By trading for Palmer, Jackson sends a message


By trading for Palmer, Jackson sends a message

ALAMEDA -- So how was Hue Jackson's bold move to trade for quarterback Carson Palmer taken in the Raiders locker room?"That you better keep your (stuff) wrapped tight," said defensive tackle Tommy Kelly. "I mean, Hue made it real clear, man, he ain't waiting on nobody. Either you get on the train, or you get left behind."

Yes, Jackson served notice. Not only to the rank-and-file players, but also in the leadership."He's going to do whatever he has to do and evaluate every position in terms of trying to get the team better," said defensive tackle and team captain Richard Seymour. "And I think that's what this business is all about. It's a production business, and our job is to go out and perform and anytime you have an opportunity to acquire someone like Carson and his pedigree, obviously management felt like they just wanted to pull the trigger on it. Guys like that aren't just hanging around."But it's not just Jackson being so active in swapping potentially two first-round draft picks for a franchise quarterback two days after the previous starter in Jason Campbell was lost for at least six weeks, and possibly the season, with a broken right collarbone. It's how busy Jackson has been as a mover and shaker in the wake of Al Davis' death.In fact, you could build a strong case that Davis would have admired the commitment with with Jackson has moved.Last Thursday, Oakland acquired a former No. 4 overall pick in linebacker Aaron Curry for a seventh-round draft pick and cut a Raiders legacy player in Bruce Davis. And Curry started against Cleveland three days later.Monday, the Raiders cut defensive back Joe Porter to make roster space for rookie quarterback Terrelle Pryor and then signed safety Chinedum Ndukwe before releasing Jerome Boyd and then signing him to the practice squad. And in the middle it all was Oakland placing defensive end Matt Shaughnessy on season-ending Injured Reserve with a bum shoulder, creating roster space for Palmer."That's just how the whole league works," said right tackle Khalif Barnes. "It's not anything personalthere are guys who are going through that all year. You can't worry about things like that. You just have to go out there and play. Anytime you're suiting up, going out there to play, that's all you can do, that's all you can control. You can't control anything else."Wake-up call, anyone?"It means we're going for it, man," said safety Tyvon Branch. "That shows the confidence they have in this team. When you get a team like this, you don't want the opportunity to slip away."Receiver Louis Murphy agreed, especially when it came to Jackson dealing for Palmer with Campbell down and the NFL trade deadline at 1 p.m. PT Tuesday."We had to do something," Murphy said. "So, I mean, it sends a message that he still wants us to win, wants us to continue on our championship run."Said fellow receiver Jacoby Ford: "It just shows you that Hue definitely wants to win. He's definitely going to put us in the right position to win and he's going to bring the right guys in to win. He's competitive. We're all behind him as far as being competitive."As it stands now, the Raiders are without first-, second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-round picks in next April's draft, though they could potentially get a compensatory draft pick or two for losing Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller and Robert Gallery as free agents this summer.Still, the flurry of moves, particularly the blockbuster Palmer deal, was a shot across the bow of anyone on the roster contemplating cruising."What do you think?" a grinning Jackson said when asked if it did indeed send a message. "No doubt. I told them I am going to do everything I can -- the organization has backed me -- to give this team the best opportunity to win football games, and that's all you can ask for. As a head coach, when you have ownership, Mark Davis, Amy Trask and the rest of this organization stand behind you and say, 'Hey look, whatever we think it takes to win, that's what we're going to do,' and thats what we're doing, I think the players appreciate that."Because it gets no better than that. You come to work everyday knowing that you're fighting for something. And we're fighting for a championship."Then leave it to Kelly to sum it all up."I thought we were going to get (David) Garrard," Kelly said, "but we got Palmer. So hey, man, can't do nothing but be happy."And be on notice.

Vanderdoes out to 'prove people wrong,' show Raiders his very best

Vanderdoes out to 'prove people wrong,' show Raiders his very best

ALAMEDA – Eddie Vanderdoes knows his UCLA game tape is inconsistent. The powerful defensive tackle admits he wasn’t always at his best, especially after tearing his ACL in 2015. Before that, he was difficult to stop. Afterward, he wasn’t the same player. He doesn’t blame the knee.

