Raiders-Broncos: Matchups to watch

580338.jpg

Raiders-Broncos: Matchups to watch

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders have a full-fledged new starter at quarterback in Carson Palmer. A new veteran slot receiver in T.J. Houshmandzadeh. And while Sebastian Janikowski's status is in doubt thanks to his strained left hamstring, there is no truth to the rumor that Jim Breech is in line to kick for Oakland against Denver.Yes, the in-season transitional Raiders have been catching heat for picking up so many former Cincinnati Bengals of late -- Chinedum Ndukwe, anyone? -- but their focus is squarely on the Broncos.A look, then, at some key on-field matchups to watch Sunday afternoon:
Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain (55) vs. Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15)TALE OF THE TAPEMcClain: 6-3, 255, Alabama, second season
Tebow: 6-3, 236, Florida, second seasonThe Most Polarizing Figure in the Country and the Most Enigmatic Player in Raider Nation are sure to meet on the field, what with Tebow's proclivity for running up the middle of the field. The question, then, is will McClain's balky right ankle give him the mobility and agility to neutralize Tebow before he gets into the secondary?"There's certain things we'll do with (McClain) and again, he's been doing this for a couple of weeks," said Raiders defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan. "We get a feel for him during the week, even with the limited number of reps, how much can we give him? He was the first one to tell us in the last game, 'I've got to stop.'"So again, those are things we kind of judge during the week. I don't get into the injuries; I kind of let that be a gameday situation and we go with the feel and how he's ready to go. And our guys are ready to step up. If he can't go, the next guy's ready to go and we don't blink an eye."That McClain practiced Friday for the first time in weeks should be a good sign that he'll be able to play. After all, he has not missed a game since injuring the ankle at Houston on Oct. 9. Even if he's been limited.Besides, McClain's knowledge of Tebow -- they were SEC rivals in college -- should play a part as well as anything he can bring physically."I have a lot of respect for him," Tebow said of McClain. "I think he's a very good player. I really enjoyed playing against him in college. I feel like we had a great rivalry going, but with a lot of respect, and hopefully we'll continue that."Other matchups worth watchingRaiders receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (85) vs. Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey (24): Is there any doubt lingering that Darrius Heyward-Bey is the Raiders' No. 1 receiver? He is on pace to becoming the first wideout to lead the Raiders in receiving since Ronald Curry in 2007.And as such, DHB is starting to garner more respect from opposing defenses. Which is why seeing the Hall of Fame-bound Bailey lining up opposite him should not surprise anyone and, really, be seen as a sign of respect for the maturing third-year pass catcher.And not just on the field. Heyward-Bey is becoming a leader in the receiving corps that is charged with keeping the young and impressionable group on the same page, what with so much roster turnover in the past few weeks."I mean, for me, it's easy," he said. "Because you see guys come and go in this league all the time. I mean, every Tuesday there's people coming in here working out. Everybody's job is on the line. They bring guys in all the time so, it's normal in this world for us."Seeing a guy whose bust will soon be in Canton defending you? Yeah, that's normal now, too.Raiders vs. chemistry issues -- Speaking of all that roster turnover, surely the locker room chemistry is being tested. But just how important is such a non-tangible topic?"Very," admitted Raiders coach Hue Jackson. "I think it has a lot to do with everything, but I think part of that chemistry is communication by the head coach to the players. And I think if you're fair and you're honest, they might not agree with it, but as long as you're honest with them and you tell them why you do things, why it's this way, why we go about conducting our business in a certain way, they will respect that."I think if you're phony and you don't keep it real with them, I think that's how you lose your locker room."Jackson also said he's addressed that in the locker room recently."I tell them every time I make a decision because this is their football team, and I let them know exactly what we're doing and why we're doing it," Jackson said. "And I think thats important so nobody goes over to the laundry room and have a sit-down where nobody knows what's going on. We don't have that here."We put it all out on the table and tell it how it is. Like I say, everybody might not like it, but I think they respect it because it's coming from the right place. It's honest, it's up front and we don't hide anything."

Peterson blasts report over salary demands, outlines main objectives

Peterson blasts report over salary demands, outlines main objectives

Adrian Peterson played defense on Friday night.

Hours after a report suggesting that the four-time All-Pro running back was still a free agent due to salary demands, the former Viking posted a lengthy statement on Instagram along with a video of his running an agility drill.

