Raiders WR Cooper: ‘I can have a lot more production than…past 2 seasons’

Photo via Jeff Haynes / Associated Press

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper is looking to set new heights during 2017. He believes that he “can have a lot more production than [he’s] had in the past two seasons,” Cooper said during media availability Tuesday, per CSN Bay Area’s Scott Bair.

This would be the quite the achievement considering he had over 1,000 yards and five touchdowns in each of his two seasons, while having more receptions as a rookie than retired wide receivers Randy Moss and Andre Johnson.

Cooper also seems to be downplaying his start to his career, for he mentioned he feels “like [he] can go nowhere but up.” However, Cooper is nowhere near the bottom, for 99 percent of the receivers who enter the league each year wish they could have the output of Cooper’s.

While it is good to see that the former Crimson Tide receiver is still hungry to improve despite his accomplishments, Cooper is also correct in that there are areas of his game he can work to improve upon.

The third-year receiver has struggled with a steep decline in production down the stretch of his first two NFL seasons, while dropping far more passes than any WR would care to. But even those concerns are very minor when one grasps the magnitude of what Cooper has been able to do in his young career.

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio seems to agree, stating that Cooper is “eager to be special” and thinks he will “continue to ascend,” per Bair.

Advertisements

Raiders 53-man roster projection 1.0: Special teams

Photo via Thearon W. Henderson, Getty Images

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


The Raiders Wire has already done a 53-man roster projection on the offense and defense, but one must not overlook special teams as it can decide the outcome of a few games each year.

Here are our projections of who will be playing on special teams for the Oakland Raiders in our 2017 roster projection 1.0.

Kicker: Sebastian Janikowski

Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski is the only player on the roster who was there the last time Oakland made it to the Super Bowl. He was a first-round draft pick of Al Davis and has lived up to the hype that comes with being a kicker taken in the first round.

However, father time seems to be creeping up on Janikowski. He still has the powerful leg that he once had, but has been inconsistent with his accuracy often missing in close games.

Janikowski missed two extra points last season, a career high.

He should make the team this year but could be in jeopardy of being cut in the future if he doesn’t turn back the clock or take a pay cut.

Punter: Marquette King

Raiders punter Marquette King, who never shies away from controversy, is one of the best punters in the NFL despite not getting the pro bowl recognition he deserved in 2016.

King killed it last season by averaging 48.6 yards per punt and downing 34 punts inside the 20 yard-line.

He is only going to improve his craft and will be the Raiders’ punter for years to come.

Long Snapper: Jon Condo

Raiders long snapper Jon Condo’s incredible special teams play has landed him a long-term job and a contract worth over one million per year with the team.

His only job is to snap the ball to King and then to run down the field to cover punts, however, there are not many better at their craft than Condo.

His value reached new heights when he went out with an injury in the first game of the 2012 season against the San Diego Chargers and the team fell apart.

Kick/Punt Returner: Jalen Richard

Raiders running back Jalen Richard has shown to be one of the most explosive players in the NFL. His elusiveness and speed have shown through countless times in the running game and in the return game.

He didn’t get as many opportunities to showcase his skills as he should have, due to the new NFL kickoff rules, but made an impact when possible. There was no bigger play than his punt return against the Houston Texans in the playoff game that gave hope during a rather bleak day.

He should get more opportunities at both returning positions to hopefully make more momentum plays in 2017 like he did in Houston.

Raiders 53-man roster projection 1.0: Defense

The article can be found on the Raiders Wire!


With the bulk of NFL free agency over and the Oakland Raiders already putting their rookie NFL draft selections to work the 2017, the time for depth chart evaluation is already in full swing.

Here is a look at the first 53-man roster projection of the offseason for the Raiders.

