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New Raiders DC Paul Guenther Wants LB Bruce Irvin to Rush More in 2018

New Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther wants to use linebacker Bruce Irvin more as a pass rusher in 2018 according to Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.

Despite spending over 100 snaps in pass coverage last year, Irvin managed eight sacks after recording seven his first season in Oakland. His new coordinator thinks he can do even better this year. “I thought his best assets for us was to go forward rather than go backwards,” Guenther said.

“Hopefully, we can get him over a double-digit mark this year. That’s the goal for him.” Originally a first-round draft pick by the Seattle Seahawks out of West Virginia in 2012, the 30-year-old Irvin’s sack total in 2017 was his highest since his rookie season.

Raiders Ticket Prices for the New Stadium in Las Vegas Remain a Question Mark

The Raiders’ new stadium is going up rapidly — just as the price of game tickets and personal seat licenses surely will, Richard N. Velotta of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

While the team is happy to talk about the former, they aren’t as forthcoming about the latter.

“Let’s just say our sales and marketing people are extremely happy with the response the market has given us,” said Don Webb, chief operating officer of StadCo, the Raiders’ subsidiary building the $1.8 billion, 65,000-seat indoor football stadium at Interstate 15 and Russell Road.

Webb’s said his expertise is in overseeing stadium construction but not marketing. He didn’t comment on reports that premium seating for the stadium, including club seats and luxury boxes, are nearly sold out.

Fans who had appointments to hear presentations at the team’s preview center have called the Review-Journal to complain that their meetings have been canceled. A reporter’s request to sit in on a marketing presentation was declined.

Webb said he could not discuss details about the number of seat commitments made nor what the cost of personal seat licenses would be.

Personal seat licenses, or PSLs, are a fee teams charge to give people access to buy season tickets. While the Raiders have not disclosed PSL pricing — and thousands of people have already placed $100 deposits down to buy — the amount per license is expected to be in the thousands of dollars for premium seats.

Raiders Coach Jon Gruden Crows on the Signing of Former Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson

In a conference call with Raiders season-ticket members, Jon Gruden was asked about the need to improve the middle of the defense.

That’s when Gruden talked about his love of stealing players from the Chiefs, and brought up at least one player whom Kansas City fans still lament getting away, Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star reports.

“Well, we feel like we have solidified the middle of our defense big time,” Gruden said. “We added Derrick Johnson, the all-time leading tackler in Kansas City Chief history. He started every game for them last year, they were the division champions.”

“You throw out all the records whenever these teams play. There’s a lot of bad blood in the AFC West. But all we can control is ourselves. We’re not even going to worry about who are the favorites. We’re going to worry about the Oakland Raiders and bringing it every single week.”

Gruden Dismissing Talk About New DL Maurice Hurst Not Being Able to Play Due to Heart Condition

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is dismissing talk that fifth-round defensive lineman Maurice Hurst cannot play in the NFL due to a heart condition according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“I’m not going to answer any more health questions on Hurst,” Gruden told Gehlken. “I realize there’s a lot of ghost stories out there about unnamed sources . . . I hope you just judge him on the field. He’s been cleared medically, and I’ll just leave it at that.” Hurst was flagged with the heart condition at the Scouting Combine, leading some teams to remove him from their draft boards altogether and causing a 22-year-old who was considered a first-round talent to slide all the way to the Raiders at No.140. Hurst himself has said that he has “no concerns at all” about playing with the condition.

Hurst was a late bloomer at the University of Michigan, , making only 17 career starts but breaking out as a fifth-year senior for 14.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. He projects as a threetechnique pass rusher with exceptional quickness in the mode of reigning Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald. If in fact Hurst can get permanently cleared to play football, the Raiders just may have pulled off the steal of the entire draft.

Former Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson Visiting Raiders

Former Chiefs’ standout linebacker Derrick Johnson is visiting today with the Raiders, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports citing a source.

Johnson spent the past 13 years in K.C. after becoming a first-round pick in 2005. The Chiefs decided not to re-sign the 35-year-old linebacker earlier this offseason, making him a free agent. Johnson said he intends to continue his playing career. The Raiders are the first team to come calling.

Johnson’s play has fallen off with age, but he did compile 71 tackles in 15 starts in 2017. The Raiders could be looking to add a veteran voice to their second level — or, more cynically, perhaps using the visit to squeeze NaVorro Bowman to take less money to return.

The possibility of seeing one of their franchise greats wearing a Raiders jersey would make Chiefs’ fans stomachs curdle.

After Kansas City drafted Kahlil McKenzie, son of Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, Oakland signing Johnson would only add more fuel to the AFC West rivalry.

Video: Raiders LB Bruce Irvin on Being Voted the NFL Network’s 65th Best Overall Player

Raiders linebacker Bruce Irvin is at number 65 of the top 100 players in the NFL on NFL Network, and he spoke about it on NFL Network as well as getting to know new coach Jon Gruden.

Raiders OL Vadal Alexander Suspended for the First Four Games of 2018

Raiders’ offensive lineman Vadal Alexander has been suspended for the first four games of the 2018 season without pay for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, Matt Schneidman of Bayareanewsgroup reports.

Alexander is eligible to return to the 53-man roster Monday, Oct. 1, the day after Oakland’s Week 4 game at home against the Cleveland Browns. Alexander is still permitted to participate in all offseason activities and preseason games.

The Raiders took Alexander in the seventh round of the 2016 draft with the 234th overall pick. He started five of the nine games he played in as a rookie, and started four of the 15 games he appeared in last season. Often, he was used as the extra man when the Raiders opted for five-linemen sets.

Police Investigating Domestic Violence Case Involving Raiders LT Donald Penn

Raiders offensive tackle Donald Penn was reported to be a “suspect” in a domestic violence incident by TMZ Sports Monday morning but Penn’s wife is denying that any physical violence took place according to Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area.

According to TMZ, the police were called to Penn’s home in Los Angeles on Sunday evening after an altercation in which he allegedly poured a drink on his wife’s head and grabbed her by the wrist. Penn was allegedly not at the scene when police arrived.

“There was a verbal disagreement, there was no physical altercation,” a rep for the couple said. “The two are in the middle of a divorce and it is a hard time for both parties.” The police will undoubtedly still want to talk to Penn about the incident but it sounds like actual charges are unlikely. Penn underwent Lisfranc surgery in December and is expected to be out of action for another couple of months but all indications are that the 35-year-old will be the starting left tackle for the Raiders in 2018.