Charles Woodson on Raiders: ‘We suck’

Charles-Woodson-RaidersCharles Woodson may end up wishing he had just retired over the winter before the 2014 season is over. The Oakland Raiders are 0-2 heading into a road game against the New England Patriots. They were demolished at home by the Houston Texans on Sunday in a game that was never close. Woodson was disgusted.

When speaking to reporters after the game, Woodson offered a very brief assessment of his team.

“We suck,” the 37-year-old veteran said, via Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle. “That’s as blunt as I can put it.”

While Week 2 typically isn’t the time to panic or throw in the towel, the Raiders have looked like one of the worst teams in the NFL. They allowed 188 yards rushing against Houston. Rookie quarterback Derek Carr threw two interceptions and padded his stats in garbage time when the game was out of hand. The Texans were up 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Oakland has long had a reputation for being a place where careers are laid to rest, and this season could wind up being a continuation of the trend. Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley have yet to show that they can help the Raiders’ struggling defense.

Head coach Dennis Allen is now 8-26 in his third season with the Raiders. It would be fairly surprising if he survived the year. Woodson might be the only one saying publicly that the team sucks, but he can’t be the only one on the team that feels that way. Things are a lot different in Oakland now than they were the first time he was there.

Oakland Raiders voted least desirable team to play for

Darren McFadden RaidersAt one time, the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders were among the more successful NFL franchises. The silver & black was feared. “Just Win, Baby” meant something.

That seems so long ago.

The Raiders won three Super Bowls from 1976 to 1983. However, their last playoff appearance came in 2002. Since then the team has become known for draft picks that haven’t worked out (like Darrius Heyward-Bey and JaMarcus Russell) and a revolving door of head coaches.

The Raiders name has apparently lost some of its luster among players, if a poll conducted by ESPN is to be believed. The network asked current players to insert a team name into the following sentence:

“The only way I’d play for [team name] is if they doubled my salary.”

23% of those who responded chose the Raiders. The Buffalo Bills (19%), Cleveland Browns (16%), Jacksonville Jaguars (9%) and Green Bay Packers (6%) followed. I guess playing on the frozen tundra in Green Bay can be considered a turnoff to some.

Veteran fullback Marcel Reece strongly defended the franchise upon finding out the results.

“I would play for this team if they paid me half of what they pay me, and I have taken pay cuts to stay. I guarantee you, if half those guys would have the opportunity to come play for this franchise, they’d be on board. They’d get it,” Reece said via ESPN.

Fans also haven’t been choosing the Raiders as a team for positive reasons lately.

Fans involved in training camp fight between Cowboys and Raiders (Video)

After last week’s preseason game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, the two teams participated in joint practices over the next couple of days at Ravens’ facilities. New Raven Steve Smith joked he won the office pool because he didn’t engage in any fights during the three days the two teams practiced together. In fact, there were none at all.

The same can’t be said across the country, where the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys practiced against each other.

Tempers flared during one of the sessions and a skirmish broke out that wasn’t limited to just players. At the end of the video, shared by NBC 5’s Pat Doney, a few fans can be seen getting involved as action spilled over towards the fence.

Not surprisingly, additional security was placed near the scene of the fight.

The Cowboys and Raiders will practice together again on Wednesday.

Reggie McKenzie: Jared Veldheer didn’t want to play for Raiders

Jared Veldheer muscles

The Oakland Raiders have been criticized for losing Jared Veldheer as much as they’ve been criticized for their botched Rodger Saffold contract. But team GM Reggie McKenzie told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Vic Tafur that Veldheer signing with the Arizona Cardinals in free agency wasn’t an issue of the Raiders not trying to retain him.

“Losing Veldheer was a blow to me,” McKenzie told Tafur. “He didn’t want to come back. It wasn’t about finances.”

Veldheer (pictured at far left), who was a third-round pick of the Raiders in 2010, signed a five-year, $35 million deal with the Cardinals, who went 10-6 last season.

“The kid didn’t want to play for the Raiders anymore, and I struggled with that.”

McKenzie also said that defensive lineman Lamarr Houston chose to sign with the Chicago Bears instead of staying in Oakland because he believed they were a better team.

