AFC West: Oakland Raiders

NAPA, Calif. -- From the moment he landed with the Oakland Raiders in a trade with the Houston Texans on March 21, Matt Schaub has insisted confidence, or lack thereof, will not be an issue for him going forward.

Schaub
Schaub
Not even after a nightmarish 2013 in Houston in which he threw 14 interceptions in 10 games, including pick-sixes in four straight games, and lost his job.

Surely the Raiders' coaching staff must have some questions about whether Schaub has any mental hurdles to overcome in camp, no?

Well, no.

"I don't have any problems with Matt Schaub's confidence," coach Dennis Allen said Thursday.

"I think he's in a good frame of mind. I think he's very hungry. I think he's excited about the new opportunity."

Schaub, a third-round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 2004 before heading to Houston in 2007 and going to two Pro Bowls, should benefit from a change of scenery, Allen said.

"I think anytime you go into something new, there's a little bit of, maybe it's an increased focus, an increased intensity level, because it is new," Allen said. "You kind of force yourself out of your comfort zone a little bit.

"I think he's done that. I think he's been very focused and very driven this offseason and I don't think there's any question that he's got something that he wants to go out and prove."

This much is true, though: If Schaub struggles early, fans will be calling loudly for second-round draft pick Derek Carr out of Fresno State, and Schaub does not need that kind of distraction or distress as he's trying to establish himself in Oakland.

That process begins in earnest Friday with the Raiders' first training camp practice of 2014. Sunday, they go at it in pads for the first time.
NAPA, Calif. – The big news the day before the Oakland Raiders' first training camp practice revolved around cornerback D.J. Hayden's pending trip to the physically unable to perform list.

But there was other injury news announced by coach Dennis Allen at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa at a lunch attended by five media outlets and the team’s website.

Burnett
Burnett
Allen said the Raiders will cut linebacker Kevin Burnett, as the nine-year veteran was not cleared for participation by the Raiders’ medical staff. Burnett, who was dealing with an ankle issue in the second organized team activities session in early June, started 16 games at weakside linebacker last season and had 129 tackles with 2 sacks and an interception.

The Raiders drafted Khalil Mack with the No. 5 overall pick and the rookie is slotted to start on the strong side, with Sio Moore moving toWill linebacker to battle Miles Burris for the starting job. Nick Roach, who played every defensive snap last season, returns at middle linebacker.

“Where we’re at at the linebacker position, with some young talented players, Miles Burris and Sio Moore, Kaluka Maiava being a main guy, I think we feel good with that position,” Allen said, “and we’re going to move on from Kevin Burnett.”

Burnett had a salary cap value for 2014 of nearly $4.14 million and was due to make $3.5 million.

Also, Allen said tight end Nick Kasa (hip flexor) and guard Lucas Nix (knee) would join Hayden (foot) on the PUP list, with safety Usama Young (quad) and rookie cornerback Keith McGill (ankle) potential adds. Young and McGill were injured Thursday during the team’s conditioning tests.

Defensive end C.J. Wilson (hamstring) and defensive tackle Stacy McGee (broken thumb) will be placed on the non-football injury list after being hurt away from the Raiders’ facility.

Defensive lineman Antonio Smith, meanwhile, is “good to go” after not practicing at all in the offseason programs while recovering from an undisclosed procedure following a weight-room mishap.

“You’d love to be able to start with everybody healthy and everybody on the field, but obviously, injuries are part of this game and it’s something we’ve got to be able to deal with and something that we’ve got to be able to overcome,” Allen said. “We’ll take it day by day and try to attack the rehab as fast as possible and see when we can get those guys back out there.”

The Raiders’ first training camp practice is Friday at 3 p.m. PT, with the first padded practice on Sunday.
Impressionist Frank Caliendo stopped by ESPN.com’s NFL Nation TV Thursday and offered hilarious takes in different voices on the current state of the NFL, joining host Paul Gutierrez (Oakland Raiders reporter), co-host Coley Harvey (Cincinnati Bengals reporter) and Kevin Seifert (NFL national reporter).

Caliendo broke out many of his impressions, including his staple of staples, John Madden, and advised life-of-the-party rookie Johnny Manziel to keep on partying, in Madden’s voice, like Madden’s Raiders of the 1970s did as one of the league’s dominant teams of the era, both on and off the field.

