Dennis Allen is now a member of the club. He has seen the Raiders for one real game now, he has diagnosed them with pedal gunshot wounds, and he sounds like every other Raider coach who wasnt Jon Gruden.We have to eliminate self-inflicted wounds, Oaklands new game-day face said after wearing the same old Raider coachs game-day face. Those things arent supposed to happen, but the did tonight, and we have to get those things eliminated.And if it werent the same old description for every slack-jawed Raider performance of the last decade, Mondays 22-14 loss to San Diego would have some interesting facets to it.But sameness kills. Too much Darren McFadden (28 touches and five more targets in Oaklands 69 plays), and not enough of anyone else. Two grounders and a popup from backupemergencynot-going-to-be-so-tomorrow long-snapper Travis Goethel. A general but persistent blah about the game plan, its execution, and the results.Put another way, the Raiders were lucky to lose only by eight, and had no business being away from a wishful-thinking onside kick for a wishful-thinking last possession. They did too little, and what they did do was not nearly crisp or elegant enough. They did not crackle with life so much as they oozed with ordinary. Their mistakes were noticeable, but their lack of verve was more crushing still.True, without Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore they were short on players who could test the perpetually ordinary San Diego secondary. But in working McFadden like a rented mule (and thereby reviving the spectre of him not being able to play all 16 games because of the workload) and backing away from a more intrepid passing game, they safed their way right out of competition after 2 quarters.Now it is quite possible that there was no way to make this lead sparkle, that Rod Streater and Darrius Heyward-Bey didnt do enough to make themselves available to Carson Palmer. And yet Palmer didnt look to anyone much except for Streater and McFadden (28 of 46 balls were thrown their way, for a very modest 113 yards, a dreadful 2.6 yards per attempt). And their one real gadget play, a double-reverse to Taiwan Jones, turned out to lose 25 yards. In short, a team that needs creativity didnt show it, and a team that needs results even more desperately didnt get them, or come nearly close enough.And, as Comrade Gutierrez will share with you, the teams strengths last year, offense and special teams, were absolute minuses.The special teams failures, though, were caused mostly by Jon Condos injury on the Raiders first punt. His replacement, Goethel, was a linebacker who hadnt snapped in a real game in college, and whatever reps he got in practice did not translate into anything but disaster in the game.One punt was rendered dead on arrival when Goethels snap essentially barrel-rolled to Lechler. Another was blocked by San Diegos Dante Rosario when Goethels snap took on the characteristics of a Jemile Weeks grounder.And for that, and the other errors of commission, omission and false-startery, the Chargers managed only one touchdown and five Nate Kaeding field goals. In other words, the Raiders couldnt even find the solace that comes from saying they lost to a superior team.They just, well, lost. Without obvious passion or effervescence, with a hamster-wheel offense of McFadden unless otherwise notified, and a general drabness that is no way to start a new era.In fact, if you want anything weird to come from this game, consider this two-year-old gem from of all places, The Onion satirical web site, that featured Goethel: We highly recommend the last line if youre looking for that what-the-hell moment.Not that it will make you feel any better if you are Raider-centric in your outlook, mind you. But in a way that the Raiders themselves could never manage, this was a jaw-dropper on a night that desperately needed one.In the meantime, the Raiders have shown a new coach what foot bullets feel like. Call it a rite of passage, with a limp.
Marshawn Lynch is a Raider. He announced that fact on Twitter in his own unique way Wednesday, completing a month-long process from initial interest to final signature.
The Raiders gave him a new contract and traded Seattle for his rights, allowing the Oakland Tech High grad and Cal alum to come out of retirement and play for his hometown team.
That’s good news for Raiders fans on several fronts. He fills an immediate need at running back created when Latavius Murray left for Minnesota.
It temporarily tempers, though certainly doesn’t extinguish, rage about the Raiders relocating to Las Vegas.
Owner Mark Davis hopes to move his team when a new stadium is complete in 2020.
Lynch won't be there. Lynch won’t represent Vegas. He’s an Oakland Raider, playing for the city he champions at every turn. Lynch regularly gives back to this community and might be its most popular native son right now.
Lynch missed playing football, but he wanted to represent his hometown. That was clear in his tweet. He explained it this way: “I’m really from Oakland doe like really really really from Oakland doe…town bizness breath on me.”
He’ll celebrate joining the Raiders on Thursday with a block party and autograph signing in Oakland.
Lynch will give East Bay fans something to cheer for that won’t be shipping off to Vegas in a few years.
Nothing can cure the pain of an NFL team leaving Oakland a second time. Wins are ibuprofen, giving short-term relief to an ailing fan local base. He can certainly help the Raiders provide that.
