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Watch: Inside the Oakland Raiders, Episode 1

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On the debut episode of Inside the Oakland Raiders, Bay Area News Group’s Courtney Cronin, Jimmy Durkin and Jerry McDonald dive into Week 3 of the preseason and the Raiders major areas of focus: enabling the run, stopping the run and getting to the quarterback. Continue Reading

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Five Raiders to watch in exhibition opener vs. Cardinals

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Second-round pick Jihad Ward is a Raiders player to watch Friday night. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Second-round pick Jihad Ward is a Raiders player to watch Friday night. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Raiders opened last preseason by using their first drive to feed their new hog. Then rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper had four offensive touches on the opening possession.

That doesn’t figure to be the case Friday with their latest first-round pick, as safety Karl Joseph is likely to sit out when the Raiders kick off against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Continue Reading

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Raiders training camp roster breakdown: Defensive linemen

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Khalil Mack easily highlights the Raiders stout group of defensive linemen. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Khalil Mack easily highlights the Raiders stout group of defensive linemen. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

It’s time for the defensive linemen as we crank up toward the start of training camp Friday with part five of this 10-part series previewing every Raiders position group.

It’s time for the beef as we take a look at perhaps the Raiders’ best position group out there — the defensive linemen.

I will be going off which position players are listed at on the roster, just as I noted in my earlier post on linebackers. That’s why Khalil Mack is here and Bruce Irvin is listed there, despite them playing basically the same position. Continue Reading

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Healthy Jihad Ward ready to focus on football

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Raiders' second-round pick Jihad Ward is healthy and happen to turn his focus to football. (AP photo).

Raiders’ second-round pick Jihad Ward is healthy and happen to turn his focus to football. (AP photo).

Despite some reports the day he was drafted that Jihad Ward might need arthroscopic knee surgery, the second-round defensive lineman was on the field participating Friday.

“He looked pretty good, right?,” Del Rio said. “Don’t trust all those reports out there. We felt pretty good about our reports. He looks terrific.”

Ward recently finished up his finals at Illinois and sounds eager to focus just on football.

“School really wasn’t my thing, but I had to do it,” Ward said. “Once I finished that, I was just ready to go. I’m happy just being around here. Now I can just worry about football.” Continue Reading

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What they’re saying: Evaluating Raiders’ draft class

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The Raiders received grades mostly in the B range for their draft that opened with the selection of safety Karl Joseph. (West Virginia athletics photo)

The Raiders received grades mostly in the B range for their draft that opened with the selection of safety Karl Joseph. (West Virginia athletics photo)

The Raiders drafted seven players — one in each round after dealing their own fifth-round pick — over the three days of this weekend’s NFL Draft.

It started with safety Karl Joseph on Thursday, continued with DE Jihad Ward, LB Shilique Calhoun, QB Connor Cook, RB DeAndre Washington, LB Cory James and OL Vadal Alexander over the next two days.

The draft addressed two of the most pressing needs by grabbing a starting safety and a change of pace running back. The Ward pick will have to be evaluated later to see if he can make an immediate impact — you need that from a second round pick. Calhoun seems like a nice addition as an extra pass rusher. Cook could give you a decent backup quarterback and somebody to step in if something were to happen to Derek Carr, James is probably going to be a special teams player who may see the field on defense if he develops quickly and Alexander is good value in the seventh round. That’s my view, but let’s take a look at what the national media is saying. Continue Reading

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What they’re saying: Mixed reviews for Raiders on Day 2

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The national media had a higher opinion of the Raiders' third-round draft pick Shilique Calhoun than second-rounder Jihad Ward.

The national media had a higher opinion of the Raiders’ third-round draft pick Shilique Calhoun than second-rounder Jihad Ward.

The Raiders took a pair of front seven defenders on Day 2 of the draft, picking up Illinois defensive end Jihad Ward in the second round and linebacker/defensive end Shilique Calhoun in the third.

The reviews were decent, but it was third-rounder Shilique Calhoun that earned the higher marks over second-rounder Jihad Ward.

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke graded the Calhoun pick as an A, writing that he “actually might be better than their second-rounder. Calhoun, without question, is at least as ready as Jihad Ward to produce as a rookie. He is a value here, and he can be a three-down defender. Another chip for the Raiders’ emerging front seven.​” Continue Reading

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Raiders: Getting to know DE Jihad Ward

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ward_jihad_3The Raiders selected Jihad Ward with the No. 44 overall pick of Friday’s NFL Draft. Here’s what you need to know about him.

College: Illinois

Position: Defensive end

Ht/Wt: 6-foot-6/295 pounds

College highlights: Two-time All-Big Ten honorable mention selection had 4.5 career sacks and 12 tackles for loss.

Pros: Raw prospect who has high upside thanks to his length and quickness. Good effort player who should be able to be part of the defensive line rotation. Continue Reading

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