Is Wheeler a playmaker at SAM linebacker?

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Is Wheeler a playmaker at SAM linebacker?

NAPA -- Philip Wheeler is far from your prototypical strongside NFL linebacker.He's been told throughout his career that he is not big enough for the position. Not quick enough to elude blockers. Not shifty enough to cover tight ends in coverage."I don't think I'm prototypical anything," Wheeller said following Monday's practice. "I just feel like I can listen to what the coaches are telling me and play the proper technique. They know what theyre doing. Theyre putting me and other players in the best positions for us to make plays."And in this new multiple-look defensive scheme, that's all the Raiders are looking for from their new SAM linebacker.Yes, the guy he's replacing wracked up a combined 16 sacks the past two seasons, but Kamerion Wimbley signed with Tennessee as a defensive end after being cut by the Raiders in what amounted to a salary dump when the two sides could not come to an agreement on a more palatable -- to the Raiders anyway -- contract.And Wheeler is by no means a pass-rushing specialist -- he has two sacks in his career. But such was his existence in Indianapolis' Cover-2 defense. This new Raiders' scheme?"Its way more aggressive, its more fun, more playmaking for a lot of guys, more plays out there to be made for a lot of guys instead of a couple of guys," Wheeler said. "In Indy playmakers were like the defensive ends. I guess this is more linebacker-friendly and everybody-friendly. Everybody makes plays in this defense."In Monday's team session, Wheeler went horizontal to break up a Carson Palmer pass. The day before, he held onto the ball for an interception.GUTIERREZ: Raiders camp summary (86): Live hitting to ground makes appearance
"I think hes done a nice job," coach Dennis Allen said of Wheeler. "He gives us some athleticism at that position. Obviously, weve been able to rush him some and also put him back in coverage, but I think hes a guy that hasnt played a lot on the ball, but hes done a nice job there. And then obviously coming from Indianapolis and the Tampa-2 system, his stack-linebacker-off-the-ball play has been good."The Raiders linebackers last season were a relative soft spot against the run, while the 6-foot-2, 240-pound Wheeler had a career-high 84 tackles and forced a fumble for the Colts."I think hes a good tackler," Allen said. "Well obviously find out when we start really playing preseason games, because we havent done a lot of that, but from what Ive seen so far I would anticipate him being a good tackler."Wheeler concurred."I try to (be a good tackler)," Wheeler said. "I try not to miss tackles, try to wrap up, do the techniques that coaches tell us to do. We practice it every day. I feel like since we are out here in pads and were hitting -- we didnt hit as much where I was before -- so I feel like were getting used to it, and I think well tackle pretty good."Wheeler also has yet to get an interception in his -- Wimbley had one in Oakland.And about those lack of sacks?"Yeah, Im looking forward to getting some sacks, picks, knockout shots, not only from myself but from my other teammates," Wheeler said. "Weve got some amazing athletes out there. We got fast athletes, some of the fastest guys in the league out there. I think were going to be fine."

Raiders head to NFL owners meetings looking for Las Vegas approval

Raiders head to NFL owners meetings looking for Las Vegas approval

PHOENIX -- All signs point to the Raiders being approved for relocation to Las Vegas. It could happen as early as Monday, when the topic will be discussed at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix. It could be Tuesday. Or in May. Or at any point in a conference call.

The timing is less important than the ultimate outcome. The when is uncertain. The what seems likely, though not guaranteed, at this stage.

The Raiders need 24 of 32 approval votes to relocate and start construction on new digs.

The Raiders have presented a solid application to the NFL, centered on a stadium proposal in Las Vegas that includes $750 million in public funds for stadium construction. Bank of America, who is financing the project, is expected to loan the Raiders money to complete a financing plan that includes the public contribution and $500 million from the team and the NFL.

The Sports Business Journal reported on Sunday that the estimated stadium cost has dropped to $1.7 billion, and will receive $200 million in infrastructure improvements not included in their construction contribution.

League sources continue to say approval is expected. There is great confidence within the Raiders organization a vote will go their way.

Some issues remain, though none are significant roadblocks. A stadium lease hasn’t been finalized and a site hasn’t been formally announced – it’s reportedly set for a spot just off the Las Vegas Strip near Russell Road – so approval would likely come with conditions that could be met in time.

