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Raiders refocus for playoff game this Saturday

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Written by intern Jeff Weisinger edited by Malaika Bobino

 

The Oakland Raiders were living a dream this season. They had a top-ranked offense led by a flourishing MVP candidate quarterback, a top-ranked defense and were playing the best football the organization had seen since 2002. 

 

When Derek Carr went down in the fourth quarter in the Raiders win against the Indianapolis Colts on Christmas Eve, that dream turned into a nightmare as Oakland got the “Autumn Wind” knocked right out of them as well as RaiderNation.

 

Matt McGloin was the next man up. Unfortunately after he got his chance, the story-filled season for the Silver and Black just got worse. In his first start in three years against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, McGloin lasted through the first half and threw for only 21 yards, exiting the game with a left shoulder injury.

 

“Well, it could have been a lot better,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said when asked about McGloin’s performance before his injury during his Monday press conference.

 

The fourth-round rookie quarterback Connor Cook, who might become the first ever rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era to make his first career start in the playoffs. Del Rio said on Monday that McGloin is still very sore. If he’s not ready than Cook will go in this Saturday’s Wild Card game in Houston.

 

Oakland also signed quarterback Garrett Gilbert to the practice squad with the intention of activating him as the No. 2 quarterback on Saturday if Cook is named the starter. Currently, Cook is the only active, healthy quarterback on the roster.

 

“I thought Connor was pretty solid,” said Del Rio. “I though he handled himself pretty well. I thought overall that he did a pretty solid job for a tough set of circumstances for him.”

 

Although Cook led Oakland to their only scoring drive of the game, he still played like a rookie making his debut. Along with the interception, he also fumbled the ball twice, losing one, in his nine series played.

 

The Raiders stellar defense that dominated throughout the season was missing in action last Sunday. In fact, Oakland’s defense allowed both the Colts and Broncos to outscore them 35-6 since Carr went down in the fourth quarter on Christmas Eve – roughly 70 football minutes.

 

“I don’t know that I’ve seen tackling like that all year,” Del Rio said. “Just a little surprised by it. Look, it was one day. That’s the way I have to look at it, as one day. For whatever reason, we were off and we didn’t play well and we lost the game.”

 

If the Raiders are going to turn their playoff hopes around, they’ll need their defense to step up as they have in crucial games this year. Most notably at San Diego in Week 15 when they clinched the playoff berth.

 

Cook cannot be forced to put this playoff run solely on his shoulders, it’s a team effort. Del Rio emphasized that the Raiders have won as a team and lost as a team and if they’re going to get through Houston, it’ll take all hands on deck to do so.

 

“For us, it’s so much more important that we focus on second-and-13, not giving up a 64-yard run, third-and-18, not giving up a 43-yard touchdown on a screen pass. Those are the ways we can help the quarterbacks.”

 

The Texans also have quarterback problems of their own. Brock Osweiler was the starting quarterback signed in the offseason but got benched after his struggles progressed. He’s had 14 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in 14 games this season. Backup QB Tom Savage replaced Osweiler in week 15 but suffered a concussion in the season’s finale.

 

Houston’s coach Bill O’Brien named Osweiler the starter over Savage, who sustained a concussion in Sunday’s loss to the Tennessee Titans. Savage has yet to be cleared by the NFL’s concussion protocol and is most likely out for this Saturday’s matchup.

 

Oakland has a chance to catch the AFC South champion Texans off guard with Cook. There’s no significant film on Cook outside of Sunday’s game at Denver, allowing the Raiders and Cook to possibly catch Houston off-guard.

 

In the last five years, rookie quarterbacks have seen their share of success out of the gate. This year alone, Dallas Dak Prescott, the Eagles’ Carson Wentz and Cleveland’s Cody Kessler have all played well in their first few starts. The advantage for Cook is the talent around him, one that McGloin didn’t seem to utilize.

 

If the Raiders can head into this game just like they did during the regular season, they’ll have a good shot at beating a Texans team they’ve defeated once already this year. Oakland defeated Houston 27-20 on Monday Night Football in Mexico in November.

 

The Raiders earned the right to be in the postseason. And there’s no better place than showing up on the road where they went 5-1 during the regular season. Carr wasn’t always perfect for every game so there’s no better time than the NFL playoffs to see what team shows up.

