Raiders

Report: Raiders, Donald Penn ‘closing in on’ two-year extension

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AP

Report: Raiders, Donald Penn ‘closing in on’ two-year extension

ALAMEDA – The Raiders are closing in on a two-year contract extension through the 2019 season with Donald Penn, NFL Network reported Wednesday afternoon. That’s what he wanted and didn’t get in July, when the Raiders left tackle missed training camp in a contract holdout.

Penn returned on Aug. 23 without a new deal. Penn sacrificed leverage for proper prep time and teammates that were counting on him to perform.

The Raiders also told Penn a new deal would come in time if he reported. He believed them. That faith has nearly been rewarded.

A league source told NBC Sports California on Tuesday that the Raiders and Penn were talking contract, and this week was big in that process.

Penn was set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. He loves playing here and wants to continue that a while even at 34 years old.

Penn had certainly earned a raise. He currently has a $5.8 million base salary in 2017 with $750,000 in incentives worked into the deal, a total far lower than some of the NFL’s best tackles. Penn played like one last year, giving up just one sack while proving an excellent run blocker.

Lynch won't go alone: Richard, Washington vital to Raiders offense

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AP

Lynch won't go alone: Richard, Washington vital to Raiders offense

ALAMEDA – The Raiders announced offensive starters before Sunday’s home opener against the New York Jets.

Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington aren’t in that class. The second-year rushers were headed out to the field with everyone else when Marshawn Lynch halted the advance.

“We were getting ready to go out and he was like ‘Hey, I want you all to come out with me’. I was like, ‘They cool with this?’” Richard said. “He said ‘It doesn’t matter what they say. You boys are coming out with me.’”

It seemed off. This was, after all, Marshawn’s homecoming. A sellout Oakland crowd was waiting to cheer their favorite native son.

Marshawn didn’t care. He wanted the running backs to go out as a unit.

“They’re my (boys),” Lynch said.

Marshawn jogged through a deafening roar, flanked by his protégées.

“That just got me pumped from the get-go,” Richard said. “That just lets you know how much he believes in us, the confidence in us. It makes us play harder.”

The kids have played hard, and listened to Lynch’s sage advice. That’s a requirement in this offense, because Lynch can’t do it alone. Not anymore. Not at age 31.

The Raiders plan to use all three backs in rotation, with Lynch as its lead dog. He carried 18 times in a season opening win at Tennessee. He had 12 in a 45-20 victory over the Jets.

Thus far Lynch has started most games and can close games where the Raiders hold a late lead.

Washington and Richard will have moments in the sun. They generally split remaining touches – unless, like Sunday, Cordarrelle Patterson gets in on the action – to bring a change of pace.

They might also pull a star turn.

Richard did so the Jets, even on Marshawn's big day. Richard registered 109 yards of offense and a touchdown on just eight touches. That included a 52-yard run blocked expertly by tackles Marshall Newhouse and Donald Penn, with Seth Roberts doing dirty work downfield.

“I caught the ball and felt somebody rush up the field,” Richard said. “It made me come inside. The whole week they were telling me to wait rather than get out, so I waited and the Jets overflowed. I put my foot in the ground and creased it. The safety couldn’t see me because I had a blocker, he went this way and I dipped right and then I outran everybody to the end zone and scored. IT was a great blocking play, great game plan play. It was cool.”

Richard also had a 39-yard reception where he took advantage of open space, proving adept finding the right time to turn on the afterburners.

Washington will have his turn making big plays in the backfield, with an efficient track record as a rookie. Lynch has a certain set of skills, able to get tough yards by brute force. The younger guys are game breakers in their own right – Richard proved that Sunday – and will be counted on at times to make the offense go.

“Jalen and DeAndré, they’re both explosive,” quarterback Derek Carr said last week. “We all know that. Really good hands, good route runners, they’re really good in pass protection… I think that with both of those guys in the game, they do similar things, but they give us two options. They give us two fresh bodies so to speak.”

Notes: Numbers suggest newcomer Marshall Newhouse fitting right in with Raiders

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AP

Notes: Numbers suggest newcomer Marshall Newhouse fitting right in with Raiders

ALAMEDA – The Raiders like quality and continuity along the offensive line. Big contracts secured four top talents, locking Donald Penn, Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson and Gabe Jackson up until at least 2019 .

Those four horsemen ride from left to right, with one new guy joining the group. Veteran Marshall Newhouse signed a two-year contract this offseason to play right tackle.

The 28-year old has played everywhere but center. He has started at left tackle and on the right. He has played both guard spots, as a starter and reserve.

He was brought in to focus on one spot, but Donald Penn’s contract holdout spoiled that plan. Newhouse spent training camp in Penn’s stead, before switching sides.

A prolonged camp battle with Vadal Alexander was compressed into a few practices and the regular season opener, but the frontrunner Newhouse emerged victorious.

It wasn’t a hard decision. He has been excellent thus far, recently in a 45-20 victory over the New York Jets. Over the course of two games and 62 pass blocking snaps, Newhouse hasn’t allowed a single quarterback pressure this season, per analystic site Pro Football Focus.

The Raiders haven’t run his way much, mostly going away from gaps he can control, but he has been solid when given the chance.

“I think he’s done a solid job with that,” head coach Jack Del Rio said in his Monday press conference. “Little bit unusual that he’s a swing guy, was signed to come in and compete at the right tackle position and then with the holdout, he played left tackle most of the offseason. The way it worked, he and Vadal [Alexander] competed for the right tackle spot last week and we ended up going with Marshall and he’s been very solid. Both of those guys are prepared to help us. Marshall solidified that job, played well yesterday. Glad to see it.”

NOTES:

NOT SWEATING SETBACKS: The Raiders were penalized nine penalized times for 79 yards on Sunday, mostly on 15-yard infractions in the first half. Del Rio didn’t have a need to correct those mistakes. Most of them he either disagreed with or said they came down to judgment calls. The Raiders haven’t had many clear-cut, procedural violations.

“The judgment calls, you’re going to have to leave it at that. When you see something that’s clearly an infraction, we can coach it, teach it and it gets better. The other things like that, you just have to live with them and move on.”

SMITH MIGHT BE BACK: Veteran cornerback Sean Smith missed Sunday’s game with a neck injury, but Del Rio didn’t anticipate it being a long-term injury. He is also hopeful Jamize Olawale and Keith McGill will make season debuts in Week 3 against Washington.