NAPA -- It's at the most basic level of the game and yet, the Raiders spent much of training camp working on perfecting the art of tackling.Yes, it's all about desire, but there's technique involved as well, obviously."As a coach you want to help players get better, so you want to put them in positions, No. 1, where they're not going to hurt themselves, and this is from teaching little kids to NFL players -- you've got to teach them how to tackle," said first-year defensive coordinator Jason Tarver. "You've got to teach them to keep their hips down and their eyes up and their feet moving and the correct leverage and know where their help is. So we drill it...we emphasize it in the team period. We talk about, for example, if you and I are going to make a tackle and I'm on the outside of you, I'd say, Outside, outside, outside."That lets those players know that I'm on his outside. Those little things and knowing where your help is, makes you a better team, makes you a better tackling team. And then, the body position. So knowing where your help is, and the body position on contact are things we've emphasized since Day 1. And you can do that without pads on."Strong safety Mike Mitchell came into the NFL with a reputation as a hard hitter and has taken Tarver's lessons to heart, calling him a "baby genius" earlier in camp."Tackling is a mentality," Mitchell said. "I remember a long time ago, a defensive coordinator I had in college was telling us about Vince Lombardi, and he said, 'Imagine that someone just took everything that you had...and you had to get it back. Thats tackling.'"Its more of a mentality and a desire to want to tackle. We can practice it as much as you want, but theres that moment in the game, and the guys got the ball, you got to have that intent and desire to get him down. Were all professionals, too, Ive been playing since I was six, but you know how to tackle, you know how to tackle."One of the bigger criticisms of middle linebacker Rolando McClain through his first two seasons in the NFL was his tackling, or lack thereof.Against Dallas in each team's exhibition opener on Aug. 13, McClain blasted Cowboys tight end Jason Witten hard enough to lacerate his spleen. But he did not tackle him, per se."As he was coming off the field, I said that was a great job on a bootleg, like we've been working all camp, now wrap him up," Tarver said, recalling his brief conversation with McClain. "That's exactly what I told him."And that's exactly what Tarver preached to his defense all camp.
Raiders cornerback Sean Smith has been charged with assault, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced on Thursday.
The charge is for assault of his sister's boyfriend in Smith's hometown of Pasadena. Smith allegedly beat and stomped the boyfriend's head on the morning of July 4, 2017 in Old Town Pasadena, the district attorney said.
Smith faces formal felony counts of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury to the victim.
The 30-year old plans to fight the charges levied against him.
"Sean maintains his innocence at this time," Smith's attorney, Daniel Rosenberg told NBC Sports Califorinia on Thursday evening. "We are going to be entering a plea of not guilty and fighting these charges."
A warrant was filed on Aug. 16. Smith's arriagnment is scheduled for Sept. 29.
Smith was not present at Thursday's Raiders practice, the last session of training camp. He surrendered to Los Angeles County authorities, posted an $80,000 bond and has been released from custody.
If convicted as charged, Smith could face a maximum sentence of seven years in California prison.
A Raiders spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The case is still under investigation by the Pasadena Police Department.
This is another blow in a rough summer for Smith. He has struggled on the practice field during training camp and faces an off-field legal issue. Smith is guaranteed $9.5 million for the 2017 season.
More to come...
NAPA – Marshawn Lynch spoke with the media Thursday for the second time as a Raider. He was quick-witted, disarming and, as always, not suitable for work.
It was five minutes of peak Marshawn, where he brought light to his charitable endeavors, called himself the “daddy” of his position group and cleverly sidestepped all things nation anthem.
He was asked four questions on other topics before elephant in the room was mentioned. It didn’t stick around long.
“I think the elephant left the room because a little mouse ran in here,” Lynch deadpanned. “Didn’t they say elephants are scared of mice or something? That [expletive] left the room, cousin.”
Two more related questions came down the pike. The first was about Del Rio letting players be themselves. He answered a different question instead.
“Yeah, because on ‘doctor-24,’ it’s a designed way that you’re supposed to run it but I have all freedom to go any way that I choose to run it,” Lynch said. “I would say, yes.”
The final anthem-esque query was deflected in a similar fashion.
“When we run ‘74’ or something like that, where I have to scan and read on both sides, that is pretty difficult. For the most part, I’m a veteran so I can make it work.”
Two things were crystal clear after speaking with Lynch.
He didn’t miss football one bit during his year in retirement. Lynch said this spring he decided to return after the Raiders were approved to relocate away from his native Oakland. He wants to represent his hometown well and give them something to cheer before the team leaves for Las Vegas.
That’s why he’s fired up even for Saturday’s exhibition against the Rams – he’s expected to make a cameo in that game – his first in Oakland wearing silver and black.
“It’s truly a blessing and just to have the opportunity to go and do that is a good [expletive] feeling,” Lynch said. “It’s a good [expletive] feeling.”
Lynch has always been active in the community, and hopes him playing here will bring more visibility to what’s being done to help kids in Oakland.
“I plan on continuing to do what I do in the community,” Lynch said. “It’ll probably be that now that I’m here, more people that are in the community might actually come out and support what it is that we’ve got going on.”