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Bay Area

IN MEMORIAM: John Madden, Oakland Raiders Super Bowl Winning Coach, Dies at 85

“We all know him as the Hall of Fame coach of the Oakland Raiders and broadcaster who worked for every major network, but more than anything, he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said.

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John Madden.
John Madden.

By Bay City News

John Madden, who won a Super Bowl with the Oakland Raiders and went on to be a television commentator and namesake of a popular football video game series, has died at the age of 85, the National Football League announced on Dec. 28, 2021.

No other information about a cause of death was immediately released.

Madden, who grew up in Daly City, led the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl victory in 1977, then went on to highly successful careers in TV and video games, and was recently the subject of a documentary titled “All Madden.”

“We all know him as the Hall of Fame coach of the Oakland Raiders and broadcaster who worked for every major network, but more than anything, he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said.

Madden’s death prompted widespread reactions on social media from those who knew or admired him.

The Raiders, who have since moved to Las Vegas, wrote “A brilliant coach. A loyal and trusted friend. A Raider.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote, “Tonight we mourn John Madden — he redefined the role of a sports broadcaster — his voice as recognizable as anyone who ever did the job. He hoisted a Super Bowl trophy with CA’s own Oakland Raiders. Our thoughts are with his family as we mourn this incredible man.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf wrote, “I join all in mourning + honoring SuperBowl-winning coach John Madden. He was a great personality who truly loved #Oakland. When his grandson played at O’Dowd, John was as enthusiastic about the Dragons as any NFL team. We will miss him!”

San Mateo County Board of Supervisors president David Canepa wrote, “RIP John Madden. A 1954 graduate of Jefferson High School in Daly City and Super Bowl winning coach for the Oakland Raiders. He did so much for Daly City!”

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Featured

City Seeks to Work With A’s, Major League Baseball To Keep Team in Oakland

City Council leaders said it’s incorrect “that the City Council is delaying or refusing to consider the A’s project proposal,” at Howard Terminal.

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Leaders of the Oakland City Council told the head of Major League Baseball in a May 14 letter that they are willing to work with the As baseball team to keep it from moving out of the city.

    Oakland recently lost both its National Football League franchise the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas and the Golden State Warriors to San Francisco.

    The letter comes just days after MLB told the Oakland As to look for another city to play while pursuing a waterfront park in Oakland.  

    “The Oakland City Council is committed to negotiating in good  faith for a strong future for the A’s in Oakland, and we invite the As and MLB to do the same by agreeing not to seek relocation while the As complete the (stadium at the Charles P. Howard Terminal) project  process, the letter begins.

    But officials in Las Vegas revealed on May 12 on Twitter through Mayor Carolyn Goodman that they have been talking with the As since 2019 and they are excited.

    City Council leaders said it’s incorrect that the City Council is delaying or refusing to consider the A’s project proposal, at Howard Terminal.

    Rather, many, such as city staff have been working to bring the proposal to the council for potential approval.

   But the As have been working on the project for nearly five years, As president Dave Kaval said in February. Opposition, too, has mounted against the Howard Terminal site and in favor of a new stadium at the current Oakland Coliseum site.

    The City Council’s letter says that MLB has concluded without sufficient support that the Coliseum site is not viable.City Council leaders asked in the letter for the materials MLB reviewed to draw that conclusion.

    The councils letter is signed by council President Nikki Fortunato Bas, Vice Mayor and Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan and Councilmember Carroll Fife, who represents downtown and West Oakland.

    The Howard Terminal site is near both downtown and West Oakland.

    City Council leaders are willing to meet with MLB officials and the As ownership, the letter says, to thoughtfully move forward.

    Council leaders said the As leadership recently changed their requests.

    “Rather than send forward full completed deal terms for consideration, the As demanded that the council vote on summary deal terms.  

    “Council leadership expressed willingness to explore this request, and met with the As staff and other stakeholders to seek how best to move forward, according to the letter.  

    Council leaders were in the process of scheduling a vote on the summary deal terms before their summer recess when MLB told the As to seek a new home while it pursues a waterfront ballpark in Oakland.

    “This relocation announcement came without giving the council an opportunity to receive and vote on a proposal and did not even wait for the time requested for the vote, the letter says.