Earlier in the day on ESPN Radio’s "Mike and Mike" show, Caliendo read LeBron James’ letter to the fans, his reason for returning to Cleveland, in the voice of Morgan Freeman. Caliendo shared some of it on the Spreecast as well.

Other NFL personalities Caliendo did impressions of included what is now his newest staple, Jon Gruden, while briefly taking the show into a Gruden family reunion and reminiscing on Harry Potter’s school of Hogwarts. He also did Will Ferrell doing Harry Caray.

Caliendo, who has had his own television show in the past, said he stopped counting how many voices he has in his repertoire, though it’s been reported he has at least 120 impressions, from former president George W. Bush to Mike Ditka, which he said is all about chewing gum and putting his index finger above his lip as a mustache. He wants to add a Peyton Manning impression, saying there’s some “Elvis” in the five-time NFL MVP’s voice.

And yes, Caliendo did some Charles Barkley while discussing how he comes up with ideas for impressions. Caliendo was on the show for 20 minutes.

Other topics discussed by Gutierrez, Harvey and Seifert included Ray Rice getting a reported two-game suspension, Tony Dungy’s recent assertion that he would not draft the openly gay Michael Sam because he would be too big a distraction, and a new home for the Raiders.

The show can be watched here:

 
NAPA, Calif. -- What was the first question Oakland Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr had for veterans as time grew short to report for training camp?

“Where do I park when I get there?” Carr sheepishly admitted.

Carr, the Raiders’ second-round draft pick out of Fresno State and QB of the future, found the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa’s players-only lot on Wednesday -- yes, he drove himself rather than ride the “rookie” bus from Alameda -- and, just like that, his future was kickstarted.

“I’m starting to learn how to be an NFL quarterback,” Carr told a cluster of reporters after checking in. “But I’ve still got a long way to go. So I’m just going to rely on my coaches and the team to help me get through my first camp.”

Carr has first-hand experience, so to speak, what with older brother David spending 11 years in the NFL after the Houston Texans made him the No. 1 overall pick in 2002.

In minicamp, Carr was elevated to second-string on Oakland’s depth chart, ahead of Matt McGloin and behind new starter Matt Schaub.

Ironically, it was Schaub who replaced the elder Carr in Houston and, if all goes according to plan in Oakland, the younger Carr will replace Schaub in the near future.

Schaub has been an accommodating mentor.

“Hopefully, Matt doesn’t get too annoyed at me for asking too many questions,” Carr said with a laugh. “Because I’m going to ask even more now. I’m going to try and pick his brain as much as I can.”
ESPN NFL Insider Ron Jaworski, who enjoyed a 15-season run as an NFL quarterback, has released his NFL quarterback rankings Insider for the upcoming 2014 season.

"Since the Seattle Seahawks steamrolled the Denver Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII," Jaworski wrote, "I've gone over every throw from every quarterback in the NFL to properly evaluate the best 32 on my QB Big Board."

Jaworski, it should be noted, did not include rookies in his rankings since they had not yet won a starting job.

So where did the Oakland Raiders' new quarterback, Matt Schaub -- a two-time Pro Bowler who has been called a top 10 quarterback by Raiders coach Dennis Allen -- land on Jaworski's list?

Schaub, who endured a nightmarish 2013 season in losing his job with the Houston Texans, was ranked 22nd.

"I can't remember a quarterback of Schaub's caliber having the kind of meltdown he did last season in Houston," Jaworski wrote. "It was painful to watch. His mind wasn't clear, his decision-making was poor, and he made throws he simply shouldn't make at this point in his career. He's been a great first-down passer during his career, particularly on play-action, but last year he was terrible at both. We'll see if he can regain his confidence in Oakland."
Examining the Oakland Raiders' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (3)

Matt Schaub

Derek Carr

Matt McGloin

Yes, Schaub was acquired to be the franchise quarterback, no ifs, ands or buts about about it. And still ... if Carr, who was elevated to second string in organized team activities, challenges Schaub, let alone replaces him, that is bad news for coach Dennis Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie, who would have missed on yet another quarterback decision. The irony would be in Carr shining and thus potentially saving Allen and McKenzie. Stay tuned.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

Darren McFadden

Maurice Jones-Drew

Latavius Murray

George Atkinson III

McFadden and Jones-Drew have no doubt seen better days, but the plan is to keep each healthy by spelling the other. Yet the two need reps to get going. Murray is enticing after missing his rookie season with injury, and Atkinson is a legacy in silver-and-blackdom who would make his bones returning kickoffs. CFL Grey Cup MVP Kory Sheets might be the odd man out.

