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Pete Carroll Has High Praise for Oakland Raiders Khalil Mack and Derek Carr

October 30th, 2014 at 10:13 AM
By Nicholas Gill

It was in the Oakland Raiders fourth preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks where rookie quarterback Derek Carr took to the keys to the franchise. Carr put together an outstanding performance and left little doubt that he was best quarterback on the roster and a potential franchise player. Fast forward to this week and the same two teams, Seattle and Oakland, will meet again.

The Raiders season has been a major disappointment as they enter the game winless. The Seahawks have really been tested as the defending Super Bowl champions and come into the game at 4-3. One of the few silver linings of the Raiders season has been the play of Carr. He has been able to show the tools to be a very good quarterback. Whether it is his arm strength, attitude, or leadership, Carr's ability has shined, which is not lost on Seattle head coach Pete Carroll.

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Oakland Raiders Re-Sign S Larry Asante, Place LB Bojay Filimoeatu on Practice Squad

October 29th, 2014 at 4:29 PM
By Nicholas Gill

The Oakland Raiders made a few roster moves in preparation for their matchup with the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. The team announced they have re-signed safety Larry Asante and added linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu to the practice squad. Asante will re-join the Raiders after spending time with the team during training camp. He was released by Oakland just before the season began.

Asante has played parts of four seasons in the NFL after being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft out of Nebraska. He bounced around to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts before re-joining the Raiders. His most recent on field action was with the Colts in 2013 when he played in five games mostly on special teams. He has appeared in 17 total games in his NFL career.

Oakland is in desperate need of healthy bodies at the safety position. The Raiders have already lost both Tyvon Branch and Usama Young for the season. That has left the team with only Charles Woodson, Jonathan Dowling, and Brandian Ross on the active roster. The 6-0, 210 pound Asante will join the Raiders active roster as a solution to their depth issues and possibly as a special teams contributor.

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Oakland Raiders Khalil Mack “Constantly” Thinking About Getting First Sack

October 28th, 2014 at 5:02 PM
By Nicholas Gill
As an NFL rookie, there are a number of things that run through the mind of Oakland Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack. The two most prominent things are getting his first career sack and getting better each and every week, according to Khalil Mack.
“It’s something that’s constantly on my mind,” Mack said of getting a sack. “All my teammates talk about it. It’ll come soon enough, but even then I’m working hard to get there.”
The only knock on Khail Mack's play this season is that he is without a sack. The 2014 first-round pick has done everything else the Raiders have asked of him. Mack is building a resume to be the NFL defensive rookie of the year. He is also gaining the respect of opponents. Cleveland Browns' quarterback Brian Hoyer had high praise for Mack after the game on Sunday.
"[Khalil Mack] gained the respect of everybody on our team," Hoyer said following the game. "That guy is one of the best players we've gone against this year, and that's a unanimous decision in the locker room."
Although the pass rush is a big part of the reason Oakland drafted Mack, his effort in the run game is outstanding. Mack is thriving as a run defender with 43 tackles and a team-leading 10 tackles for loss. His Pro Football Focus grade is off the charts good. He constantly dominated off the line of scrimmage in the run game against the Browns.
“Khalil Mack was outstanding,” Interim head coach Tony Sparano said. “I mean like really, really good. Again, he’s going to be measured in whether or not he sacks the quarterback, but I would just say that it’s been a long time since I’ve seen somebody do that in the run game. What he did yesterday in the run game to an opponent, this guy Khalil has just really dominated.”

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Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr not Getting Discouraged Despite Mounting Losses

October 27th, 2014 at 12:55 PM
By Nicholas Gill

It is easy to be discouraged with the Oakland Raiders this year. The team is 0-7 and using a familiar mistake-ridden formula to lose games. Amidst all the negativity, rookie quarterback Derek Carr remains upbeat. He is not letting the losses beat him down. Rather, Carr is focused on getting better.

“Not at all because I’m too strong of a person,” Carr said in reference to being 0-7. “I give everything that I have. If we were 7-0 right now, I’d be the same guy I am right now. That’s not going to be a problem for me. As long as I’m picking up the pressures, handling my protections, going to the right place with the football, we’re getting better. Obviously, the wins aren’t there, but to answer that question, I’m not worried at all.”

This season is gone for the Raiders. They have too many deficiencies in talent, coaching, and execution to turn this around. Oakland can begin to look to the future, and that starts with Carr. His development is of paramount importance. He has shown flashes of being the franchise quarterback the Raiders drafted him to be. He has the attitude and mental make-up to be successful.

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Oakland Raiders CB DJ Hayden Active Against Cleveland Browns

October 26th, 2014 at 11:56 AM
By Nicholas Gill

The much anticipated debut of Oakland Raiders cornerback DJ Hayden will take place today against the Cleveland Browns. Hayden was taken off the physically unable to perform list on Saturday and activated to the roster. He missed the first six games of the season with a foot injury, but will see some playing time this week.

“He’s coming along good, no real issues injury wise, I mean with the injury or anything like that,” Interim head coach Tony Sparano said of Hayden Friday. “Most of DJ’s stuff has been from not playing and anything like that. So, just normal, everyday not playing soreness, but he’s good to go.”

Hayden has a well-documented injury history since his heart surgery in college. He missed the final eight games of 2013 with a sports hernia and missed every game so far this season with the foot injury. All of those issues have stunted his development, which makes it all the more important that he gets on the field this week and the rest of the season. Oakland spent a first-round pick on Hayden in 2013, so they are anxious to see what he can do on a consistent basis.

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