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Williams lends kids a hand with Team Tackle

Raiders defensive tackle Dan Williams, who wrote one of my favorite stories last year about his late father (http://www.theplayerstribune.com/dan-williams-raiders-dad/), is working with the American Diabetes Foundation on their Team Tackle camps. “I just wanted to help inform people of how to live a healthy lifestyle,” Williams said. Team tackle is getting “to kids early” and sending them to summer camps across the country (https://hello.pledgeling.com/CampChampion?loc=keymatch). The camp targets children with type 1 diabetes and those who are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Kids learn nutrition, fitness and diabetes management skills, “give them a good head start on how to deal with it,” Williams said. William loved all the free agent moves, but singled out the signing of left guard Kelechi Osemele. Oakland lost Charles Woodson and Justin Tuck to retirement, but coach Jack Del Rio has been pleased with how players have filled the leadership void.


Del Rio keeps faith in corner Hayden

Even for 2013 first-round pick DJ Hayden.

Oakland head coach Jack Del Rio said “it’s never too late” and that the cornerback has made some strides this offseason.

Del Rio thinks Hayden’s skill set allows him to hold his own against slot receivers in the nickel package.

Hayden has dealt with injuries and ineffectiveness his first three seasons, and in May, the Raiders declined the fifth-year team option available to first-round picks.

Fifth-round pick (running back) DeAndre Washington and undrafted free-agent receivers Joe Hansley and Jaydon Mickens all got kicked to this week.

“We value him as a punt returner,” Seely said.

Safety Reggie Nelson, defensive lineman Denico Autry and running back Roy Helu Jr. were not on the field with injuries, and tight end Clive Walford, linebacker Neiron Ball, cornerback Thorpe and safety Karl Joseph watched and got some work on the side.

Del Rio said he is planning on all players being healthy and ready to practice when training camp opens July 28.

Former Cal kicker Giorgio Tavecchio hit a 55-yard field goal to end practice 15 minutes early.

Players rang out cries of “Giorgio!” as they stormed the kicker, and then sped out of the parking lot to their vacation destinations.

Raiders’ James Cowser making the most of his opportunity

The speed of the game in the NFL is going to have little to do with whether former Southern Utah defensive end James Cowser makes the Raiders’ roster.

What’s blown away the undrafted rookie is how much time and energy the veterans put in at the team’s facility in Alameda.

Cowser also had an FCS-record 80 tackles for a loss, topping former Idaho State and likely future Pro Football Hall of Famer Jared Allen’s mark.

Cowser also worked out with defensive tackle Justin Ellis during the offseason, as they share an agent.

Cowser couldn’t be happier after the initial, fleeting “disappointment” over not getting picked in the NFL draft.

“I turned it off as teams started calling to sign me toward the end,” Cowser said.

Fifteen teams made offers, and Cowser hit it off with Raiders defensive assistant Sam Anno.

“The drops are different, guys are bigger, they set up differently,” said Cowser, who is getting a lot of work at outside linebacker as well.

There are a lot more levels of rushing, not just going around the quarterback, like I could get away with in college.

Cowser also will have to improve his strength and taking on players at the point of attack.

Cowser went on a mission to Hong Kong in 2009 on behalf of the Church of Latter-day Saints, and won’t miss the Chinese restaurants in Cedar City, Utah.

Oakland Chinatown restaurants will be seeing a lot of a long-haired guy in a Raiders shirt.

Going over his notes from coaches and teammates, smiling ear to ear.

Raiders’ Mario Edwards Jr. returns from injury

Raiders’ Mario Edwards Jr. returns from injury

[...] it shouldn’t have been a surprise that Edwards didn’t get emotional Tuesday after his first full practice coming back from a sprained neck.

For months, head coach Jack Del Rio said the team didn’t know exactly what the “significant” injury was, general manager Reggie McKenzie said it might be hereditary and there were even whispers it was career-threatening.

Edwards said Tuesday, the first day of a mandatory three-day minicamp, that he is fully cleared and will be ready for full contact when training camp begins in six weeks.

Edwards had been stretching with the rest of the team at previous offseason workouts, before disappearing to work with the training staff.

Edwards, a defensive tackle and end last year, had 2.5 sacks in 10 starts before he tweaked his neck.

