Raiders notes: Ford sets return record


Raiders notes: Ford sets return record

OAKLAND -- Jacoby Ford had an inkling he was going to break a long kickoff return against Cleveland.One hundred and one yards later, Ford had his franchise-record fourth return for a touchdown, giving the Raiders a lead they would not relinquish after the Browns tied the game at 7-7 early in the second quarter."Yeah, special teams had a good week of preparation this week and I also got to say that Rock Cartwright actually called that," Ford said. "He actually said it in practice, as soon as we got done running that exact return, he said, 'You're due to break one this week.'"According to Ford, who also had a 37-yard return, it was all about the blocking scheme employed by the Raiders.

"That blocking scheme is great and is definitely something that's hard to defend," Ford said. "And if they try to defend it, it's like there's another way to defeat it."Ford, who had been slowed by a strained right hamstring suffered in the season opener at Denver on Sept. 12, initially came out of the end zone to the left hashmark before bouncing out to the right sideline. He walked the tightrope down the stretch and the play was reviewed to see if he had stepped on the line. He did not."I didn't know how close I was when I first got to the sideline," he said, "but I knew I didn't step out when I started tight-roping."Making his debut -- Two days after his first and only practice with the Raiders, linebacker Aaron Curry started at weak-side linebacker.Curry, acquired from Seattle, had three tackles."I'm going to watch the tape, but I thought he was out there flying around, trying to make plays," coach Hue Jackson said of Curry. "As I told you when I traded for him, I traded for him for a reason, to stick him in there."And while Curry did not have a statement play, he said his defensive calls were not limited at all."I feel like this is a defense that allows me to utilize what I do best, which is run," Curry said. "They blitzed me one time but I think my best attribute is when the ball is snapped, who has the ball and go and get it and play smart."It's amazing. It's exactly what I saw on film. It's the same exact defense I saw on film. Nothing new, nothing surprising."Straight outta L.A. -- Rapperproducerdirector Ice Cube was at the game and held an impromptu press conference before the game.His 2010 documentary on the Raiders' years in Los Angeles and their influence on rap music was critically acclaimed. He was one of the last to be granted a one-on-one sit-down with the late Al Davis."Al, I don't know if he would condone this, but to me he's the original gangster," said Ice Cube. "He did it his way. I call him the Frank Sinatra of football. He really showed that you could be yourself and you still could be the best. You dont have to conform to be the best. That's what I got from Al."That's what we took, that you could be yourself with your flaws and all that and still make it to the top. With NWA we took on that philosophy. We said, 'Yo, we're not going to conform. We're just going to be ourselves and we're still going to win with it.' That's still the Raiders' philosophy."Ice Cube said the passing of Davis shook him. "It was a shock ... really unbelievable," Ice Cube said. "You always know that some days your heroes are not going to be with you but you never expect to wake up in the morning and not have him. When I heard that Al was gone, it's like youre losing an era. You're not just losing a person. Youre losing an era."You're losing, to me, one of the best football minds that we've ever seen. Without Al Davis, we've got three yards and a cloud of dust out here and that's it. With Al you've got the bomb, you've got speed, you've got the passing game. Al brought all that into our league. It's a sad day. He'll definitely be remembered."

Raiders offensive lineman next in line for extension with Carr's deal done

Raiders offensive lineman next in line for extension with Carr's deal done

The Raiders locked up Derek Carr last week, signing their franchise quarterback to a five-year, $125 million contract extension.

He isn’t the only member of the 2014 draft class worthy of a raise. Edge rusher Khalil Mack will get a big one, likely at some point next offseason. The Raiders have some time with Mack after exercising a fifth-year contract option available for first-round picks.

General manager Reggie McKenzie didn’t have that luxury with Carr, and his 2014 second-round pick cashed in before formally entering a contract year.

Right guard Gabe Jackson could do the exact same thing. McKenzie prefers to draft, develop and reward homegrown talent, and the 2014 third-round pick should be next in line to do so.

