ALAMEDA -- You could say the Raiders have been relatively fast-starters this season.You could not say the same about closing out games. Especially of late.Consider: Oakland has not scored in the fourth quarter since Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 42-yard field goal with 10 minutes to play in Houston on Oct. 9. The Raiders have not scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter since Jason Campbell hit Chaz Schilens with an 18-yard pass 10 seconds into that period against the Texans.Carson Palmer, who was still more than a week away from joining the Raiders, raised his eyebrows when told of the fourth-quarter scoring drought."Wow, I didn't know that," Palmer said Thursday. "We've got to get that fixed this week. That's a stat I wasn't aware of."But as we go on and the better and better opponents we play, you've got to be able to score in the fourth quarter, so that's something we need to work on and something we need to fix."Interestingly enough, the Raiders have won three of five in that stretch, including the Houston game."Been lucky, yeah," Palmer added. "We've got to find a way to finish, and we'll do that."In the four games since, against Cleveland, Kansas City, Denver and Kansas City, the Raiders have scored cumulative totals of 17 points in the first quarter, 31 points in the second quarter, 24 points in the third and, of course, offered up nothing but goose eggs in the fourth. The Raiders have been outscored by a combined 31-0 in the fourth quarter of their last four games.So is it a scheme thing? A play-calling thing? A conditioning thing?"I can't put my finger on it," said coach Hue Jackson, the Raiders' playcaller. "I just know it's something I have to get fixed. I have to make sure that we find a way to get in this end zone in the fourth quarter. We haven't. We have to do a better job."We've been down there, but for some reason, whether it's turnovers or penalties or whatever it's been, we haven't been able to close it out with a score. We haven't harped on it but I know that that's true, I understand that, and that's something that I have in the back of my mind, that we have to make sure we do a better job of closing out in the fourth quarter of games scoring points."Still, it must be troubling then?"No it's not a troubling thing because we won a week ago, we won some of those games, so it's not troubling, but it's become a trend that we don't want to have happen," Jackson said. "You have to make sure you're paying attention to it because that's what we need to do. It seems like we get stuck on the 24(-yard line) a lot, I know that. So we have to get off the 24 and get more points."Then again, the Raiders could have kicked a 22-yard field goal with less than five minutes to play against the Browns, rather then going for it, and not making it, on 4th and 1."It's real strange," rookie receiver Denarius Moore said about the Raiders' fourth-quarter drought."I know it's something I'm going to take to heart right now and actually think about it and then ask the offense if we've thought about it. But that's something we really got to hone into and focus in on."Entering the Houston game, the Raiders had scored a combined 37 points in the fourth quarter against Denver, Buffalo, the New York Jets and New England."There's no doubt that we actually are producing on offense, but if you really look at it, it's something that you really got to think about," Moore added. "I mean, it's really on my mind right now that we didn't score in the fourth quarter. So I'm pretty sure that we're going to focus in on that and try to score in the fourth quarter."
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.”
ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr signed a five-year contract extension Friday morning that will pay him $25 million in 2017 and $125 million over the life of the deal.
That’s a lot of scratch. Could’ve been more.
Carr received life-changing money. He didn’t want to handcuff the Raiders front office in the process.
“I just wanted to be a Raider,” Carr said Friday in a press conference. “It’s more than just a team to me. It’s family. The way it went down, it was easy. Both sides wanted it to get done, and it was about family members figuring out to get along. We figured out a way to do it so that we have the opportunity to sign other guys who are important to this organization. That was really important to me, not to just take every single dime that we could”
That list is long but it starts with homegrown talents Gabe Jackson and Khalil Mack. Jackson is up next, and could get locked up before the regular season starts. The Raiders have some time on Mack – his contract doesn’t expire until after 2018 – and Amari Cooper should be a keeper on down the road.
“The bottom line is we’re able to continue to move forward with it, keep all the players that we need to keep in the correct timing,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “This affords us to do that. We’re going to start on that ASAP.”
Carr got the deal he wanted. The 26-year old found market value and upped the ante for NFL quarterbacks a smidge while deferring some cash payouts – his big-time bonuses are broken up over two years -- to create windows of financial flexibility to sign other players. Carr’s percentage of the salary cap should decrease over time and won’t become an insurmountable burden to his employers. His deal won’t prevent the Raiders from keeping Jackson, Mack, Amari Cooper in time, or other vital veterans in house.
With Carr locked up, the McKenzie can work deals and the timing of them around his centerpiece.
Carr understands the NFL business and his role in the market, but he wants to maintain a competitive window as best he can and understands other guys will draw huge paychecks in the near future.
He’s scheduled to draw the NFL’s largest sum next season. A record $25 million is headed his way, though that total will decrease a bit in time and will certainly he surpassed by Matthew Stafford and possibly Kirk Cousins in the near future.
“I don’t care if they all do. We got our contract done, that’s all that matters to me,” Carr said. “The other thing that was important to me is that we didn’t worry about what other people were going to do or doing. I just wanted to get mine done and make sure that the team had, again like we talked about, flexibility to make sure my friends stay around.”
Carr was intimately involved in the negotiation process. Both sides said it was easy, wrapped up well before Carr’s training-camp contract deadline. Common ground was found in short shrift once talks warmed up – preliminary talks started months ago -- and a deal was ironed out that produced smiles on both sides once the deal was formally done.
Even after taking a relatively soft-line stance on dollars and the timing of payments – Carr could’ve been difficult all year and eventually forced a franchise tag – he’s still the league’s highest-paid player. His salary will now be compared with his stats. He was a second-round draft steal before. Now he’s a big-money player. In short, expectations will rise.
Carr insists it won’t add pressure to next year’s proceedings.
“You could give me a dollar, you could give me $25 million, it doesn’t matter,” Carr said. “To me, my No. 1 goal is to make sure that I give everything that I have to this organization. There’s no pressure. There’s no we’ll be on the 1-yard line and I won’t give it to Marshawn (Lynch), I’ll throw it. None of that stuff. I don’t care about the stats. That’s not my No. 1 objective. I don’t care if I throw 10 touchdowns next year. If we win every game, that’s all I care about.”