Palmer pressing under center


Palmer pressing under center

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- In good times, quarterbacks get too much credit.In bad, too much of the blame.Sunday, after the Raiders were blown out 46-16 by the unbeaten, untied and defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, Carson Palmer was wearing the mask of the latter. And wearing it, ahem, well."I put us in a position," he said, "not to win. Turn the ball over like I did, giving them a short field and not taking advantage of opportunities is what cost us the game."I did not give us a chance to win. I did not play well enough. I made way too many mistakes."The four interceptions he threw tied a career worst he set against Arizona on Nov. 18, 2007. And passer rating-wise, the 42.4 represented the worst start of his young Raiders career, since he was acquired from Cincinnati on Oct. 18.
"I'm disappointed in the four picks, and I told him so," said Raiders coach Hue Jackson. "And again, I think you have somebody who's pressing, trying to make plays for a football team, and that's not what he needs to do. He's got to take care of the ball, and obviously we've got to go back and take a look at them all."But what I felt is that there's times that we made some ill-advised throws and we've got to do a better job of taking care of the ball, and he knows that. And we'll fix those things and keep moving forward."Three of Palmer's interceptions came in the first half, with the first two resulting in Packers touchdowns and the third coming in the end zone with less than a minute to go until halftime.His first pick came in Green Bay territory, as Palmer was flushed from the pocket and as he rolled right, he tried to thread the needle to Darrius Heyward-Bey. Instead, he threw it right into the chest of linebacker D.J. Smith."I shouldn't have thrown (the ball)," Palmer said. "I should have have taken off and run."One official snap later, Ryan Grant went 47 yards for the touchdown and the 7-0 lead.Then, with less than eight minutes to play in the half, and the Packers leading 24-0, Palmer tried to hit Heyward-Bey on a slant on the right. But Charles Woodson jumped the route and got his seventh interception of the season."A little miscommunication between myself and the receiver," Palmer said.Four plays later, Grant ran up the middle for a 6-yard score and the 31-0 lead."That's what happens, you turn the ball over and you give those guys more opportunities than they should have, they're going to take advantage of them," Palmer said, "score like they did."Palmer tried to hit Kevin Boss in the back of the end zone but was victimized by a one-handed grab from linebacker Robert Francois with 40 seconds left in the half.His fourth pick came with less than two minutes to play, when he was hit as he released and the ball fluttered into the waiting arms of cornerback Sam Shields.Overall, Palmer completed 24 of 42 attempts for 245 yards with a touchdown. But even he agreed with Jackson's assessment that he was pressing."Yeah, I'm going to look at the film, but I just need to be more patient, take what they give me and not try to score 14 points on one drive," said Palmer, who now has thrown nine TDs with 13 INTs. "Take it one play at a time. Take the shot if it's there and if not, live for the next down. And I didn't do that."

Following surgery, Raiders activate former second-round pick off PUP list


Following surgery, Raiders activate former second-round pick off PUP list

Raiders defensive lineman Jihad Ward injured his foot during the team's offseason program and hasn't seen the field since. Last year's second-round pick had it surgically repaired, and missed training camp rehabiltating. 

He's finally ready to go. He passed a physical on Monday and was removed from the physically unable to perform list. The team had a walk-through on Monday. Ward should be active for Tuesday afternoon's practice, the first back at their Alameda practice facility. 

The Illinois product had 30 tackles in 13 starts last season, playing significant snaps with Mario Edwards Jr. out due to a hip injury. He'll have to compete for a spot in the rotation, even after working with the first unit during the offseason program. Rookie third-round pick Eddie Vanderdoes has played well in his absence and could be a three-down player inside. 

Ward was a raw, yet athletic talent capable of playing several techniques across the line. The teams sees great potential, though Ward must continue to develop as a player. 

In addition, the Raiders activated tight end Cooper Helfet off the non-football injury list.

Khalil Mack ready for regular season, but Raiders defense is not


Khalil Mack ready for regular season, but Raiders defense is not

OAKLAND – The Los Angeles Rams assigned two blockers to Khalil Mack, a common practice against the reigning defensive player of the year. Sometimes it works. This time it didn’t.

The Raiders edge rusher split the double team, found his target and pounced. Jared Goff stood zero chance. There was no evading this one. Mack brought last year’s No. 1 overall pick down with authority, claiming a sack that ultimately won’t count in his 2017 total.

The sacks highlighted a dominant performance that also included three quarterback pressures, four total tackles and two for a loss. All that in three series.

Mack’s clearly ready for the regular season. As a whole, the Raiders defense is not.

Saturday’s 24-21 loss to the Rams at Oakland Coliseum proved that point. A below average offense had no trouble scoring on a starting unit that looks a bit lost.

“I thought our defense was poor, in particular early when we started the game,” head coach Jack Del Rio said in a postgame press conference. “We’re going to have to get a whole lot better there.”

It has to happen quickly, with the regular season bearing down and the Raiders still trying to correct the same old thing. Making proper reads and improved communication has been an emphasis this offseason as coaches work to get this defense playing better together. It’s still preseason and there’s time to teach and coach and fix problems, but the defense isn't quite right.

“I think we’ll go a long way when we clean some of those things up,” Del Rio said. “The things that we’ve talked about for too long in terms of communication errors, eye violations and things like that that just keep you from ever being really good on defense. Those just have to get cleaned up.”

Issues are present in the front seven but more obvious in the back, where explosive pass plays continue to plague the starting unit. The Raiders allowed two plays over 20 yards on the first series and six plays of 10 or more yards in three series on Saturday, when the full starting unit was active. The Rams scored 14 points – Mack’s sack squashed the lone non-scoring drive – in three series.

Del Rio was bothered by misreads and “eye violations,” in coverage, which make things easier for an opposing offense.

“When you see them, it’s not a good thing,” Del Rio said. “Yeah, I mean it’s really simple. You don’t have your eyes where they belong and you’re playing man? You’re playing man or even in zone. If you’re not seeing what you need to see, it makes it hard.”

Fixing these problems could improve execution and make life harder on opponents. It needs to happen this summer or the Raiders will have to win a lot of shootouts.

“Obviously, I identify what the problem is,” Del Rio said. “Getting it fixed is the challenge.”