FULLBACKS (2)

Marcel Reece

Jamize Olawale

Reece’s versatility has paid off with a pair of Pro Bowl appearances even if, critics point out, he is underused in the offense and not a great blocker. Good things usually happen, though, when the ball is in his hands. Olawale is surprisingly fast for a fullback.

RECEIVERS (6)

James Jones

Denarius Moore

Rod Streater

Andre Holmes

Brice Butler

Juron Criner

No, the Raiders do not have that prototypical No. 1 receiver (Jones would seem to be the best fit), nor do they have a slot man (Moore?). What they have is a group of young, hungry pass-catchers with similar skill sets. Streater looks ready to take that next step and Criner showed flashes of his old motivated rookie-camp self in offseason workouts.

TIGHT ENDS (2)

Mychal Rivera

David Ausberry

To quote Jimi Hendrix: "Are you experienced?" To answer for this group: No. Much is expected of Ausberry, who missed last season with a shoulder injury, and Rivera surprised as a rookie. It would not be shocking to see the Raiders add a vet here at the end of camp.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

Donald Penn

Gabe Jackson

Stefen Wisniewski

Austin Howard

Menelik Watson

Khalif Barnes

Tony Bergstrom

Matt McCants

Kevin Boothe

A rebuilt offensive line -- Wisniewski at center would be the lone returning starter -- promises to be a physical unit, even with a rookie at left guard (Jackson) and a second-year player at right tackle (Watson). In fact, a line of Penn, Jackson, Wisniewski, Howard and Watson would average 6-foot-4, 326 pounds.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)

Justin Tuck

Antonio Smith

Pat Sims

LaMarr Woodley

Stacy McGee

Jack Crawford

C.J. Wilson

Justin Ellis

Tuck and Woodley bring experience and Super Bowl rings, even as Woodley is making the conversion from 3-4 outside linebacker to 4-3 defensive end, which he last played in college. Smith did not practice at all in the offseason while recovering from a procedure following a weight room mishap and Ellis, the Raiders' first fourth-round draft pick, is the most intriguing interior prospect.

LINEBACKERS (6)

Sio Moore

Nick Roach

Khalil Mack

Kaluka Maiava

Miles Burris

Kaelin Burnett

The arrival of Mack as the No. 5 overall pick moved Moore from strongside linebacker to the weak side, and has purportedly made injured and expensive veteran Kevin Burnett expendable. Burris was seeing first-team reps at Will linebacker in the final OTA session and Maiava is hoping to bounce back from an injury-plagued season. Kaelin Burnett's play on special teams might save his roster spot.

CORNERBACKS (5)

Tarell Brown

D.J. Hayden

Carlos Rogers

Keith McGill

Taiwan Jones

That’s a big question mark, rather than a dark cloud, over the head of Hayden, who missed the last two OTA sessions and minicamp with an ankle injury and thus, fell behind in his development. Again. The Raiders do have big plans for last year’s top draft pick. Rogers figures to be the slot cornerback while McGill, a fourth-rounder, is a big-bodied corner and Jones’ standing as a gunner on special teams belies his improvement at corner.

SAFETIES (5)

Tyvon Branch

Charles Woodson

Jonathan Dowling

Brandian Ross

T.J. Carrie

Woodson played just one full game with Branch, who was lost for the season with a broken leg in Week 2, so it will be interesting to see how they co-exist. Dowling and Carrie were revelations in minicamp, with Carrie primed to make his mark as the punt returner. Ross, thrust into action because of Branch’s injury last season, will be pushed by Usama Young.

SPECIALISTS (3)

Sebastian Janikowski

Marquette King

Jon Condo

Surely Janikowski’s issues with King as his first-year holder last season are a thing of the past, right?

Camp preview: Oakland Raiders

July, 17, 2014
Jul 17
10:00
AM ET
» NFC Preview: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

NFL Nation's Paul Gutierrez examines the three biggest issues facing the Oakland Raiders heading into training camp.