The Raiders worked a sweetheart deal that mines significant money from the public. They don’t have investors with direct ties to gambling. And, as important as anything else, the NFL doesn’t believe Oakland has a viable plan to keep the Raiders in an otherwise attractive, booming market.

That includes the latest proposal from the Oakland and financial partner Fortress Investments announced on Friday that makes certain concessions aimed at getting the Raiders back to the table.

The Silver and Black haven’t worked with East Bay officials in more than as year, as they’ve shifted complete focus to their Las Vegas quest.

The revised Oakland plan didn’t move the needle, a league executive said. That point was made crystal clear in a letter NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent to Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf.

“The material that we reviewed earlier today confirms certain information that had previously been communicated orally, such as a willingness to bring bank financing to a stadium project, and a proposed valuation of the land at the Coliseum site,” Goodell wrote in a letter obtained by Bay Area News Group. “It also confirms that key issues that we have identified as threshold considerations are simply not resolvable in a reasonable time. In that respect, the information sent today does not present a proposal that is clear and specific, actionable in a reasonable timeframe, and free of major contingencies.”

That virtually eliminates the prospect of Oakland planting doubt in NFL owners’ minds heading into a pivotal discussion on the topic Monday at the Arizona Biltmore hotel.

It’s possible the stadium and finance committee will make a formal recommendation on the Raiders application to relocate. That could precede a vote, and generally holds significant weight among undecided owners.

A league source said the new Oakland plan will be a talking point, though it may not be viewed in a flattering light. That’s especially true in light of Goodell’s letter.

“At this date, there remains no certainty regarding how the site will be fully developed, or the specific and contractually-defined nature of the participation by Fortress or other parties,” Goodell wrote. “In addition, the long-term nature of the commitment to the A’s remains a significant complication and the resolution of that issue remains unknown. Other significant uncertainties, which we have previously identified, remain unaddressed. We had hoped that the past two years would have allowed both of us to develop a viable project.”

Peterson blasts report over salary demands, outlines main objectives

Peterson blasts report over salary demands, outlines main objectives

Adrian Peterson played defense on Friday night.

Hours after a report suggesting that the four-time All-Pro running back was still a free agent due to salary demands, the former Viking posted a lengthy statement on Instagram along with a video of his running an agility drill.

"YOU CANT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ OR HEAR PEOPLE. The last thing I'm worried about is playing ball this coming season ... that WILL HAPPEN! It's not all about the money as EVERYONE is speculating here lately. You'd THINK these analysts spoke to me directly. When you don't know what's going on people will say anything to create or make a story! How prideful is it for me to put out ... I won't play for anything less than 8 million! But see, when you don't know a person or what they stand for it's easy to paint YOUR OWN PICTURE. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in! Here is something Straight from the horse's mouth ... finding the best fit & helping a team in a major way win a championship is my main objective! I'm in no rush. Let me eliminate questions or speculation as to why... I believe whole heartedly my God will land me right where I need to be to accomplish what I've asked from him PERIOD"

Early in the free agency period, the Raiders were linked to Peterson, but nothing came of those rumors.

The Raiders, in need of a feature back after Latavius Murray signed with the Vikings, are reportedly pursuing the possibility of luring Oakland-native Marshawn Lynch out of retirement.

Peterson was scheduled to make $18 million in 2017, but the Vikings declined to exercise his contract, making him a free agent. The 2012 NFL MVP turned 32 on March 21 and played in just three games in 2016 due to a major knee injury.

According to the ESPN report, Peterson was looking for a contract that paid him over $8 million in the first year of the deal.

YOU CANT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ OR HEAR PEOPLE. The last thing I'm worried about is playing ball this coming season ... that WILL HAPPEN! It's not all about the money as EVERYONE is speculating here lately. You'd THINK these analysts spoke to me directly. When you don't know what's going on people will say anything to create or make a story! How prideful is it for me to put out ... I won't play for anything less than 8 million! But see, when you don't know a person or what they stand for it's easy to paint YOUR OWN PICTURE. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in! Here is something Straight from the horse's mouth ... finding the best fit & helping a team in a major way win a championship is my main objective! I'm in no rush. Let me eliminate questions or speculation as to why... I believe whole heartedly my God will land me right where I need to be to accomplish what I've asked from him PERIOD

A post shared by Adrian L Peterson (@adrianpeterson) on