he provided quality before changing uniforms this offseason. They got Washington in the fifth last time and pulled Richard from undrafted free agency. They could mine talent again this year. Waiting seems more likely if Lynch is around. 

Quality abounds in this draft class, with several worthy of early selections and talent easily found late. Let’s inspect McKenzie’s draft options at running back, should he need one:

Good fits: It’s hard to see the Raiders looking at a rusher in the first round, considering the draft’s depth at the position and major defensive needs. A first-round talent might be considered in the second. If controversial former Oklahoma rusher Joe Mixon is available following a free fall due to off-field issues described in detail here, a running back might come early.

Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara could be another Day 2 option, an explosive talent who analysts say has wiggle and power to create coveted yards after contact. He could be a three-down back thanks to quality as a receiver.

Odds are, however, the Raiders will look deeper into the draft. Wyoming’s Brian Hill was an excellent college producer who runs strong and might fit well into the Raiders rotation. Round projections vary, but he should be available on Day 3.

Pittsburgh’s James Conner offers great power at 233 pounds. He could run through tacklers and wear down defenses for the Raiders’ shift backs. He's also well known for drive and work ethic. He is projected as a fifth or sixth round pick.

Brigham Young’s Jamaal Williams might offer value and power rushing later in the draft. Clemson’s Wayne Gallman has tackle-breaking ability, but analysts say he isn’t a strong pass protector.