Is Marshawn Lynch the Raiders Missing Piece in a Run at a Super Bowl?

The Raiders run game is going to have a very different look in 2017, as the team this offseason went out and grabbed retired bruiser Marshawn Lynch to come back to revamp the Oakland rush attack.

Last season Oakland was led in their run game by Latavius Murray, who left this past offseason to go to Minnesota as a free agent. He ran for 788 yards, 12 touchdowns, and put up four yards per carry.

Murray is going to be tough to replace, but the team is hopeful that Lynch, who led the league in rushing touchdowns between the 2013-14 seasons, will fill in and be just as good.

But is that realistic?

Lynch is 31 years old, and to expect him to be able to come in and be a force is asking a lot. It’s been a two full seasons since he played, and even then he only played in seven games and put up 417 yards and three touchdowns for the Seahawks.

The one thing that the Raiders do have going for them is one of, if not the best offensive lines in the NFL. With players like Donald Penn leading the charge, this unit will help open holes for anyone running the ball.

Lynch will also get help from Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington, two players who should be able assist in giving him breaks during games if need be.

The Raiders were 8th in the NFL last season in throwing the ball, and adding Lynch to their offense should give even more of a boost.

Let’s see if he’s as good as he’s been during camps, and if he indeed is the missing piece for the Raiders to win the AFC West and make a serious run at a Super Bowl in 2017.

Can The Oakland Raiders Live Up To The Hype In 2017?

After 13 agonizing years without playoff football, the Oakland Raiders went 12-4 last season and competed in the postseason for the first time since losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Super Bowl XXXVII. Unfortunately, Jack Del Rio’s side fell short at the first hurdle against the Houston Texans but that brief taste of the playoffs will spur Oakland on as they look to win the AFC West title in 2017.

With Derek Carr fully fit and firing on all cylinders, the Raiders are a decent outside tip to go one better this time around. Last season, Carr suffered a devastating season-ending injury in Week 16 and that put an end to Oakland’s slim Super Bowl hopes but fans should remember that he ranked as one of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League before going down.

Stats

Looking directly at the statistics, Carr threw 28 touchdown passes and just six interceptions last season – an incredible achievement. Since he was drafted, the Raiders star has an 81:31 touchdown to interception ratio. Comparatively, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, the first overall pick in 2012, has a 132:68 ratio and Oakland fans know that Carr is an elite talent at the position.

Latavius Murray has departed but Marshawn Lynch is a more than competent replacement if he can regain his best form. The former Seattle Seahawks star, commonly referred to as “Beast Mode”, is a modern great and Oakland fans will be excited to see Lynch in action on the opening weekend. The Raiders have one of the strongest offensive lines in the National Football League and Lynch will profit if Oakland’s big guys avoid serious injuries.

Meanwhile, the Raiders are still blessed with talent at receiver and Carr could put up career high figures if his options perform well. With Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree out wide, Oakland have two reliable choices on offense and they will be backed up by the likes of Seth Roberts and tight-end Jared Cook. Last season, Cook showed glimpses of quality playing for the Green Bay Packers and he could become Carr’s favourite redzone target.

Stacked

On the other side of the ball, Oakland are stacked. Khalil Mack is their main man when it comes to bringing pressure and the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year will be looking to hit quarterbacks on a weekly basis next term. Mack has made 26 sacks since the beginning of the 2015 campaign and he is widely regarded as THE elite defensive talent in the NFL. At the very least, he is on par with Texans star JJ Watt.

You could claim that Oakland’s secondary might be the weak link next year but the Raiders moved quickly to select two talented rookies in the NFL Draft. Del Rio opted to take Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley in the first round before moving for safety Obi Melifonwu in the second. Conley may have his off-field issues but he has the potential to blossom into a genuine shutdown corner for Oakland.

Prior to the draft, some had Conley as the second best cornerback in the draft. If anyone can get the most out of their new additions, it is defensive co-ordinator Ken Norton. And with John Pagano also helping out on that side of the field, Oakland could be set for an incredible season in all departments on defense.

