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Optimism abounds as Raiders set to open training camp

Filed for print . . .

Year 3 of the Reggie McKenzie/Dennis Allen regime finds the Raiders with their fiscal house in order, an upgraded roster and expressing the confidence of a playoff contender.

Now all they have to do is win.

With owner Mark Davis espousing a “no excuses’’ mantra, the Raiders report to training camp Wednesday at the Napa Valley Marriott. They’ll go through physical exams and meetings Thursday before practicing for the first time Friday at 3 p.m.

“I think we’ve got some football players,’’ Davis said. “At that last mandatory camp, it looked like we had a team.’’

It’s a team that will be on a tight schedule, with Allen having only 13 training camp practices to acclimate 41 new players on a 90-man roster to systems of football on offense, defense and special teams.

The Raiders will hold their last practice in Napa on Aug. 11, the travel to Oxnard for joint sessions with the Dallas Cowboys on Aug. 12 and 13. Following their preseason game against the Detroit Lions, they return to the team facility in Alameda.

During that time, the Raiders will adjust to a new starting quarterback in Matt Schaub, rebuilt offensive and defensive lines and an expectation that the 4-12 records of the past two seasons will not be acceptable.

Allen even wrote a letter to season ticket holders promising better days ahead.

“Step by step, we are building a smart, tough disciplined football team that will play this game with the passion and energy the fans deserve,’’Allen wrote. “Reggie McKenzie and our personnel staff have done a tremendous job bringing in players that fit the vision and goals of our organization.’’

Allen concluded the letter by saying “We are building a team that you can be proud of in 2014 and many years to come.’’

In trading for Schaub and signing veterans such as defensive linemen Justin Tuck, Lamarr Woodley and Antonio Smith, offensive linemen Donald Penn and Austin Howard, running back Maurice Jones-Drew and wide receiver James Jones, the Raiders succeeded in bringing in self-starters who are serous about their craft.

Schaub, who would probably have been released by Houston after a poor 2013 season, was acquired for a sixth-round draft pick Aug. 23 so he could get a head start learning the system and hit the ground running when training camp begins.

“If they believe in him as much as they did, then it was a smart move to trade for him and get him in here early instead of going through free agency and losing that time,’’ Davis said. “I think that was an effective move. I’m all for it. If it works, it’s great. You’ve got to have a quarterback.’’

The flip side of all the new faces in free agency is those players were allowed to walk away from their teams, or in the case of Penn, released.

“It’s fuel and motivation,’’ Penn said. “We’ve got a lot of players with chips on our shoulders.’’

It’s a formula the Raiders used with success from 1998 through 2002, when players considered past their prime such as linebacker William Thomas, wide receiver Jerry Rice and linebacker Bill Romanowski came aboard to put exclamation points on successful careers and contributed to teams that won three straight division titles under Jon Gruden and Bill Callahan.

During the offseason practices, both voluntary and mandatory, Allen drew upon the Raiders’ tradition more than at any time in the previous two seasons, having former players speak to the team in hope so rekindling a spark and to help provide the organization with its first winning season since 2002.

After going 8-24 in his first two seasons, the lowest winning percentage over his first 32 games than any coach in franchise history, Allen believes he has an even playing field in terms of depth and roster talent.

There is also the presence of rookie linebacker Khalil Mack, whose play in the non-padded offseason workouts was impressive. He leads a rookie class that includes quarterback Derek Carr, who ideally would learn behind Schaub this season, and guard Gabe Jackson, a third-round choice who will compete to start on the left side.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • PlunkforHOF

    Jame Gumb

  • _Mista_

    We are not deep there.
    Streater & Jones are the only 2 Wr’s to speak of unless someone breaks out. DMAC and MJD are one ankle sprain away from a boot.

    Forget about a trade.

  • Raider O

    It rubs the lotion on its skin.

  • _Mista_

    Chemosabi you are tr0lling me again….

    Did you leave some flowers for mommy ? You luv making her turn dont you? Doesn’t that weed help you with your psychosis ?

    Guess not.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    The life of Gumby sniffing around everybody’s private areas.

  • rudegruden

    Two negatives make a positive

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Gumb. Jame Gumb.

  • r8ter4evr

    You might learn something
    Like you can’t win overtime games by 4 pts
    Thank you so much for your intelligence
    This brilliance of yours is one of a kind
    And I will constantly remind you of it

  • r8ter4evr

    Hell ya
    But I still believe that a ex steeler will rebound and have a huge year for us
    Just my opinion
    He was one of the most feared pass rushers up until last year watch out for WOODLEY

  • r8ter4evr

    Love Cable but don’t get carried away it’s all Carrol, sure Tom is a good coach just don’t think a great HC

  • Raidermarty

    Hayden is still hurt? Man this guy is turning out to be a big disappointment

  • PlunkforHOF

    In an NFL game as time runs out, how many points can you be ahead and still go into overtime?