Matt Schaub: Dennis Allen told anyone who would listen this offseason that Schaub, a two-time Pro Bowler who once passed for 4,770 yards but is coming off a nightmarish final season in Houston, is a top-10 quarterback. And even if a project by ESPN.com found that NFL insiders ranked Schaub 25th in the 32-team NFL, that will not dissuade Allen. Far from it. Schaub is his guy. Still, the question of Schaub's confidence after he threw 14 interceptions (with four pick-sixes in four straight games) and lost his job with the Texans will continue to hound Schaub and the Raiders until he proves it is not an issue. To his credit, Schaub, who looked impressive in the offseason non-padded practices open to the media, insists it's in the past. Besides, a change of scenery might do wonders for him. It's not like the Raiders are putting everything on the 10-year veteran; a running attack spearheaded by Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew should get the play-action passing game going … unless Schaub is shot. Which brings us to the intriguing figure that is Derek Carr, Oakland's second-round draft pick who was elevated to second string in minicamp. But Allen appears ready to ride or die with Schaub, for better or worse.

Khalil Mack: You could say that Mack, whom many saw as the most versatile defensive player in the draft, simply fell into the Raiders' lap at No. 5 overall. And that would be just fine with Oakland. Because in remaking the defense, Allen has compared Mack to Denver Broncos All-Pro linebacker Von Miller, whom Allen coached as a rookie. If Mack, who has stepped in at strongside linebacker, shows a smidgen of Miller's pass rushing acumen -- 35 sacks in 40 career games -- the Raiders have a cornerstone. Mack's blend of size, speed and athleticism were evident in the offseason workouts as he appeared to be a physical marvel with quick feet and balance. Alas, the game will change in camp when the pads come on. No, he's not nervous; Mack is looking forward to knocking heads with the pros. Or did you miss his declaration that he is most looking forward to sacking the Broncos' Peyton Manning? Mack has impressed the staff and teammates alike by constantly being in veterans' ears, picking the brain of players such as Justin Tuck. Mack is a sponge. Yes, similar praise was heaped upon Rolando McClain when the middle linebacker was drafted in 2010. This just feels different.

D.J. Hayden: The Raiders were impressed enough with Hayden to make him their top pick last year, even though he was still recovering from the practice injury to his heart at the University of Houston that nearly killed him. After an up-and-down rookie season that ended with a trip to injured reserve, Hayden again hit a speed bump. This time, he missed the second and third organized team activities (OTAs) sessions as well as minicamp due to a sprained ankle. Allen has said that the only player he expects to be a question mark health-wise entering camp is offensive lineman Lucas Nix. But with so many hopes tied into Hayden -- he was penciled in to start at right cornerback -- his injury history has to have Oakland worried. Even if he is a full go at the start of camp, he missed valuable reps in the offseason. Sure, Hayden got mental reps, but they are not nearly as important or effective, especially for a player who many in the organization see as a bonus draft pick since he appeared in only eight games (two starts) last season.
Marcus AllenAP Photo
Score: Raiders 38, Washington 9
Date: Jan. 22, 1984
Site: Tampa Stadium

We have a winner. The voters picked 17 Bob Trey O as the most memorable play in Oakland Raiders' franchise history, and I concur with the selection. Indeed, 17 Bob Trey O, or when Marcus Allen ran with the night in Super Bowl XVIII, is the play I consider most memorable in the long and winding history of the Raiders.

Sure, the Sea of Hands and the Holy Roller may have better monikers, but Allen reversing field on a busted play and breaking off a then-Super Bowl record 74-yard touchdown run on a play called 17 Bob Trey O tops the list.

SportsNation

Which is the most memorable play in Raiders' history?

  •  
    57%
  •  
    9%
  •  
    34%

Discuss (Total votes: 29,480)

For one, it happened on the game’s biggest stage.

For another, it put a dagger into the defending champs and basically clinched the Raiders’ third Lombardi trophy as it gave them a 35-9 lead on the final play of the third quarter.

Plus, it was the signature play of Allen’s MVP performance, in which he ran for a then-Super Bowl record 191 yards, on 20 carries, with two touchdowns, plus two receptions for 18 yards.

Lastly, it got Allen a plug by the leader of the free world after the game, a seeming U.S. weapon in the Cold War.

“I have already had a call from Moscow,” President Ronald Reagan told Raiders coach Tom Flores in the congratulatory phone call to the locker room. “They think Marcus Allen is a new secret weapon and they insist we dismantle him.”

