Raiders

Raiders key matchup No. 3: Myers vs. Berry

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Raiders key matchup No. 3: Myers vs. Berry

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Chiefs matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m. (CBS), at the O.co Coliseum

Raiders TE Brandon Myers vs. Chiefs SS Eric Berry

Tale of the tape
Myers (83): 6-foot-3, 256 pounds, fourth season, Iowa
Berry (29): 6-foot, 211 pounds, third season, Tennessee

ALAMEDA -- Two games ago, Brandon Myers caught a franchise record-tying 14 catches, equaling Tim Brown's 15-year-old mark, against the Cleveland Browns.

Last week, against Denver, Myers caught one pass.

"That's just the game," said Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer. "Some guys get a hot hand one week and there's a lot of plays called their way because of certain matchups, because of certain schemes. And some weeks you're called on to block, or called on for the run game. So it's not anything we lost any confidence, obviously, in Brandon at all. It has nothing to do with anything like that.

"It's just, some games your number's called more often than others and it was just of those weeks where he was blocking a little bit more and they had shown some things where they weren't going to let him catch 14 balls."

Neither, it seems, would the Chiefs want to allow such production out of Myers, whose 70 receptions thus far leads all AFC tight ends and is the most by a Raiders tight end since Todd Christensen caught 95 balls in 1986 and the most by any Raiders pass catcher since Jerry Porter had 76 in 2005.

And for what it's worth, 33 of Myers' catches have come in the fourth quarter.

Berry, who was a Pro Bowler as a rookie in 2010 but suffered a season-ending injury in the Chiefs' season-opener in 2011, has started all 13 games this season. As the strong safety, he figures to draw the assignment of covering Myers.

"When you look back earlier in the year, they matched him up with Antonio Gates against San Diego," said Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. "He is a very good safety, in my opinion, who is not just one dimensional. Sometimes safeties can be a box safety or a deep safety. He plays both well. He has great range to play the middle safety. But he has no problem playing linebacker.

"In fact, in their sub packages, he will play the linebacker the majority of the time and he’ll stick his nose in there. He’s good against the run and he can cover a tight end really well."

The experience of sitting out basically an entire season has not gone over well with Berry, who has 65 tackles (53 solo), with six for a loss, an interception and seven passes defensed. As a rookie, he led the Chiefs with four interceptions and also had two sacks.

"I would say, physically I was ready to go, I was in shape and stuff like that," he said of returning this year, in a conference call with Bay Area reporters. "It’s just, I lost all my game experience…I only had one year under my belt. So a lot of the stuff I had to go back, to certain game situations, what I could and could not do.

"Obviously, my role has changed a lot from my rookie year. I was more in the box as far as like, I don’t even know what to call the position. Just little stuff like that. As far as physically though, I felt I was back where I was supposed to be. But I just had to get that game experience, and I feel great now."

Donald Penn yet to report as Raiders return home

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AP

Donald Penn yet to report as Raiders return home

ALAMEDA – Raiders left tackle Donald Penn missed training camp holding out for a new, more lucrative contract. He missed Tuesday’s practice, the first back at the team’s training facility.

His protest began 26 days ago. The regular season is 19 days away.

Penn has worked out with top trainers and private offensive line coaches while away from the team, but still needs time to get back in the flow.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday that Penn is expected back this week. He wasn’t there for the first of three sessions when the Raiders will focus on the third preseason game at Dallas. It’s the last meaningful exhibition, with players down on the depth chart expected to populate the preseason finale versus Seattle.

Penn doesn’t necessarily need to play in a preseason game to prep for the Sept. 10 regular-season opener at Tennessee, but it could help.

Head coach Jack Del Rio wouldn’t address Penn’s status, or whether there’s a deadline for him to report and be ready for the regular season.

The Raiders have managed with Marshall Newhouse on the left and Vadal Alexander on the right. The pair has fared well, though the line will be significantly stronger with Penn back and a Newhouse/Alexander competition on the right.

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie made it clear weeks ago that the Raiders wouldn’t talk contract until a player reports. Penn preferred a contract get done before showing up. Weeks were lost to that impasse.

Quarterback Derek Carr hopes it will end soon, and that Penn will come back to the team.

“It would obviously mean a lot, if that’s what he chooses to do,” Carr said. “He’s our teammate. We want all our teammates here. We want to work hard together. We want to be together and joke together. It’s more than just football. We want to be there in his life, with him.

"It would mean a lot. Obviously, I would love it.”

If McGregor beats Mayweather, Raiders may move to Dublin

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AP

If McGregor beats Mayweather, Raiders may move to Dublin

So Las Vegas’ army of legal books are in a moderate panic because they are so overexposed with Conor McGregor bets. Apparently, other than the Maloof brothers, they can’t scare up any Mayweather money at all.

Maybe this is the secret reason Mark Davis has declared publicly that the Raiders intend to colonize Los Angeles.

The latest evidence of the books’ distress is this Big Lead headline, which subtly hints, “Vegas Sportsbooks Are Exposed Like Never Before, Will Be Decimated if Conor McGregor Beats Floyd Mayweather.”

Well, if McGregor wins (and you’ll have to tell me about it because I’d rather watch feet sweat in the noonday sun than this), gambling in Vegas apparently will not exist any longer because the sporting apocalypse will finally be upon us. And if there is no gambling in Vegas, there is no Vegas, and all of a sudden the Raiders are moving to a town whose mayor is an iguana and whose chamber of commerce is tumbleweeds.

Hence, Davis’ answer to a question from Los Angeles Daily News writer Vincent Bonsignore about how L.A. has always been a Raiders’ town and that the team will get lots of its fans from the basin – fans who apparently cannot stomach either the Rams or the Chargers.

Ignoring Davis’ folly of answering that question that way at this time, when the NFL itself is wondering if, for its financial purposes, the mayor of L.A. is an iguana and the chamber of commerce is tumbleweeds, this news reminds us that the league has managed in less than two years to ruin the second-largest market in the United States by dithering, by backroom deals, by aversion of money spent by “the wrong kind of people” (see “brown”). That level of chaos is to be appreciated and enjoyed for what it is – nature’s way of telling rich people who’s boss.

Now, if nature doubles down and figures a way to make McGregor win and break Vegas, maybe the entire down isn’t destroyed but instead becomes a colony of Ireland, where the prime minister is not an iguana but a human, and the closest thing to tumbleweeds is a Guinness brewery.

Maybe if that happens, the Raiders end up playing in Dublin instead (a delightful little asterisk since there was a perfectly good Dublin not far from Oakland to begin with) – and they spend their entire time complaining that they have to share Croke Park and that there are too many markings on the field from all those damned hurling matches.

Of course this isn’t likely to happen, and Vegas keeps taking all the McGregor money you can throw at it. But one of these times, and sooner than we think, the apocalypse is not going to take no for an answer, and you will see Mark Davis with a pipe stuck bowl downward in his mouth standing next to a pot of gold.

Which of course will belong to the Bank Of America, because there are some things even the apocalypse can’t beat.