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Oakland Raiders’ Veterans Hear Critics, Thrive on Opportunity to Prove Them Wrong

April 22nd, 2014 at 4:58 PM
By Nick Gill

Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie used free agency to build the roster this offseason. The new Raiders took to the podium today after the team's first offseason workout and their message was very similar. They hear the critics that believe this team is old and made up of players who don't have anything left. They say this would be a great team if it was 2009. Now, the players are motivated for the opportunity to prove them wrong.

“We’re just kind of the throwaways it seems like,” Maurice Jones-Drew said. “I think what Reggie and his staff has done, I’ve said it multiple times, everybody here has something to prove. We all know we have something left, whether it was a bad year last year or things didn’t work out from another team, whatever it may be. As a whole, we’re fighting for the same thing, which is respect.”

Jones-Drew, who signed with the Raiders this offseason, will look to compete for the starting running back position along with Darren McFadden. He is one of the “washed up” players people are referring too. The 29-year-old played all eight of his NFL seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars before coming to Oakland. He has battled some injuries and a decrease in production the last two seasons. Now, he wants the opportunity to compete and prove he can play.

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Oakland Raiders Begin Offseason Workout Program Today

April 22nd, 2014 at 7:26 AM
By Nick Gill

Today, the Oakland Raiders will get their first chance to come together as a team. With so many new players brought in via free agency, it will be good for Oakland to start building a foundation. The Raiders begin their voluntary offseason workout program today with the strength and conditioning portion and the full offseason schedule will last for nine weeks. 

The NFL offseason workout schedule is broken up into three phases. The first phase, where the Raiders begin today and extends for two weeks, involves weight training, conditioning, and rehab work. Phase two is a three week program where teams can begin on-field drills with position coaches, which is not permitted in phase one. Phase three is 10 sessions of organized team activities, where offense and defense can go against each other in non-contact 7-on-7 or 11-on-11. All of these phases are part of the collective bargaining agreement.

Oakland begins phase one which will consist of time with new strength and conditioning coach John Grieco and his assistants Vernon Stephens and Noah Franklin. No other coaches are permitted.That staff will put the Raiders players through tests to determine where their strength and conditioning is currently and where they need it to be for the next phases and the upcoming season. The only footballs allowed in phase one are for dead ball drills and quarterbacks throwing to receivers with no defenders.

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Oakland Raiders Trade QB Terrelle Pryor to Seattle Seahawks for 7th-Round Pick

April 21st, 2014 at 5:44 PM
By Nick Gill

The Oakland Raiders have completed a trade to send quarterback Terrelle Pryor to the Seattle Seahawks. General manager Reggie McKenzie said at the owner's meeting that Pryor wanted to be traded or released and that wish was granted today. Pryor wanted to be a starting quarterback, which has the reason he wanted out, but that will not be the case in Seattle where he will compete to be Russell Wilson's back-up.

'Oakland Raiders Start Terrelle Pryor: Zennie Abraham Predicted Pryor's 3rd Year Start 3 Years Ago' photo (c) 2013, Zennie Abraham - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Pro Football Talk first reported, per a source, the Pryor trade to Seattle. The Raiders have confirmed the trade and will receive a 2014 seventh-round pick.

Seattle and Oakland are no strangers to trades. Last season, Oakland traded a fifth-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft for quarterback Matt Flynn. The teams also recently made a deal for linebacker Aaron Curry. Neither are on the Raiders roster.

Pryor goes to Seattle after a tough 2013 season with the Raiders. After the preseason, Pryor beat out Matt Flynn for the starting quarterback job. He went on to start the eight games before a knee injury and poor play got him put on the bench. Undrafted rookie Matt McGloin took over and started until the final week of the season, when the Raiders went back to Pryor. In all, he started nine games, completing 57 percent of his passes for 1,798 yards, seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He did his most impressive work with his legs, finishing just behind Cam Newton in quarterback rushing yards last year with 576.

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Oakland Raiders S Brandian Ross Signs Exclusive Rights Tender

April 21st, 2014 at 2:12 PM
By Nick Gill

For the third time in five days, the Oakland Raiders have brought back a player on an exclusive rights tender. The exclusive rights tender forces a player to sign for the veteran minimum without the option to negotiate with other teams. Brandian Ross has less than two seasons of NFL experience, not including practice squad seasons, which made him a candidate for the exclusive rights tag, which he signed today.

'In the red zone' photo (c) 2013, Maxim Pierre - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
 

The 24 year-old Ross joins linebacker Kaelin Burnett and tackle Matt McCants as players who signed the exclusive rights deals with Oakland. All three spent last season with the Raiders. Ross started 13 games in 2013, in place of injured strong safety Tyvon Branch. He amassed 75 tackles, two sacks, and forced a fumble. Ross added three pass defenses and recorded a tackle in each game last year. He appeared in 14 games for the Raiders in 2012, with one start.

With general manager Reggie McKenzie's ties to the Green Bay Packer before Oakland, Ross was one of the first players he brought from his former team. Ross signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2011 and spent the season on their practice squad. He was waived after training camp the following season and Oakland brought him over in mid-September of 2012, placing him on the 53-man roster. 

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Oakland Raiders T Matt McCants Signs Exclusive Rights Tender

April 18th, 2014 at 10:23 AM
By Nick Gill

For the second straight day, the Oakland Raiders have retained a player on an exclusive rights tender. Yesterday, it has linebacker Kaelin Burnett and today, it is tackle Matt McCants. The exclusive rights tender allows the Raiders to keep players with two or fewer years in the NFL at a veteran minimum salary without them being able to negotiate with other teams. McCants signed his tender to remain in Oakland for 2014.

'JPP' photo (c) 2013, Maxim Pierre - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
 

The 24 year-old McCants proved to be a valuable depth option and spot starter along the offensive line in 2013. With the team dealing with a bevy of injuries to offensive linemen last season, McCants took his opportunity and proved his worth. He appeared in 13 games for Oakland, making three starts at right tackle. 

McCants was a sixth-round pick by the New York Giants in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Alabama-Birmingham. He made it to their final cuts, but was released and placed on the practice squad. He spent a season on the Giants practice squad, before the Raiders signed him to their practice squad last season. The 6'5", 310 pound tackle, was activated to Oakland's roster when Jared Veldheer went on injured reserve with torn triceps. 

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