When McKenzie said he “struggled with that,” he could have been talking about the franchise tag. The Raiders had the ability to retain Veldheer by franchise tagging him, but McKenzie may have decided it wasn’t worth it either for financial reasons, or because keeping someone who does not want to be on your team is unhealthy for the locker room.

Whatever the case, this is another embarrassing sign for the Raiders and their fans and another reason why they need to turn it around.

H/T Around the League

Matt Schaub traded to Oakland Raiders

Matt SchaubIt looks like those reports about the Oakland Raiders having more interest in Matt Schaub than any other team have turned out to be true. On Thursday, the Houston Texans traded Schaub to the Raiders for a late-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

There was speculation earlier this month that the Cleveland Browns and Raiders would be interested in signing Schaub if the Texans released him and his $10 million base salary for 2014, but Oakland apparently wanted the veteran quarterback badly enough that it was willing to give up a draft pick.

Schaub became expendable when the Texans bolstered their quarterback depth by signing Ryan Fitzpatrick on Thursday night. As ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted, the trade between Oakland and Houston could impact the top five selections in the draft. The Raiders pick fifth overall and may now decide to go with Schaub as their quarterback and address another position.

The Texans are even more likely to select a quarterback now with the first overall pick, though there is little consensus over who that player will be. Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles are the most likely choices.

Raiders prefer Derek Carr over Johnny Manziel?

Derek Carr wrestling belt

The NFL draft is not for another two months, but the speculation about who each team will select has been ramping up. One of the big questions is which quarterback the Houston Texans will take first overall, and which QBs other QB-needy teams will take.

Currently, it sounds like the Oakland Raiders may be favoring former Fresno State QB Derek Carr.

The LA Times’ Sam Farmer published a first-round mock draft Sunday and had three quarterbacks going in the top-five, none of whom were Johnny Manziel. He had Teddy Bridgewater to Jacksonville at No. 3, Blake Bortles to Cleveland at No. 4, and Carr to the Raiders at No. 5.

Seeing Bridgewater and Bortles in the top five was not surprising, but the big surprise was that he did not have Manziel going until eighth, and that he had Carr ahead of Johnny Football.

Farmer says the “word is” that the Raiders liked Carr more than Manziel after the combine.

It’s hard to know if what Farmer heard is factual or just a draft smokescreen, but it’s worth noting.

Contrary to what Farmer predicted with Jadeveon Clowney going first overall, I think the Texans will take a quarterback and that Manziel has a strong chance to be that guy. The Jags may go with a QB too, and so may Cleveland.

I expect Manziel to be gone by the time Oakland picks; either Houston or Cleveland will take him. If the Raiders are high on Carr the way Farmer says, then maybe we should expect that to be their pick. Carr will likely be available for them fifth overall.

H/T Rotoworld

Rich Gannon would not rule out Jon Gruden returning to Raiders

Jon-Gruden-Miami-HurricanesOakland Raiders fans would love to somehow avenge the infamous tuck rule loss with Jon Gruden back on their sidelines. Current head coach Dennis Allen is already on the hot seat, and the Raiders have not had a winning season since 2002 — when they lost to Gruden’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl. Would Gruden ever consider returning to the place where his NFL head coaching career began? Rich Gannon is not ruling it out.

Gannon, a four-time Pro Bowler who played for Gruden for three seasons, told 95.7 The Game in San Francisco on Tuesday that he does not think a Gruden-Raiders reunion is impossible.

“I know that he still has the desire to get back and do it at some point,” Gannon said, via Pro Football Talk. “I don’t know when. I don’t know where. But I know this, that he had two bad experiences as a head coach with some owners that he just had a tough time with. And you know I think it’s pretty clear that he didn’t necessarily see eye to eye with (Al) Davis … and I think he wants to go somewhere where he’s got an owner that’s not gonna, you know, try and pick the roster and try and call the plays, and just a guy that he can just come in and work for and hire a staff and get the thing turned around.”

Gannon added that he believes Gruden “certainly” wants final say over personnel decisions, which would seemingly undermine the authority of any team’s general manager.

Like every other year, Gruden’s name has been mentioned in association with almost every NFL head coaching vacancy. He’s even had his name tossed into the college rumor circle this time around. It would make for a great story if he returned to Oakland, but I think the real takeaway from Gannon’s insight is how certain he is that Gruden will eventually return to coaching. Gruden is already 50, so you’d have to imagine the return is coming sooner rather than later.