Palmer breaks offseason silence on Sirius XM radio

627734.jpg

Palmer breaks offseason silence on Sirius XM radio

Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer broke his long offseason silence on Wednesday, joining Sirius XM's Adam Schein and former Raiders QB Rich Gannon on the "Sirius XM Blitz." Palmer spoke of Hue Jackson's firing, his offseason plans, the excitement he feels for the upcoming offseason and he affinity he feels for receiver Denarius Moore.Following then, and with a tip of the cap to Bay Area News Group's Steve Corkran for transcription, a sampling of what Palmer spoke about on the showOn the firing of Hue Jackson, who orchestrated his trade to the Raiders from Cincinnati: "It was tough. Myself and a lot of guys on the team were close with Hue, and good friends, and looked up to Hue in a lot of different ways. Its going to be different. It sounds like things are really changing in a lot of different areas and going in a number of different directions, so it will be exciting and this team will be ready to roll once the offseason kicks off in April."
On if he's had a chance to sit and take with general manager Reggie McKenzie or coach Dennis Allen yet: "Not really. I talked to Reggie McKenzie a couple of days after hed been hired, just more of a kind of meet and greet, and I talked to coach Allen once on the phone and hes very energetic. I know hes very excited at this opportunity and Im excited to see what he brings to the team."On if he could adequately describe the past 365 days in his life: "No. Not in a word or one sentence even. Its wild and I wouldnt say 'concerned,' but I think youre always concerned a little bit about your job especially when a new guy comes in. But at the end of the day, Ive been busting my butt, Im going to go in, and as soon as I get a chance to learn this offense, Ive been trying to get a playbook and film, but theres a lot of league-wide restrictions on that. So I havent even had a chance to get any information from the organization just because theres some loop holes and different things when you change regimes. Ive been champing at the bit and all I can really do is get prepared and be a leader, and be a veteran, and help out the young guys and take care of my job and the reset of ithow it falls. Concern isnt the right word, Im just excited at getting an opportunity and looking forward to the future."On how things will be different this season with an entire offseason and working with a new offensive coordinator in Greg Knapp: "Im getting ready to head up to L.A. to train. The guy Ive been training with for the last seven or eight years has a gym up there and thats where I spend the offseason, getting ready with him. Ive been in contact with all my receivers and even guys like Marcel Reece and Kevin Boss, David Ausberry, some younger guys that Raider fans havent heard of that they should be excited about. Well get together in L.A. and have some throwing sessions set up before we get back to Oakland and before we get the playbook. Before we get to 7-on-7 sessions and the team drills that were going to be doing in OTAs and minicamps. We have a chance to get our feet and just kind of get back in the swing of things before were out in front of the coaches and in front of the organization, just to kind of get the rust off and get ready for those OTAs. We dont just show up at OTAs and say, all right, lets go. We want to be prepared and at least somewhat on the same page or as close to being on the same page as we can be heading into OTAs."On where he is now as a quarterback, and health-wise: "Health, 100 percent. Most quarterbacks this time of year, youre feeling probably as good as youre going to feel, I probably feel as good as Im going to feel in all of 2012 and 2013. I was fortunate to come out of the season without any offseason surgeries or any big rehab concerns. I only played in a handful of games so I didnt have a chance to get beat up or worn down. We finished the year at the O in front of our fans and didnt finish the way we wanted playing against the Chargers, but after that, I felt as good as Ive ever felt in my entire career at the end of the season because I only played barely half the season.On what happened last season: "What didnt happen? Obviously losing Darren McFadden was a huge blow. He was such a huge part of the offense. Part of the passing game, part of the running game and pass protection-wise. So losing him was obviously a big blow, and Jacoby Ford, we lost for all those games. Denarius Moore, who I could not be more excited about, we lost him for a handful of games. Its no excuse, but when you sit back and play the 'What could have been' game, and you think about losing those guys for those games, that was obviously a big blow to us. But to see a guy like Michael Bush come in and have the year he had in a backup role, and to see the way we finished, youve got to take your hat off to coach Jackson and the job he did offensively, and coach Al Saunders, because I think we finished in the top seven or eight or nine in offense, even with losing all those