Raiders-Chargers matchups to watch: Palmer vs. Chargers defense


Raiders-Chargers matchups to watch: Palmer vs. Chargers defense

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the final part in a three-part series that spotlighted three Raiders-Chargers matchups to watch Monday, 7:15 p.m. (ESPN) at Coliseum.Tale of the tape
Palmer: 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, 10th season, USC
Chargers 'D': No. 16 total defense in 2011, No. 13 against the passTo say Carson Palmer has feasted on the Chargers defense throughout his career would be an understatement.Consider: he has a 122.5 career passing rating against San Diego, having completed 116 of 166 passes (69.9 percent) for 1,739 yards and 13 touchdowns with three interceptions. And he's even better as the home QB, averaging 354.3 yards passing in the friendly confines.Not that that means much to Palmer at the moment."Its a good unit," he said. "Defensively theyve looked really good on film in the preseason. They played well against us last year in the finale. Their offense can score a ton of points. There are a lot of things to worry about. Theyve got a new coordinator. Week one you never know exactly what youre going to see. Youve got to be ready for everything."Were not real, real comfortable going into this. Weve had a great start to the week, were working extremely hard and were going to go in and we know we have to play our best football offensively to come out with the win."The Chargers are breaking in a new defensive coordinator in John Pagano, who had been their linebackers coach the previous four years and on the San Diego staff since 2002."Johns been here through all of this, all the way back to Wade Phillips," said Chargers coach Norv Turner. "I think we will be a mix of a lot of things weve done in the past. I think Johns experiences with the guys hes been with and his background is youre going to do what you have to do to match up with the team youre playing. We want to be a complete defense that has flexibility and is hopefully unpredictable."The Raiders will be tough for Pagano to gameplan against, though, if simply for the reason Palmer will share the backfield with Darren McFadden for the first time in a game that counts.The two should make each other all the more dangerous."Its been such a tease in the preseason because hes really only gotten a series here and there," Palmer said of McFadden. "I have no idea. Im like a kid in a candy store, I cant wait. Just the little that weve seen of him in the preseason, he brings so much to the field, and Im more excited about that than anything."The Raiders are 7-2 when McFadden rushes for at least 100 yards. McFadden is also averaging 5.5 yards per carry against the AFC West.So yeah, McFadden should make Palmer's job easier, so long as Palmer does not get enticed into a shootout with San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers."Were playing against Shaun Phillips and (Eric) Weddle and all those guys up front," Palmer said. "You cant worry about what theyre doing on offense. You cant force things because of how things go early. Youve got to take your completions when you can, and try to find ways to get touchdowns in the red zone and not field goals."Its a division game, a rivalry game. Those are always more important. I understand the importance of, especially early in the season, getting a division win is huge. There has been a longstanding tradition. This rivalry between these two teams is a big deal to the fan bases. Its a fight between Northern and Southern California." GUTIERREZ: Raiders-Chargers matchups to watch: Shaughnessy vs. Harris Streater vs. Jammer
Especially with the way the Raiders' season ended on New Year's Day, with a pratfall in playing host to the Chargers with a playoff berth on the line."We are well aware of who knocked us out," Palmer said. "Weve talked about that. We understand. We havent forgotten what happened last year."

Raiders 2017 UDFA tracker: McKenzie mining for more gold in new crop


Raiders 2017 UDFA tracker: McKenzie mining for more gold in new crop

ALAMEDA – The Raiders have had great success mining gold from undrafted free agency. Jalen Richard and Darius Latham were kings of last year’s crop, which was six strong by season’s end. with Seth Roberts and Denico Autry other examples of undrafted free agents done good in recent years.

Can Raiders scouts find more helpful pieces from those left out of the NFL draft? Time will tell on that one, but finding the right undrafted players is something the team takes seriously. Scouts revel in undrafted players who make it in the league.

“It’s very rewarding,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “If we sign him as a free agent, we may have had him on the board as draftable, but getting guys post draft, that helps you down the road. To maintain a consistent winner, you have to hit on some of those guys. You have to. The way that the contracts are these days, you have to have some of those type players to help you win football games year in and year out.”

The Raiders will search for those players into Saturday evening to fill the 90-man roster. McKenzie secured some of his top targets with four seventh-round picks, though several more have signed with the club. Here’s a list of those who have signed with the team thus far:

-- OL Jordan Simmons, USC: The hulking offensive lineman signed with the Raiders, he announced on social media. Simmons stands 6-foot-5 and 335 pounds, and will turn pro after being denied a sixth year of college eligibility. The talented guard had an injury-riddled career.

-- WR Isaac Whitney, USC: Whitney is yet another undrafted Trojan to join the Raiders roster. He announced the signing on social media. He didn’t have many college stats, but is fast with the size the Raiders prefer in outside receivers.

-- WR Keon Hatcher, Arkansas: Hatcher will reportedly join the offseason receiver group in hopes of taking a roster spot. He had 44 catches for 743 yards and eight touchdowns in his final college season. (Houston Chronicle)

-- WR Ishmael Zamora, Baylor: The Bears official website reported that Zamora will sign with the Silver and Black. He had63 catches for 809 yards and eight touchdowns in 2016. He was suspended three games for abusing a dog in an incident that was caught on video. 

-- S Ahmad Thomas, Oklahoma: The Raiders need safety depth, so it was smart of Thomas to sign in Oakland. He was a three-year starter and a team captain. (Houston Chronicle)

-- S Anthony Cioffi, Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights’ official Twitter account reported a four-year starter in college will give the pros a try in Oakland.

-- DT Jordan Wade, Oklahoma: The 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive tackle will join the Raiders. (

-- TE Pharaoh Brown, Oregon: The Ducks didn’t have a single player drafted, but Brown will join the Silver and Black. The tight end announced a signing on Twitter. He had 33 catches for 426 yards and five touchdown.

Check back for further updates...

New Raiders RB Hood modeled game after Marshawn, wants to learn from Lynch

New Raiders RB Hood modeled game after Marshawn, wants to learn from Lynch

ALAMEDA – It took significant time for Elijah Hood’s name to be called in this year’s NFL draft. The North Carolina running back was nearly last, the No. 242 overall selection.

He didn’t care. Hood was ecstatic, genuinely emotional on a Saturday conference call with local media.

He was excited to be a Raiders. He was over the moon about working with Marshawn Lynch.

The 220-pound power runner has tried to emulate the Oakland native, who became a Raider on Wednesday. Learning from him is a dream come true.

“Marshawn is the back who I’ve modeled my game after the most,” Hood said. “I just can’t wait to be in that running back room with him. He has so much to offer. He’s a veteran and a professional is how he conducts business. I feel like I have so many questions I need to ask, and so much I need to learn from him about what it takes to be successful. He’s the man I wanted to become as a running back.”

Lynch ranks high among the most elusive, physical, tackle-breaking backs of his generation, and Hood will be a sponge whenever he’s around his new teammate.

The running back room is full, with Lynch, DeAndre Washington, Jalen Richard and Jamize Olawale. That’s the group expected to hit the regular season, but Hood believes he can earn a spot and continue to develop with the organization.

He dropped more than 10 pounds this offseason to be a more elusive runner, without losing his trademark power rushing style. Hood hopes to stick around and earn more carries in time.

“I have nothing but work ahead of me, and I can’t wait to do it,” Hood said. “I’m so blessed to be with this team and work with the running backs already there.”