Raiders

Raiders suspend McClain

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Raiders suspend McClain

As suspected, the Raiders have suspended middle linebacker Rolando McClain two games for "conduct detrimental to the team," the team announced in a release Friday morning, rather than cut him.The longest the team can suspend a player without pay is four weeks. The Raiders have five games remaining on their schedule.With a CBSSportsline report saying a "heated" discussion between McClain and coach Dennis Allen ended with the player being sent off the practice field on Wednesday, Allen said Thursday, "Theres going to be consequences to his actions and its a team-related issue."Allen would not elaborate further.But this much is already out there: after allegedly being kicked out of practice, McClain purportedly took to his Facebook page."Officially no longer an Oakland Raider!!" he wrote, before adding, "Well technically I am. But I'm mentally done. Just waiting on my papers."Later: "It's out of my hands right now." Then, "I'm gonna weigh my options. Looking forward to playing for an actual 'team.'" His final post: "I'd like to be anywhere besides here."McClain, the disappointing No. 8 overall pick of the 2010 draft out of Alabama, probably gets his wish as he's most likely played his final game with the Raiders, because cutting him would actually be rewarding him, in a sense.The middle linebacker, who played inside in a 3-4 alignment in college, is still owed a prorated 285,294.12 of his 970,000 base salary for 2012. Simply cutting him would keep the Raiders on the hook for that money, and McClain would be free to sign elsewhere and double-dip paycheck-wise while being allowed to share his knowledge of the Raiders' schemes.
RELATED: Rolando McClain career stats 2012 game logs
Still, McClain has struggled mightily this season, being taken off the field in nickel packages after Week 4 this season and losing the "green sticker" on his helmet and thus, no longer being the playcaller on defense. In his career, McClain has 6 12 sacks, one interception, on forced fumble and no fumble recoveries in 41 games.Plus, it was one year ago today when McClain was arrested for, and later convicted of, charges of third-degree assault, menacing, discharging a handgun in city limits and reckless endangerment and was sentenced to six months in jail and slapped with a 2,000 fine. Former coach Hue Jackson allowed him to play the following weekend in Miami.Since then, the Raiders are 4-12.Earlier this month, after he appealed, the charges were dropped."I'm aware of the bad publicity that I've given the Raiders," McClain said in a statement to reporters back in May. "After talking to Coach (Dennis) Allen, I have the support of the Raiders, my teammates, as well as the coaching staff. I apologize for the bad publicity that's been put out there. But it is a legal process and I can't talk much about it, but I think in due time the Raiders and the Raiders fans that are out there will see it all come to an end. It is what it is; I can't really talk much about it but it will be resolved in the near future."WIth a new regime in place at 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway, McClain was given a clean slate by incoming general manager Reggie McKenzie."Since we've been here, he's been great," McKenzie told a group of reporters in a roundtable session following the end of mandatory minicamp in June. "I'm not going to hold anything over his head about what he's done in the past. We're only concerned what he does from here on out."McClain is due to make 4.005 million in base salary in 2013 (with a salary cap number of 6.675 million), 5.805 million in 2014 (8.475 million cap number) and 2.665 million (5.085 million cap number) in 2015, all per his rookie contract.

Edwards Jr. emerges from Arizona unfazed: 'Pushed that under the rug'

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USATI

Edwards Jr. emerges from Arizona unfazed: 'Pushed that under the rug'

NAPA -- Mario Edwards Jr.’s second season went south in a hurry. The Raiders defensive lineman suffered a hip injury in the 2016 preseason opener that kept him out 14 games and prevented progress after a solid rookie year.

He walked into University of Phoenix Stadium so full of hope, so ready to become a impact player on the inside. He left on crutches, with disappointment etched on his face. Edwards Jr. played thrice in 2016, but never made a real impact.

He’s expected to make one in Year 3. Edwards Jr. is back to full health, without restrictions of any kind. He’s been that way a while now, completely recovered from a hip injury that took forever to heal. He passed standard injury milestones required to overcome a major injury. He regained great shape. He tested the joint several times, and was confident it would provide explosiveness and withstand jarring hits.

One last mental hurdle was cleared Saturday night, when he returned to the crime scene. The Raiders opened this preseason against Arizona, at University of Phoenix Stadium, on the anniversary of his injury.

Flashbacks were unavoidable.