"YOU CANT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ OR HEAR PEOPLE. The last thing I'm worried about is playing ball this coming season ... that WILL HAPPEN! It's not all about the money as EVERYONE is speculating here lately. You'd THINK these analysts spoke to me directly. When you don't know what's going on people will say anything to create or make a story! How prideful is it for me to put out ... I won't play for anything less than 8 million! But see, when you don't know a person or what they stand for it's easy to paint YOUR OWN PICTURE. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in! Here is something Straight from the horse's mouth ... finding the best fit & helping a team in a major way win a championship is my main objective! I'm in no rush. Let me eliminate questions or speculation as to why... I believe whole heartedly my God will land me right where I need to be to accomplish what I've asked from him PERIOD"

Early in the free agency period, the Raiders were linked to Peterson, but nothing came of those rumors.

The Raiders, in need of a feature back after Latavius Murray signed with the Vikings, are reportedly pursuing the possibility of luring Oakland-native Marshawn Lynch out of retirement.

Peterson was scheduled to make $18 million in 2017, but the Vikings declined to exercise his contract, making him a free agent. The 2012 NFL MVP turned 32 on March 21 and played in just three games in 2016 due to a major knee injury.

According to the ESPN report, Peterson was looking for a contract that paid him over $8 million in the first year of the deal.

YOU CANT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ OR HEAR PEOPLE. The last thing I'm worried about is playing ball this coming season ... that WILL HAPPEN! It's not all about the money as EVERYONE is speculating here lately. You'd THINK these analysts spoke to me directly. When you don't know what's going on people will say anything to create or make a story! How prideful is it for me to put out ... I won't play for anything less than 8 million! But see, when you don't know a person or what they stand for it's easy to paint YOUR OWN PICTURE. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in! Here is something Straight from the horse's mouth ... finding the best fit & helping a team in a major way win a championship is my main objective! I'm in no rush. Let me eliminate questions or speculation as to why... I believe whole heartedly my God will land me right where I need to be to accomplish what I've asked from him PERIOD

A post shared by Adrian L Peterson (@adrianpeterson) on

 

Oakland, Lott Group pen letter to NFL in last-ditch effort to keep Raiders

Oakland, Lott Group pen letter to NFL in last-ditch effort to keep Raiders

Through the office of mayor Libby Schaaf, the City of Oakland issued the following statement on Friday, revealing a letter they sent to the NFL a day earlier highlighting the viability and appeal of keeping the Raiders in Oakland.

***

OAKLAND, CA — Today, the City of Oakland, Alameda County, the Lott Group and Fortress, who have been working in concert to develop a fully-financed local stadium proposal for the Oakland Raiders, shared publicly documents detailing the strength of the Oakland plan.

Specifically, they made public for the first time, their most recent correspondence to the NFL. The letters and accompanying documents were sent in follow-up to a March 6, 2017 presentation Mayor Libby Schaaf and former NFL player and real estate investor Ronnie Lott made to the NFL’s Joint Stadium and Finance Committee that outlined the economic advantages to the league and the team of staying in Oakland.

[RELATED: Letter to NFL from Libby Schaaf, Lott Group]

“We’re not giving up in the fourth quarter,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “Since I took office two years ago, I have been focused on taking a team-centered approach that is responsible to the Raiders, the NFL, the fans and the taxpayers of Oakland. We’ve been successful in doing the environmental clearance, aligning the City and the County which jointly own the land, engaging the league and bringing partners to the table in the Lott Group and Fortress who have the financial backing, compassion for this community and intimate knowledge of the game -- on and off the field -- to get a deal done. All that’s missing is the Raiders.”

“I know how passionate the Bay Area is about the Raiders,” said NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott. “To rip this team away from Oakland for a second time would be heartbreaking and entirely unnecessary given that we have a viable option on the table that keeps them here and helps this community and the team grow. We have a sophisticated financial partner in Fortress. We have done the due diligence, and it is clear that the only fully-financed, ready-to-roll option for the Raiders is in Oakland.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, City Council President Larry Reid, whose district is home to the existing Coliseum and the proposed new stadium site, Lott Group partner and former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete and Fortress Managing Director Drew McKnight plan to gather with fans, local business leaders, nearby residents and other community members to demonstrate support for the Oakland stadium plan at events planned for Saturday, March 25. This is the day before NFL owners begin a series of meetings during which they are expected to discuss, and possibly vote on Raiders’ owner Mark Davis’ request to move the team to Las Vegas.

City of Oakland media services