Raiders notes: A tale of two halves


Raiders notes: A tale of two halves

CINCINNATI -- The Raiders were a totally different team after halftime Sunday, one that played with an attitude sorely missing in the first half Sunday.The result? Oakland had its best third quarter of the season in pitching a 10-0 shutout in the stanza. A halftime meeting led by quarterback Carson Palmer seemed to focus the players and harness their frustrations with each other.The Bengals offense was limited to four three-and-outs in the third quarter."I think it's O.K. to play with anger," said Raiders rookie coach Dennis Allen. "But we've got to play with poise and composureticked off after halftime and the way the defense responded, I thought was good."Not so good, though, was the melee that marred the game after Lamarr Houston threw down Andy Dalton in the eventual 34-10 Bengals victory.
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The Raiders ended Bengals receiver A.J. Green's streak of catching a touchdown pass at nine straight games. Still, Green did have 111 yards receiving on three catches."(Their) gameplan was to try and stop me," Green said, "and Jay (Gruden, offensive coordinator) was trying to get me some touches, definitely. I just made the play when the ball came to my side."Said Dalton: "They were doing the same thing the whole time with certain formations, certain things. We felt like we liked the matchups that we had. For most of the game, they tried to put two guys over A.J. and tried to take him out of it. It opened up the running game. We were able to drive down and make some big plays in the run game."Indeed, BenJarvus Green-Ellis finished with 129 yards rushing on 19 carries, and had the two longest runs of his five-year career in the game, a 48-yarder in the first quarter and a 39-yarder in the third quarter.For the first time in franchise history, the Raiders have lost three straight games by at least 21 points.The Raiders' 218 yards of total offense was a season low.Bengals defensive tackle Domata Peko, a teammate for five years of Palmer's, on Cincinnati's gameplan: "We knew when he has people in his face, he tends to overthrow balls and whatnotit was wild out there."Bengals assistant Hue Jackson spoke to Cincinnati media after the game about facing his former team."I can look at it in my own mind and maybe feel it was (special) because I know those players and I've been in that organization with Coach (Al) Davis and the rest of the players and his son Mark," Jackson said. "But at the end of the day it was just another football game, a game we needed to win, and I think our guys did a great job."Jackson, remember, orchestrated the trade for Palmer on Oct. 18, 2011 for what turned out to be a first-round and second-round draft pick."I have a lot of respect for Carson," Jackson said. "Carson's a tremendous football player, and that's never going to change as far as I'm concerned. I wish him luck. I wanted to make sure him and his family are doing well, and I'm sure we'll run into each other somewhere down the line."Some pretty ugly numbers from the Raiders receivers -- Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore were each targeted four times and the only catch either of them had was Moore's 20-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Rookie Juron Criner, meanwhile, had three receptions -- he was targeted five times -- for 23 yards.Marcel Reece rushed for 74 yards on 15 carries while rookie Jeremy Stewart had 26 yards on seven attempts.And from Elias and ESPN: the 169 points the Raiders have surrendered over their last four games is the second-highest four-game total in the NFL since the 1970 merger, behind only the 2004 Tennessee Titans, who gave up 177 points in a four-game stretch.

Del Rio: Raiders 'have some real diehards,' should keep homefield advantage in Oakland


Del Rio: Raiders 'have some real diehards,' should keep homefield advantage in Oakland

PHOENIX – Jack Del Rio is an East Bay guy. The Castro Valley native and Hayward High product went to Raiders games as a child, and knows too well how loud Oakland Coliseum crowds can be. He helped create that home-field advantage decades ago, and appreciates it now as Raiders head coach.

The Black Hole and surrounding supporters were felt in losing seasons but last year especially, when the Raiders went 12-4 and won several games in dramatic fashion.

While the Raiders are currently sold out of season tickets for 2017, there’s some question about how the fans will react after owners approved relocation to Las Vegas on Monday morning. The Raiders plan to play in Oakland the next two seasons – they have team options on the Oakland Coliseum for 2017 and 2018 -- and would like to play there again in 2019 until a Vegas stadium is completed in 2020.

