Wed, 18 Jan 2017 05:41:59 UTPITTSBURGH — The father in Mike Tomlin regrets the language he used to describe the New England Patriots during the postgame speech Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown opted to live-stream on social media after a taut playoff victory over Kansas City. The coach in Tomlin has just as big an issue with one of his team’s most important players forcing the Steelers to talk about something other than trying to find a way to finally beat Tom Brady when it counts. A characteristically blunt Tomlin called Brown’s decision to broadcast to the world more than 17 minutes of Pittsburgh’s giddy locker-room celebration — a move that caught Tomlin using a handful of profanities — “foolish,” “selfish” and “inconsiderate.” During Tomlin’s postgame remarks, he attached an expletive to the Patriots, who earned a full day’s head start on preparing for the Steelers by virtue of beating Houston on Saturday night, 24 hours before Pittsburgh outlasted Kansas City 18-16. The 2010 sixth-round pick has evolved from a raw project into one of the NFL’s best wide receivers. Brown can be found on TV pitching everything from soda to credit cards to video games. The player who — for reasons he hasn’t yet disclosed — occasionally refers to himself as “Ronald” also has a devoted social-media presence, with more than 1.5 million following on Instagram and an additional 650,000 on Facebook, many of whom got an eyeful and an earful as the Steelers celebrated their first trip to the AFC title game in six years. The Steelers have grown accustomed to Brown’s flights of fancy, whether it’s posing for the Mannequin challenge while meeting with reporters, wearing eye-opening (and fine-threatening) cleats or doing over-the-top touchdown celebrations. New England (15-2) pulled away from the Steelers (13-5) in the second half of a 27-16 victory in Pittsburgh on Oct. 23, a game quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed while recovering from surgery on his left knee.
Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:38:04 UT
A retweet may not seem like much but, when you're as famous as Derek Carr, sometimes it's enough to have a huge impact.
Sun, 15 Jan 2017 00:14:36 UTAn edited transcript of a conversation with former Raiders CEO — and current CBS Sports analyst — Amy Trask: What goes on in these interviews when hiring a GM or coach? Is this the Jon Gruden hire? [...] I never thought he’d make that public, but he would always say to me in private, “Boy, kid, you sure know how to hire a coach.” [...] he did make that public and share that with the media and I was very touched that he did. Al, when he was hiring coaches, wanted them to go to the board and it was primarily a football conversation. There are some owners who focused on the business of being a head coach. The best coaches evaluate the talent on their roster and put those players in the best positions where they can succeed. The view of Vegas being susceptible to gambling is rather antiquated. Forty or 30 years ago, if you wanted to gamble you made a trip out to Vegas or Atlantic City, but nowadays, anywhere you have cellular or Internet connectivity, you can gamble. [...] I think the league has come around to that view that the gambling angle is antiquated.
Sat, 14 Jan 2017 04:07:18 UTRaiders executives have told the Las Vegas Stadium Authority board that investment bank Goldman Sachs has guaranteed the necessary financing for a move to Las Vegas. Adelson “has had some differences with the Raiders,” a league source said, after Adelson played a key role in getting Nevada lawmakers to pass legislation that would contribute $750 million in public money to a proposed $1.9 billion stadium project. Tom Blanda, team senior vice president of stadium development and operations, told the Review-Journal on Thursday that he is optimistic the matter will be resolved within a month. Steelers owner Art Rooney II told the paper that owners were told that the Raiders had secured a no-Adelson option at a Wednesday meeting in New York. There has been speculation that Adelson will attempt to purchase a piece of the Raiders, but Rooney on Wednesday cited rules and policies that would prohibit a casino owner from owning a franchise. “We have delivered to the Raiders a stadium that will be privately financed and is responsible to the taxpayers in one of the most valuable NFL markets in the country with the most amazing fan base and legacy that any football team could ever dream of having,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said Wednesday.