From his perspective, Allen said the run was like time travel, since everyone else seemed to slow down.

“You’re in such a zone and at the height of instinct,” Allen told ESPN Radio affiliate 95.7 The Game in a Super Bowl week interview this year. “You just really get out of your own way. Don’t question it and just get out of your own way and just go. And that’s what I did. It was just one of those games -- I had several of them -- but, obviously, to have it at that particular time was the greatest thing in the world.”

Allen took the handoff from Jim Plunkett and went too wide to the left of pulling right guard Mickey Marvin, and was met by safety Ken Coffey. Allen had to immediately spin to his left, reverse field, and accelerate through a hole on the right side of the line. Then he raced to the left pylon.

“To make a run like that, in a game like that, at a time like that, it was just, it was pure magic,” Allen told the NFL Network. “It was beautiful.”

Which is why it's also the most memorable play in Raiders history.
The biggest key to the Oakland Raiders' success over the next three years is the same thing that has evaded the team over the previous decade -- continuity.

Consider: Since 2003, the year after the Raiders last enjoyed a winning season, Oakland has employed seven coaches -- Bill Callahan, Norv Turner, Art Shell, Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable, Hue Jackson, Dennis Allen -- and gone an NFL-worst 53-123 (.301) in those 11 seasons. The Detroit Lions are 55-121 over the same time frame, while the Cleveland Browns are 56-120 and can match the Raiders' record for futility by losing at least 11 games for a seventh straight season in 2014.

Of those seven coaches, only Cable lasted more than two seasons and Allen, coming off consecutive 4-12 campaigns, is headed to Year 3. Of course, a million times of course, talent on the roster has more than a little something to do with it, as well as a vision that can be followed though to fruition.

But the NFL still stands for Not For Long in coaching circles when teams underperform. That's why this is such a critical season for not only Allen, but the Raiders in general going forward, especially in these next three years.

Continuity throughout the franchise is key. Oakland had 10 new starters last season and seven of them are in contract years in 2013.

"That's not how you build a football team," Allen said in his end-of-season media conference last January. "Those are hard situations to overcome. But I thought our players and coaches did well under those circumstances. That's a situation that we want to make sure that we avoid.

"I think having continuity … having commitment, both on our side and from a players perspective, is important."

And there is is. Continuity and progress in the form of victories.
Marcus AllenAP Photo
» VOTE HERE » NFC Plays: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

 This is one of three nominations for the most memorable play in Raiders' history. In the previous two days we featured the Sea of Hands, when Clarence Davis somehow came down with Ken Stabler’s flip in the end zone to upend the defending two-time Super Bowl champion Miami Dolphins in the AFC divisional playoffs in 1974; and the Holy Roller, which gave the Raiders a "zany" victory in San Diego on the final play of regulation when Ken Stabler purposely fumbled forward while being sacked and, after Pete Banszak batted the ball even further forward, Dave Casper recovered in the end zone for a touchdown in 1978. Please vote for your choice as the Raiders’ most memorable play.

Score: Raiders 38, Washington 9
Date: Jan. 22, 1984. Site: Tampa Stadium

The Raiders, then calling Los Angeles home, were already trouncing defending champion Washington 28-9 in Super Bowl XVIII when their offense lined up for the final play of the third quarter.

What happened next has gone down in NFL lore as “Marcus Allen, running with the night,” courtesy of legendary NFL Films voice John Facenda.

SportsNation

Which is the most memorable play in Raiders' history?

  •  
    57%
  •  
    9%
  •  
    34%

Discuss (Total votes: 29,480)

Because it was a busted play, one in which Allen had to improvise, it is seen in many corners as the greatest run in Super Bowl history, a reverse-field 74-yard scamper that put the dagger in Washington.

“Yeah, I called it, but Marcus made it work,” Raiders quarterback Jim Plunkett told me with a laugh as he recounted the play.

“It was one of our steady plays: When in doubt, call ‘Bob Trey O.’ It was always solidly blocked where you shouldn’t lose any yards on it. But their safety messed it up.”

The play was supposed to be a simple power run to the left, right guard Mickey Marvin pulling to clear space for Allen. But Allen went too far wide of Marvin and safety Ken Coffey blew it up by closing in. Allen stopped on a dime, spun to his left and reversed field. A hole had opened on the right side of the line and Allen sped through it, after Coffey lunged for the ball and Allen’s waist in the backfield.

