Raiders notes: More than a gut check


Raiders notes: More than a gut check

BALTIMORE -- The Raiders have given up a combined 97 points their last two games, having been embarrassed by the Baltimore Ravens, 55-20, on Sunday and losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 42-32, last week.Gut check time? This is more than that."At the end of the day," said defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, "you have to have some type of pride about you as a man. I ain't just going to keep letting somebody put their foot in my (behind). All you can do is look in the mirror."Kelly, it should be pointed out, has been down this road before. Many times before. His first six seasons were played in the midst of the Raiders' record seven straight with at least 11 losses. So why does what he say now carry more meaning?Maybe it doesn't. Because look who's on Oakland's schedule next."If we don't slow down New Orleans and Drew Brees," Kelly said, "this (stuff's) going to get real ugly."Yes, it can get worse.Especially if the Raiders continue to leave the middle of the field wide open. The Ravens' two tight ends, Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta, combined for seven catches for 126 yards and a touchdownin the first half.Said strong safety Tyvon Branch, when asked about the defense, or lack thereof: "Do I really have to talk to you about that?We made too many mental errors today.""It's like a dam right now," Kelly added. "You put your finger in one hole, and three or four more holes pop up. We've just got to get back in the lab."An oddity of the Raiders' blowout loss? They actually outgained the Ravens in total net yards, 422-419."That doesn't mean anything," said quarterback Carson Palmer. "We had too many big errors - an interception, fumbled snap and special teams breakdowns. They out-executed us in every phase of the game. At the end, I was just chucking the ball up there because their defensive backs were playing so deep."The Ravens are a good team with a great running back, and we knew this was going to be a tough challenge."For what it's worth, Palmer's 368 yards passing were his third-highest of the season -- all losses, though -- and he extended his franchise record of throwing for at least 200 yards to 15 games.Matt Leinart made his Raiders debut, replacing Palmer for the Raiders' final two series.Leinart threw an incompletion on his lone pass attempt, trying to hit Darrius Heyward-Bey, and endured a delay of game penalty. Other than that, Leinart handed the ball off five times to Jeremy Stewart.The 10 penalties the Raiders committed were the second-most of the season, as were the 105 penalty yards.Marcel Reece, the dynamic fullback-turned-tailback in the absence of Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson and an absence of trust in Taiwan Jones, was a workhorse against the Ravens with a career-high 20 touches.RELATED: Enigmatic RB Jones remains an afterthought
Reece carried the ball 13 times for a game-high 48 yards while catching a game-high seven passes for 56 yards.

Donald Penn yet to report as Raiders return home


Donald Penn yet to report as Raiders return home

ALAMEDA – Raiders left tackle Donald Penn missed training camp holding out for a new, more lucrative contract. He missed Tuesday’s practice, the first back at the team’s training facility.

His protest began 26 days ago. The regular season is 19 days away.

Penn has worked out with top trainers and private offensive line coaches while away from the team, but still needs time to get back in the flow.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday that Penn is expected back this week. He wasn’t there for the first of three sessions when the Raiders will focus on the third preseason game at Dallas. It’s the last meaningful exhibition, with players down on the depth chart expected to populate the preseason finale versus Seattle.

Penn doesn’t necessarily need to play in a preseason game to prep for the Sept. 10 regular-season opener at Tennessee, but it could help.

Head coach Jack Del Rio wouldn’t address Penn’s status, or whether there’s a deadline for him to report and be ready for the regular season.

The Raiders have managed with Marshall Newhouse on the left and Vadal Alexander on the right. The pair has fared well, though the line will be significantly stronger with Penn back and a Newhouse/Alexander competition on the right.

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie made it clear weeks ago that the Raiders wouldn’t talk contract until a player reports. Penn preferred a contract get done before showing up. Weeks were lost to that impasse.

Quarterback Derek Carr hopes it will end soon, and that Penn will come back to the team.

“It would obviously mean a lot, if that’s what he chooses to do,” Carr said. “He’s our teammate. We want all our teammates here. We want to work hard together. We want to be together and joke together. It’s more than just football. We want to be there in his life, with him.

"It would mean a lot. Obviously, I would love it.”

If McGregor beats Mayweather, Raiders may move to Dublin


If McGregor beats Mayweather, Raiders may move to Dublin

So Las Vegas’ army of legal books are in a moderate panic because they are so overexposed with Conor McGregor bets. Apparently, other than the Maloof brothers, they can’t scare up any Mayweather money at all.

Maybe this is the secret reason Mark Davis has declared publicly that the Raiders intend to colonize Los Angeles.

The latest evidence of the books’ distress is this Big Lead headline, which subtly hints, “Vegas Sportsbooks Are Exposed Like Never Before, Will Be Decimated if Conor McGregor Beats Floyd Mayweather.”

Well, if McGregor wins (and you’ll have to tell me about it because I’d rather watch feet sweat in the noonday sun than this), gambling in Vegas apparently will not exist any longer because the sporting apocalypse will finally be upon us. And if there is no gambling in Vegas, there is no Vegas, and all of a sudden the Raiders are moving to a town whose mayor is an iguana and whose chamber of commerce is tumbleweeds.

Hence, Davis’ answer to a question from Los Angeles Daily News writer Vincent Bonsignore about how L.A. has always been a Raiders’ town and that the team will get lots of its fans from the basin – fans who apparently cannot stomach either the Rams or the Chargers.

Ignoring Davis’ folly of answering that question that way at this time, when the NFL itself is wondering if, for its financial purposes, the mayor of L.A. is an iguana and the chamber of commerce is tumbleweeds, this news reminds us that the league has managed in less than two years to ruin the second-largest market in the United States by dithering, by backroom deals, by aversion of money spent by “the wrong kind of people” (see “brown”). That level of chaos is to be appreciated and enjoyed for what it is – nature’s way of telling rich people who’s boss.

Now, if nature doubles down and figures a way to make McGregor win and break Vegas, maybe the entire down isn’t destroyed but instead becomes a colony of Ireland, where the prime minister is not an iguana but a human, and the closest thing to tumbleweeds is a Guinness brewery.

Maybe if that happens, the Raiders end up playing in Dublin instead (a delightful little asterisk since there was a perfectly good Dublin not far from Oakland to begin with) – and they spend their entire time complaining that they have to share Croke Park and that there are too many markings on the field from all those damned hurling matches.

Of course this isn’t likely to happen, and Vegas keeps taking all the McGregor money you can throw at it. But one of these times, and sooner than we think, the apocalypse is not going to take no for an answer, and you will see Mark Davis with a pipe stuck bowl downward in his mouth standing next to a pot of gold.

Which of course will belong to the Bank Of America, because there are some things even the apocalypse can’t beat.