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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

    World class irony from Pokey.

  • RegAllenGo

    Fk u cross poster.

  • Raider O

    Are we still ignoring the attention seeking moron?

  • RegAllenGo

    Your also a cross posting idjit. Shut up.

  • PlunkforHOF

    I went to the Steelers game and was sitting in the Black Hole when he made that run. He looked huge on the field. I really wanted him to be a great QB. He just isn’t.

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

    I am not a huge DA fan. I feel the Pitt-Jax game where he was at his best.
    The Giants game he “opened it up” by throwing once we got on the goalline and having Pryor throw late in the game with a lead, and it resulted in a season crippling pick 6.
    Pryor was good with fresh legs at beginning of games, and progressively got worse by the end of each game. Needed to ice things with a lead. When we did, we won.

  • PlunkforHOF

    Shower the Pokies you love with love.

  • Raider O

    So I’m released from my vow?

  • RegAllenGo

    That’s old news. Pay attention and get your hand out of one of Purvi’s Llamas butt.

  • Blackholepriest

    Pryor was already hurt in that game fool.

    Tired?? He couldn’t run to start the game….lol

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

    Defenses didn’t respect his ability to throw down the field eventually, and it bottled up everything.
    He is such a good athlete he made things happen for short stretches, but if a team isn’t EVER worried you are going to be the quasi deep to deep, your whole offense is F’d.

  • PlunkforHOF

    I release you, my son.

  • BigTed707

    The coaches didn’t know how to scheme around Pryor’s strengths, imo. Instead, they focused in on his weaknesses.
    I think thats why I and others miss Hue – he made our players look like capable athletes, despite their limitations.

  • Raider O

    Exactly

  • r8ter4evr

    0-4 against the NFC west??
    I say we kick Carson back out of Oaktown

  • IVRaider

    I gave us a win agaisnt CP3!

  • r8ter4evr

    Are you OhioRaider??

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

    Every game. Colts, Chargers, Steelers, Chiefs, Giants.
    Started decently, ended up crap and turnover ridden by the end.

  • RegAllenGo

    Don’t be an idjit. Pryor was and is a fking joke, like you.

  • Raider O

    Lol Thank you. Now I can respond to that pos cross posting monkey. I choose not to at this time. Lol

  • r8ter4evr

    I know it’s really sad

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

    Carson struggles in the “legacy” games.

  • RegAllenGo

    Duh. you think?

  • BigTed707

    Cleveland twice?

  • Blackholepriest

    Yeah sure, whatever…….revisionist history!

  • RegAllenGo

    Obviously.State the obvious why don’t you.

  • IVRaider

    I edited the 2nd cleveland to Arizona. It was a typo.

  • PlunkforHOF

    I’m so stoked you agree with me Pokey. Thanks!

  • c2e

    Oh no you didn’t

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    It’ll just seem that bad if the Hobbit starts.

  • BigTed707

    suck up

  • PlunkforHOF

    Pokey needs the support.

  • _Mista_

    LMAO @ apology.
    He made a conscious decision to tr0ll me and he got what he deserved and there’s more where that came from if he continues.

  • r8ter4evr

    Maybe he meant Arizona

  • RegAllenGo

    Are you an idjit?

  • Raider O

    I think 5-11 is more realistic if not 4-12.

  • IVRaider

    Yes it was a typo.

  • r8ter4evr

    We take the fish on the big wet Island
    Book it

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    All one of them, with an official’s ruling rivaling the worst in Raider’s history. Just not remembered as such ‘cuz we weren’t in contention.

  • RegAllenGo

    Thank you Purvi. Now please slim back into your hole.

  • r8ter4evr

    I said 7-9 early on Our list
    I say 9-7 now

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    That knocks Return out as Pokey man. SnBG or Mista still the most likely.

  • IVRaider

    It is definitely possible. Who do you think we don’t beat, on that list? I think KC and Arizona are due for down years. Cleveland is a mess. Who knows what the Bills will be doing at QB when we play them. We beat SD with Pryor last year.

  • RegAllenGo

    Raider O can’t stand it. He’s such an ahole that he can’t stick to his vows. I knew it was just a matter of time before he acknowledged my presence. He is the dumbest shyt on the blog.

  • r8ter4evr

    I don’t pick battles in here
    Just asking
    The Optimist is as mellow as anyone in here why the BS??

  • _Mista_

    Den will have a SB hangover and if Gooseneck goes down they will nosedive.
    10 wins max.

  • Raider O

    I see us losing to KC, AZ, and/ or NY.

  • r8ter4evr

    Will they lose one of their 6 games in OT by 4 pts
    The million dollar????

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    You got nothing, Gumby.

  • PlunkforHOF

    Please don’t ever change Pokey. We love you.