Whether opposing fans like it or not, the Oakland Raiders hype is legit. It may be a little too soon to be predicting a Super Bowl triumph but the pieces for success are there and a push for the showpiece could ensue depending on how Jack Del Rio’s side start the campaign. If Carr gets back to his brilliant best, the Raiders should go far and could compete for the AFC Championship title.

Derek Carr Says His New Deal Was Done to Help Raiders Keep Other Stars on Team

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said he doesn’t care that his $25 million per year deal will be quickly surpassed by a handful of NFL quarterbacks with expiring contracts looking to top the market, Conor Orr of NFL.com reports.

His main concerns? Take care of his team and his family. Both of those are now complete.

Carr confirmed on Friday during a post-signing press conference that his deal was structured in order to help the Raiders ink other superstars. Khalil Mack, quite possibly the best defensive player in the league, will most likely be next along with guard Gabe Jackson. Mack is entering the final year of his rookie deal with a fifth-year option season coming in 2018.

Mack will undoubtedly top the market for all defensive players, with Von Miller’s six-year, $114.5 million deal ($19,083,333 per year with $70 million in practical guarantees) serving as a baseline. Jackson, a former third-round pick, is entering the final year of his deal.

“We figured out a way to do it so that we have the opportunity to sign the other guys that I think are important to this organization,” Carr said. “That was really important to me. Not to just take every single dime that we could. I hope that that’s known. Obviously, the position that I play, it has to be around a certain number. It just is what it is. At the same time, I told (my agent), if we can structure it in a way to help the Raiders get the other guys, give them an opportunity to come in, that that would be really important to me too.”

Asked practically how that will work, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was vague.

“The bottom line is, we’re able to move forward to keep all the players we need to keep in the correct timing. This affords us to do that. We’ll start on that ASAP.”

Raiders Make the List of Teams That Can Upset the Patriots for the Super Bowl in 2018

We all know how good the champion New England Patriots are, and people are picking the Pats to once again take home the Lombardi Trophy in February of 2018.

While the Pats are the favorites, NFL.com has a piece out about six teams that have a legit chance to unseat the champions from 2017, and the Raiders have made the list.

Here’s what Conor Orr had to say about the Raiders and their chances.

4) Oakland Raiders

Regular-season matchup with the Patriots: Nov. 19 (Week 11) at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

Why they can do it: The addition of an apparently still-beastly Marshawn Lynch gives this matchup some heat. Oakland has the experience at offensive line and the ground-game counterpunch to potentially score with New England, should the game bend a certain way. On paper, the defense has also improved, though probably not enough to significantly trip up the mechanically proficient Brady. Having Khalil Mack, perhaps the best defensive player in football, able to rush from various spots on the field could be effective — much like how the Texans derailed New England’s offense for part of their playoff matchup last season by knifing rushers into the A-gap. Mostly, we are putting a tremendous amount of faith in a still-ascending Derek Carr. Could he put it all together and maximize Lynch and the receivers at his disposal?

Raiders QB Derek Carr Says He’ll Play Under Existing Deal if No No Deal is Reached by Camp

The Raiders may have some tense moments in their hands this season if they don’t get a deal done with quarterback Derek Carr, who stated on Tuesday that he’ll play out the final season of his original four-year deal even if he doesn’t get an extension by the start of training camp.

When asked directly if he would play out the final year of his existing deal if the two sides can’t agree on an extension by the beginning of training camp, Carr said, “I wouldn’t even answer the phone. The money isn’t the thing that drives me. If it does, then I shouldn’t be standing here.

“What drives me is making sure I’m giving everything I have with my abilities and making sure we win, and I don’t want anything distracting my thought process at all. That’s not a jab or anything like that. That’s must me, saying I’m not going to deal with anything that’s not helping me focus on winning.”
ADVERTISING

Carr is scheduled to make $977,519 in salary with a cap number of $1,709,210 based on the four-year contract he signed as a second-round draft pick out of Fresno State in 2014.

The quarterback is the life blood of the teams’ offense, and the last thing they want is to be caught in a situation where they don’t get a deal done with Carr.

Look for the two sides to continue to work and hopefully a deal will get done before the start of camp.