Thu, 12 Jan 2017 20:27:55 UT
Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack will sit out the Pro Bowl with a minor undisclosed injury and be replaced by the Jets’ Leonard Williams. Mack led the Raiders with 11 sacks. Quarterback Derek Carr (leg) will also miss the Jan. 29 all-star game in Orlando, leaving the Raiders right now with five remaining Pro Bowlers in the game: center Rodney Hudson, left tackle Donald Penn, left guard Kelechi Osemele, receiver Amari Cooper and safety Reggie Nelson. Vic Tafur is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @VicTafur
Thu, 12 Jan 2017 06:03:57 UTRaiders owner Mark Davis continued to pave the road to Las Vegas on Wednesday, going before the league’s stadium and finance committees in New York City with updates on his plans to relocate the team from Oakland. ESPN reported Wednesday night that the Chargers have decided to return to the city where the franchise began, ending a 56-season stay in San Diego. The Chargers — who on Wednesday had been granted an extension, to Tuesday, to make their relocation decision — may announce their move north as soon as Thursday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. [...] it was the Raiders, not Chargers, who were the focus of Wednesday’s 3½-hour meeting that ended with owners seemingly warming to the idea of Las Vegas. NFL executive vice president Eric Grubman told reporters that the progress Davis has made is “impressive.” The league’s initial concerns were the size of the Las Vegas market compared with the Bay Area and the role of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson in the deal. Davis, who refused comment, has been meeting with Adelson for months about various terms of a lease agreement for the Raiders at a new Las Vegas venue. Adelson played a key role in getting Nevada lawmakers to pass legislation that will contribute $750 million in public money to the $1.9 billion stadium project. Officials in Oakland reached a land deal in November with a group backed by Fortress Investment and led by former 49ers and Raiders defensive back Ronnie Lott. Asked what city and Alameda County officials think of Davis’ New York City sales pitch, Oakland City Council President Larry Reid said the city “can’t control” the Raiders’ owner. City and county officials believe they have met Davis’ demands for the Coliseum land and to fill in the $400 million financing gap for a stadium. NFL owners could vote on a Raiders move to Las Vegas as soon as March, at the annual league meeting in Phoenix.
Wed, 11 Jan 2017 15:59:45 UT
"No scar in the middle of the forehead can't be dad. Had me worried."
Wed, 11 Jan 2017 04:26:19 UTWith Derek Carr, Khalil Mack, the league’s biggest offensive line and receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper, the foundation is set for repeated trips to the playoffs. There was no upset in Houston on Saturday, and Del Rio tipped his cap to his players before getting on to the business of next season — like changing offensive coordinators. The Raiders did expect more after their season-opening win in New Orleans. Carr changed the call at the line of scrimmage — which he would do again and again as the year progressed — and threw a high arcing pass to the corner of the end zone for Crabtree. The players’ confidence started to match their coach’s, and Oakland would win its first five road games. The victory in New Orleans was the first of seven fourth-quarter comeback wins for the Raiders. Though Del Rio was praised for his courage and faith in his offense to make the play, the decision showed what little faith he had in his defense. [...] though the defense got better after allowing a combined 69 points in the first two games to the Saints and Falcons, it didn’t really turn the corner. Teams with Mack, a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, should not finish last in the league in sacks, but Oakland did with 25. The Raiders gave up 375 yards per game (26th in the league) and 24.1 points (20th), and things could have been a lot worse if they didn’t lead the league with a plus-16 turnover margin. Though effort is no doubt a part of the latter stat — and the Raiders played hard for Del Rio and defensive coordinator Ken Norton. The Raider must address their defensive line. Especially the big guys in the middle, whom linebacker Bruce Irvin called out on more than one occasion for not getting enough push and pressure. The Raiders also need help at linebacker and defensive back, and hope that the members of the 2016 draft class — safety Karl Joseph, defensive lineman Jihad Ward, and linebackers Shilique Calhoun and Cory James — are reliable contributors next season. Because they weren’t this season. The Raiders were good enough to overcome a lot of drops when Carr was in there, but not when backups Matt McGloin and Cook took their turns the last two games. The Raiders led the NFL with 46 dropped passes, per SportsRadarUS. “More than I’m comfortable with, more than we should have,” Del Rio said of the dropped passes. RB Latavius Murray — Ran for 13 TDs, including playoffs, but lost carries to rookies Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington. Unlikely to be back, considering he’ll get some good offers and didn’t quite click with coaching staff. CB DJ Hayden — Not a good first-round pick but now a trusted role player. LB Daren Bates — Special teams didn’t improve as much as was hoped with addition of Bates, Trawick.