The Silver and Black needed a big, physical primary rusher to pair with elusive, yet smaller backs Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington.
Lynch is that guy. There’s no question he’s a football fit.
Lynch is a strong interior rusher from several different formations. He could run well behind fullback Jamize Olawale, as a lone shotgun runner or in jumbo packages with quarterback Derek Carr under center and behind a hulking Raiders offensive line.
While new offensive coordinator Todd Downing will add some wrinkles to an existing scheme, the Raiders employ a versatile system that could suit Lynch’s many strengths.
Lynch ranks among the toughest, most aggressive backs of his generation and one of the best resisting tackles.
He averaged 4.3 yards per carry and 2.8 yards after contact per rushing attempt in his career, according to analytics site Pro Football Focus.
Lynch led the NFL with 245 broken tackles between 2013 and 2016 – 56 more than the next guy -- and he didn’t even play last season, per PFF.
He led the league with an unreal 3.1 yards after per contact in 2014, his last year fully healthy. He played just eight times in 2015 due to an abdominal injury that required surgery.
Lynch is completely healthy after his year travelling the world, doing charity work and expanding his clothing line, but effectiveness is always questioned of running backs over 30. Lynch turned 31 last week. He heads into his 10th season without having been hit in a while, and many believe he can produce like few others his age have in the NFL.
He’ll take the lion’s share of carries in a three-man rotation with Richard and Washington. He reportedly gets an extra $2 million if he's just the second Raider since 2010 to reach 1,000 yards. There’s motivation to push for that and other incentives in the deal. If Lynch is in vintage Beast Mode and fans are happy, the Raiders will gladly pay the extra freight.
Marshawn Lynch is going to upstage the NFL Draft for a few moments by announcing his signing with the Oakland Raiders Thursday.
The problem with this is obvious. He can’t upstage it all day long.
The NFL Draft is one of those events that demeans all who come in contact with it, because it basically extols the three virtues the owners find most inspiring – dishonesty, bullying and treachery. Between everyone lying about everything they do, making players submit to the most revolting reputational indignities, and just good old-fashioned broken promises like, “If you’re there at 119, we’re taking you, oh wait, we suddenly hate you and your skill set,” the draft is largely a festival of misery.
Not universally, mind you. Some players love it, especially the ones who hit the lottery, get picked higher than they thought they would and go to the perfect team for their talents and temperaments. That’s not the usual road, but there you go.
But mostly, nah. And we’re not even getting into the cavalcade of media self-anointeds who think they know what they’re talking about but only serve to remind us that not everybody is a fun companion in a bar.
Now the disclaimer: If you like the NFL Draft, fine. Wallow in every minute of it with our blessing. It'll keep you from all level of other mischief, and it is relatively harmless fun if you can deal with the aesthetic unpleasantries to which we just referred. Just understand that you are spending 356 minutes of party prep for three days of partying and six days of cleanup. It's a hamster wheel of fun, but it is a hamster wheel.
But then there's Marshawn Lynch, who overcame being one of those draft casualties (because Buffalo didn’t work for him, and he didn’t work all that well for Buffalo, either), is coming out of retirement to be traded and then rendered a Raider in the time still allotted for them to reside in Oakland. As a distraction, this will play well enough. It sure beats DeMarcus Cousins being traded by Sacramento during the NBA All-Star Game.
I suppose this is a heart-rending tale of one man’s loyalty to his city (the right place at the right price), although there is the naggingly worrisome component that going back to football won’t be good for his overall health. It is the risk he runs, to be sure, and one can only assume that he has made a clearheaded choice, but this is not a spot that treats its recidivists well.
That’s recidivists, as in “folks who walked away happily, then found out they needed it too much for their own good.”
Frankly, there is no good reason not to want this to turn out well for Lynch (the Raiders can take of themselves with or without him, and within two years will do exactly that), but it is a case of bucking some daunting odds in what is too often a zero-sum game. That’s a level of risk that should make anyone queasy.
But it is what Marshawn Lynch wants, risks and all, and as a grown adult he should get the opportunity few are afforded – to chase and catch his dream until it stops being a dream and becomes a chore.
If it works out for the Raiders as well, fine. Lynch isn’t the one who will put them over the top in a conference dominated by three teams – New England, the Patriots and Bill Belichick – but if he finds the athletic closure he seeks, it ought to be good enough for the rest of us.
Especially if it even momentarily minimizes the rest of the hot rhetorical/gasbaggy mess that is Draft Night. If nothing else, here’s hoping Marshawn Lynch is the star of the night. That’s not the way to bet, of course, but a person can hope.