Raiders key matchup No. 2: Goodson vs. Kuechly


Raiders key matchup No. 2: Goodson vs. Kuechly

Editor's note: This is the second part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Panthers matchups to watch Sunday, 10 a.m. (CBS), at Bank of America Stadium

[MATCHUP NO. 1: Raiders vs. eastern time zone]

Raiders RB Mike Goodson vs. Panthers MLB Luke Kuechly

Tale of the tape
Goodson (25): 6-foot, 210 pounds, fourth season, Texas A&M
Kuechly (59): 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, rookie season, Boston College

CHARLOTTE -- Still trying to put your finger on what the Raiders have been missing on defense all season long, really, what they thought they addressed in the 2010 draft?

Look no further, then, than at Carolina's do-everything middle linebacker -- rookie Luke Kuechly, the anti-Rolando McClain. And Raiders running back Mike Goodson, the former Panther coming off an 89-yard rushing game against Kansas City, will have no choice.

Per the Panthers' coaches film, Kuechly already has 174 tackles (114 solo) with a sack, three fumble recoveries, an interception and three passes defensed.

"I’ve been put in a good situation," said Kuechly, who was the No. 9 overall draft pick. "There’s a lot of guys in my linebacker room that have been very helpful this year. When you got older guys around you that are willing to help, it makes the transition a lot easier.

"The biggest difference is the speed of the game. That’s one of them. The thing that kind of goes unnoticed is how much more mental it is. There’s more meetings. There’s a lot more going on mentally, schemes are different, games are more intense. From the mental aspect, there’s a little bit more of a load."

Kuechly was moved from weakside linebacker to the middle in Week 5 with an injury to Jon Beason. The Panthers, and Kuechly, have not looked back as the Panthers have ranked fifth in total defense since the switch was made, and the rookie has had double-digit tackles in his 10 games at MLB, including 18 against Dallas on Oct. 21 and 19 against Atlanta on Dec. 9.

Goodson, meanwhile, is the Raiders' change-of-pace back to starter Darren McFadden and has shown to be a better fit in the zone-blocking scheme, at times. Plus, Goodson will have more to contend with than Kuechly. The Raiders running back might to overcome emotions as he plays his first game against the franchise that traded him this past offseason for offensive lineman Bruce Campbell.

"In a way," said Goodson, who was stuck behind Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams on the Panthers' depth chart. "You play with a chip on your shoulder. I'm a competitor. I like to compete. But I want to beat everybody. I want to beat them just as bad as I want to beat anybody else.

"No pressure. Just go out, try to have a good game. More excited than pressure."

Goodson was presented a game ball by coach Dennis Allen for his exploits last week and Goodson is averaging 6.7 yards per carry, on 30 rushing attempts.

"I love it, I love the offense," Goodson said. "I think everybody jumped on us a little early, even on (offensive coordinator Greg) Knapp. When you get a new team, a new back, a new offense, it takes time to gel. You've got the linemen who have to gel with the backs, the backs who have to gel with the cuts. It all has to work together."

And all against a middle linebacker making a case to be the NFL's defensive rookie of the year.

Raiders' Sean Smith charged with assault


Raiders' Sean Smith charged with assault

Raiders cornerback Sean Smith has been charged with assault, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced on Thursday.

The charge is for assault of his sister's boyfriend in Smith's hometown of Pasadena. Smith allegedly beat and stomped the boyfriend's head on the morning of July 4, 2017 in Old Town Pasadena, the district attorney said.

Smith faces formal felony counts of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury to the victim.

A warrant was filed on Aug. 16. Smith's arriagnment is scheduled for Sept. 29. 

If convicted as charged, Smith could face a maximum sentence of seven years in California prison. 

A Raiders spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The case is still under investigation by the Pasadena Police Department. 

This is another blow in a rough summer for Smith. He has struggled on the practice field during training camp and faces an off-field legal issue. Smith is guaranteed $9.5 million for the 2017 season. 

More to come. 

After speaking with Marshawn Lynch, two things are crystal clear

After speaking with Marshawn Lynch, two things are crystal clear

NAPA – Marshawn Lynch spoke with the media Thursday for the second time as a Raider. He was quick-witted, disarming and, as always, not suitable for work.

It was five minutes of peak Marshawn, where he brought light to his charitable endeavors, called himself the “daddy” of his position group and cleverly sidestepped all things nation anthem.

He was asked four questions on other topics before elephant in the room was mentioned. It didn’t stick around long.

“I think the elephant left the room because a little mouse ran in here,” Lynch deadpanned. “Didn’t they say elephants are scared of mice or something? That [expletive] left the room, cousin.”

[RATTO: Lynch reminds media how much control he exerts over any interaction]

Two more related questions came down the pike. The first was about Del Rio letting players be themselves. He answered a different question instead.

“Yeah, because on ‘doctor-24,’ it’s a designed way that you’re supposed to run it but I have all freedom to go any way that I choose to run it,” Lynch said. “I would say, yes.”

The final anthem-esque query was deflected in a similar fashion.

“When we run ‘74’ or something like that, where I have to scan and read on both sides, that is pretty difficult. For the most part, I’m a veteran so I can make it work.”

Two things were crystal clear after speaking with Lynch.

He didn’t miss football one bit during his year in retirement. Lynch said this spring he decided to return after the Raiders were approved to relocate away from his native Oakland. He wants to represent his hometown well and give them something to cheer before the team leaves for Las Vegas.

That’s why he’s fired up even for Saturday’s exhibition against the Rams – he’s expected to make a cameo in that game – his first in Oakland wearing silver and black.

“It’s truly a blessing and just to have the opportunity to go and do that is a good [expletive] feeling,” Lynch said. “It’s a good [expletive] feeling.”

Lynch has always been active in the community, and hopes him playing here will bring more visibility to what’s being done to help kids in Oakland.

“I plan on continuing to do what I do in the community,” Lynch said. “It’ll probably be that now that I’m here, more people that are in the community might actually come out and support what it is that we’ve got going on.”