First-round pick Karl Joseph (knee) worked on the side with trainers. …

Fourth-round pick Connor Cook got some second-team reps at quarterback over Matt McGloin.

Quarterback Derek Carr and Amari Cooper had a special sequence, with Carr dropping in a deep pass over Cooper’s shoulder, firing a strike to him up the middle and hitting Cooper deep again on the next play.

Rehabbing Madden misses his own charity bocce tournament

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio and 49ers head coach Chip Kelly joined the fun Wednesday as local businesses and representatives of the six major Bay Area sports teams competed in the John Madden and Steve Mariucci Charity Bocce Tournament in Livermore.

Mariucci said the tournament, in its 18th year, has raised $5 million for the Northern California Special Olympics, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Diabetes Youth Foundation, local high school football programs and the Mariucci Family Foundation.

[...] this was also the first time Madden, the Raiders’ Hall of Fame former coach and an announcer for all four broadcast networks, wasn’t able to attend.

Mariucci said Madden underwent hip replacement surgery last week and wasn’t going to be able to get around the big crowd at the Campo di Bocce restaurant and courts.

Former Raiders receiver Cliff Branch was on hand to bowl, and said he has checked on his former coach as well.

Mariucci, the former 49ers and Cal coach, also emceed the auction in the middle of the tournament, and at one point was throwing in hugs from Del Rio to the winning bidders.

Strip club offers free lap dances to Raiders if they relocate to Las Vegas

There’s been plenty of talk of the Raiders relocating to Las Vegas, but one local business is trying to sweeten the deal for the football team, should they relocate to Sin City.

Cook on Carr & Cousins: Raiders rookie having flashbacks

Raiders rookie having flashbacks

The rookie quarterback has been in Alameda learning from Derek Carr, a starter who he says throws a picturesque ball with pinpoint accuracy.

In 2011, when he was redshirted as a freshman at Michigan State, Cook learned from senior Kirk Cousins, who led the NFL in completion percentage (69.8) last year with Washington.

[...] the fourth-round pick didn’t mention Carr’s football IQ or endless spirals when he was initially asked for his impressions of his NFL mentor.

First day of practice, he’s giving me advice on the field — pointers whenever I needed.

Cook, of course, was viewed by many analysts as a potential first- or second-round pick.

Raiders QB Derek Carr is familiar with offense, ready to roll

Raiders QB Derek Carr is familiar with offense, ready to roll

During the last play of a red-zone session Tuesday, Derek Carr spotted a defensive deficiency, changed the play at the line of scrimmage and took a quarterback draw into the end zone for an oh-so-easy touchdown.

The score was punctuated with chest bumps and high-decibel cheers from his teammates on offense.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do that last year,” Carr said.

Because we didn’t know the checks.

[...] there’s a sense the 2015 Pro Bowl alternate could be voted into the all-star game this season, given his comfort level.

[...] last season’s 32-touchdown, 3,987-yard performance came after he missed most of the offseason practices with a finger injury while learning Musgrave’s offense.

Cook said Carr is like “another coach” and his ability to process information is as impressive as his inability to throw anything less than a perfect spiral.

Despite Carr’s strong sophomore season, the Raiders’ offense faltered last year after a strong start:

[...] Musgrave said extensive offseason video review helped identify issues and led to offensive tweaks.

Asked if he attended Game 7 of the Western Conference finals at nearby Oracle Arena on Monday night, he smiled.

Bruce Irvin Comments on Raiders Defense, Khalil Mack and More

Oakland Raiders linebacker Bruce Irvin appears confident about his new team’s playoff chances this upcoming season, as he sees his team breaking out in 2016.

Irvin, who signed with Oakland during the offseason, said he was brought in to be a leader for a young team. The former Seattle Seahawks defender feels the Raiders are ready to take the next step, per ESPN.com’s Paul Gutierrez:

You have a lot of guys who are willing to listen to the older guys, so that’s the greatest thing about coming to a situation like this … I have to say, it’s a bunch of guys who are hungry. They are ready to take the next step. We know what we have to do. We’ve seen the blueprint to win a Super Bowl — it’s running the ball and playing great defense. I think we are ready to take that next step and really capture this AFC West.

Oakland has not made the playoffs since appearing in the Super Bowl during the 2002 campaign.

Irvin went on to say the key for Seattle’s recent success, besides talent, was that everybody was on the same page and playing for one another. He sees a similar attitude in Oakland. 

