The anatomy of a football melee

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The anatomy of a football melee

CINCINNATI -- Tensions were already high on the Raiders sideline midway through the fourth quarter of an eventual 34-10 Cincinnati victory when Lamarr Houston decided to take down Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton, well after the whistle had blown the play dead due to a false start on right tackle Andre Smith.A play earlier, the Raiders felt wronged by the inadvertent whistle ruling that gave the Bengals another shot at third down. And a few minutes before, a late clipping penalty called on right guard MIke Brisiel moved the Raiders from the Bengals 27-yard line back to near midfield.So yeah, Houston probably added a little extra oomph to his takedown of Dalton, and the Bengals took exception, with left tackle Andrew Whitworth charging over and getting in Houston's face. The fight ensued, as did the madness. Two Raiders were thrown out of the game -- Houston and defensive tackle Tommy Kelly -- as was Whitworth.Strangely, a trio of Bengals defensive players who left the bench to join the fracas were not penalized -- defensive end Carlos Dunlap, linebacker Manny Lawson and safety Taylor Mays. Even former Raiders coach Hue Jackson, now a Bengals assistant, joined the fray, pulling players out of the scrum. As did current Raiders coach Dennis Allen."You know," Houston said, "it doesn't matter. The game is over now. Give them credit, they played well today. They played well as a team. We'll be back at work on Monday."The Raiders were trailing 27-10 at the time and after the Bengals drove 84 yards, the final score was set. Even if the trash-talking was just getting started."The guy slammed Andy after about four whistles," Whitworth said. "It's my job, my responsibility to keep Andy clean and stay protected. I saw it and just walked up to him and told him to not let it happen (again). And then he head-butted me and three of their other linemen started swinging at me from behind."They were probably looking for a fight because they weren't doing much on the fieldteams like that, the last couple weeks they've had, I'm sure they're frustrated and they were getting beat again."PAUL G'S INSTANT REPLAY: Bengals 34, Raiders 10
Ouch."Whit just protected his guy," Dunlap said. "Al I know is that in a situation like that you've just got to protect your quarterback."I don't think he threw any punches. He just checked out his quarterback."Of course, the Raiders had a different point of view."I just remember one of their guys attacking one of our guys and then our guys defended themselves," said safety Mike Mitchell. "The next thing you know, we get two guys kicked out and they only get one guy kicked out. That is crazy."

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.

They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.

Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.

“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”

While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.

The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.

“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.

"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.

Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.

Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.

“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”

Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.

“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”