Accelerating through the gap, Allen ran past defensive end Todd Liebenstein and linebacker Rich Milot. “After I made that turn, everything slowed down,” Allen told ESPN radio affiliate 95.7 The Game during Super Bowl Week this past winter. “I remember Neal Olkewicz just grasping [at midfield]. I could almost see the anxiety on their faces and the tension as I was running by. And then, about 20 yards from the goal line, everything came back to normal speed.”

The lone Washington player with a shot at Allen past the 50-yard line was cornerback Anthony Washington, but he was cut off by Raiders receiver Cliff Branch. Allen, who was supposedly too slow to be a game-breaking running back coming out of USC as the 1981 Heisman Trophy winner, had nothing but open field to the left pylon. After the score, which was then the longest run in Super Bowl history, Allen was joined in celebration in the end zone by nearly the entire Raiders team.

“You can’t teach that kind of running,” John Madden, the former Raiders coach-turned-broadcaster, said while describing the replay. “You don’t teach that. You don’t practice that. You don’t see that on film. That happened.”

Ken StablerAP Photo
» VOTE HERE » NFC Plays: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

This is one of three nominations for the most memorable play in Raiders history. Yesterday, we featured the Holy Roller, which gave the Raiders a “zany” victory in San Diego on the final play of regulation when Ken Stabler purposely fumbled forward while being sacked and, after Pete Banaszak batted the ball even further forward, Dave Casper recovered it in the end zone for a game-winning touchdown in 1978. Tomorrow, we’ll look at 17 Bob Trey O, Marcus Allen authoring the greatest run in Super Bowl history when he reversed field and went 74 yards to put the dagger in defending champion Washington in 1984. Please vote for your choice as the Raiders’ most memorable play.

Score: Raiders 28, Dolphins 26
Date: Dec. 21, 1974 Site: Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

The Raiders finished the 1974 season with the best record in the NFL at 12-2. The visiting Miami Dolphins were the two-time defending Super Bowl champions who had also won the last three AFC titles.

In expected fashion, this divisional playoff game was a back-and-forth affair that featured six lead changes. So it was with 35 seconds to play, and the Raiders facing a first-and-goal situation from the Dolphins’ 8-yard line and trailing by five when Oakland made history.

SportsNation

Which is the most memorable play in Raiders' history?

  •  
    57%
  •  
    9%
  •  
    34%

Discuss (Total votes: 29,480)

Stabler took the snap and backpedaled about 10 yards to his right. Miami’s rush closed in so Stabler stepped up in the pocket to his left and seemed primed to make a run for the goal line. But that’s when Miami defensive end Vern Den Herder gained on Stabler and dived at his legs from behind.

A falling Stabler lofted a wobbly pass into the left-center of the end zone, into an aptly-named Sea of Hands, between three Dolphins in linebackers Mike Kolen and Larry Ball and defensive back Charlie Babb. “That ball looked like it was going end-over-end,” Dolphins linebacker Nick Buoniconti told NFL Films. “There was no way in hell that anybody was going to catch that thing.”

Kolen, though, thought otherwise. “I thought I had a clear interception,” he said. “I mean, it was just wide open.”

Yet in the middle of that white jersey-clad Sea of Hands was a silver and black uniform, worn by Raiders running back Clarence Davis. After Kolen got his right hand on the ball first, Davis wrestled it away. “He was coming toward the ball and had the leverage and, obviously, a better grip than I had,” Kolen said.

Davis yanked the ball toward his chest, took a facemask-first hit from Babb and rolled to the grass for the touchdown at the feet of teammate Cliff Branch, taking a shot from defensive lineman Manny Fernandez for good measure. “I mean, this guy couldn’t catch a cold,” Fernandez said. “It was probably the only pass he caught in his career. It was a lousy pass, a lucky reception [and] I’ve never forgotten it.”

Neither would the foolhardy Raiders fan who ran on the field to celebrate the play by giving Buoniconti a shot in the stomach before getting absolutely pummeled by Fernandez & Co.

Davis’ catch and George Blanda’s extra point gave the Raiders the 28-26 lead. “Clarence has a huge heart,” Stabler said. “Great runner, tough kid, wonderful person. Worst hands on the team.

