Routt wins early battle, Raiders win the war

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Routt wins early battle, Raiders win the war

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KANSAS CITY -- They tried to say the politically correct things."I don't care," said Darrius Heyward-Bey. "It's about the Raiders and the Chiefs.""It's not about Stanford Routt," barked Brandon Myers."It wasn't anything deeper than what you all are trying to make it out to be," said the man himself, Stanford Routt.Except, the subplot of Routt, a Raiders cornerback for the first seven years of his NFL career, playing against his first team for the first time since it cut him in a cost-cutting move was the most delicious of the day. Especially after Carson Palmer went after him on the first play of the game with a bomb down the left sideline, and Routt picked it off -- after his twice pushing off Darrius Heyward-Bey was not called by the officials.Yes, Routt won that battle, but the Raiders won the game, 26-16, before a silenced and stunned Arrowhead Stadium crowd.INSTANT REPLAY: Raiders 26, Chiefs 16
Palmer, though, was not into much subterfuge on this day."We tried to set the tone early," Palmer said, "let him know what kind of day it was going to be."We were going to come in and attack him. Later, they did a good job clouding his side and double-covering with the safety on some plays. We had a specific game plan and stuck to it."And there it is. Palmer was not being boastful, mind you, merely taking off the PC filter and breaking it down. Because after Routt's initial interception, the Raiders went right back at him. And went at him some more.Both of the Raiders' touchdowns occurred with Routt in the vicinity, if not outright covering the play.The first time, Palmer threaded the needle between Routt and Brandon Flowers and hit Denarius Moore in the back of the end zone with 49 seconds remaining in the first half to give the Raiders a 13-6 lead.The second time, Palmer hit Heyward-Bey on an out pattern on the left sideline. Heyward-Bey easily shook Routt, who attempted to tackle him by the feet, and was gone for a 32-yard touchdown catch and run that put the Raiders up 23-9 with 5:40 to play in the third quarter."I figured they'd try me," said Routt, who also picked up an illegal contact penalty on 3rd and 7 late in the first quarter to give the Raiders a first down."But you think about that with every quarterback and every team you go against as a corner."Earlier in the week, Raiders safety Mike Mitchell joked that he wanted Palmer to go after Routt, to make him earn his money after Routt had told him he'd be getting paid by half the AFC West this year.Two offseasons ago, Routt was re-signed by Al Davis to a three-year, 31.5-million deal, with 20 million guaranteed, before re-structuring to a five-year, 54.5-million contract in 2011 training camp with the same 20 million guaranteed. Due a 5 million base salary for 2012 new Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie cut Routt, on Feb. 9, the day before a 5 million "signing bonus" was to kick in.Perhaps this was one of the "out-of-whack" contracts of which McKenzie spoke?Eleven days later, Routt with the Chiefs a reported three-year, 20-million deal with 4 million guaranteed.Yes, Mitchell had a point.So, honestly, were the Raiders targeting Routt specifically, or was it all just one big coincidence?"I mean it was just part of how the game played out," insisted Raiders coach Dennis Allen. "We wanted to be able to take a couple of shots over there. But I think the game just dictated, based on what they were playing, the ball went over there a little more often."It was the right thing to say, even if it wasn't completely forthcoming.

Carr discusses contract negotiations with Raiders: 'These things take time'

Carr discusses contract negotiations with Raiders: 'These things take time'

Raiders general Reggie McKenzie plans to extend quarterback Derek Carr’s contract this offseason. That isn’t a new thing, something that has been in the works for some time. He re-affirmed that fact last week, citing his team’s commitment to work out a long-term deal likely the biggest in franchise history.

Carr was reportedly frustrated with the pace of contract talks after the NFL draft – they’re supposed to heat up this spring and summer – but said he believes a deal will get worked out before training camp begins.

That’s his deadline for an offseason deal, the point where he wants focus honed on football.

“I have an agent who is in charge of that and I am confident that he and Mr. (Reggie) McKenzie will work it out,” Carr, a Fresno State alum, told the Fresno Bee. “I am only focused on becoming a better football player and helping my teammates become better players.

“I have complete faith it will get done before training camp. These things take time. The Raiders know I want to be here; this is my family, and I know they want me to be their quarterback.”

The sides have discussed parameters of a long-term deal, with greater specifics to be ironed out in the future. Carr has long said he wants to be a Raider his entire career. The Raiders want him as the public face of their franchise. A new deal is expected by all parties, a sentiment that has never wavered on either side.

Carr is scheduled to make a $977,519 in base salary in 2017, the final year of his rookie contract.

Raiders offseason program intensifies as OTA sessions begin

Raiders offseason program intensifies as OTA sessions begin

The Raiders offseason program is five weeks old. Players have lifted weights. They’ve improved cardiovascular shape. They’ve done drills in position groups and discussed schematics. They’ve added rookies to a group now 90 strong.

On Monday, they can finally put on helmets. They still can’t wear pads or have full contact, but the Raiders can play 11-on-11. Receivers will be covered. Quarterback Derek Carr will throw into traffic. Generally speaking, the competition cranks up a bit.

The NFL collective bargaining agreement has strict mandates regarding offseason activity, and a period formally called “Phase III” allows for more realistic on-field football work.

The Raiders will conduct 10 OTA sessions over the next three weeks. The media can watch three of them. Tuesday is the first, with another in each of the next two weeks. These sessions are technically voluntary, though the Raiders generally hover around perfect attendance. Head coach Jack Del Rio prefers his team be unified in the offseason. Players know it and show up.

There is a mandatory minicamp from June 13-15 which wraps the offseason program and starts a quiet period that extends until training camp begins in late July.

These OTAs offer an opportunity for new players to learn the system, for adjustments to be made and for chemistry to be built heading into a 2017 season where expectations are high.