guys, so you can really get excited about the future when you think of it that way. Getting some guys healthy, and a guy I mentioned, David Ausberry, a tight end, just a freak athlete and a guy that can do so many different things. You get him back, you get Taiwan Jones, another rookie that was injured in those games, and just an explosive player that youve got to get excited about the things he can do with the football. There are a lot of things to get excited about and the future is definitely bright."On the direction of the team and how close it is to being a playoff team: "I cant speak on the direction of the organization, thats definitely Mr. McKenzie and the organization and the people upstairs at the facility. Thats what theyre looking at and figuring out right now. But as far as being close to a playoff team, I think its more than that. I think were close to a championship team. Theres a lot of work that needs to be put in and a lot of hurdles that we need to get over, but I think we need to be heading into this season thinking more than just playoffs and trying to get to the playoffs and trying to win the AFC West. I think its bigger than that, and we definitely have a lot of pieces to the puzzle than being more than just a playoff team."On if there is enough talent at the wide receiver position: "Theres definitely the talent in the room. You look at Denarius Moore, what he did as a rookie, and he missed a handful of games, was amazing. Not statistically or the numbers, but the big plays that he made in big games. Momentum-changing games. Game-winning plays. You look at what he can bring to the table and just talking to him, like I have this offseason and just hearing the excitement of his voice and the disappointment in his voice that he didnt do more, couldnt do more. Those things like that are what excite me. Thats a big-time receiver in the making, and hes only going to get better. Then you look at Darrius Heyward-Bey, had the best year of his career. Jacoby Ford was hurt a lot but made some tremendous plays. And then Louis Murphy, a guy that was the leading receiver on the team in years past and didnt have the year he wanted. And is just hungry and anticipating a big year for himself. So theres a handful of guys that you get really excited about and need a lot of work and a lot of polishing, but I dont think its a concern or an area of concern or should be an area of concern because were close at that position."On if he needed a change of scenery: "I dont want a change of scenery. Im happy where I am."On if he feels pressure to live up to the trade: "Oh, absolutely. Absolutely, without a doubt. Playing the position of quarterback, theres always pressure, and theres always outside pressures, but with myself, Ive always put more inside pressure, more internal pressure. Pressure that I put on myself is bigger than anything I heard or felt from the outside. But with the trade and with all thats gone on throughout my career, I feel a tremendous amount of pressure and I love it. Thats why I started playing quarterback, I think, at a young age, the balls in your hands every single play. Theres only two players that can say that and that's the center and the quarterback. And Ive always relished being in that position and just all the little things that come along with it. The expectations from a leadership role, the expectations from performance and obviously the outside pressures that come with the position."On what kind of changes he expects from new offensive coordinator Greg Knapp: "I dont know. I cant wait to find out. Ive been trying to get my hands on a playbook, but like I said before, theres some loopholes with the new regime coming in and all these new CBA, NFLPA, all that stuff thats been going on the last year."On if he can call fellow QBs like Matt Schaub that have played for Knapp to get their takes on him: "Him, and Matt Leinart, and Kevin Walter are all buddies and Ive talked to all them, and everybodys raved about him. Ive talked to a handful of guys that are still with the Raiders who played for him when he was with the Raiders a couple years back. Ive asked around plenty, and Ive gotten my hands on some 2010 film, some older Texans film, where they were kind of doing some of the same stuff with the long play-action stuff and what excites me about it is it sounds like its a lot of play-action, a lot of boots, and throwing the ball down the field, and using, it sounds like were going to use that speed we have on the outside and try to throw the ball over peoples heads. We did that quite a bit last year and had quite a bit of success throwing the ball deep and it sounds like its going to be some of the same stuff and Im excited to see the direction of the run game. It sounds like its going to be a zone-running scheme and theres definitely a lot of excitement, not just myself, exchanging words with Tyvon Branch, hopefully we get him back, hes a safety that had a great year and hes had a great career in Oakland and I know hes excited about some of the changes on defense. I keep saying it, but its an exciting time."