MJE.jpg
Photo via KYLE TERADA-USA TODAY SPORTS

Interior Defenders (8)

Defensive tackles: Justin Ellis, Eddie Vanderdoes, Treyvon Hester, Darius Latham

Defensive ends: Mario Edwards Jr., Jihad Ward, Denico Autry, Branden Jackson

The Raiders have a young defensive line that should yield many interesting training camp battles this offseason.

Raiders defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. will be returning after missing the majority of last season due to a hip injury, and is expected to make a major impact stopping the run and also freeing up holes for Oakland pass rushers to roam free.

Meanwhile, fellow Raiders defensive end Jihad Ward bulked up this offseason, Justin Ellis and Denico Autry should both see some decent run in 2017 on the interior and edges respectively.

Raiders rookie defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes should find himself competing for snaps against Ellis, fellow rookie DT Treyvon Hester and Darius Latham this season — with each making the roster out of training camp.

(edge defenders)

WATCH: Raiders tackle Donald Penn throws out first pitch at A’s game

Photo via Eric Risberg / AP Photos

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


Oakland Raiders left tackle Donald Penn has been seen enjoying his offseason at Golden State Warriors games, however, Tuesday saw Penn throwing out the first pitch of the Oakland Athletics’ home game.

Here is a look at Penn’s form via the team’s official twitter page.

After seeing countless celebrities and athletes not get the ball to home plate, Penn wasn’t about to skip one in there to the catcher.

Instead, Penn elected for a controlled and fluid motion with plenty of air underneath it to get it to the plate, but enough velocity on it to avoid any sort of meme danger.

Penn has been formidable during his time in Oakland, simultaneously resurrecting his career while aiding in facilitating a dramatic cultural shift in the Bay Area.


The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!

Raiders 53-man roster projection 1.0: Offense

Written by Ryan Lipton

Photo via Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


The 2017 offseason program is underway for the Oakland Raiders, with 90 players currently on a roster that will ultimately be trimmed to 53 players by Week 1.

Below, fans can find Raiders Wire’s first 53-man projection on offense in a series that will be updated throughout OTAs.

Derek Carr with QBs.jpg
Photo via AP Images

Quarterback (3):

Derek Carr, Connor Cook, EJ Manuel

Notable cuts: None

This is probably the easiest position group to project for next season. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is going to be an MVP candidate again in 2017, making the starting quarterback job a no-brainer.

The Raiders carried three quarterbacks in 2016, and there is no reason to believe that will be any different this year.

Oakland also used a fourth-round draft pick on backup quarterback Connor Cook, making it unlikely they would cut bait so soon. And former Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel is almost certainly going to challenge — and potentially win — the No. 2 spot on the depth chart behind Carr.

(running backs here)

4 causes for concern in 2017 for the Oakland Raiders

Written by Ryan Lipton
Photo via Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


With NFL free agency nearly over and the NFL draft squarely in the rear-view mirror for the Oakland Raiders, the time to look forward is now.

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie has done a commendable job at stockpiling talent at key positions while not overplaying his hand this offseason, but the team still has some vital questions to answer this season.

Here are the four biggest causes for concern heading into 2017 for Oakland.

 

Marquel Lee practice.jpeg
Photo via D. Ross Cameron (AP Photo)

 

No. 4, No help in the middle of the defense

McKenzie didn’t do a lot this offseason to address the team’s concern at inside linebacker, only signing former Miami Dolphins inside linebacker Jelani Jenkins and drafting Marquel Lee in the fifth round.

This is somewhat confusing after McKenzie allowed team leader in tackles Malcolm Smith to walk in free agency and has still not entertained re-signing Perry Riley at the time of publication despite his posting a top-20 season at his position in 2016.

Unfortunately, Jenkins posted the worst Pro Football Focus grade of all qualifying linebackers in the NFL last year (31.3), and Lee is expected to struggle in coverage as he’s known as a downhill linebacker primarily.

McKenzie also cut the team’s healthiest and most productive defensive tackle last season in Dan Williams, leaving yet another cavernous void to fill in the center of the team’s defense. The move was made to make salary cap room for Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch, but the replacements McKenzie have brought in again are suspect.