Wed, 11 Jan 2017 04:24:39 UTThe Raiders are not renewing offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave’s contract and will promote quarterbacks coach Todd Downing to fill that job, sources said Tuesday. Oakland finished sixth in the NFL in total yards and seventh in points scored, but lost quarterback Derek Carr to a broken fibula Dec. 24 and then lost its AFC wild-card playoff game in Houston on Saturday. According to sources, Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio simply made a choice, as Downing had become a “hot” coaching candidate and was contacted by “4-5 teams” about jobs recently. Downing became a public-relations intern for the Vikings at 19 and later earned a coaching internship under Mike Tice, the Raiders’ current offensive line coach. Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., meanwhile, survived despite the Raiders’ defense finishing 26th in the league. Defensive backs coach Marcus Robinson’s contract was not renewed, though, a couple of days after Del Rio put the brunt of the burden on the big plays allowed — passing and running — on the defensive backs.
Mon, 9 Jan 2017 04:39:04 UTQuarterback Derek Carr said Sunday that he would have been ready to play in the Super Bowl had his team made it there. The reality is that the Raiders lost their wild-card playoff game Saturday in Houston, 27-14. The only healing the Raiders are concerned with now is to their collective soul. Carr, who suffered a broken leg on Christmas Eve and watched Saturday’s game at home with his family and with former Raiders teammate Rod Streater, dropped by the Raiders’ HQ and said his broken leg is healing ahead of schedule. Del Rio smiled at the notion of Carr returning to play five weeks after breaking a leg, seeming to chalk it up to Carr’s positive spirit. The Raiders’ second-year head coach said the team played some good defense but gave up too many big plays. “Explosive plays, whether you like it or not, they always come back to the secondary,” Del Rio said. Even if you have a front line that is full of holes, the (backfield) has a chance to cap the play before it goes explosive. In the back end, obviously balls go over the top of your head, missed tackles, missed assignments lead to long passes as well. Another goal is to identify and develop the backup quarterback. Cook, third string until Carr’s injury and Matt McGloin’s poor sub job in Denver, looks like next season’s backup to Carr, even after Saturday, when he was 18-for-45 and had a 30.0 passer rating. Whatever you do, just don’t lose confidence, because you can’t be in a harder situation than playing those guys for your very first’ NFL start. Guys obviously were down in the locker room after the game, but once we got on the bus, once we got on the plane, guys started to lighten up.
Sun, 8 Jan 2017 06:45:07 UTFor Raiders, there’s no playoff payoff HOUSTON — With a little more than a minute left in the first half, the Texans scored on a 2-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins, and beaten Raiders cornerback Sean Smith immediately started screaming at his teammates. Without their Pro Bowl quarterback, Oakland didn’t have much of a chance in Saturday’s AFC wild-card playoff game. The Raiders finally got one, after 11 unsuccessful tries, with 11:51 left. Beyond that, Connor Cook was not up to the task in his first NFL start, and his teammates did nothing to pick him up in a 27-14 loss to the Texans at NRG Stadium. “We had stretches there where we got consecutive stops and were staying in the game,” Oakland head coach Jack Del Rio said. [...] the wind went out of the sails on Dec. 24 when MVP candidate Carr broke his leg. The sails took another beating Friday, when left tackle Donald Penn was ruled out with a knee injury. “A lot of adversity hit us, we didn’t handle it well and you see the results,” defensive end Khalil Mack said. Houston, meanwhile, went into the game with the NFL’s top-ranked defense and no fear of Cook. Down 3-0, the Raiders were facing a 3rd-and-12, and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave called what he thought was a safe screen pass to Latavius Murray. Cook, though, still threw the ball — right to defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. The interception set up Lamar Miller’s 4-yard touchdown run to make it 10-0. Thanks to Jalen Richard’s 37-yard punt return, the Raiders scored a touchdown on Murray’s 2-yard run with 1:01 left in the first quarter. [...] that was it for the Raiders’ offense until a garbage-time touchdown pass to Andre Holmes midway through the fourth quarter. [...] Del Rio never went to experienced quarterback Matt McGloin, who struggled in the season finale at Denver before injuring his shoulder. Cook was 6-of-21 for 58 yards through three quarters, before garbage time. Unlike in the Raiders’ 27-20 win over the Texans in November, Cook didn’t have the luxury of throwing to his running backs. Oakland running backs had only two catches (on five targets) for 17 yards before stats became meaningless in the fourth quarter. The offensive line, with Menelik Watson in for Penn at left tackle, had a hard time with Clowney early but improved as the game went on. The Texans, meanwhile, did a good job of keeping Mack off quarterback Brock Osweiler’s back. Maybe people won’t remember this game when they look back at a winning season. There’s a reason guys don’t make their first career start in playoff games. There was a glimmer of hope when he ran for a TD and had 10 first-half carries for 41 yards.