“Clarence made the play because he wanted the ball more than anybody else, and it was a throw that probably should have been intercepted.”
Pete BanaszakRuss Reed/Sporting News/Getty Images
» VOTE HERE » NFC Plays: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

This is one of three nominations for the most memorable play in the Oakland Raiders' history. In the next two days we'll feature the Sea of Hands play in the 1974 AFC divisional playoffs that upended the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Miami Dolphins; and 17 Bob Trey O, Marcus Allen authoring the greatest run in Super Bowl history when he reversed field and went 74 yards to put the dagger in defending champion Washington in 1984. Please vote for your choice as the Raiders' most memorable play.

Score: Raiders 21, Chargers 20
Date: Sept. 10, 1978 Site: San Diego Stadium

The Raiders were trailing the Chargers by six and sitting at San Diego's 14-yard line with 10 seconds remaining in Week 2 of the 1978 season. Oakland had already lost its season opener and an 0-2 start would have been its first such opening since 1964. That's exactly what it looked like, though, as left-handed quarterback Ken Stabler took the snap, dropped back and drifted to his right, where he was wrapped up by Chargers linebacker Woodrow Lowe at the 25-yard line.

SportsNation

Which is the most memorable play in Raiders' history?

  •  
    57%
  •  
    9%
  •  
    34%

Discuss (Total votes: 29,480)

But before Lowe could take Stabler down, the ball popped out and rolled forward, reaching Raiders running back Pete Banaszak at the line of scrimmage. "I hollered, ‘Snake, Snake,' so he kind of flipped it," Banaszak told NFL Films. "But I couldn't get to it, but it was rolling end over end in front of me. ... I thought it was a smart thing to do, just get my hands on the ball and just push it forward because if I would have jumped on it, [Fred Dean] would have jumped on me and it would have been all over."

The bouncing ball reached the 5-yard line at the same time as tight end Dave Casper, who bent over and kicked it with his left foot before kneeing it with his right leg. "I just run out there and try to pick it up and, of course, I flub that and I'm scrambling on the ground, watching it beneath me," Casper said. "And I saw a white stripe go by and I actually just kind of fell on top of it."

The white stripe was the goal line and the fumble recovery was ruled a game-tying touchdown, so with no time remaining, Errol Mann's converted point-after attempt gave the Raiders the unlikeliest of victories.

Or, as Raiders radio man Bill King called it that day, "The Oakland Raiders have scored on the most zany, unbelievable, absolutely impossible dream of a play... (John) Madden is on the field. He wants to know if it's real. They said, ‘Yes, get your big butt out of here.' He does. There's nothing real in the world anymore. This one will be relived, forever."

San Diego was anything but happy.

"In typical Raider fashion," said Chargers linebacker Jim Laslavic, "if you can't beat somebody the right way, you cheat."

The NFL changed the rule the following offseason, adding a provision that only the player who fumbled the ball could advance it after the two-minute warning. Stabler, meanwhile, came clean, so to speak, after that game. "I fumbled it on purpose," he said. "Yes, I was trying to fumble."
How does the 10-year lease agreement between Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics and the Oakland Coliseum Authority to have the A’s keep playing for the next decade in O.co Coliseum affect the Oakland Raiders?

The knee-jerk reaction of the deal being approved by a 6-2 vote, under threat of MLB commissioner Bud Selig giving the A’s permission to move if the deal was not approved, is that 81 baseball home games is preferable to 10 NFL home games (two in the preseason, eight in the regular season). But the Raiders might now want to take their ball and go home ... wherever that might be -- Dublin, Concord, Los Angeles, Portland, San Antonio, Parts Unknown.

[+] EnlargeO.co Coliseum
Ezra Shaw/Getty ImagesRaiders owner Mark Davis called the 10-year lease agreement between MLB's Oakland Athletics and the Oakland Coliseum Authority "a tough situation."
Especially because two weeks before Thursday’s vote, Raiders owner Mark Davis said the Coliseum needed to be knocked down. Davis’ vision, of course, is Coliseum City. That would mean demolishing the Coliseum, which opened in 1968, and building new homes for both the Raiders, in the current south parking lot, and A’s, in the north parking lot.

It was after the Raiders’ final minicamp practice a few weeks ago that Davis told four reporters he did not consider the A’s a rival for the Coliseum site, although he did want A’s owner Lew Wolff to make his long-term intentions known.

