Raiders

Stanford defeats Arizona 37-10 in Pac-12 opener

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Stanford defeats Arizona 37-10 in Pac-12 opener

Sept. 17, 2011BOXSCORE NCAASCOREBOARDSTANFORDPAGE
TUCSON (AP) -- Andrew Luck threw for 325 yards and had both of his touchdown passes in the second half, helping No. 6 Stanford pull away for a 37-10 victory over Arizona on Saturday night in the Pac-12 opener for both teams.Stanford (3-0) struggled to find the end zone in the first half, then wore Arizona down in the second.Luck picked the Wildcats apart on 20-of-31 passing, throwing touchdown passes to Zach Ertz in the third quarter and Levine Toilolo in the fourth. Stepfan Taylor added a career-high 153 yards rushing and Stanford had a balanced 567 yards to win its 11th straight game, the Cardinal's longest run since taking 13 straight from 1939-41.Nick Foles threw for 239 yards and a touchdown, but couldn't overcome Arizona's anemic running game by himself. The Wildcats (1-2) had just 51 yards rushing on 23 carries in their sixth straight loss to an FBS team.Stanford rolled through its first two games, outscoring San Jose State and Duke by a combined score of 101-17. Luck, not surprisingly, was the catalyst, throwing for 461 yards and six touchdowns with one interception.Playing Arizona in the desert figured to be a stiffer challenge for the Cardinal.The Wildcats have one of the nation's best quarterbacks in Foles, who, like Luck, figures to be a first-round NFL draft pick. The 6-foot-5 senior doesn't have the polish that Luck has, but is prolific, completing 76 percent of his passes for 810 yards and six touchdowns the first two games.Arizona also sent Stanford home with a disappointing loss in its last trip to Tucson, scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter for a 43-38 comeback victory.That was just two years ago, but it seems like forever with the direction these teams have headed since.The Cardinal rolled over the Wildcats 42-17 last season behind Luck's 293 yards and two touchdowns. Luck may be even better this season and Arizona struggled against a good passer last week, allowing Oklahoma State's Brandon Weedon to pick it apart for 397 yards and two touchdowns in a 17-point loss.The Wildcats also have been one-dimensional on offense, relying almost solely on Foles while the running game has averaged just 58 yards per game, 115th in the nation. Stanford was second nationally through the first two games, allowing 28.5 yards per game, so it was weakness against strength.And, though it wasn't pretty at times, the game turned out about how you might think.Arizona again had trouble running the ball - minus-6 yards on 10 carries in the first half - but Foles made up for it, completing his first 17 passes while throwing for 198 yards and a touchdown. The score went on a 6-yard pass to Juron Criner, who showed no ill affects from the appendectomy that kept him out of last week's game against Oklahoma State.The Wildcats kept it close, but could have been closer: Jaime Salazar missed field goals to end the second quarter and start the third, making him 1-for-4 on the season after Arizona was haunted by missed kicks a year ago.Stanford's kicking game worked just fine - Jordan Williamson hit from 20, 45 and 33 yards - but the Cardinal wanted touchdowns after getting so deep into Arizona's end. The only one Stanford got came late in the first quarter, when Anthony Wilkerson scored on a 24-yard run on a fourth-and-a-foot misdirection play.Leading 16-10 after one half, Stanford stomped the Wildcats down in the second.Luck hit tight end Ertz on a 16-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, then had two choices to open the fourth quarter on a defensive breakdown by Arizona. He settled on Toilolo (he was deeper), who scored easily on a 34-yard pass to put the Cardinal up 30-10.That's seven touchdowns to tight ends - out of nine - for Luck this season and 53 TDs overall, moving him one ahead of Jim Plunkett for third all-time in Stanford history.Stanford closed it out with a drive that took nearly seven minutes, capped by Jeremy Stewart's 2-yard TD run.

Raiders to release OL Austin Howard

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Raiders to release OL Austin Howard

The Raiders will release Austin Howard, one of their big free-agent signings from the 2014 offseason. The offensive lineman was informed of his released late Thursday or early Friday, according to a league source.

The player confirmed the separation on social media late Thursday night with this post: 

Howard was scheduled to make $4.9 million in base salary this season, with $2.4 million in dead money against the salary cap. The Raiders can afford the cap hit, but will enjoy the slowing salary cash flow in 2017.

Howard was one of the team’s biggest signings in 2014, inking a five-year, $30 million contract with the Raiders early in the 2014 unrestricted free agent signing period. Howard played right guard in his first season, but moved to tackle in the following two years. He made 39 starts in three seasons in silver and black, most at right tackle.

Howard played 2016 under duress. He worked through an ankle issue that season and had offseason shoulder surgery that impacted him throughout the Raiders offseason program.

He regained health this summer, but the Raiders chose to part ways with the veteran and focus on other options at right tackle. Marshall Newhouse has pole position in the position battle, but Vadal Alexander will challenge him for a starting spot. Rookie forth-round pick David Sharpe also has interest there.

That left Howard with a too-high salary entering a tight position battle, making him expendable when compared with other players along a stacked offensive line.

The Raiders will have two spots available on their 90-man roster, with Howard and running back Taiwan Jones being released. 