Will there be a bunch of empty seats? Will there be protests outside the stadium? Or will the opportunity to see a team with championship aspirations keep fans coming?

That remains uncertain, though Del Rio believes Raiders fans will continue supporting their club.

“I can’t answer that definitively, but I would say I doubt it,” Del Rio said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. “I think we have to play well and earn it. That’s where it starts. I’m banking on us doing well. If we do well enough, people will be excited to watch us."

Raiders owner Mark Davis has offered refunds to fans jilted by the move out of town, though those requests weren’t immediately high. There’s also a waiting list to buy season tickets if they become available.

There will be fans turned off after all this, and Raiders brass don’t fault them for it.

“There is that element where a certain number where they’re disappointed to the point they won’t support us anymore. That’s understandable,” Del Rio said. “We’ll have to see what that number is. If it’s a lot, we’ll adjust that line of thinking. But I would be surprised if that’s the case.”

Raiders fans are unique, and have shown a willingness to travel for games regardless of record.

“We have some real diehards,” Del Rio said. “We draw globally. I’m sure there will be some who are angry and can’t get over it; that’s understandable. I think there will be a large contingent who are true Raiders fans, and it really doesn’t matter where they’re playing. They’re there and they’re fired up.”

Del Rio: No handbook for transition to Vegas, 'focus on the here and now'

Del Rio: No handbook for transition to Vegas, 'focus on the here and now'

PHOENIX -- Jack Del Rio’s sat down for his annual media breakfast Tuesday morning surrounded by cameras. The Raiders head coach was the main attraction at this AFC function at the NFL owners meetings, and it wasn’t because his team finished 12-4 last year.

Most of this media throng wasn’t there to ask about Derek Carr’s rehab from fibula surgery or position battles waged during the offseason program.

They wanted to know about Vegas, baby, Vegas.

The Raiders were approved to relocate there Monday and he was asked about how he’ll deal with relocation issues despite the fact Del Rio will coach the Oakland Raiders for as many as three seasons.

That limbo length is unprecedented, leaving Del Rio without a road map for how to ease concerns about the future.

“It’s a little unique,” Del Rio said. “There isn’t a handbook out there. If there is, send it to me. There isn’t one out there. We’ll draw on the experiences we have in the group, and do the best we can to put a plan together and execute it.”

Del Rio said he’ll address relocation with his players once they convene for the offseason program, and try to keep them focused on the present. He recommends discussion with anxious family members as well, and to reiterate that there’s an extended stretch where relocation is only a concept.

“If you go back to this basic principle: It’s a year-to-year league,” Del Rio said. “Heck, it’s a week-to-week league. Don’t get too far ahead of yourselves. There is a story that’s going to be written that’s going to take off.

“We have to focus on the here and now. So much of the team turns over anyway, from the coaching staffs to the roster. Let’s just focus on taking care of business.”

Del Rio brought up a good point, that NFL rosters turnover at roughly 30 percent each year and coaching staffs fluctuate, so it’s possible many may never be a Raider playing in Vegas.

Del Rio anticipates being involved in the construction and amenities of a practice facility in the Las Vegas area at some point, though a location hasn’t been chosen yet. He said the Raiders have had discussions on how to help players and staff with the eventual transition and with player outreach to mitigate issues regarding readily available vices in Sin City.

Del Rio said he would ask Raiders alumni about the move to Los Angeles in the 1980s, and use their experience to help in this upcoming move.

He answered every question on this topic Tuesday morning, but hopes to move on from it when the offseason program begins next month.

“For us, it’s really about getting back to the task of the upcoming season,” Del Rio said. “We know we’re going to have nine games not on our home turf. We have a demanding schedule, and it’s going to be imperative that, as a football team, we focus on the here and now. … We had a good, strong year last year and we’re looking forward to building on that.”

Las Vegas will remain a topic moving forward, and Del Rio will be prepared to deal with the unexpected as he sails uncharted waters.

“(After this), maybe I can write a handbook I can pass out to the next team in this spot,” Del Rio said. “For me, it’s something you have to navigate. You have to appreciate some of the things that are coming, know what they are and address them.”