Raiders sign rookie OT Sharpe, LB Lee, all four seventh-round draft picks

Raiders sign rookie OT Sharpe, LB Lee, all four seventh-round draft picks

The Raiders signed several members of their 2017 draft class, the team announced on Friday. Later round picks put pen to paper following the first week of OTAs, which began on Monday.

Fourth-round offensive tackle David Sharpe and fifth-round linebacker Marquel Lee highlight this group of signings, as both players inked four-year rookie contracts.

All four seventh-round picks also signed their first professional contract. That group includes running back Elijah Hood, safety Shalom Luani, offensive lineman Jylan Ware and defensive tackle Treyvon Hester.

These deals aren’t hard to work out. The NFL and the league’s players union agreed on a rookie wage scale in the last collective bargaining agreement that slots salaries by draft order, which leaves little negotiating room within the set payment structure.

The team’s top picks remain unsigned, though they’ll get done in time. First round cornerback Gareon Conley, second-round safety Obi Melifonwu and third-round defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes remain unsigned.

Here’s a list of estimated contract values over a four-year rookie deal for each signed draft pick, per spotrac.com:

OT David Sharpe (No. 129 overall): $2,986,415 total; $586,415 signing bonus
LB Marquel Lee (No. 168 overall): $2,653,693 total; $253,693 signing bonus
S Shalom Luani (No. 221 overall): $2,494,414 total; $94,414 signing bonus
OT Jylan Ware (No. 231 overall): $2,484,295 total; $84,295 signing bonus
RB Elijah Hood (No. 242 overall): $2,469,750 total; $69,750 signing bonus
DT Treyvon Hester (No. 244 overall): $2,468,601 total; $69,750 signing bonus

Marquel Lee gets to play for his father's favorite team: 'He started bawling'

Marquel Lee gets to play for his father's favorite team: 'He started bawling'

ALAMEDA -- Marquel Lee’s NFL draft weekend wasn’t always fun, a byproduct of high hopes unrealized. The former Wake Forest linebacker wanted to go early, but slid into Saturday and waited well into the fifth round before his phone lifted spirits.

A 510 area code brought Lee out of an emotional rut, one so deep he started wondering whether he’d get drafted at all.

“When I got the call from the Raiders, everything changed,” Lee said in the latest episode of NBC Sports California’s Raiders Insider Podcast. “I was so excited to play for this organization.”

Marquel Lee wasn’t the only one. His father jumped over the moon.

“He might’ve been more excited than I was,” Marquel Lee said. “He started bawling. I’ve never seen my dad cry like that.”

Corey Lee’s tears don’t come easy. He’s a no-nonsense military man who served 11 years in the Navy before entering the private sector. He was a strict but fair father and football coach who instilled the discipline and work ethic required for his son to realize great potential.

Corey Lee is also a lifelong Raiders fan. Seeing his son get drafted by his favorite team created a perfect emotional storm.

“I’m as die-hard as they get,” Corey Lee said. “When they called his name in the fifth round, it was such a great, powerful moment. There was some relief, because he worked so hard and sacrificed to reach this point. When families were on vacation, we were in summer camps and working out hard.

“Everything we did was to prepare him for the next level. I was so proud to see him achieve a goal he had.”

Corey Lee didn’t break down completely when Marquel Lee officially became the Raiders’ fifth-round selection. This proud papa let emotion overcome for a beat, and then darted for his bedroom. He returned to the party with a brand new Raiders hat and a No. 89 Amari Cooper shirt from his vast Raiders collection.

