Coach Allen gets impressive turnout at mini camp


The media were not permitted access to the Raiders first mini camp last week. First-year coach Dennis Allen declined to divulge the size of the turnout, other than to say he was “pleased.”
A scan of numerous pictures on the Raiders website revealed the following 50 players in attendance for some or all of the three-day affair in Alameda:

Shane Lechler
Sebastian Janikowski
Jon Condo

Carson Palmer
Terrelle Pryor
Rhett Bomar

Darren McFadden
Taiwan Jones
Mike Goodson
Lonyae Miller

Manase Tonga

Denarius Moore
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Louis Muphy
Eddie McGee
Jacoby Ford

David Ausberry
Richard Gordon
Brandon Myers

Mike Brisiel
Alex Parsons
Cooper Carlisle
Jared Veldheer
Khalif Barnes
Stefen Wisniewski
Zach Hurd

Richard Seymour
Dave Tollefson
Lamarr Houston
Desmond Bryant
Jamie Cumbie
Mason Brodine
Travis Ivey
Hall Davis

Rolando McClain
Travis Goethel
Aaron Curry
Philip Wheeler
Carl Ihenacho

Michael Huff
DeMarcus Van Dyke
Mike Mitchell
Matt Giordano
Ron Bartell
Curtis Taylor
Shawntae Spencer
Pat Lee
Brandon Underwood
Chimdi Chekwa
Bryan McCann

As you can see, that’s quite a turnout for a “voluntary” mini camp. Notable exceptions include defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, strong safety Tyvon Branch and fullback Marcel Reece. None of the three players showed up in any of the pictures scanned.
Reece’s absence isn’t a surprise, given he hasn’t signed the one-year tender as a restricted free agent. Same goes for Branch, the recipient of the franchise tag, which he has not signed. Not sure if Kelly was there, and he just didn’t make it into any of the pictures.
The big surprise was the presence of defensive lineman Desmond Bryant. He, too, has yet to sign his one-year tender. However, he signed a waiver and opted to participate.
That’s the kind of dedication Allen no doubt is looking for.
“I thought we had a great turnout. We had two weeks of an offseason conditioning program and today was the first day of the voluntary minicamp,” Allen said in a conference call last Tuesday. “Overall I’ve been very pleased with the turnout. Guys are working very hard to try to get better.”


Raiders coach Allen talks about schedule, McFadden, Pryor, etc.


Raiders coach Dennis Allen took a break from preparing for the 2012 season to weigh in on the NFL’s release of the schedules for its 32 teams.
Allen also addressed the status of running back Darren McFadden, backup quarterback Terrelle Pryor and the progress of his team’s first mini camp, among other things.
Here is the complete transcript from the conference call with Allen:

Q: Thoughts on opening at home on Monday night?
A: I’m excited about it. You grow up watching Monday Night Football and the theme song. We’re excited about getting to open up the new era of Raider football both in the preseason on Monday night and in the regular season.

Q: Does getting the schedule make it all seem more real?
A: I don’t know if makes it seem more real that it’s coming up. Obviously it’s exciting when you get a chance to look at it. Obviously you know who you’re playing. You go through the process of looking at those teams. All right, we have this team early in the year, late in the year. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. We have to line up and go play those games whenever they call for us to go play them.

Q: Does anything stand out on the schedule?
A: I don’t think anything really jumps out at me. Usually when I get these things I kind of look at them. I don’t give it a ton of thought other than where we’re traveling to and when we have to get there.

Q: How much do you like having three straight home games late in the season?
A: First of all I like the fact that as I look at the schedule we don’t have any back-to-back road games until we get to the end of the year. I like the fact that we get three back-to-back-to-back home games right there in the stretch run until we have to go on the road to finish out the year. Obviously getting the chance to play at home late in the year is an advantage.

Q: What were you able to do on the first day of the mini camp today?
A: We’re using this as an opportunity to really install a core base offense, defense and special teams. Really just get a chance to let the guys go through the motions of breaking a huddle lining up in a formation, lining up in a defense, lining up in a punt team formation and allow them to get a feel for what we’re going to do and how they’re going to be asked to do it.

Q: Is this a big week for Pryor?
A: At the end of the day, what I’m looking to see from him, not necessarily this week. It’s the process as we go along. What I want to see is that every day he gets a little bit better. That’s what we’re looking for with all of our players. None of us are where we need to be right now. Our job is to as the process goes on our job is to put our head down, put blinders on and put one step ahead of the other and take it day by day. I know those are cliches but it really is true. We’re going to take it day by day and keep getting better every day. At the end of the day if we can do that and get better every day we’re going to like the results at the end.

Q: What was McFadden able to do?
A: Darren was able to go through the drills today and did a nice job.