    “Since the request was for a vote by August, why would you announce permission to explore relocation, prior to the date of the requested vote, if the request had been a sincere one? the letter said.

    Council leaders asked MLB to confirm its intentions.

    “Can you confirm definitively, that if the council were to take such a vote for a term sheet regarding the As, that you would prohibit any action to seek or pursue relocation during those next steps?

    Kaplans staff confirmed late on the afternoon of May 14 that a vote on the summary deal terms will be scheduled for before the August recess.

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Bay Area

City Reacts as A’s Threaten to Leave

The A’s said on Tuesday said they will start looking into relocating with the backing of Major League Baseball.

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Mount Davis Oakland with Fans/Wikimedia

The Oakland Athletics made a public threat this week to leave Oakland if  the City Council does not accept their latest proposal by the end of June to build a baseball stadium and huge real estate complex at the Howard Terminal at the Port of Oakland.

The A’s said on Tuesday said they will start looking into relocating with the backing of Major League Baseball.

 A’s owner John Fisher said in a statement,  “The future success of the A’s depends on a new ballpark. Oakland is a great baseball town, and we will continue to pursue our waterfront ballpark project. We will also follow MLB’s direction to explore other markets.”

 A’s President Dave Kaval told the Associated Press on Tuesday, “I think it’s something that is kind of a once-a-generational opportunity to reimagine the waterfront. We’re going to continue to pursue that, and we’re still hopeful that that could get approved, but we have to be realistic about where we are with the timelines.”

Many residents are angry at the A’s aggressive stance, especially since the team’s new proposal is vague on details and puts the city and its residents on the hook for nearly one billion dollars in infrastructure improvements plus over $400 million in community benefits the A’s have pledged but instead would be handed off to taxpayers. 

Reflecting the reaction of some residents, Tim Kawakami, editor-in-chief of the SF Bay Area edition of The Athletic,  tweeted, “I just don’t see the municipal validation in kowtowing to a billionaire who won’t spend much of his own money to build a new stadium that will make him many more billions.”

Mayor Libby Schaaf says she is open to the A’s proposal, and Council members  want more details on its financial impact  on the city and its taxpayers, 

Councilmember Loren Taylor told the Oakland Post in an interview: “We know they are looking for alternative locations. It is something that has to be factored in. Our commitment is to  work to keep the A’s in Oakland but to do it in way that protects the interests of the city  and is  the best deal for the people of Oakland.”

Said Councilmember Treva Reid:

“My commitment will always be to the residents of East Oakland and ensuring strong community benefits and economic development.  I appreciate the contribution of the Athletics … However, the Council must have an adequate amount of time to thoroughly evaluate their proposed offer to ensure Oakland residents receive a fair, transparent  and equitable deal.” 

In her statement, Mayor Schaaf, who has long been a backer of the A’s real estate development near Jack London Square,  said, “We share MLB’s sense of urgency and their continued preference for Oakland. Today’s statement makes clear that the only viable path to keeping the A’s rooted in Oakland is a ballpark on the waterfront.

“Now, with the recent start of financial discussions with the A’s, we call on our entire community — regional and local partners included — to rally together and support a new, financially viable, fiscally responsible, world class waterfront neighborhood that enhances our city and region and keeps the A’s in Oakland where they belong.”

Major media outlets,  often  boosters  of super- expensive urban developments, are unenthusiastic about the A’s proposal and the team’s pressure on the city to go along with its demands.  

In an article, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Scott Ostler wrote, “Get the message, Oakland? Vote to approve the A’s plan and commit to kicking in $855 million for infrastructure for the A’s new ballpark and surrounding village around Howard Terminal or kiss your lovable little baseball team goodbye.

“It’s called power politics, folks.”

In an editorial, the Mercury News and the East Bay Times wrote,” The team has thrown down a greedy and opaque demand that the city of Oakland approve a $12 billion residential and commercial waterfront development project that happens to include a new ballpark — and requires a massive taxpayer subsidy.

“If that’s the best the A’s can offer, the city should let them go.”

Ray Bobbitt of the African American Sports and Entertainment Group told the Oakland Post, “These are bully tactics. You either give me the money or I’m leaving. I don’t think that’s the way to work with the community.

“Do it in a way that’s respectful of the people. If you want to play hardball, I don’t think it’s a tactic that works these days.”

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