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Raiders botch three punts as stand-in long-snapper Travis Goethel struggles

If ever there was an incredibly underrated position on the football field, it has to be long-snapper. Throughout the course of a game, we rarely find ourselves wondering something like, “What if the snap is bad?” Unlike quarterbacks, running backs, receivers and cornerbacks, we take the duties of a long-snapper for granted. If your quarterback goes down with an injury, at least you have a backup. The same is not always true at the long-snapper position.

Raiders long-snapper Jon Condo left Monday night’s loss to the Chargers with an injury, forcing linebacker Travis Goethel to take over his position. Goethel had to fill in for three punt attempts, two of which he literally rolled the ball to punter Shane Lechler and one of which was a good snap but the punt was blocked.

“He’s worked on snapping the ball, and actually he’s done a nice job in practice, but it’s obviously a lot different when you get in a game-like situation,” Oakland coach Dennis Allen said after the game, according to Around the League. “He was put into a tough situation, and it hurt us.”

According to Contra Costa Times writer Steve Corkran, Goethel had not long-snapped in a game since high school prior to Monday night — a seven-year break in the action. Corkran also pointed out that Lechler’s and Allen’s recollection of Oakland practices seems to be a bit different, as Lechler said Goethel gets “zero” reps at long-snapper during a typical practice week.

Between Monday night’s ugly turn of events and the Redskins lineman who played an entire half with a broken arm, perhaps this will be the year where we start to appreciate the importance of the long-snapper.

Raiders back at it with brutal rookie hazing haircuts (Pictures)

If you’re an NFL rookie who thinks you have it bad, just be thankful you don’t play in Oakland. We don’t really know if their rookies actually get the worst haircuts or if they simply do a great job of publicizing it, but any rookie who plays for the Raiders might as well completely shave their own head before training camp begins. Otherwise, there’s no guarantee you won’t end up with a penis haircut.

As you can see from the photos above that Joseph Barksdale shared with us on Twitter, a couple of Raiders rookies got horrible haircuts from the veterans — one of which Busted Coverage is certain is Carson Palmer because of the distinguished chin. As we saw last summer, this isn’t the first time a batch of rookies has been demolished by the buzzer in Oakland. Jack Del Rio banned hazing haircuts in Jacksonville after the veterans decided to hand out these penis-themed haircuts, so it will be interesting to see if the Raiders do the same. I think I speak for everyone when I say I’m praying they don’t do that.

Raiders finally get a draft ‘war room’

The Oakland Raiders are finally joining the 21st century. Though Al Davis had a brilliant football mind, he allowed the Raiders to fall behind many teams in several areas. New general manager Reggie McKenzie, who took over after Davis’ death, is trying to modernize the team in many ways.

According to NFL.com’s Steve Wyche, McKenzie asked for a modern-day draft room or “war room” to be constructed. He also said last week that there have been technological upgrades throughout the team facilities.

The draft takes place next week and Oakland only has five picks — no first or second-round selection — because of the Carson Palmer trade. McKenzie will have to do his best with a third, fourth, two fifths, and a sixth.

Even if the Raiders will struggle to build through the draft the next two years, at least McKenzie is doing what he can to put the team in a better position to succeed in the future.

Hue Jackson Blames Everyone But Himself for Raiders Loss

Heading into Sunday, the Raiders had a fairly decent shot at making the playoffs. They needed a win against the highly-inconsistent Chargers at home and a Broncos loss to the Chiefs. Tim Tebow and company could not handle Kansas City, but the Raiders blew their opportunity anyway. Oakland’s defense could not stop the talented San Diego offense. After the game, head coach Hue Jackson expressed disappointment in pretty much everyone but himself.

“I’m pissed at my team,” Jackson said after the game according to the Oakland Tribune. “At some point in time, as a group of men, you go in the game, and you can say whatever you want about coaches, you win the game. Here’s your time. Here’s your time to make plays. So, yeah, I’m pissed at the team. I’m also, like I tell them, I’ll always put it on me, but I am pissed at my team.”

Typically a coach will shoulder the blame for a loss regardless of the circumstances, but Jackson didn’t exactly give us the impression that he was willing to do that.  Not only did he take aim at his players, he also expressed disappointment in defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan.

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Who is the Favorite to Reach the Super Bowl from this Year’s Mediocre AFC?

This has truly been a strange year in the NFL.  Granted, every year is strange in the world of professional football.  We have teams that start out smoking hot and finish the season 6-10.  We have others that start out 1-4 and scratch and claw their way into the playoffs.  This season, however, seems to be more of a mystery than ever — particularly in the AFC.  The Packers are the clear-cut favorite to win the NFC and the Super Bowl at this point, but what about the rest?  With the AFC up for grabs, here’s a look at the teams that are in the hunt. We start with the least likely to play in Indianapolis on Feb. 5 and end with the most.

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Report: Raiders Close to Landing Carson Palmer for First-Round Pick (UPDATE)

UPDATE: The trade is done. According to Glazer, the Raiders gave up a first-rounder in 2012 and a future second-rounder that could turn into a first base on Palmer’s play. It’s official: Oakland does not consider the NFL Draft to be an important tool for building a team.

Al Davis may be gone, but that hasn’t stopped the Raiders from exploring trades that will make you scratch your head.  With an upcoming game against the Chiefs, Oakland has a legitimate shot at entering the bye week with a record of 5-2 and in obvious playoff contention.  Jason Campbell is reportedly going to miss up to six weeks with a shoulder injury, meaning the Raiders need a quarterback.  Does that make Carson Palmer worth a first-round pick?

According to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, the Raiders and Bengals are close to working out a trade that would send Palmer to the west coast for a 2012 first-rounder and a conditional pick.  Bengals owner Mike Brown had previously refused to give in by trading the disgruntled quarterback, but who wouldn’t make this deal?

If the deal does indeed come to fruition, this is a complete panic move by the Raiders.  Could Palmer help them this season and give them a decent shot at making the playoffs?  If he is the Palmer of old, yes.  However, Carson has been spending his free time tailgating at USC this season and has not been particularly effective since 2007.  He has no intention of ever playing for Cincinnati again, so I don’t know how the Raiders got themselves into a situation where they have to give up a first-round pick knowing that is the case.  A first-round pick can turn into a franchise-altering player.  Even if he has something left in the tank, Palmer does not make the Raiders Super Bowl contenders this season or in the future.

Jason Campbell’s Injury Might Cut Down Raiders’ 2012 Draft Even More

Jason Campbell’s injury suffered in the second quarter Sunday could further deplete an already weak 2012 draft for the Silver and Black. Campbell is likely to be sidelined six weeks after having surgery on his broken collarbone Monday. Even if he can recover that quickly, the Raiders are already hitting the phones in search of a replacement.

As reported earlier, the Raiders are going after Carson Palmer. Sure doesn’t sound like the they have a lot of faith in backup Kyle Boller. Of the many obstacles in the way of landing Palmer, perhaps none is greater than the assets the Raiders have to offer. That, and of course there’s Mike Brown who refuses to trade Palmer.

In his usual fashion, the late Al Davis had his Raiders wheeling and dealing. They’ve already surrendered a 3rd round pick to take Terrelle Pryor in the supplemental draft, as well as trading a 7th rounder for their most recent addition in Aaron Curry. Campbell himself was acquired from the Redskins for a 4th rounder. Their 2nd rounder was dealt to New England in this year’s draft. All these moves have trimmed the Raiders’ 2012 draft to only 1st, 5th, and 6th round picks. Not much to bargain with.

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