`Hard Knocks’ for Raiders?


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are reportedly the favorites in the clubhouse to be featured in the popular HBO series “Hard Knocks,” but ESPN’s Adam Schefter had an interesting name of another team supposedly in the running:

The Raiders.

A team as notoriously private as the Raiders would seem to be the longest of shots to get the full-on behind-the-scenes treatment.

But Al Davis has allowed coaches in the past to be filmed in the locker room and on the sideline. The photogenic Jon Gruden was the most notable, but there have also been instances the past couple of years where Tom Cable has been featured.

Hue Jackson has some charisma about him and is good in front of a camera. He’d make for some very good practice viewing in Napa and “Hard Knocks” exposure could help national interest as well as local ticket sales.

One issue would have to be worked out, however. On the days when Davis is at practice, photographers, as well as those invited guests, are told not to photograph him by security personnel. Any ideas HBO had of zeroing in on Davis in his golf cart would probably be put to rest rather quickly.

During some instances with NFL Films, such as annual highlight films, the Raiders have also insisted that some of their slogans be mentioned, as well as specifics regarding team history which Davis considers important.

An unfettered view of the Raiders doing business would be fascinating viewing. Even with some restrictions it would be interesting, to say the least.


Raiders OT Henderson arrested for carrying concealed firearm



Raiders offensive lineman Mario Henderson was arrested in Florida on Thursday morning for carrying a concealed firearm, according to several reports.
Henderson, 26, was pulled over by police in Fort Myers, Fla., for playing music too loud in his Impala. The arresting officer asked Henderson if he had a gun in his vehicle. Henderson said that he did, though it was located between the driver’s seat and the center console, according to the arrest report, and not in the glove box, as Henderson indicated. Henderson is not licensed to carry a concealed firearms permit.
This marks the second arrest of a Raiders player this offseason. Backup running back Michael Bush was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol earlier this year. The Raiders did not comment on Bush’s arrest and have not addressed Henderson’s legal run-in as of yet.

Henderson, a third-round draft pick in 2007, started seven games at left offensive tackle for the Raiders last season. He finished the second half of the season as a backup as a result of losing his starting job to rookie Jared Veldheer.

Henderson’s contract voided at season’s end, and he now is a free agent. He could not be reached for comment. It’s a toss up as to whether the Raiders will attempt to re-sign Henderson. There is a dearth of talent at left offensive tackle, so Henderson stands a decent shot at receiving a sizable contract offer from another team in need of a proven left tackle.

Here’s the link to a local report from a Flordia TV station pertaining to Henderson’s arrest: http://www.nbc-2.com/Global/story.asp?S=14271612


Raiders 2011 schedule much rockier than road traveled last season


The NFL confirmed that it intends to release its schedule in mid-April or so, as usual, regardless where it stands in its battle against the players in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement.
Therefore, fans at least will have something to chew on in lieu of free agency and offseason workouts being on hold until a new deal is hammered out.
With that in mind, it’s worth taking an early look at the road the Raiders face if they are to end their eight-year string of missing the playoffs.
On the surface, it’s a much tougher path for the Raiders in 2011 than the one they traveled last season.
The Raiders played the four teams in the NFC West and AFC South last season, in addition to games against the Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers. Next season, the Raiders get the NFC North and the AFC East, as well as conference games against the Texans and Cleveland Browns.
The Raiders have every right to feel confident about their six games against their AFC West foes: the San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. After all, they beat all three teams twice last season, and none of those teams figures to be on many lists of Super Bowl contenders.
The problems lie in games against the New England Patriots, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.
The Packers are fresh from a Super Bowl victory over a Steelers team that whipped the Raiders. The Patriots went a league-best 14-2 in the regular season last year. The Jets lost a close game to the Steelers in the AFC Championship game. The Bears lost to the Packers in the NFC Championship game. And the Dolphins throttled the Raiders at the Coliseum last season.
Of more concern is the fact the Raiders lost to the Texans – minus star wide receiver Andre Johnson — at the Coliseum last season, and they have never beaten the Texans on the road.
Games against the Browns and Detroit Lions used to be the kind teams chalked up as easy victories. Not anymore. The Browns, who gave the Patriots one of their losses, and Lions showed signs of improvement last season and should be even better this season.
Yet, it’s obvious by now that it’s risky to place too much stock in results from the previous season. It’s not uncommon for Super Bowl teams to miss the playoffs the following season. And there’s a long list of teams that made the quantum leap from doormat to Super Bowl team in one season in recent years.
The Raiders are counting upon using an 8-8 season in 2010 as a springboard to the playoffs next season. Hence the reason, they have signed or offered contracts to most of their top players who are prospective free agents.
And, why not? The Raiders rattled off several impressive victories in 2009 and won more games last season than they had since 2002. The thinking goes that, another year’s experience for the younger players, keeping the core of the team intact and the promotion of Hue Jackson to coach will be enough to make the difference.
It might be easy to discount what the Raiders accomplished last season, given six of their victories came against teams in a division that won more games (31 combined) than only the AFC South (30, including four against the Raiders) and NFC West (25, including two against the Raiders), and their two other victories came against the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks in, by far, the weakest division.
The same can’t be said if the Raiders finish with a winning record or make the playoffs this season. There are few easy games – the three games against the Buffalo Bills and Broncos are the lone qualifiers, at this point — this time around on a scheduled littered with tough opponents from top to bottom.