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After offseason moves, could Raiders’ secondary suddenly be a strength?

David Amerson boosted the Raiders secondary last season and could help it be a strength in 2016. (Getty Images)

David Amerson boosted the Raiders secondary last season and could help it be a strength in 2016. (Getty Images)

Anyone who evaluated the Raiders’ roster at the start of the 2015 season likely came to the same conclusion: the secondary is the weakness.

The first-half of the season did nothing to alter that opinion. The Raiders allowed an average of 314.6 passing yards per game, on pace to be the worst in franchise history.

But the group improved over the second half, particularly as waiver wire claim David Amerson came into his own. Oakland surrendered only 202.9 pass yards per game in the second half.

Suddenly, with an offseason spent fortifying the defense — and secondary in particularly — the group has a chance to be among the Raiders’ strengths. Continue Reading

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698

Ken Norton Jr.: New Raiders safety Karl Joseph ‘a pack of dynamite’

New Raiders safety Karl Joseph is "dynamite". (Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports)

New Raiders safety Karl Joseph is “a pack dynamite”. (Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports)

Ken Norton Jr. has been able to get his hands on a couple of his new toys, but one is still wrapped up in its packaging.

First-round pick Karl Joseph, a safety from West Virginia, isn’t expected to be ready until training camp after tearing his ACL during his senior season.

So while Norton, the Raiders’ defensive coordinator, has gotten a look at new cornerback Sean Smith and outside linebacker Bruce Irvin, Joseph has remained in the weight room and on the sidelines. (Free agent safety Reggie Nelson also has not practice, presumably due to an injury). Continue Reading

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622

Consistency is next step in Khalil Mack’s All-Pro game

Khalil Mack can still improve from his All-Pro season. (Bay Area News Group)

Khalil Mack can still improve from his All-Pro season. (Bay Area News Group file photo)

Khalil Mack’s jump from his rookie to sophomore season was impressive, but he can still reach another level.

“Consistency,” defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said when asked what the next step is for his All-Pro pass rusher.

“We expect him to play at that level all the time,” Norton said. “The really good players know how to make players around them better. It can’t just be Khalil. It has to be Bruce (Irvin), it has to be all the guys up front. The group, as a whole, has to take the same leap that Khalil does. Khalil has to learn how to bring everybody with him.” Continue Reading

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793

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio joins Twitter

Jack Del RIo is now on Twitter, @coachdelrio. (AP Photo)

Jack Del RIo is now on Twitter, @coachdelrio. (AP Photo)

Jack Del Rio has joined the digital age.

The Raiders head coach signed up for Twitter on Wednesday, posting a selfie with the team for his first post from his verified account. He can be followed @coachdelrio.

“Just an opportunity to, I guess be a little more current and share a little insight,” Del Rio said. “Give you a little peek into what we’re doing here and how hard we’re working, be purposeful, building for this season and how excited we are for it.” Continue Reading

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Crabtree loves gunslinging Carr and Raiders offseason moves

Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree sees his team building a championship roster. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree sees his team building a championship roster. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Michael Crabtree started the domino fall late last season when he signed a four-year contract extension with the Raiders.

Then he got to sit back and watch in the offseason as the Raiders added a steady stream of talented free agents to create a roster that many is projecting as a playoff contender.

“Just really trying to build a championship team,” Crabtree said Wednesday of the team’s moves. “Doing the most we can do to win and building a winning team. I like what we’re doing.” Continue Reading

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43

Raiders lighten the load as OTAs wind down

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio guided a lighter practice on Wednesday. (AP photo)

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio guided a lighter practice on Wednesday. (AP photo)

ALAMEDA — The Raiders held a toned-down practice session on Wednesday in their final open session of organized team activities before next week’s three-day mini-camp.

“Had a good mental day and backed it down a little bit,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “We’ll be full speed tomorrow.”

The lighter session meant no helmets at practice — by rule, they can’t wear pads until training camp anyway — and a practice nothing like the one last week that saw a few skirmishes.

“We have to learn how to practice in shorts and sometimes with taking the helmets off and lightening it up,” Del Rio said. “We have to be the team that understands what it looks like to maintain that mental intensity and back it down physically. We’ll do that in training camp. It’s an opportunity for us to help them understand what it looks like.” Continue Reading

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Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. talks about his father and Muhammad Ali _ full transcript

Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.

Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.

A full transcript of an interview with Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. on the relationship and the three fights between his late father Ken Norton Sr. and Muhammad Ali:

Q: Muhammad Ali was one of the biggest personalities in the world, not only in sports, and a part of his legacy were the three bouts with your father. What were your thoughts when you heard Friday Ali had passed away? Continue Reading

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Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. recalls his father’s fights and friendship with Muhammad Ali

Ken Norton and Muhammad Ali fought three times, with Ali winning twice. All were extremely close (AP photo)

Ken Norton and Muhammad Ali fought three times, with Ali winning twice. All were extremely close (AP photo)

ALAMEDA _ When Muhammad Ali passed away Friday, the memories came to Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. in a rush.

His first thoughts were of being a 6-year-old kid, sitting in a room at the LaJolla Village Inn with his grandmother. His father, Ken Norton Sr., was fighting Ali at the nearby San Diego Sports Arena on March 31, 1973.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Norton said Tuesday in an interview with the Bay Area News Group. “My father didn’t allow me to go to the fights, so we had to sit around and wait for the news to get back to the hotel. We finally got the news that he had won, that he had broke (Ali’s) jaw . . . it was one of the most exciting times of my life.”

It turned out to be a life-changing experience for father and son. Ali and Norton would fight twice more, with each one as close as the split-decision win awarded to Norton in the first bout. Continue Reading

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397

Marshawn Lynch says `I’m not playing football anymore’ and won’t play for Raiders or anyone else

Marshawn Lynch told Showtime 60 Minutes Sports he wasn't laying for the Raiders or anyone else.

Marshawn Lynch told Showtime 60 Minutes Sports he wasn’t laying for the Raiders or anyone else.

Marshawn Lynch has made it clear.

 

No more football. Not even in his hometown for the Raiders.

Lynch came out and stated it for the record on Showtime’s 60 Minutes Sports in an interview which will be telecast Tuesday night.

Asked specifically about the Raiders, a team in need of an upgraded running game, Lynch said to host Jon Wertheim, “No, I’m done. I enjoyed my time playing. Now it’s time to watch my cousins do their thing.” Continue Reading

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