Raiders

Source: Bank of America commits to help finance Raiders' stadium in Vegas

Source: Bank of America commits to help finance Raiders' stadium in Vegas

The Raiders recently lost a significant portion of their financing for a Las Vegas stadium proposal. They’ve got it back.

The club informed the NFL stadium and finance committees that it received a financing commitment from Bank of America on the proposed $1.9 billion project, a league source told CSN California on Monday.

The Raiders’ relocation prospects looked glum last month, when billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson removed his $650 million commitment to the stadium project after struggling to secure a proper business deal with the Raiders.

Investment firm Goldman Sachs backed out of the deal the following day, creating a huge funding gap in a stadium proposal aimed at getting the Raiders out of Oakland.

The state of Nevada has pledged $750 million in public funds from a tourism tax, with an additional $500 million coming from the Raiders and a loan from the NFL. Bank of America's backing will fund the rest of the project.

The Raiders hope their new financing plan will be well received by the league and set up an opportunity for owners to vote on their Raiders relocation application at the NFL owners meetings from March 26-28 in Phoenix.

A vote doesn’t have to come then, and could occur later in the spring or summer. The Raiders will play in Oakland next season, and have a team option to play here in 2018 as well.

Oakland mayor Libby Schaff also updated the NFL's stadium and financing commitees on a proposal to keep the Raiders in the East Bay, though a separate league source indicated there was nothing new to sway the league.  She released a statement emphasizing the city's intentions Monday afternoon. 

“Oakland is ready to compete," Schaff said in the statement. "We were excited to be offered the opportunity to make a presentation before the National Football League’s Joint Stadium and Finance Committee in Florida. We want to thank the NFL for this invitation to share our vision for a locally-supported proposal that could result in a new home for the Raiders in Oakland.

“Today, we presented a plan that we believe responsibly meets the needs of all parties. We made a sound economic case for keeping the Raiders in Oakland through the creation of what could become one of America’s premier mixed-use sporting venues. Ours is a project that enhances the use of the already-entitled Oakland Coliseum site for the Raiders and for the public benefit and leverages the site’s proximity to BART and other public transit options, Oakland International Airport and major freeways.

“The Oakland solution for the Raiders keeps the Raiders at home in Oakland, in the country’s sixth largest media market that is demonstrating strong growth due to its innovative and diverse economy. 

“What we presented demonstrated the commitment and effort made by the jurisdictions that oversee the stadium land -- Alameda County and the City of Oakland. I thank Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty and Oakland City Council President Larry Reid for their leadership. We have worked collaboratively with Ronnie Lott, Rodney Peete and the investors they have assembled behind this Oakland-based project. Together, we’ve created a framework that gives the Raiders a new stadium in Oakland that is responsible to the team, the league, the fans and Oakland taxpayers.

“The City of Oakland is prepared to support this effort in a way that does not endanger the City’s general fund using the “but for” taxes generated by the project to provide up to $200 million for public infrastructure and transportation improvements. This will support a new stadium and ancillary development that will enhance the economic vitality of East Oakland and better serve our community. Additionally, the City and the County are prepared to leverage the value of the land at this transit-rich site to create jobs, an enhanced fan experience and other opportunities.

“Ronnie Lott, Rodney Peete and the Fortress Group bring the financial assets and the capability to ensure construction completion, manage the sale of private seat licenses and cover any cost overruns – three things that are essential for a successful project to get done. Ronnie Lott and Rodney Peete also bring deep and extensive ties with the NFL, the Raiders and our community.”

Following surgery, Raiders activate former second-round pick off PUP list

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AP

Following surgery, Raiders activate former second-round pick off PUP list

Raiders defensive lineman Jihad Ward injured his foot during the team's offseason program and hasn't seen the field since. Last year's second-round pick had it surgically repaired, and missed training camp rehabiltating. 

He's finally ready to go. He passed a physical on Monday and was removed from the physically unable to perform list. The team had a walk-through on Monday. Ward should be active for Tuesday afternoon's practice, the first back at their Alameda practice facility. 

The Illinois product had 30 tackles in 13 starts last season, playing significant snaps with Mario Edwards Jr. out due to a hip injury. He'll have to compete for a spot in the rotation, even after working with the first unit during the offseason program. Rookie third-round pick Eddie Vanderdoes has played well in his absence and could be a three-down player inside. 

Ward was a raw, yet athletic talent capable of playing several techniques across the line. The teams sees great potential, though Ward must continue to develop as a player. 

In addition, the Raiders activated tight end Cooper Helfet off the non-football injury list.

Khalil Mack ready for regular season, but Raiders defense is not

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AP

Khalil Mack ready for regular season, but Raiders defense is not

OAKLAND – The Los Angeles Rams assigned two blockers to Khalil Mack, a common practice against the reigning defensive player of the year. Sometimes it works. This time it didn’t.

The Raiders edge rusher split the double team, found his target and pounced. Jared Goff stood zero chance. There was no evading this one. Mack brought last year’s No. 1 overall pick down with authority, claiming a sack that ultimately won’t count in his 2017 total.

The sacks highlighted a dominant performance that also included three quarterback pressures, four total tackles and two for a loss. All that in three series.

Mack’s clearly ready for the regular season. As a whole, the Raiders defense is not.

Saturday’s 24-21 loss to the Rams at Oakland Coliseum proved that point. A below average offense had no trouble scoring on a starting unit that looks a bit lost.

“I thought our defense was poor, in particular early when we started the game,” head coach Jack Del Rio said in a postgame press conference. “We’re going to have to get a whole lot better there.”

It has to happen quickly, with the regular season bearing down and the Raiders still trying to correct the same old thing. Making proper reads and improved communication has been an emphasis this offseason as coaches work to get this defense playing better together. It’s still preseason and there’s time to teach and coach and fix problems, but the defense isn't quite right.

“I think we’ll go a long way when we clean some of those things up,” Del Rio said. “The things that we’ve talked about for too long in terms of communication errors, eye violations and things like that that just keep you from ever being really good on defense. Those just have to get cleaned up.”

Issues are present in the front seven but more obvious in the back, where explosive pass plays continue to plague the starting unit. The Raiders allowed two plays over 20 yards on the first series and six plays of 10 or more yards in three series on Saturday, when the full starting unit was active. The Rams scored 14 points – Mack’s sack squashed the lone non-scoring drive – in those three series.

Del Rio was bothered by misreads and “eye violations,” in coverage, which make things easier for an opposing offense.

“When you see them, it’s not a good thing,” Del Rio said. “Yeah, I mean it’s really simple. You don’t have your eyes where they belong and you’re playing man? You’re playing man or even in zone. If you’re not seeing what you need to see, it makes it hard.”

Fixing these problems could improve execution and make life harder on opponents. It needs to happen this summer or the Raiders will have to win a lot of shootouts.

“Obviously, I identify what the problem is,” Del Rio said. “Getting it fixed is the challenge.”