Raiders First-Round Pick Gareon Conley Feels First Day on Practice Field a Success

Raiders first-round pick and former Ohio State standout cornerback Gareon Conley was back on a football field, something he views as a “stress reliever” with all he’s experienced in the past month, Jimmy Durkin of Bayareanewsgroup reports.

When Conley met with the media following the first day of the Raiders’ rookie mini camp, it was far from his most important meeting of the week. That came Monday when he was in Cleveland to offer a statement to police who are looking into an April 9 allegation of rape levied against Conley.

“I felt like it went good,” Conley said. “There’s not more to say about that. We’ll just find out what happens after this.”

According to a report from NFL Network, Conley’s attorney Kevin Spellacy said he expects a time frame of 6-8 weeks while Cuyahoga County prosecutors review the case, although Conley said Friday he wasn’t aware of any such time frame.

Conley has been adamant from the beginning that his name will ultimately get cleared in the case and called the meeting with police “another way to prove my innocence.”

In the mean time, he said it’s tough to deal with having his name linger out there publicly with this accusation.

“It’s tough to think about it,” Conley said, “but I try not to think about it and just worry about what I’m doing out here.”

New Raiders Draft Pick Gareon Conley Makes Admission About Accuser in Rape Case

There’s been tons of controversy over the Raiders picking Ohio State corner Gareon Conley in the NFL Draft over the weekend, and today there’s more news about the former Buckeye and his case in which he’s being investigated for rape.

TMZ has the following about the ongoing case with Conley:

Raiders draft pick Gareon Conley is telling investigators he did receive “brief oral sex” from his accuser on the night of the alleged sexual assault … but insists it was consensual.

We’re told Conley says he was the recipient and that he did NOT force himself on the woman.

The former Ohio State football star is currently being investigated for rape — after his accuser told police he sexually assaulted her in a Cleveland hotel room on April 9.

Conley’s attorney, Kevin Spellacy, says the two did engage in a “consensual sexual event” — but says it was NOT intercourse.

The accuser told police they did have vaginal sex — claiming he grabbed her, spun her around and raped her from behind. A rape kit was administered following the incident.

Meanwhile, Conley met with police on Monday and provided a DNA sample and a voluntary statement.

A Rundown of All the Oakland Raiders 2017 NFL Draft Picks

Sports Illustrated has a complete rundown of all of the Raiders 2017 Draft Picks and some commentary as well.

Round 1, Pick 24 (No. 24 overall)

Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State: Well, file this one as TBD. Conley was a sure-fire first-rounder for the last several weeks, until a rape allegation against him came to light. Teams spent the past 48 hours digging into that situation, so the Raiders must feel like Conley has been honest in claiming the allegation is false. (Conley has not been charged.) From a talent perspective, Conley had an argument to be the second cornerback off the board. He is a potential shut-down guy for an Oakland defense that had few answers on the outside last season. How long will his off-field situation drag out, and what will be the outcome?? GRADE: INCOMPLETE

Round 2, Pick 24 (No. 56)

Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut: It’s obvious from how these last few drafts have gone down that teams are placing a high priority on having not just one, but two standout safeties. In Melifonwu and Karl Joseph, the Raiders are there. Melifonwu’s post-combine hype outpaced his still-developing game, but he’s a unique physical specimen capable of handling a variety of roles. GRADE: A-

Round 3, Pick 24 (No. 88)

Eddie Vanderdoes, DT, UCLA: Here’s the thing about Vanderdoes: If the Raiders get the healthy, 2014 version of him, he’s a guy they can pencil in as a potential starter up front. Oakland did not have a lot of meaningful depth inside on defense, so Vanderdoes restocks the pile.? GRADE: B+

Round 4, Pick 23 (No. 129) David Sharpe, OT, Florida

Round 5, Pick 24 (No. 168) Marquel Lee, LB, Wake Forest

Round 7, Pick 3 (No. 221) (From Cardinals) Shalom Luani, S, Washington State

Round 7, Pick 13 (No. 231) Jylan Ware, OT, Alabama State

Round 7, Pick 24 (No. 242) Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina

Round 7, Pick 26 (No. 244) (From Seahawks) Treyvon Hester, DT, Toledo