Raiders QB Derek Carr learning how to say no

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) is finding more demands on his time.. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) is finding more demands on his time.. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

ALAMEDA — Derek Carr is learning the art of avoidance.

Carr was bestowed early with the gift of gab, a trait that dates back to his days as a youth when his mother was aghast that young Derek would strike up conversations people he’d never seen before in the grocery store.

“I used to have to tell him, `You can’t just talk to strangers like that,’ ” his mother Sheryl Carr said in 2015. “He just loved talking to people — he’s still that way.”

Now that Carr is a legitimate Most Valuable Player candidate on a 10-2 team that is creating a national buzz, the “strangers” bring recorders and cameras and want to hear his story.

Which has led to a few talks on the subject of time management by coach Jack Del Rio.

“We talk about how to protect his time from guys like you that come in here,” Del Rio said good-naturedly to a national writer in town to write about the Raiders success. “When the game is bigger and there’s more people around, you’ve got to protect your time, your preparation time, your time with your family.”

Carr concedes it hasn’t always been easy.

“Sometimes it’s been had for me, to be honest, because I try to be nice to everybody and a lot of people try to take advantage of it. That’s just the truth. I’m trying to learn as we go through it, how to say no, because everyone wants a piece of what’s going on. They didn’t much want a piece of it when we were 3-13.”

That’s about as close to an edge as you’ll get from Carr, who dutifully answered questions for nearly 12 minutes Monday, pleasantly revisiting stories about his brother’s David’s influence he’s told dozens of times.

Carr has a weekly radio spot on the Raiders flagship on Mondays, his usual time with the local reporters is Wednesday and he occasionally does conference calls with media from the Raiders opponent that week. National opportunities are screened mostly through the Raiders, as well as Carr’s representation.

Because the Raiders play Thursday night, Carr talked Monday and other than pleasantries in the locker room, will be unavailable until post-game questioning. A meticulous planner, Carr goes into media sessions with talking points and deftly avoids anything of a controversial manner.

It’s much appreciated by Del Rio, who never finds himself dealing with issues because of something controversial his quarterback told reporters.

“As a young player, he’s maturing and that’s probably the thing I’m most pleased with,” Del Rio said. “Obviously the productivity is awesome. But the way he’s conducted himself, continuing to heap praise on his teammates, to make it more about us, not about anything he’s doing individually. And I think that’s really healthy for us.”

Carr, along with running back Latavius Murray, treated the offensive line to choice seats at the Warriors game Monday night. He extolled the virtues of the team in an interview with CSN Bay-Area.


“We have a great group of guys, honestly. We have guys with character,” Carr said.

— Safety Nate Allen played just 12 snaps on defense in 10 games (missing two with a quadriceps injury) before playing 40 snaps against Buffalo. He got an interception on the play Khalil Mack hit Tyrod Taylor in the end zone.

Allen was playing in place of Karl Joseph, who left with a toe injury.

“You can’t sit around and mope,” Allen said. “You’ve got to be ready when your number is called.”

Del Rio said, “Nate really has been a pro. It’s good to have that kind of depth we can go to. He’s had an impact for us on special teams and he showed up big (against Buffalo).

Allen is the likely starter at strong safety against Kansas City, with Joseph hobbling and unlikely to play against Kansas City.

— Defensive tackle Darius Latham, defensive tackle Stacy McGee and linebacker Shilique Calhoun did not practice. Guard Kelchi Osemele and linebacker Cory James were limited.


Raiders notes: Mario Edwards Jr. returns to practice


Note: Blog crashed yesterday as I was posting this so apologies for the delay.

ALAMEDA — The Raiders designated Mario Edwards Jr. to return from injured reserve and the defensive end practiced Monday for the first time since training camp.

“It felt good just to get back out there with those guys,” Edwards said afterwards. “Even if it is a practice, just to get back out there, the camaraderie and things like that definitely felt good.”

The Raiders held only a light walk-through as they recover from Sunday’s win over the Buffalo Bills and prepare on the short week to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday.

Edwards, out since an Aug. 12 with a hip injury suffered in the first exhibition game, now has a 21-day window in which he can practice. The Raiders can activate him to the roster at any time during the window, but he said there’s no formal target date for when he’ll play in a game.

“I’m a little different so I don’t really know,” Edwards said. “We don’t really have a date on it. It’s just more so how I’m feeling and how it’s healing.” Continue Reading


The never-ending Aldon Smith wait continues — even for Raiders brass

(D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group)

(D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group)

The latest from Jimmy Durkin

ALAMEDA — Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is just like everybody else — waiting for any news on a potential reinstatement of outside linebacker Aldon Smith.