Sun, 8 Jan 2017 05:52:03 UTDavid Amerson says Raiders at full strength would be untouchable HOUSTON — David Amerson has a message for the rest of the league. “They know,” the Raiders’ cornerback said minutes after Saturday’s playoff loss. The 27-14 loss to Houston stings but doesn’t erase what Oakland started with its 12-4 regular-season record, Amerson said. “Some unfortunate stuff happened this year, and we gotta move on and not try and make excuses, but they know for the next couple of years, they know what’s up,” Amerson said. Amerson didn’t really want to answer questions from Houston reporters about how quarterback Brock Osweiler played. To be honest, as a defense we should have held them to nothing. Vic Tafur is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.
Sun, 8 Jan 2017 05:26:03 UTRaiders’ Jalen Richard the MVP of undrafted free agents HOUSTON — Stop me if you’ve heard this before — which you have — but undrafted free agent rookie Jalen Richard provided the Raiders with a spark. Richard was mostly relegated to being a punt returner. With the Raiders trailing 10-0 early, Richard’s teammates urged him to do something when the Raiders’ defense forced its first three-and-out of the game and he went out to field the punt. Five plays later, Latavius Murray scored a touchdown and the Raiders appeared to be back in the game, 10-7. In the regular season, he had 34 punt returns for 306 yards, 17 kick returns for 402 yards, 83 carries for 491 yards and 29 receptions for 194 yards. [...] on Saturday, despite the spark on the punt return, it was tough sledding for all of the Raiders’ backs, who rushed for a combined 64 yards against the league’s top defense. [...] they also have a defensive coordinator in Romeo Crennel who did a great job of throwing different things at us and not letting us get in a rhythm.
Sun, 8 Jan 2017 05:13:47 UTHOUSTON — People will point to quarterback Derek Carr’s injury as the source of the Raiders’ late woes, but Oakland lost its last two gamesbecause it couldn’t stop Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian or the Texans’ Brock Osweiler. “We’ve got to help the offense,” said defensive end Khalil Mack, who had 11 tackles. Not only did the Raiders not get a sack for the third straight week, but they also had no quarterback hits. The problem was that the Raiders never got to Osweiler when they sent extra players after him. The Raiders’ offense was humming for all of two minutes in the first half. “Yeah, we got the tempo going, the offensive line, receivers, tight ends, everyone was jelling,” Cook said. The Raiders lost linebacker Malcolm Smith to a hamstring injury and receiver Michael Crabtree to a concussion in the second half. Before the game, defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr. gave the team a scare when he was sick enough that the team had to report him as questionable three hours before kickoff. Matt McGloin, who started the final regular-season game before suffering a shoulder injury that knocked him out of the game, remained sidelined Saturday and never got onto the field. Marquette King set a Raiders postseason record with 10 punts. With Edwards good to go and Stacy McGee back from a groin injury, defensive tackle (and second-round pick) Jihad Ward was inactive for the first time all season.
Sun, 8 Jan 2017 03:30:13 UTFacts and figures from Raiders’ loss to Texans Connor Cook’s struggles in his first career NFL start put the Raiders in a hole they could not escape. The NFL’s sixth-ranked ground attack (120.1 yards per game) was held to 64 yards and averaged 3 yards per carry (Latavius Murray, left, led the way with 39 yards). By contrast, the Raiders gained 70 yards on six punt returns. Third-down conversions for the Raiders, tying a season low; both such games came after quarterback Derek Carr’s injury. Texans’ turnover edge; in the regular season Houston was 26th in the NFL at minus-7.