The A’s 10-year lease, despite Wolff’s long-standing desire to move the team to San Jose, would seem to answer Davis. Still, there are reportedly many outs for the A’s, which would make a decade-long commitment a mere stopgap. Again.

Per MLB.com, “The deal permits the team to leave the Coliseum so long as it gives two years’ notice and continues paying the lease for the remainder of the two-year term. The A’s do not have to make these payments, however, if they move to another stadium within Oakland.”

Plus, in the news release from the A’s, the team announced, “The contract takes into account the possibility of progress towards building a new football facility for the Oakland Raiders. If private money becomes available for such a venue, the A’s and the Coliseum Authority recognize that a variety of next steps would be considered to ensure maximum flexibility for both the A’s and Raiders.”

Davis, meanwhile, has said the Raiders have $400 million to put toward a new stadium of their own. And, again, Davis wants new digs, not a refurbished and shared Coliseum.

“In order to do a really comprehensive building development there, you have to tear the Coliseum down to start with,” Davis told the San Jose Mercury-News after that last minicamp practice. “You can’t be putting the stadium in a corner here, because of infrastructure and all that. And I keep bringing that word up, but it’s a key word in this process.

“So the stadium’s got to come down. So [the A’s staying in the Coliseum] does make a problem, there’s no two ways about it.”

While the A’s have been dealing with the Coliseum Authority, the Raiders have been working with Colony Capital to get Coliseum City up and running. And the way Davis saw it, with the A’s lease up in 2015, before Thursday’s agreement, the Coliseum could have been torn down immediately thereafter.

“And that would get us into a stadium by 2019, I believe,” Davis said. “On that site.

“So it’s a tough situation. I’ve said that if the A’s were going to buy in and the A’s say, 'Yeah, we want to build on this site as well,' I’m all for it. Let’s build two stadiums and let’s do it.

“Selfishly I would like to be the only one there, but for the good of everybody, I’m all for it. Let’s do it. But make a commitment to it if you want. But it doesn’t look like it’s going to fit. Lew’s vision and Colony Capital’s vision don’t seem to mesh. So that’s where the problem is.”

Davis did not reply to messages Thursday now that the deal is all but official.

The A’s agreement still must be approved by the Oakland City Council and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.
All offseason long Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen has contended that new acquisition Matt Schaub, coming off a career-worst season with the Houston Texans, is a top 10 quarterback in the NFL.

The rest of the league, however, apparently does not appear to share Allen’s enthusiasm.

According to an ESPN Insider story by Mike Sando, Insider Schaub ranks as the NFL’s 25th best starting quarterback, 15 spots out of the top 10. To be fair, Allen probably does not care what anyone outside of the walls at 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway think. Nor should he.

But the formula for Sando’s story went like this: He had 26 league insiders -- eight general managers, two former GMs, four pro personnel evaluators, seven coordinators, two head coaches, two position coaches and a top executive -- grade every projected starting quarterback on a scale of 1 through 5, with 1 being the best and 5 the worst.

Sando then added up all the scores, compiled an average rating for each quarterback and ranked them from 1-32, dividing the QBs into four tiers. At No. 25, with an average rating of 3.58, Schaub was at the head of Tier 4.

Wrote Sando: “Questions persist about whether Schaub can right his career after a brutal 2013 season,” Sando wrote. “He is seen as a system QB. Ten of the voters put him in the third tier, but 15 had him lower than that.”

A defensive coordinator intimated to Sando that many will be in a wait-and-see mode with Schaub, a two-time Pro Bowler.

“That will be interesting confidence-wise coming off last year,” said the defensive coordinator. “[Schaub] is accurate, but I put him in that three category because the passes were underneath, boot type and then, here and there, they took shots.”
Join us at 1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT today for ESPN’s NFL Nation TV’s Spreecast episode No. 12. Host Paul Gutierrez (Oakland Raiders reporter), co-host Coley Harvey (Cincinnati Bengals reporter) and guests Eric Williams (San Diego Chargers reporter) and Mike Triplett (New Orleans Saints reporter) discuss a range of topics from the pending decision on Jimmy Graham's franchise tag grievance to Johnny Manziel's latest escapades to Randy Moss getting the coaching bug, among other issues. Viewers are encouraged to log in and ask the panelists questions and contribute in the chat feature in the box atop the video player.

.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Insider

AFC WEST SCOREBOARD