McKenzie spent a half hour with Raiders beat writers on Thursday morning and said he’s still heard nothing from the NFL on Smith, who is now two weeks removed from the one-year anniversary of his banishment from the league. He reportedly applied for reinstatement on Oct. 3 and the league is supposed to make its best attempt to reply within 60 days, which would be Friday.

“Those guys, they’ll let us know in due time,” McKenzie said of the NFL. “I’m sure they’re in communication with each other with that. They don’t fill us in on anything in that process.”

McKenzie wouldn’t rule out Smith playing an impactful role for the Raiders this season. Videos posted recently by Smith show him to be in good physical shape, although getting into football shape could be a different story.

“If he’s cleared,” McKenzie said, “we’re going to go through the proper channels and see where he’s at physically and mentally and all that. So to totally discount this year, no, we wouldn’t do that.”

What’s your take? Is no news bad news for the Raiders?

The other latest news out of Alameda:

Mario Edwards does some agility work

Jerry McDonald predicts the matchup with Buffalo

Yet another award for Khalil Mack

NFL actually letting players show off their flashy shoes?


A new location for your Raiders coverage


As many of you have already noticed, we have made some changes to the way you receive your Oakland Raiders coverage, but not the coverage itself.

The Bay Area News Group recently launched new and improved websites that function much better across all platforms (desktops, mobile, tablets) and improve our ability to get the latest news out to you as fast as possible.

With that launch, the Inside the Oakland Raiders blog will no longer be populated. The blog will still be here in an archived form, but we won’t be adding new content. What we would post here, and all the rest of our Raiders coverage — and your ability to comment on our posts — is now at EastBayTimes.com/sports/oakland-raiders and MercuryNews.com/sports/oakland-raiders.

We understand this is a stark change for many who have called this blog home over the years and generated many a hearty discussion. Rest assured, all the content that’s been available over the years on this blog will still be there on the website along with much, much more.

You’ve probably noticed the “Inside the Oakland Raiders” weekly video show, a nod to the blog’s name that will be a weekly staple throughout the season and you can find it on EastBayTimes.com here or MercuryNews.com here. There’s also the new “Raiders Talk” podcast that should come twice a week during the season and periodically throughout the offseason. The podcast is now available on iTunes.

More is certain to come as we adjust and learn everything our new websites can provide. A weekly Raiders mailbag is in the works and suggestions are always welcome if there’s a feature you might like to see.

Thanks as always for reading over the years and we hope you enjoy the new website.


Raiders notebook: Smith benched, Carr’s somersault, musical chairs on the line

Derek Carr celebrates after somersaulting his way to a first down.

Derek Carr celebrates after somersaulting his way to a first down.

Note: All the latest Raiders coverage is available on our new website, which now lets us post content immediately. Check everything out there.

NEW ORLEANS — The Raiders signed Sean Smith to be a shutdown corner. He spent the final quarter and a half of his debut Sunday watching from the sidelines.

Smith was benched after giving up a 98-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Cooks in the third quarter of Oakland’s 35-34 comeback win over the New Orleans Saints. Continue Reading


Raiders recap: Kelechi Osemele is not a nice guy; Howard out vs. Saints; Dennis Allen has no hard feelings; unprecedented continuity in coaching

Oakland Raiders tackle Kelechi Osemele during the team's football minicamp Wednesday, June 15, 2016, in Alameda, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Oakland Raiders tackle Kelechi Osemele during the team’s football minicamp Wednesday, June 15, 2016, in Alameda, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Here’s a recap from stories today on our web site:

ALAMEDA — The name Kelechi Osemele used to bring a grimace in the defensive meeting room of the Raiders.

As the left guard of the Baltimore Ravens, Osemele won no friends with his penchant for picking unsuspecting defenders off when they least expect it.

“You watch K.O., and he’s the guy that plays to the whistle and gets in the last shove,” Raiders defensive tackle Justin Ellis said. “You don’t really like him too much unless he’s on your team.”

Click here to read the story in its entirety:

Continue Reading


Raiders recap: Facing Drew Brees, Khalil Mack as MVP for the Super Bowl champs, Austin Howard misses practice

The Raiders will face a tough test in Drew Brees in the season opener Sunday. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The Raiders will face a tough test in Drew Brees in the season opener Sunday. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Here’s a recap of our stories from today on our website:

ALAMEDA — A rebuilt secondary against one of the NFL’s most prolific passers of all-time? Bring it on say the Raiders as they kick off their season of renewed hope Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

“I think as a competitor, this is the kind of game you live for,” Raiders cornerback David Amerson said. “As a secondary, if you want to test yourself and see how good you are right now and how good you can be, this is the perfect game to go out there and just compete.”

Click here to read the rest of that story:  Continue Reading