ALAMEDA -- After being see on more than one occasion jogging after a play in the Raiders' 37-6 loss at Denver on Sunday, Raiders middle linebacker Rolando McClain has become the focus of many fans' ire.Truth be told, McClain's left ankle was heavily taped. But a purported lack of hustle is what has fans up in arms lately.So I asked defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, not to single out one specific player, but if hustling was something he had to address with the team."We need 11 guys to run to the ball on every play," said the usually more-talkative Tarver.Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp said the Raiders "made strides" in the run game against Denver last weekend. So where, exactly?"More consistency on the schemes as far as the run assignments go, with the guys up front," Knapp said. "Obviously, the communication got better with (center Stefen Wisniewski) and our right tackle (Willie Smith), who were new to the system. So, we saw more consistency on the right assignments in each run game, and thats why we had more consistency in the four- to five-yard runs. We just didnt get a breakout run."Quarterback Carson Palmer, on how the Raiders will handle four off days with the bye: "You can say, screw it, Im going to Vegas and party for four days. (But) thats not what this team is about. Most of these guys are sticking around, are going to come in and work out. A couple of guys are going to see family, but guys are taking stuff home, guys are taking playbooks home."Guys understand we've got a lot of football left and it's not time just to relax, it's time to get healthy but continue to work, to work out and stay in shape and be ready to go on Monday."
Raiders general Reggie McKenzie plans to extend quarterback Derek Carr’s contract this offseason. That isn’t a new thing, something that has been in the works for some time. He re-affirmed that fact last week, citing his team’s commitment to work out a long-term deal likely the biggest in franchise history.
Carr was reportedly frustrated with the pace of contract talks after the NFL draft – they’re supposed to heat up this spring and summer – but said he believes a deal will get worked out before training camp begins.
That’s his deadline for an offseason deal, the point where he wants focus honed on football.
“I have an agent who is in charge of that and I am confident that he and Mr. (Reggie) McKenzie will work it out,” Carr, a Fresno State alum, told the Fresno Bee. “I am only focused on becoming a better football player and helping my teammates become better players.
“I have complete faith it will get done before training camp. These things take time. The Raiders know I want to be here; this is my family, and I know they want me to be their quarterback.”
The sides have discussed parameters of a long-term deal, with greater specifics to be ironed out in the future. Carr has long said he wants to be a Raider his entire career. The Raiders want him as the public face of their franchise. A new deal is expected by all parties, a sentiment that has never wavered on either side.
Carr is scheduled to make a $977,519 in base salary in 2017, the final year of his rookie contract.
The Raiders offseason program is five weeks old. Players have lifted weights. They’ve improved cardiovascular shape. They’ve done drills in position groups and discussed schematics. They’ve added rookies to a group now 90 strong.
On Monday, they can finally put on helmets. They still can’t wear pads or have full contact, but the Raiders can play 11-on-11. Receivers will be covered. Quarterback Derek Carr will throw into traffic. Generally speaking, the competition cranks up a bit.
The NFL collective bargaining agreement has strict mandates regarding offseason activity, and a period formally called “Phase III” allows for more realistic on-field football work.
The Raiders will conduct 10 OTA sessions over the next three weeks. The media can watch three of them. Tuesday is the first, with another in each of the next two weeks. These sessions are technically voluntary, though the Raiders generally hover around perfect attendance. Head coach Jack Del Rio prefers his team be unified in the offseason. Players know it and show up.
There is a mandatory minicamp from June 13-15 which wraps the offseason program and starts a quiet period that extends until training camp begins in late July.
These OTAs offer an opportunity for new players to learn the system, for adjustments to be made and for chemistry to be built heading into a 2017 season where expectations are high.