Raiders

Raiders make forward progress in Allen's first win

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Raiders make forward progress in Allen's first win

BOX SCORE

It took one play for the Oakland Raiders to be doomed Denarius Moore to slip on a route and Carson Palmer to hit Pittsburghs Ryan Clark directly in the chest. At that moment, the Coliseum audience, and the nation as a whole, knew this was one more Raider game about to be inflicted upon a weary nation.Four hours later, Dennis Allen walked out of his office, a suit, a tie, and a perceptible smile leading him into a happier night. A night that frankly he and the New Boys needed very very badly.We felt like we were the only ones who really believed we could win, Palmer said later, basking in his own way in the glow of Oaklands 34-31 win over Pittsburgh. We felt like wed already been written off.And he was right. They had been. And based on all the available evidence from all the placed where evidence can be gathered, they should have been. They are the Raiders, and no good comes of that.Except that they are members of the National Football League, where the difference between yes and no, right and wrong, mirth and misery becomes increasingly narrow. They beat the Steelers because the Steelers arent the Steelers of old, true, but they beat the Steelers because they are just learning how not to be the Raiders of old, either.They fought off two 10-point deficits in the second half. They scored each of the last five times they had the ball. They kept a purportedly superior team from scoring for the entire fourth quarter. They committed only three penalties, their lowest number in 30 games, and none of them game-changing. And they overcame the temptation to lose heart and focus after Darrius Heyward-Bey was carted off the field with what provide to be a concussion.Not only that, Palmer, their overly maligned quarterback, showed himself in the best possible light, especially once the Raiders went to a no-huddle offense. Darren McFadden validated the much loathed zone blocking scheme by breaking out a 64-yard touchdown run the first time he touched the ball. The defense forced two second-half fumbles to stop the Steelers seemingly relentless momentum.And in the end, Dennis Allen won the right to stand up in front of his team and say, straight-faced and with facts to back it up, Trust us, guys. We know what were doing.Say what you will, but that matters. This is a franchise that has known only coaching chaos since Jon Gruden left more than a decade ago, and front office shambles through the last decade of Al Davis stewardship. Players, fans, media and just plain disinterested observers had come to believe the worst in this team, and this team had rarely disabused them of the notion.And lets be frank, the woods have not yet revealed the spacious green lawns behind them yet. This was one game, played well by a team that started so skittishly. This was not the proof of the brand new day.But it was, and this is just as important for the moment, the first time the AllenReggie McKenzie regime could say that the job was not too big for them, that they know what they want and have a firm idea of how to get it.Palmer being the master of his huddle was a start. McFadden breaking out was a start. A team that didnt give in to Heyward-Beys loss or the circumstances surrounding it (a helmet-to-helmet blow from Ryan Mundy that wasnt flagged). A team that kept its composure and a grasp of the rules that neither the Steelers nor the officiating crew could approached, let alone match.It was all a start. There will have to be more, obviously, and a league with three unbeaten teams and two winless teams means that there is much more chaos to come.But these Raiders are no longer going in blind. They have something more than faith, hope, or wishful thinking, to speed them on their way to work Monday. Thats what Sunday meant. Its not the beginning of the end, or even the end of the beginning, to steal from Winston Churchill. But its a light bulb that may lead eventually to the end of a very long, damp, dark and cold tunnel.

Marshawn Lynch should address why he sat for national anthem

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USATI

Marshawn Lynch should address why he sat for national anthem

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.”

Raiders TE Cook 'proud' of Marshawn, but will he join the RB?

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AP

Raiders TE Cook 'proud' of Marshawn, but will he join the RB?

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.”