The Raiders will hope Irvin, who has 22 sacks in four NFL seasons, can take some pressure off young All-Pro Khalil Mack. Irvin commented that he feels the two will blend well together to improve the team’s pass rush.

“On the field, [Mack] is more power, and I’m more of a speed guy,” Irvin said, per Gutierrez. “I think we’re a great complement to each other. I really expect us to do a lot of great things this year.”

Last week, Irvin elaborated on how the two will coexist, per CSNCalifornia.com’s Scott Bair: 

Mack was excellent for Oakland last season, as the 25-year-old racked up 15 sacks and 77 tackles. Irvin is not the only teammate who has confidence in Mack, as quarterback Derek Carr told Adam Schein on Sirius XM Radio’s Schein on Sports that he believes the pass-rusher could push for 30 sacks next season (via CBS Sports’ Will Brinson).

Irvin joins another former Seahawks defender who thinks his new team is ready to make some noise. Brandon Mebane, who signed with the San Diego Chargers, said earlier this month that his new defense has more natural talent than Seattle’s, per the San Diego Union-Tribune‘s Michael Gehlken.

There could be an opportunity for Oakland to surprise in the AFC West. The Denver Broncos will be working with a new quarterback after Peyton Manning‘s retirement, as well as Brock Osweiler’s departure, and the Chargers are coming off a rough 4-12 campaign.

The Raiders have a young core and have been improving, as they won seven games last season after posting three victories in 2014. If it continues to grow, Oakland could challenge Denver and the Kansas City Chiefs for the division crown. 

 

All statistics are courtesy of ESPN.com.

Read more Oakland Raiders news on BleacherReport.com

Bruce Irvin Comments on Raiders Defense, Khalil Mack and More

Oakland Raiders linebacker Bruce Irvin appears confident about his new team’s playoff chances this upcoming season, as he sees his team breaking out in 2016.

Irvin, who signed with Oakland during the offseason, said he was brought in to be a leader for a young team. The former Seattle Seahawks defender feels the Raiders are ready to take the next step, per ESPN.com’s Paul Gutierrez:

You have a lot of guys who are willing to listen to the older guys, so that’s the greatest thing about coming to a situation like this … I have to say, it’s a bunch of guys who are hungry. They are ready to take the next step. We know what we have to do. We’ve seen the blueprint to win a Super Bowl — it’s running the ball and playing great defense. I think we are ready to take that next step and really capture this AFC West.

Oakland has not made the playoffs since appearing in the Super Bowl during the 2002 campaign.

Irvin went on to say the key for Seattle’s recent success, besides talent, was that everybody was on the same page and playing for one another. He sees a similar attitude in Oakland. 

The Raiders will hope Irvin, who has 22 sacks in four NFL seasons, can take some pressure off young All-Pro Khalil Mack. Irvin commented that he feels the two will blend well together to improve the team’s pass rush.

“On the field, [Mack] is more power, and I’m more of a speed guy,” Irvin said, per Gutierrez. “I think we’re a great complement to each other. I really expect us to do a lot of great things this year.”

Last week, Irvin elaborated on how the two will coexist, per CSNCalifornia.com’s Scott Bair: 

Mack was excellent for Oakland last season, as the 25-year-old racked up 15 sacks and 77 tackles. Irvin is not the only teammate who has confidence in Mack, as quarterback Derek Carr told Adam Schein on Sirius XM Radio’s Schein on Sports that he believes the pass-rusher could push for 30 sacks next season (via CBS Sports’ Will Brinson).

Irvin joins another former Seahawks defender who thinks his new team is ready to make some noise. Brandon Mebane, who signed with the San Diego Chargers, said earlier this month that his new defense has more natural talent than Seattle’s, per the San Diego Union-Tribune‘s Michael Gehlken.

There could be an opportunity for Oakland to surprise in the AFC West. The Denver Broncos will be working with a new quarterback after Peyton Manning‘s retirement, as well as Brock Osweiler’s departure, and the Chargers are coming off a rough 4-12 campaign.

The Raiders have a young core and have been improving, as they won seven games last season after posting three victories in 2014. If it continues to grow, Oakland could challenge Denver and the Kansas City Chiefs for the division crown. 

 

All statistics are courtesy of ESPN.com.

Read more Oakland Raiders news on BleacherReport.com