Raiders

Sharpe's size, on-field attitude mesh well with Raiders offensive line

Sharpe's size, on-field attitude mesh well with Raiders offensive line

David Sharpe is a massive individual, yet his 6-foot-6, 343-pound frame fits right into a hulking Raiders offensive line. This year’s fourth-round pick has the size to join one of the NFL’s best fronts. Does he have the nastiness position coach Mike Tice demands?

“Oh, definitely,” Sharpe said last week.

That’s a positive sign for the future. The Raiders don’t really need him right away. The line features Pro Bowlers Donald Penn, Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson and top talent Gabe Jackson. There’s an open competition at right tackle Sharpe could enter, though it’s possible he remains the backup left tackle while Marshall Newhouse, Austin Howard and Vadal Alexander duke it out for that starting spot.

Sharpe must continue development to be NFL ready. Tice and Sharpe’s peer group are great resources to aid that mission. Penn reached out to the Florida alum shortly after he was drafted to offer encouragement. Sharpe, after all, could be his heir apparent. Penn is entering a contract year uncertain how much longer he wants to play despite excellent production the last few years.

Sharpe finds himself in a great spot to learn and plans to take advantage of the advice aimed his way.

“Definitely ready to (work) under Donald Penn and try to learn a lot of things from him and those guys,” Sharpe said. “It’s a great room and a great coach and I’m definitely looking forward to getting started and getting to work.”

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio had a head start on Sharpe entering the draft. The young lineman is from Jacksonville – Del Rio coached there from 2003-11 – and met Sharpe and his family during that time.

“I’m very familiar with him as a young man. We look forward to working with him,” Del Rio said. “He’s a big, talented guy. We think he can play either side. Again, much like we’re doing with all of these guys, they’re going to get a chance to come in and compete and earn their way. We’re looking forward to getting started with him. He’s a big man. He has really good feet. We think his best football is in front of him.”

Del Rio said reports of blurry vision in his right eye aren’t of concern, and that Sharpe can play both tackle spots despite playing almost exclusively on the left as an amateur. Sharpe believes a transition to the right is doable without much difficulty.

“It’s not very hard,” Sharpe said. “I played a little bit of both at Florida in practice and things like that so I’m used to it. Just switch up the feet a little bit, different movements. It’s not that bad.”

Raiders unleash grand plans for 'real weapon' Cordarrelle Patterson

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USATSI

Raiders unleash grand plans for 'real weapon' Cordarrelle Patterson

The Raiders offense set up with three receivers bunched right, one wide left and a tight end on the line. Quarterback Derek Carr was alone in the backfield, at least until he invited a friend.

Cordarrelle Patterson motioned alongside him. It wasn’t to protect Carr. The fifth-year receiver’s number got called … as a running back.

The New York Jets weren’t flat-footed on this change of pace late in Sunday’s third quarter. They had linebackers standing ready to choke off the interior. Rodney Hudson and Kelechi Osemele blazed a trail anyway.

Patterson followed that lead, made a safety miss and hit warp speed. Nobody can catch Patterson at that pace. He slowed down near the goal line, needing one final burst and Seth Roberts to hold a block to secure the 43-yard score.

Patterson didn’t stop there. He headed straight for the Black Hole to celebrate with hardcore fans.

“I jumped up in the crowd, but they tried to steal the football from me,” Patterson said after a 45-20 victory at Oakland Coliseum. “I held on tight, and focused on ball security so they wouldn’t take it. I brought it back with me, and have it right here in my locker.”

Patterson wants a souvenir collection. That’s the main reason he signed with Oakland this offseason. Everyone wants an All-Pro kick returner. 

Patterson wanted to be more than that. The Raiders promised more offensive involvement. 

“We sold him on some of the things we’d be excited about doing,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “Showed him specific examples of plays being run that we’d utilize him in, ideas we had to utilize him with. When he got here we started working on it.”

Getting involved in unorthodox ways meant Patterson really had to hit the books. He learned most every receiver position, in case he had to step in for Amari Cooper or Michael Crabtree or even slot man Seth Roberts. Then there were gadget plays and rushing opportunities to be mastered.

That touchdown run was an example of extensive practice paying off. The Raiders believed a touchdown could come from an empty backfield formation leading to a run behind excellent blockers. Executing it right was key.

That will be important for new wrinkles featuring Patterson thrown in to game plans throughout the season.

“We’ve got some things that we’re going to do with him. We’re excited,” Del Rio said. “We think he’s a real weapon, we think he’s a strong, physical, fast guy. We look to get him involved. I think it’s gone beautifully the way it’s developed. He’s had to work at it. There’s a lot of learning on his part, to understand how to be in different positions, how to line up, how to get the play call, how to know what the responsibility is. He’s involved in all phases, touching the ball a bunch of different ways, blocking a lot of different ways, running routes a lot of different ways, so a lot of responsibility on his part as well. For us to develop him, for him to embrace and grow in those areas and he’s done a great job of it. I credit him and I credit the staff working hard with him.”

Patterson is comfortable as a Swiss Army Knife, a gadget player, or whatever you want to call him. He remains a receiver by trade, despite finishing Sunday’s win with three carries for 57 yards and a touchdown, with but just a six-yard catch to his name.

Rushing certainly works for the 6-foot-2, 220-pound track star. He has five touchdowns in 35 career rushes with an 11.3-yard average. He might not be a conventional back but he’ll burn you from time to time.

Patterson, for his part, doesn’t care how he gains possession.

“I want the ball in my hands. It makes no difference how I get it,” he said. “I always think I’m going to score. It’s no different if I catch it, return it or it gets handed to me. I believe I’m going to make something happen.”

Raiders send thoughts and prayers to Mexico after devastating earthquake

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AP

Raiders send thoughts and prayers to Mexico after devastating earthquake

A catastrophic 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit central Mexico on Tuesday. At least 139 people have died as buildings all around the affected area have collapsed.

The Raiders, who played the Texans in Mexico City last season and will face the Patriots there on Nov. 19, issued a statement regarding the earthquake.

"The Raiders have the people of Mexico City and the surrounding areas in our thoughts and prayers following today's earthquake. Mexico City is a special place for the Raider Nation and the most heartfelt sentiments of the Raiders family go out to all of our Mexican neighbors in this time of need."

The Raiders did not have an immediate comment on the status of the game against the Patriots which will be played at Estadio Azteca. According to media reports, the stadium sustained damage during the earthquake.