Here is Howard's full Instagram post: 

 

OAKLAND!!! A lifetime of memories have been made these past three years, and I am grateful for every single one of them. Unfortunately my time with the #Raiders has come to an end. To my OL dawgs, love y'all boys. #RaiderNation appreciate all your support, you guys are like none other. I came to Oakland my first year with a start of 0-10... through hard work and dedication we built a team that had more success it had in years, and thus we turned this group of players into a play-off bound and elite team. Starting on this Offensive line for the majority of that time is something that I'll never forget. One thing I can say is that no matter the situation, no matter if it was battling through injury, or political scrutiny that this business demands, I left it all out the for my teammates and always had and will always have their back. I will always be proud of that. Thank you to Mr. Davis and the Raiders organization/coaches that allowed me this opportunity. Thank you to my family, especially my parents, siblings, my friends, my agent Kevin Robinson, and last but DEFINITELY not least my beautiful wife Larissa who has been with me since the beginning, and through the thick and thin and has SELFLESSLY been the REAL reason that I've been able to do my job on the field for the passed seven seasons, for all your love, support, encouragement and prayers! To my baby girl, Daddy loves you and couldn't imagine this life without you! Having an opportunity and blessing to share all of this with you has been the biggest gift of all...As upsetting as it is, that "business" gets in the way of a good thing, I know that this is not the end of my NFL journey. Looking forward to what God has planned for me next... #DoubleSevens #NotDone #SomethingBigComingNext #NFL #DontBlink #Challenge #ImUpForIt #MovingForward #TrainsComin #GodIsGood #WatchThis #Oakland #YearEight #SeeYouSoon #UNI #Panthers

A post shared by Austin Howard (@realaustinhoward77) on Jul 28, 2017 at 12:38am PDT

49ers' head coach Kyle Shanahan takes pride in speed of offense

49ers' head coach Kyle Shanahan takes pride in speed of offense

SANTA CLARA – If there is any validity to Matt Ryan’s complaint that former Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan struggled getting play calls to his quarterback in a timely fashion, it is difficult to find much evidence.

The past two seasons, only three teams went through an entire season without the play clock expiring on offense. The Falcons under Shanahan went without a delay-of-game penalty both of the past two seasons. The Denver Broncos of last season were the only other offensive unit in the NFL that was not penalized for the play clock hitting :00.

“Any play-caller that you talk to that’s usually one of the most important things and something I pride myself on a lot, is how quick can you get a play call into a quarterback,” said Shanahan, who will remain the playcaller for the 49ers while also serving as head coach.

"And the quicker you do the more comfortable it is, not just for him but the entire offense. They’re not panicked. They’re being able to move to the line. And with me as a coordinator personally, I try almost every situation to get it in as fast as possible. And I can be honest, there’s sometimes I do better than others. There are sometimes I don’t do it as good. There’s sometimes I do it real good.”

Shanahan said he took a lot of pride in the fact that the Falcons avoided any delay-of-game penalties the past two seasons. He said Ryan deserves credit, too.

“I was really proud of those guys on offense, which is a lot of credit to Matt and the rest of the guys, that regardless when we did get it in, two years straight without a delay of game and being the only team to even do that one year I think was a pretty impressive task,” Shanahan said. “We did a good job of that as a whole.”

In a recent interview with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, Ryan was critical of Shanahan’s timeliness in delivering the play calls in the Falcons' collapse in Super Bowl 51. (It did not appear the Falcons' offense was scrambling to get to the line of scrimmage and get the ball snapped after the built a 28-3 lead.)

“Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in," Ryan told Prisco. "As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.”

Shanahan said on Thursday that he wants his offense to play fast. Shanahan said he sets his offense so there is no need to audible out of a play if the defense is geared to stop the primary option on a particular call.

“If it’s not the perfect play, there’s usually four other options that you’ve just got to adjust to and either get an incompletion or get a smaller gain,” Shanahan said. “But, it’s not, ‘Hey, if I don’t call the perfect play, you check and get us into the perfect play.’

"I’ve been in systems like that and it’s just what your opinion is, and there’s really no right answer, but I was pretty happy with how our system worked in Atlanta. And I’ve been confident with players playing fast and not putting so much pressure on them to fix every play that the coordinator calls. I like to put a little more on myself and I want them when I do call a bad play, we’ll give you an answer."

Shanahan will continue to call the plays from the sideline. Quarterback Brian Hoyer said he insisted on working on the radio communication during the offseason program. Hoyer played in Shanahan's offense in 2014 with the Cleveland Browns, and he said that experience should help him relay the calls more smoothly to his teammates in the huddle.

"I kind of have a method of I want to be just outside the huddle when the play is coming out," Hoyer said. "I don’t want to be in the huddle trying to give the play while he’s talking to me. I want to hear him say the play in my helmet, take a second, get in the huddle and then call the play.

"Back in Cleveland when I was just learning the system I was just trying to repeat what he was saying, get it to the team and then as I’m walking to the line of scrimmage think of the play. Whereas now, I hear the play coming in and I can paint a picture of what Kyle is trying to emphasize on that play, and then relay it to the rest of the offense and break the huddle and go. We’ve been doing that I think pretty much since day one is using that coach-to-quarterback communication.”