McKenzie has said back in March that he’d like to extend Jackson’s contract, though there isn’t a deadline to do so.

“There’s no timetable,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “But, I alluded to earlier in the offseason that Gabe is one of the guys I want to get locked up.”

That could happen later this offseason, or further into training camp. Despite paying Carr an NFL-record $25 million in 2017, his contract is structured in such a way that there’s room for another offseason extension. That was important for Carr, that the Raiders can sign other members of this young core.

“We figured out a way to do it,” Carr said, “so that we have the opportunity to sign the other guys that I think are important to this organization.”

The Raiders have roughly $18 million in salary cap space after the Carr deal. Some of that is earmarked for the team’s top three draft picks, which remain unsigned to this point. A large sum could go to Jackson as incentive to sign up early, well before he’s eligible to hit the unrestricted free agency.

The offensive guard market is booming, with bigger deals going to a position group generally lower than other spots on the offensive line. The Raiders contributed to that inflation in 2016, signing left guard Kelechi Osemele to a five-year, $58.5 deal with $25.4 million in guarantees.

Osemele is one of eight guards with contracts worth $40 million or more, a list that includes two right guards. Jackson played left guard – the more valued position – until Osemele showed up. He moved to the right without complaint.

Jackson thrived there as well. He didn’t allow a sack in 2016, according to analytics site Pro Football Focus, with 27 quarterback pressures in 735 pass-blocking snaps. Jackson has been a strong run blocker as a pro, where he has started 44 games in three NFL seasons.

Finding proper value to entice Jackson to sign while remaining on budget is McKenzie’s next task, trying to keep a valuable offensive lineman in place for years to come.

Carr plans to spread new wealth after Raiders contract extension

Carr plans to spread new wealth after Raiders contract extension

ALAMEDA – Derek Carr isn’t one for extravagance. The low-key Raiders quarterback already has some nice cars, a house and some luxury items to his name, but signing a $125 million contract extension Friday morning won't prompt a spending spree.

Cornerback Sean Smith suggested he get a Bugatti. That’s a $1 million car.

“Yeah,” Carr said with a smirk. “That’s not going to happen.”

That isn’t the 26-year old’s style. Carr had a his own plan after signing on the dotted line.

“I’ve been eating clean,” Carr said. “I’ll probably get Chick-fil-A.”

That makes sense. This is a guy who celebrated his first NFL victory with a trip through a Carl’s Jr. drive-in.

There will be other purchases. His wife Heather will get something nice in the near future. His family, especially Heather and sons Dallas and Deker, will be taken care of for life.

After all that, Carr plans to spread the wealth.

“The exciting thing for me moneywise, honestly, is this money is going to help a lot of people,” Carr said. “I’m very thankful to have it, that it’s in our hands because it’s going to help people. Not only in this country, but in a lot of countries around the world. That’s what’s exciting to me.”

Carr and former Raiders running back Latavius Murray took a missionary trip to Haiti, an impoverished nation had a profound impact on the star quarterback.

“I’ve been down to Haiti and I’ve seen some of those struggles that they have and the kids there, and my heart just… I cry sometimes thinking about it,” Carr said. “So, just knowing that we can go down there and make a difference and help, those are the kind of things that the money makes me kind of like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ Because now we can really do some things to help a lot of people.”

He plans to support those in that area, in addition to global and domestic charities he has been involved with over the years. Don’t expect a press release accompanying every donation. Carr would rather keep those decisions private.

“I’m going to do my best to make sure no one knows what we do with it,” Carr said. “I’ll just say this, I can assure you that it’s going to help a lot of people. I’m not stingy. My business manager will probably be on me saying, ‘Hey man, that’s enough.’ I won’t get into when, how or why. It’s not all about that for me. It’s about making a difference. That’s what’s exciting for me is that we’ll be able to do that.”