“I definitely thought about it,” he said.

It didn’t consume him. Edwards was played 22 productive snaps and emerged no worse for the wear. That, above all else, was the important thing.

“Going back to where it happened and completing the game, that was important,” Edwards said. “I thank God that I walked off the field the same way I came on it. That boosted my confidence and showed it can hold up. I was happy with that, and happy to have come out of everything just fine.”

Edwards has dealt with significant injuries throughout his career. He had a neck issue late in his rookie year, and a hip problem that stole his 2016 campaign. Edwards is thrilled to say those issues are behind him now.

“I’ve pushed that under the rug,” he said. ”I’m completely done with it. Now I’m focused on moving forward and playing faster.”

There’s no doubt the Raiders are better with Edwards on the line. General manager Reggie McKenzie said so this offseason. Edwards is a versatile, powerful, athletic player capable of playing most every technique from inside out. He played everywhere as a rookie, from stand-up edge rusher to nose tackle.

He’ll be a roving chess piece again this year, Edwards should play end in the base defense, often with Bruce Irvin on his flank. He’ll slide inside to provide a pass rush in a sub packages. Good push from Edwards, Denico Autry, Jihad Ward and Eddie Vanderdoes is vital, especially after struggling to create pressure in years past. Head coach Jack Del Rio said last season’s effort wasn’t good enough. His players heard that, and are hell-bent on showing better.

“We take what people said about last year’s interior push as a challenge,” Edwards said. “We know we’ll be better, and we’re out to prove that the Raiders interior defensive is pretty good.”

Practice report: Conley locking in mentally while rehabbing injury

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AP

Practice report: Conley locking in mentally while rehabbing injury

NAPA – Gareon Conley ran Sunday for the first time in two months. The Raiders first-round cornerback remains on the physically unable to perform list with a shin injury originally suffered during a June minicamp. He wants to get back on the field. He just isn’t ready yet.

Missing training camp certainly sets back a dynamic cover man, but it doesn’t mean Conley can’t make an instant impact. While he hasn’t been seen on the practice field, the Raiders have been encouraged that Conley’s proving a quick learner and an inquisitive mind.

“We’d love to have him out there right now,” Raiders assistant head coach – defense John Pagano said. “When he’s out there, he’ll be out there. Until then, I think he got the reps he needed in OTAs. His mental game has picked up tremendously. He’s always asking questions, even more. It’s hard for a lot of injured players in this league to stand there on the sidelines and be able to just watch and look out there, but he’s always asking. He’s getting those mental reps.

"When he’s able to come back, he’ll be at a fast level. Injuries are part of the game, you deal with it and you just have to make sure, as a rookie, you’re taking those mental reps.”

Conley has been on the practice field with his position group most days, with a play sheet in hand to follow along. He has also lifted weights the past two days and worked on the JUGS machine Wednesday.

Nearly a month remains until the regular season starts, leaving Conley time to get back in the mix.

QUICK SLANTS

-- Cornerback Sean Smith took some reps with the first unit on Wednesday, though most of them came as an outside corner in the nickel package. TJ Carrie slid inside in those instances, and generally remained outside in the base defense.

Smith had his second straight quality practice, a sign he might be rebounding after a rough week where he practiced with the second unit and didn’t fare well at Arizona. The Raiders hope he can build on good work and be steadier in coverage.

“I think he’s growing every day,” Pagano said. “There’s always highs and lows in this game. You don’t want to make it, as we term, inconsistent. We’re always looking for the consistency. It’s how you build. It’s how you learn. It’s how you come off those things. There’s always room for improvement in the backend, in the front, all across our defense. There’s guys we’re asking them to go out there and make plays. Has he been improving at practice? Yeah. Then our job is to take that practice stuff and take it to the game field and have that consistency and that carry over to those types of games.”

-- Offensive line coach Mike Tice praised Ian Silberman’s play in a position switch to center. He has seen extensive reps there in camp, including a massive amount in the preseason opener at Arizona. Silberman will play some left guard in coming weeks to establish versatility and give him a shot to make the team.

-- Undrafted rookie Nicholas Morrow played with the first unit in sub packages, as the Raiders continue searching for coverage options in those personnel groups.

-- Jon Feliciano worked with the first unit on Wednesday at left guard. He will be a primary backup at every interior line spot. He is working back from a knee injury that kept him out until last week.