Raiders dominated by Henne, Dolphins 33-17

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Raiders dominated by Henne, Dolphins 33-17

Nov. 28, 2010BOX SCORE RAIDERS VIDEO
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OAKLAND (AP) Chad Henne had quite the roller-coaster month, going from Miami starting quarterback to getting benched then injured and then back as starter.He finished the up-and-down month on quite a high.Henne made a triumphant return to the lineup to throw for 307 yards and two scores and Dan Carpenter kicked four field goals to help the Miami Dolphins beat the Oakland Raiders 33-17 Sunday."I knew my day would come again," Henne said. "The biggest thing is just staying confident in myself. I know I can get it done out there, I know I can get some wins out there. So, for me, it's just staying confident, fixing mistakes and just keep on improving as a quarterback."Davone Bess had 111 yards receiving in his first game as a pro in his hometown, and Ricky Williams ran for 95 yards and a score for the Dolphins (6-5), who won for the fifth time in six road games to keep their playoff hopes alive.The Raiders (5-6) returned home following a 35-3 beating in Pittsburgh and put together another dud. Fan favorite Bruce Gradkowski got the nod ahead of Jason Campbell at quarterback, but threw two interceptions and led Oakland to just one offensive touchdown.Rookie Jacoby Ford was the entire Raiders offense, returning the opening kickoff 101 yards for a score and catching a 44-yard TD pass from Gradkowski in the second quarter. But the Dolphins held Oakland to 16 yards rushing, including 2 on eight carries for Darren McFadden."We've played some great quarters, and we've played some great halves, but we haven't put a game together on defense," linebacker Channing Crowder said. "We played a complete game."Miami also had an offensive turnaround, gaining 471 yards and holding the ball for 41:38 a week after being held to 187. But with Henne at the helm, it was a different story.Henne lost his job to Chad Pennington earlier this month, then was sidelined by an injured left knee after Pennington's return to the lineup was cut short by a shoulder injury. But after Tyler Thigpen struggled in a 16-0 loss to Chicago last week, the Dolphins went back to Henne against the Raiders.The improvement was evident from the start. Henne led Miami to scores on the first two possessions as the Dolphins' offense clicked all day."I want somebody to go out there and make me wrong," coach Tony Sparano said. "That's good. I have no problem with that. But Chad was really positive, and he knew all along here, that as we got on in this thing, that we we're going to be counting on him."Henne had success going against Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who still looks hampered by a sprained right ankle, and rookie Walter McFadden, who got his most extensive action with Chris Johnson out with a groin injury.McFadden looked especially bad on the first drive of the second half when he went for an interception on an out route to Marlon Moore. Moore caught it and cruised for a 57-yard score that game Miami a 20-14 lead. Henne kept targeting McFadden after that for big plays."That's something we definitely scouted and wanted to exploit early and fast," Bess said. "They gave up some big plays to us and we took advantage of it."Carpenter added a 44-yard field goal, but Miami missed a chance to break the game open after a 47-yard punt return by Bess when Carpenter missed a 47-yard field goal.Gradkowski threw an interception to Chris Clemons in the end zone on an underthrown pass to Ford. Ford then beat his former Clemson teammate Clemons for a 52-yard catch that set up a 30-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski. That cut Miami's lead to 23-17 early in the fourth quarter.Carpenter added a 25-yard field goal and Williams iced it with a 45-yard TD run with 3:12 remaining.The Raiders did nothing between Ford's two first-half touchdowns. Gradkowski threw an interception to Yeremiah Bell and Marcel Reece lost a fumble.Gradkowski completed 17 of 32 passes for 252 yards and reinjured his shoulder on his final throw of the game so Oakland will likely go back to Campbell next week at San Diego."There was some good stuff and some inconsistency," Cable said of Gradkowski's play. "Again when you only have the ball a handful of times you don't get a real chance to go out and get some rhythm."Henne, who threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Cobbs in the first quarter, drove the Dolphins downfield late in the half to lead to Carpenter's second field goal, a 23-yarder with 4 seconds left that made it 14-13.Notes: Henne has six career 300-yard passing games, second to Dan Marino's 63 in Miami history. ... The Dolphins have scored on their opening drive a league-best eight times this season. ... Ford's kickoff return was the third longest in Raiders history.

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.”