Q: Is that encouraging?
A: Absolutely. He’s one of our most explosive players on offense. He’s a dangerous weapon. We’re looking forward to finding different ways of using him and kind of exploiting his talents.

Q: What was the turnout like?
A: I thought we had a great turnout. We had two weeks of an offseason conditioning program and today was the first day of the voluntary minicamp. Overall I’ve been very pleased with the turnout. Guys are working very hard to try to get better.

Q: What are draft preparations like?
A: We’ve been in draft meetings for about a week now. Obviously we’re still in a process of draft meetings. I’m balancing the two right now with getting ready for the draft and also running this minicamp. As we get closer and closer to the draft, Reggie and I will sit down and really get a good feel for what we want to do and what our plan of attack will be.

Q: Are you pleased with the holes you have filled through free agency?
A: I really do. Obviously as we go through the offseason we’ll have a better feel as we go on exactly where we’re at. I feel pretty good about the guys we were able to pick up.


Raiders 2012 regular-season schedule


The Raiders learned Tuesday afternoon that their 2012 regular season begins with a Monday night game against the San Diego Chargers at the Coliseum.
The Raiders get their first look at quarterback Peyton Manning in a Denver Broncos uniform on Sept. 30 in Denver. That game also marks a return home for first-year Raiders coach Dennis Allen, who was the Broncos defensive coordinator last season.
Oakland’s 10th game, Nov. 18 at home, comes against a New Orleans Saints team in the midst of dealing with a bounty scandal that resulted in coach Sean Payton being suspended for the season.
Every team plays at least one game on Thursday night this season. For the Raiders, that game is against the Broncos on Dec. 6, and it comes in the middle game of a three-game stretch in which the Raiders play at home.
“I like the fact that … we don’t have any back-to-back road games until we get to the end of the year,” Allen said in a conference call. “I like the fact that we get three back-to-back-to-back home games right there in the stretch run until we have to go on the road to finish out the year. Obviously, getting the chance to play at home late in the year is an advantage.”
Another game of note is Nov. 25, when the Raiders play the Cincinnati Bengals on the road.
That game features the fist return to Cincinnati for Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer, who began his NFL career with the Bengals and played there until he was traded to the Raiders last season.
The Bengals game also marks the first time the Raiders will see former coach Hue Jackson, who now is a Bengals assistant coach.
The Raiders bye week comes after four games. That places them in the unenviable position of finishing the season with 12 straight games.
The Raiders three straight home games late in the season bodes well for them if they are in playoff contention at the time. Those games are against the Cleveland Browns, Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. Even better for the Raiders, their Thursday night game comes on the heels of a home game.
The Raiders open and close their regular season with games against the Chargers. The Raiders played their regular-season finale against the Chargers last season in a game the Chargers won. This time, the game is in San Diego.

Monday, September 10 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 7:15 p.m. ESPN
Sunday, September 16 at Miami Dolphins 1:15 p.m. CBS
Sunday, September 23 PITTSBURGH STEELERS 1:15 p.m. CBS
Sunday, September 30 at Denver Broncos 1:05 p.m. CBS
Sunday, October 7 BYE
Sunday, October 14 at Atlanta Falcons 10:00 a.m. CBS
Sunday, October 21 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS 1:15 p.m. CBS
Sunday, October 28 at Kansas City Chiefs 1:05 p.m. CBS
Sunday, November 4 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 1:05 p.m. FOX
Sunday, November 11 at Baltimore Ravens 10:00 a.m. CBS
Sunday, November 18 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS *1:05 p.m. FOX
Sunday, November 25 at Cincinnati Bengals *10:00 a.m. CBS
Sunday, December 2 CLEVELAND BROWNS *1:15 p.m. CBS
Thursday, December 6 DENVER BRONCOS 5:20 p.m. NFLN
Sunday, December 16 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS *1:15 p.m. CBS
Sunday, December 23 at Carolina Panthers *10:00 a.m. CBS
Sunday, December 30 at San Diego Chargers *1:15 p.m. CBS


Raiders live chat on Tuesday at noon


Steve Corkran will chat about the Raiders at noon on Tuesday, by which time the NFL may have released its 2012 regular season schedule.


Raiders exhibition dates, times announced


The Raiders kick off their 2012 season with an exhibition game against the Dallas Cowboys on Aug. 13, at the Coliseum, the Raiders announced in a press release.
They then travel to Arizona for a game against the Cardinals the week of Aug. 16-20, followed by a home game against the Detroit Lions on Aug. 25 and a road game against the Seattle Seahawks on Aug. 30.
The dates and times for all regular-season games will be announced Tuesday. It’s possible that the Raiders will begin their regular season with a Monday night game.