After leaping much higher than they had to in order to draft a fifth-round prospect in Raiders rookie defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, McKenzie did snare a good value selection in the seventh round in DT Treyvon Hester.

However, relying on two rookies and the services of players such as Raiders defensive tackles Darius Latham and Justin Ellis (each of whom struggled mightily last season) seems risky at best.

When that fact is partnered with the massive question marks at middle linebacker, Oakland may find themselves in quite the conundrum up the middle of their defense in 2017.

(next page below)

Raiders’ McKenzie says Edwards is ‘ready to roll,’ will help run, pass defense

Photo via Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


Oakland Raiders defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. is “ready to roll,” is “healthy, strong” and “in a good mindset” according to Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie in an interview with JT the Brick on 95.7 The Game yesterday morning.

Edwards had an impressive rookie (2015) campaign amassing 42 tackles, three forced fumbles and two sacks that was marred by a late neck injury. The following year, Edwards played in just two games due to a lingering hip injury that forced a dramatic drop off in his explosiveness.

If Edwards is back to full strength as McKenzie suggests, it will have a profound impact on the defense overall, proving a boost against both the run and pass.

While most fans would be happy with Edwards simply getting back to his rookie form, McKenzie went on to say the third-year DE “wants to be dominant” in his interview with 95.7.

A dominant presence on the opposite side of reigning defensive player of the year and Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack, would go a long way to causing opposing quarterbacks trouble. But when one factors in outside linebacker Bruce Irvin as well?

This Oakland defense could be scary in 2017.


The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!

Raiders’ Las Vegas lease agreement approved unanimously

Photo via MANICA Architecture

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


After looking like the Oakland Raiders relocation to Las Vegas may get pushed back until 2021, the Raiders have gotten their lease agreement approved unanimously by the Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board.

One of the first to report the news was Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Rick Velotta.

With the approval, the stadium is back on track to be completed for the 2020 campaign.

Interestingly enough, this news comes on the same day that the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers’ announced that their new stadium would get pushed back one season due to inclimate weather.

The news also means that Raiders owner Mark Davis will not have to be looking for a temporary home for his team for multiple seasons prior to their relocation.


The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!

Raiders GM McKenzie: ‘I want Derek [Carr] to be a Raider his entire career’

Photo via Scott Tucker/SF Bay

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie went on radio to clear up some of the latest rumors, including that Raiders quarterback Derek Carr’s “patience is wearing thin”, per NFL Media’s Mike Silver.

However, McKenzie doesn’t see it that way. On 95.7 The Game this morning, he told JT the Brick, “We’re going to make sure [Carr’s] contract gets done . . . I want Derek to be a Raiders his entire career.”

All the panic and worry amongst the NFL about Carr’s contract is ludicrous. There is not another player in the league that is more valuable to their organization than Carr is to Oakland.

In addition, McKenzie told JT the Brick that the Raiders “want Derek and Derek wants to be here.”

The interest is mutual and it is only a matter of time before a very lucrative contract is agreed upon.


The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!

Raiders’ Marquette King thinks Draymond Green is better than Michael Jordan

Photo via Ezra Shaw, Getty Images

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


Oakland Raiders punter Marquette King rarely shies away from controversy on social media, and Thursday certainly wasn’t any different from an average day, as King took to Twitter to demonstrate just how little he knows about NBA basketball.

With the NBA playoffs in full swing, King proclaimed Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James is better than former Chicago Bulls shooting guard Michael Jordan, before going on to take his analysis to a laughable level in his following tweet.

By King’s logic, not only is James better than Jordan, but the Golden State Warriors’ third-to-fourth option on offense in Draymond Green is also better than the greatest player of all time.

This likely goes without saying for most, but it’s likely time for King to keep his analysis focused on the gridiron.


The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!