Marquel Lee threw on dad’s gear to honor his new team and the golden opportunity to play for a linebacker-starved Raiders team.

That wasn’t Marquel Lee’s first time in silver and black. He rocked a full Raiders uniform at age 2, complete with a helmet, football pants and a Tim Brown jersey.

He donned one again when rookies reported to the Raiders offseason program earlier this month. The full-circle moment wasn’t lost on Marquel, a man proud of his past and excited about an NFL future.

“There’s a picture of me in a Raiders jersey, pants and a helmet on my second birthday,” he said. “I look at it now and think, ‘Wow. It really happened.’ I’m wearing a Raiders uniform for real. My dream is becoming a reality.”

Corey Lee grew up a Raiders fan in Southern California, going to games with his family at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Pardon Marquel for not following in those footsteps. He grew up on the East Coast when Donovan McNabb was a superstar and gravitated toward the Eagles. Ray Lewis performed in Lee’s Maryland backyard and became an athletic role model.

Marquel watched tons of NFL football with his dad, complete games where father and son would talk about strategy and scheme. Marquel would watch game tape with his father at an early age and when Corey Lee deployed with the Navy, his mother Katanya – she, too, understood football -- made sure that practice continued.

Marquel Lee was armed with natural athletic gifts and cultivated knowledge of the game, allowing him play quarterback and middle linebacker as a junior at Westlake High in Waldorf, Md. His dad was a guiding light as youth instructor, a JV head coach and a varsity linebackers coach, but took steps to separate family and football.

“As a father, I never would allow him to call me dad on a practice field or anywhere,” Corey Lee said. “I was always ‘Coach’ during the season, whether we were at home or at practice, because I wanted to keep him in that mindset.”

Football was a primary focus back then, when the family often traded summer vacations for skills camps. Despite buzz around Marquel’s talents, Corey was against his son doing interviews with recruiting websites or ranking services. Father wanted his son’s head on straight, and it has remained that way. 

Top schools were slow to come around, but gravitated after Marquel fully recovered from a torn patella and stood out early in his senior year. He chose Wake Forest, a commitment his father wanted upheld even with late interest from other programs.

His growth continued as a collegian, and took a real spike during the 2016 season. Wake Forest’s defensive captains graduated, leaving him to assume a leadership role and put team over stats. Lee considered his junior season at Wake Forest subpar, and vowed to do better.

“I was pressing a lot, trying to rush my time and trying to get to the NFL,” Lee said. “I was on a road where I thought I wanted to leave (school) early. I was so hard on myself, especially if I didn’t produce. That’s why I said it was subpar. I don’t think I played like a team player that year.

“(The next season) I made a decision to finish what I started and be the leader I always knew I could be. I wanted to help my team get to a bowl game. I hadn’t played in one. That was a major part of me coming back in 2016. … I grew up a lot. I feel like I gained respect as a team leader, and really understood what it took to own that responsibility.”

Lee might have major responsibilities as an NFL rookie. The Raiders don’t have many options at middle linebacker, and Lee will be allowed to compete for a starting spot. It’ll take a solid spring and summer to earn it and give the Raiders confidence to hand an important starting spot to a rookie. The Silver and Black could add a veteran to that position group, though they have high hopes for their fifth-round pick. Lee could well make an instant impact. 

“We definitely think he has the potential to start,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said in an interview with 95.7-The Game. “He’s a long ways away from that. We haven’t even begun to get the pads on, so a lot will be determined in training camp and the preseason. So far, he has looked very good.”

Lee considers himself well prepared for the challenges ahead, and believes he can compete at the professional level.

“I’ve been getting ready for this a long time,” Marquel Lee said. “My dad has been telling me that this experience will be different. It’s not like college anymore. It’s a job, and I have to be mentally prepared for everything I’m about to do. I’m here and I’m learning and I’m trying to do my best.”