  • r8ter4evr

    It is not a good thing but the guy is young and does have great potential
    I am sure if Reg knew he would have these injury issues he would not have picked him but he is a Raider and until otherwise I will support and hope for the best for DJ

  • r8ter4evr

    Uh duh uh?

  • r8ter4evr

    I try to keep peace with EVERYONE in here Plunk
    But he crossed a forbidden
    line and I will never respect that guy

  • Raidermarty

    Well let’s just hope he can get it together and do something this year- we really need him

  • PlunkforHOF

    Maybe he’ll eventually get tired of being the punching bag. I doubt it. The Great and Glorious Jame Gumb Campaign goes on.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Maximum of 1 point.But if the leading team kicks a FG in OT it’s only worth 3 points. However, if the trailing team kicks a FG in OT, it’s worth 4 points.

  • PlunkforHOF

    Ahhh… The Amended Kovoloski Clause.

  • c2e

    Mocks have us at 32 yet raging optimism abounds from within. Very intriguing season to come.

  • rudegruden

    One of many reasons i can’t stand the local media. Finally Guy gets in and there wasn’t a post. A joke. They are probably over the bay blowing Harbaugh and anyone on the niners. Taking turns with Alex.

  • rudegruden

    I say we have an 7-8 win team (based on talent and age). Anything more would be good coaching on DA’s part.

  • Twinkle

    I’ve been preoccupied for a bit but it’s nice to know that nothings changed….I swear to god that we hate each other more than we hate the donkeys…….RAIDERS we all be…..
    jesus christ get used to it .

  • RegAllenGo

    Well I see all of the cross posting fools are here tonight. What’s up Purvi/Plunk. How’s the hand up the butt of a Llama business working out for you. Don’t forget to wash your hand before you hit the keypad to post here.

  • https://twitter.com/MimiPeepeechimi Just Fire Baby

    I think 8 wins and DA should get COY votes.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    It’s Pokey!

  • PlunkforHOF

    Pokey! How we’ve missed you! Are you all right?

  • RegAllenGo

    fk you you ahole

  • Blackholepriest

    Could easily have scored more but DA shut it down. TP was so frustrated after the game. They wouldn’t let him open it up. They did the same thing in the Steeler game and almost cost us the game.

  • RegAllenGo

    Who are you?

  • rudegruden

    Marty Freitas???

  • c2e

    Agreed. Even a 100% increase may still not be enough to save him.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    They did the same thing in the Steelers and San Diego game, smartly preserving victory.

  • Twinkle

    At the risk of repeating other posters….who the hell are you?

  • PlunkforHOF

    Its Pokey! Gumby’s only friend.

  • https://twitter.com/MimiPeepeechimi Just Fire Baby

    Pryor almost cost us the Steelers game with his 2 INT’s.
    Jaquars game he was nice and efficient, defense was rolling, played that perfectly.

  • RegAllenGo

    Hayden is a joke. What a waste. Sort of like Purvi trying to say he isn’t Plunk. Then he turns into Plunkbutt and tries to complain about cross posting and trolls.

  • https://twitter.com/MimiPeepeechimi Just Fire Baby

    Obsessed much?

  • Blackholepriest

    San Diego game they opened it up more. But that game could’ve been duplicated IMO. If he starts vs SD in Oakland we win. The Wash game as well.

    I think we win 6-8 games last year if he starts the entire year.

  • r8ter4evr

    Right
    Look if I upset someone in here I apologize if it seems it is the right thing to do, but some comments we all make are in fun
    With him a apology should for sure be in order to you my Raider Brother

  • https://twitter.com/MimiPeepeechimi Just Fire Baby

    Keep in mind that after the SD game, Terrelle Pryor had 1 TD to 9 INT’s over a 7 game stretch, yet some pinheads still clamor for him like we let YA Title walk away.
    Amazing it is.

  • RegAllenGo

    Cross poster.

  • PlunkforHOF

    Thanks, but that will never happen. Look at the source.

  • Blackholepriest

    That’s one way of looking at it I thought hey almost choked it away by being way too conservative.

  • BigTed707

    wow, I didn’t expect an honest answer

  • https://twitter.com/MimiPeepeechimi Just Fire Baby

    Pittsburgh was simply the better team, and we lucked out their FG kicker had a shat day and we won.

  • RegAllenGo

    I hate hypocrites that acuse others of doing something while they do it themselves. Purvi is a cross posting dk.

  • IVRaider

    AFC West Predictions:
    Denver 12-4
    SD 10-6
    Oakland 7-9
    Kansas City 4-12.

    Raiders beat NY, KC twice, Cleveland, Buffalo, SD once and Arizona….seems doable.

  • Blackholepriest

    It’s your way of looking at it, I have my way. DA sucks!

  • r8ter4evr

    I hoped Pryor would become our QB and honestly at times it looked like he could
    but as the season progressed he regressed and it was very apparent he didn’t have what it takes to be an effective NFL QB probably never will