Lechler stands by criticism of Raiders


Lechler stands by criticism of Raiders


KAPOLEI, Hawaii Shane Lechler started a potential firestorm with his incendiary remarks to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area the night of Jan. 4, disagreeing strongly with Raiders owner Al Davis decision to send Tom Cable packing.Lechler said at the time that Cables dismissal had the potential to be a huge setback for the Raiders while calling out several key team employees for not answering their phones on live television.REWIND: Lechler: 'this is ... a huge setback' for Raiders
Said Davis, in his Jan. 18 media conference: My first reaction (to Shanes comments) was three years ago. If you get out your newspaper, Shane said publicly he wasnt coming back, he didnt like it here. A month later, he was coming back because I gave him the highest-paid contract of a specialist in pro football. No, these things happen. Thats a part of our lives. I read about marriage breakups, all those things.
RELATED: Lechler named to All-Pro team
Three-plus weeks after his pointed words, Lechler is still not so sure about the move but is not as angry about it. Since that fateful evening, much has changed in and around Silver and Blackdom. Hue Jackson was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach, Lechler was named to his sixth All-Pro team and, the punter had to catch his flight to Hawaii for his seventh Pro Bowl game.GUTIERREZ: My Lechler and Asomugha-less ballot
CSNCalifornia.com caught up with Lechler, the Raiders fifth-round draft pick out of Texas A&M in 2000, following Thursdays practice at Kapolei High School. Lechlers thoughts, then, on a variety of subjectsLechler, on the Cable dismissal: I mean, it still kind of bothers me a little bit. Cables a good coach, man. Im not going to ever disagree with that. You know, the things I said at that time, I meant them and Im not backing off, Im not apologizing for what I said. It was what I felt and what I meant. Im not apologizing for any of it. But in the long run, yes, we do need to move on; I need to move on and well go and play another year. Get it done. Lechler, on if Davis ever called him back: No.Lechler, on if hes worried about any potential backlash from Davis: No. I aint worried about anything. Ill find a job if they dont want me.Lechler, on Jackson as the new coach: Hue, I think hes going to be good. He brings a lot of positive energy and a lot of competitiveness to practice, which is needed and I like that. Hes a go-getter and hopefully we can get some key acquisitions here taken care of, with this off-season (labor) stuff and free agents. Weve got a lot of them, 20-something of them.Lechler, on if hes reached out to Jackson: Weve texted back and forth. He congratulated me on this and All-Pro, too. I havent spoken to him but its only been, theres so much stuff going on right nowbusy, busy, busy. Ill get in touch with him, sooner rather than later.Lechler, on if he expects to be a Raider next season: Yeah. Yeah. If not, Ill find something. But I do expect to.Lechler, on if the Pro Bowl is a bittersweet affair because with much labor unrest, no one is sure when football might be back: Were going to leave that up to our guys. Theyll get it figured out. Hopefully it comes out in a timely manner and it doesnt drag on too long. Weve got too good a deal going on.Lechler on his running mate, Raiders placekicker Sebastian Janikowski, being snubbed again by the Pro Bowl: SeaBass had a good year. Hopefully it will put him on the map where hell be here next year for sure and he did, he had a hell of a year. I think he deserves it. But Billy (Cundiff) had a good year too so I cant take anything away from him.Lechler, on special teams coach John Bones Fassel being retained: Yeah, that is good. They need something to stay steady there.What'syour take? Email Pauland let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag.

Cooper or Crabtree? Raiders dare opponents to pick their poison

Cooper or Crabtree? Raiders dare opponents to pick their poison

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars tried to take Raiders receiver Amari Cooper out of Sunday’s game. Sticky corner Jalen Ramsey shadowed the second-year pro, and was effective making quarterback Derek Carr look the other way.

It wasn’t that Ramsey dominated every play. Carr simply had more favorable options available.

Michael Crabtree was the best one. He turned the Jaguars game on its ear with a touchdown catch, a third-down conversion and a massive bomb caught over his shoulder for 56 yards.

Carr targeted Crabtree 11 times in Jacksonville, with eight completions for 96 yards and a touchdown.

Teams scheming against Cooper operate at their own peril this season, because that typically leaves Crabtree in a juicy matchup.

That was the case in Week 7, but it doesn’t always work that way.

Opponents also fear Crabtree, and for good reason. He has been clutch in the season’s first half, likely playing the best football of his career.

The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t want Crabtree to have a big day in Week 6, and put top-flight cornerback Marcus Peters – who can’t keep up with Cooper’s speed – on his trail. Crabtree was largely negated in that effort, though Cooper dominated to the tune of 10 receptions for 129 yards on 13 targets. Crabtree, by far Carr’s most frequent receiver, was only thrown to four times.

Carr’s message to future opponents from those two games: pick your poison.

“You have to always be ready for everything, and I think that our staff does an amazing job of giving me a lot of options for those instances,” Carr said at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, before Wednesday's practice. “If they’re going to take away (Cooper) this game, we have to get the other guys going. If they’re going to take ‘Crab’ away, we have to get the other guys going.

“What’s great about that (position group) is they’re all good with it. We just want to win. That’s what it comes down to, how can we push the ball down the field… I think our staff does an amazing job of filling that kind of stuff out if they’re trying to take one or the other away.”

Fluctuating target counts can be frustrating for receivers, who are often considered divas demanding the football at all times. The Raiders don’t have those personalities, a luxury quarterbacks dream about.

“We’re together, man,” Crabtree said. “We’re trying to win by any means. We know what’s at stake and I feel like we’re doing everything it takes to win.”

Sometimes, that means being unselfish. Ignoring stats can be tough for wideouts, but that isn’t an issue with two top receivers under contract an extended stretch.

Cooper and Crabtree have different playing styles and personality types, yet yin and yang in this Raiders offense without issue.

“We complement each other well,” Cooper said. “Having multiple options is really great to have, especially guys that threaten defenses.”

Fan dies after falling while leaving Broncos game

Fan dies after falling while leaving Broncos game

DENVER -- Authorities say a fan has died after falling 60 feet at the Denver Broncos' stadium after a game on Monday night.

Stadium Management Co., which operates Sports Authority Field at Mile High, said the fan fell over a railing.

The medical examiner's office said Tuesday the man was transported to a hospital and pronounced dead. He was identified as 36-year-old Jason Coy.

Denver police say he was sitting on a railing when he fell. Witnesses and emergency responders immediately tried to help.

The incident occurred near the north end of the stadium following the Broncos' game against the Houston Texans.

In a statement, the Broncos said the team is "reviewing this tragic incident and will continue to maintain all necessary safety measures for our fans."