ALAMEDA _ It came as at least a minor surprise when the Raiders determined that Gabe Jackson would switch to the right side following the signing of Kelechi Osemele.
Jackson was exclusively a left guard throughout four years as a starter at Mississippi State and two seasons with the Raiders. Osemele was a left guard as well, but had experience on the right side as a rookie tackle when the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl.
Once the Raiders re-signed Donald Penn and it was clear Osemele wouldn’t be a tackle, Jackson got a call from line coach Mike Tice.
“I mean, coach said he wanted to experiment with it and see which one of us would be comfortable playing it, so that’s what phase we’re in right now,” Jackson said Tuesday following the Raiders’ organized team activity. Continue Reading
Quarterback Derek Carr feels ahead of the game with a second year in the offensive system. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
ALAMEDA _ Team rules concerning the media don’t allow for specific reporting when it comes to plays run in practice, so the end result will suffice _ and Tuesday one play concluded with quarterback Derek Carr in the end zone, having scored a touchdown.
There was hooting and hollering from the defense, coordinator Ken Norton Jr. in particular, and much rejoicing from the offense.
In the middle of it was Carr, doing something he was unable to do a year ago when an undisclosed injury limited him to spectator status until the final off-season workout before training camp.
“We did something in the red zone we haven’t even installed yet but we just checked with it and went with it because we’re already at that point,” Carr said. “Everyone celebrated and it was awesome.”
Carr is in his second year in offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave’s system and is familiar with most of his starters. In his third year with the Raiders, Carr is adding on rather than starting from scratch.
“Having Derek out there for these practices is more than we had last year with his injury, so we’re looking to take advantage of that,” Musgrave said. “He doesn’t have to learn a new language. Two years in the league, two different systems, now he feels like he’s got a grasp of things. He can put his own signature on the system.” Continue Reading
ALAMEDA _ Blocking and tackling are forbidden in off-season NFL practice sessions, but the Raiders were being aggressive enough Tuesday to have three separate scuffles.
The first was between two second-year players, guard Jon Feliciano and defensive tackle Leon Orr. Next up was prize free agent guard Kelechi Osemele and second-round draft pick Jihad Ward, followed by a brief shoving match featuring guard Vadal Alexander an defensive end Damontre Moore.
Coach Jack Del Rio didn’t make a federal cas out of it _ only the Osemele-Ward square-off went on for more than a few seconds _ but he wasn’t happy about it, either. Continue Reading
New Raiders cornerback Sean Smith thinks DJ Hayden can still turn his career around. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
DJ Hayden is entering perhaps his final season with the Raiders.
The 2013 first-round pick hasn’t lived up to his No. 12 overall pick status and the team declined to pick up his fifth-year option earlier this month, which would’ve guaranteed him about $8 million in salary for the 2017 season.
Early indications from the team’s opening OTA session Tuesday is he’ll get first crack at the nickel spot, which can spend a lot of time on the field given today’s offenses. Continue Reading
Raiders pass rusher Bruce Irvin and Khalil Mack balance each other’s play and personality. (AP photos)
Khalil Mack’s play on the field speaks volumes, but the All-Pro pass rusher remains a soft-spoken individual.
The third-year star from Buffalo is pleasant as they come, but isn’t one for loud and boisterous words. He’s a growing voice for a defense — following the retirements of Charles Woodson and Justin Tuck — that will need one, but any vocal leadership role won’t come as quickly as his explosive 15 ½ sack season last year.
“C-Wood wanted me to prepare and get ready for that role, but at the same time, just taking it day by day and slowly, slowly seeing what happens,” Mack said last month when offseason workouts began.
Contrast that against one of the defense’s new additions — Mack’s flip side pass rusher Bruce Irvin. Continue Reading
Raiders owner Mark Davis thinks a move to a neutral site place like Las Vegas could unite the Raiders’ fan base.
Raiders owner Mark Davis has a unique view of his team’s potential relocation to Las Vegas: he thinks it could unite Raiders fans.
“It’s a new market. It has the potential to be a really exciting market,” Davis said on NFL Network from the NFL’s owners meetings in Charlotte. “The Raider fans in Northern California were getting upset a little bit when we talked about going to Los Angeles, and the LA fans get a little ticked off at the fans in Northern California.
“So it seems like Las Vegas is a neutral site that everybody has kind of bought into and it will unite the Raider Nation more than divide it. So I’m excited about that.” Continue Reading
Raiders running back Latavius Murray wants to return to the Pro Bowl on his own terms this season. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
Latavius Murray made the trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl last season, but it didn’t leave him fully satisfied.
Murray was added to the Pro Bowl roster only after the Carolina Panthers advanced to the Super Bowl and a replacement was needed for their running back Jonathan Stewart.
“I want to get there next year on my own terms and on no one else’s,” Murray said Tuesday at the start of OTAs. “It was a great experience. I had a lot of fun and I’m definitely stoked I got the chance to go, but I want to make it on my own terms and what I do on the field.” Continue Reading
Raiders defensive lineman Mario Edwards didn’t join in for team drills when OTAs began Tuesday. (Raiders.com photo)
Mario Edwards Jr. was on the field when the Raiders opened their first organized team activity Tuesday, but the second-year defensive end left the field when team drills began.
Edwards, who has said on social media that he’s been cleared to play, is returning from a neck injury suffered in Week 15 of last season. He stretched with the team, but left the field and went to the weight room when practiced ramped up.
The team has remained mum on his status, with coach Jack Del Rio falling back on his personal policy to not speak about injured players except for during the season when the league requires teams to provide updates. Continue Reading
Raiders linebacker Cory James signed on Friday. (The Denver Post/ Andy Cross)
The Raiders announced Friday that sixth round linebacker Corey James of Colorado State has been signed to his rookie contract. With that, only third-round pick Shilique Calhoun has yet to sign his deal.
James and his fellow rookies participated in a rookie mini-camp last weekend with the group of undrafted free agents and players in on a tryout basis, five of which were signed.
Next up is the team’s first OTA session on Tuesday, which is the first full-team session of the year open to the media.
Second-round draft pick Jihad Ward signed a contract Wednesday with the Raiders, the team announced.