He struggled with ankle injuries and weight issues in 2016, a lackluster campaign by his own standard. Since that season ended, Vanderdoes has returned to 100 percent. His ankles are fine. His knee is great. And he lost 40 pounds heading into the NFL scouting combine, preparing for a return to his old self.

The Raiders see great potential in the former Bruin and made him their third-round pick on Friday evening. The Auburn native was excited by the prospect, and believes the Raiders will get his absolute best. His voice was passionate, his determination clear even on a conference call with local press.

“I am going to be the player I was earlier in my career,” Vanderdoes said. “I had a bad season. That wasn’t me. That’s not the person that I am. That’s not the character that I hold. I’m definitely going to bring that to the Raiders’ defensive line. I’m going to bring that energy and I’m really happy to be an Oakland Raider.”

The Raiders will be thrilled if that’s true. They liked what he showed at the Senior Bowl and the NFL scouting combine, where he showed traits that should translate to NFL production.

“I am definitely back 100 percent, very confident with the combine, the Senior Bowl,” Vanderdoes said. “I got my explosiveness back. I got my speed back, my athleticism back. I am definitely at the top of shape right now, so I’m ready to get back to work and show them the player that they saw on the film and the player that they wanted to draft and I’m also looking to turn even more heads and do things that some people might expect that I couldn’t do.”

That includes rushing the passer, being a consistent three-down tackle in the Raiders scheme. He might be a rotational player first, filling the void created when Stacy McGee left in free agency.

“He’s a good, active defensive lineman that we think his best football is in front of him,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He had an ACL (injury) a couple of years ago. His weight has been up and down. We expect him to come in here and be a real professional and work hard with (head strength and conditioning coach) Joe Gomes and the strength staff and get himself ready to roll. He needs to come in here and add depth to our defensive line and give us a little interior push.”

Vanderdoes believes he can do more than that if he does things right. If his weight stays down, strength stays up and he learns the system well, he wants to compete for a significant role as a rookie.

“I’m coming in expecting to contribute and play right away,” Vanderdoes said. “That’s the mindset that I’ve always had. I’ve came with that mindset that I need to be the guy to step in and do what I do and dominate. I definitely think people slept on me a little bit this past offseason.

“I love the fact that (the NFL) slept on me, I think that’s what motivated me every morning waking up, knowing that I get to prove people wrong. I think I’ve done a good job so far of that, and I’m going to keep doing as well being an Oakland Raider because I know I’m at the bottom again. I have to work my way back up.”

Del Rio: Marshawn showed 'authentic passion' joining hometown Raiders

Del Rio: Marshawn showed 'authentic passion' joining hometown Raiders

ALAMEDA – The Raiders have been focused on the NFL Draft the last few days, and rightfully so. Friday night, however, was the right time to ask about what happened just before.

The Raiders acquired power running back and Oakland native Marshawn Lynch. If he’s close to top form after a year away from the NFL, the Raiders offense will be tough to stop.

He’s a big physical rusher the Raiders were looking for. The Raiders were the team Lynch wants to finish his career representing. The Oakland Tech High grad and Cal alum might be the town’s most popular citizen, someone who consistently gives back to the city he loves.

Lynch was downright giddy after formally signing with the Raiders, greeting everyone in the building with child-like enthusiasm. He got fitted in his Raiders helmet and refused to take it off, wearing it out of the building and the car ride home.

Del Rio loved the energy Lynch brought to the team’s complex, and believes that will carry on while he represents the Silver and Black.

“Authentic passion. That’s what I see,” Del Rio said Friday night. “He’s a homegrown guy. He’s extremely excited about joining this football team and being a part of the Raider Nation. We’re excited to have him.”

Lynch is a bruiser of the highest order, though some may wonder how effective he can be at 31, a year removed from professional football.

“There will be questions about how much is left in his tank, and we’re going to find out,” Del Rio said. “I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone else be more excited, more pleased to be joining a team, my team, our team.”

Del Rio understands where Lynch is coming from. The Hayward native longed to be a Raider at some point in his career, but never got the chance.

I told him he was lucky, because I didn’t get a chance to do that as player. I wanted to finish here as a player too. He’s getting that chance and he’s fired up about it.

“He’s a big man, and he plays with the violence that we like and appreciate. I think he’ll look forward to running behind (the Raiders offensive line) and those guys up front.”