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.
NAPA – Marshawn Lynch sat during the national anthem during Saturday’s exhibition opener against Arizona. We’re still not sure why.
It’s assumed by many to be in protest of racial inequality and mistreatment of minorities, a timely sentiment following racially fueled violence in Charlottesville, Va.
Uncertainty remains because the Raiders running back hasn’t explained his reasoning. He contemplated speaking after Tuesday’s practice but decided against it.
That leave us left to wonder what was going through Lynch’s head. Was this a case of Marshawn being Marshawn, an unorthodox fellow who often swims upstream? Was he simply enjoying a seat and a banana, or was it politically motivated and worthy of being lumped into national anthem protests by Colin Kaepernick and others in 2016 and Michael Bennett on Sunday?
It seems that way while connecting dots, especially with Lynch’s support for Kaepernick in a 2016 interview with Conan O’Brien. The public doesn’t know for sure. Bennett made his protest crystal clear on Sunday, with an eloquent explanation following Seattle’s exhibition against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Lynch could’ve cleared things up and didn’t. That leaves many left to wonder. Silence, in these cases, breeds speculation. We’ll try to avoid that here. Lynch doesn’t speak to the press, and I don’t mind a bit. This instance is an exception. Insight could direct this unguided narrative with a tweet, a statement or a few moments in front of a microphone. His message, if there is one, loses power without backing. If it was designed to illuminate issues in this country, Lynch must direct the spotlight. If his choice to sit wasn't socially charged, then let's put the issue to bed and re-focus on Raiders football.
It’s uncertain whether Lynch will address it this week, this season or ever.
The Raiders hope to avoid the topic altogether and let this incident blow over. It hasn’t been a major topic in the locker room. Head coach Jack Del Rio didn’t add anything in his Tuesday press conference, referring to a Saturday postgame statement on the matter where he called it a non-issue.
The Raiders’ belief, it seems, is that a fire won’t burn without fuel.
Del Rio strongly believes in standing for the national anthem. That’s been clear for a year, when he expressed that sentiment following Kaepernick’s anthem protests.
That didn’t stop Raiders linebackers Bruce Irvin and Malcolm Smith from holding up a fist during the national anthem a few times in 2016, though those actions didn’t last long.
Del Rio said Saturday that he respects the fact Lynch is his own man and hasn’t always stood for the national anthem. There were times in Seattle when he wasn’t present for the Star Spangled Banner. There were times he sat and times he stood at attention. He was never asked whether it was a form protest. Kaepernick started the movement last year, one Lynch couldn’t join while retired from football.
There’s no telling what Lynch will do Saturday against the Los Angeles Rams, the first time he’ll represent the Raiders in Oakland. No matter what he does, it’ll be news. With or without an explanation. Lynch doesn’t feel the need to satisfy public demand for insight, and won’t simply bow to public pressure.
Anthem protests can bring attention to social causes, but they’re polarizing to be sure. That’s the case in public, among football fans and cable-news junkies alike.
NFL locker rooms are full of different personalities, united under a common goal. Del Rio wants his guys focused only on that heading toward a season with lofty expectations.
“We want to have a collection of individuals that come together as a team to play football,” Del Rio told USA Today’s Lindsay Jones. “We don't need everybody in the organization to think the same way I think, or have the same feelings that I have about different topics.
“I mean, we're in America. That's one of the things we have. We have the freedom to be ourselves.”
Lynch is certainly his own man, a unique personality who has devoted great time, money and effort to improving his native Oakland.
Bennett explained his motivation for sitting during the anthem in a first-person narrative posted by Yahoo! Sports, and said seeing Lynch sit wasn’t a shock. Bennett also believes Lynch sat down for a cause.
“It didn’t surprise me that Marshawn Lynch sat, too,” Bennett said. “I think he’s one of the people in the forefront who are making changes in the community. That’s what he believes in. I think we both believe in our community, we both believe that people can be great. We don’t believe that this is the end; we believe there’s more out there – there are more things we can do as people, more ways to challenge ourselves.”
NAPA – Raiders tight end Jared Cook hasn't formally spoken to teammate Marshawn Lynch about his decision to sit during the national anthem during Saturday’s exhibition opener against Arizona.
It’s assumed by many to be in protest of racial inequality and mistreatment of minorities, especially on the heels of racially fueled violence in Charlottesville, Va. Count Cook among them.
The veteran running back has remained mum on the matter in public and, with Cook at least, in private.
If he was in fact protesting by sitting out the national anthem, tight end Cook is glad Lynch took a stand. Cook has stood up against racial inequality, most notably after racial unrest caused by police shootings in Ferguson, Mo., while with the St. Louis Rams. He said it’s vital to speak out against injustice.
“I’m proud of him,” tight end Jared Cook told reporters, with quotes via the Associated Press. “I think it’s awesome. Everybody has points of discussion after what happened in Charlottesville just the night before. I think it’s important for men in our position to step up and speak on unnecessary situations we find ourselves in as minorities in this country. That’s why I’m proud of him.”
Former 49ers Colin Kaepernick became the face of the anthem protest movement last year, when he kneeled during the national anthem and was joined by others around the league.
Cook said he has thought about joining a new round of protests, including one executed by Seattle’s Michael Bennett before a Sunday exhibition against the Los Angeles Chargers. Unlike Lynch, Bennett articulated his reasoning well in postgame comments. Cook said it’s uncertain whether he’ll join in.
“As far as the future goes, I don’t know. I don’t know,” he said. “I know I feel uneasy about the situation going on in this country and have been for a while.”