Khalil Mack thought the Raiders had no shot to win with Connor Cook

There was an interesting nugget in a Fanrag Sports NFL post today, talking about the Raiders and how badly they need ‘Derek Carr to Step Up’, as if he hasn’t always done that.

The article talks about the Raiders’ and their fortunes after Derek Carr went down with injury, and thus comes the interesting part of the article:

At 12-3, the Raiders technically still had a chance to secure a first-round bye if they beat the Denver Broncos in Week 17, but any thought of contending with Matt McGloin or Connor Cook at quarterback was a pipe dream.

Oakland’s 2016 story ended predictably with a blowout loss in Denver followed by a deflating loss in Houston in the playoffs.

At one point in the game against the Texans, Khalil Mack and Cook crossed paths on the way to and from the sideline.

Mack gave Cook a look that suggested, “Man, we have no shot to win with this guy.”

He was right.

Wow! To be honest, Cook was a pretty heralded guy out of college. At some points, he was whispered as a first-rounder. There were always reports that he bristled his teammates, so it’s okay to assume that he hasn’t endeared himself well in Oakland’s locker room (especially in comparison to Carr, who owns the locker room in the Bay Area).

But to read this out in the open – and perhaps it’s just speculation on the part of the author to spice up a column – one has to wonder.

Personally, my hopes for Cook is that he’s the long-term back-up to Carr for the Raiders. He’s a guy who; the fans will never push for to take over full-time when Carr has a rough couple weeks; but needs developed and can come in for a drive or a few games like week 17 when the Raiders have their playoff position secured.

He’s not going to be happy holding the clipboard forever, but hopefully Cook realizes he’s best served to be a five year back-up to Carr and the Raiders become comfortable with him in that role.

The column posted some other interesting notes; saying that Carr was a star but not yet a superstar, and also mentioning that according to Pro Football Focus, Carr was forced to pass under pressure as few of times as any passer in football. Oakland has built a cavalier pass-blocking Offensive Line.

The author also suggests that ‘Oakland take the training wheels off Carr and let him do what he does best’. That’s insanity. His passing stats the last two seasons have been as good as anyone in football including Tom Brady. He says that Carr must make more players instead of forcing his receivers to do all the work. Did this guy watch the Raiders in 2016?

Nick Fairley has a heart condition that could end his career

I remember when Nick Fairley was drafted by the Detroit Lions. I thought that he along with Ndamukong Suh would wreck the league as interior lineman in Detroit for the better part of a decade.

Here we are just six years into his career (four with Detroit, one with the St. Louis Rams, and this past year in New Orleans), and there’s talk that a heart condition which is undisclosed could be career-ending.

Fairley had 6.5 sacks last season for the Saints quietly, which is solid. He’s been a guy who has kept his nose somewhat clean and played the game the right way; so this is sad to see.

Former NFL Agent sees record contract extension for Derek Carr

This is a nice article to read in a time of uncertainty about the Raiders franchise Quarterback – once this extension (if) gets done – we will surely move onto other topics that talk about the entire team.

USA Today Raiders Wire talked with former NFL agent Joel Corry, and Corry sees this coming in his crystal ball for the 26 year old signal-caller:

“There’s gonna be a resolution,” Corry said on Bair’s podcast. “I’d be surprised if he doesn’t have a new deal by the time training camp starts in late July.”

“I anticipate this deal is going to make him the first $25 million per year player,” Corry said. “In the NFL right now, he’s arguably the biggest bargain in the league.”

It falls in line with General Manager Reggie McKenzie saying that these guys (Carr, Mack) are true Raiders and that a deal will get done. He’s really never went away from that. I have to believe the guy knows what he is doing and will have this resolved soon.

It’s in stark contrast to what that little pencil-neck troll Mike Florio has been posting about over at Pro Football Talk.

More Derek Carr Extension Fodder

The Ringer has been churning out consistently good material lately. Today’s big article asks the question ‘Should the Raiders give Derek Carr a record extension’.

The article makes a case for both sides and which side is going to blink. It compares Carr favorably to Andrew Luck. Then it breaks down the bottom line:

So, when all these chips get thrown onto the table over the next seven-odd weeks, will a deal get done? It comes down to the balance of power in the negotiation: Long term, Carr has all the leverage. He’s one of the rarest commodities on earth — a young, ascending franchise quarterback — and if Oakland can’t or won’t pay him what he wants, he should get it from some other team once he hits the open market. But in the short term, the Raiders hold significant leverage as well, because they can just franchise-tag him until 2020, at least.

God, talk of franchise-tagging him is just depressing. Please, don’t go that route Raiders. Just this once, do this competently. Lock the guy up, because he deserves it and he’s your true cornerstone. Then worry about the defensive player in Khalil Mack and his monster extension next year.

The Raiders finally have a team that has all it’s ducks in a row and ready to challenge the mighty Patriots; which is an exciting thought and compelling storyline. Just take care of the top guy you have and go from there letting the chips fall where they may. The author seems to relax the reader at the end of the article with this:

But for Raiders fans stressing over the potential loss of the team’s most important player, the odds are slim to none that we’ll see the talented passer in anything but silver and black for a very long time. They already got to see what it was like last season to not have Carr; there’s just no way that McKenzie or Del Rio will risk losing their quarterback again.

Let’s hope he’s right. Until the ink is on the paper, I’m not so sure or settled.

Rough Day of Practice at Raiders OTAs

When things go smooth at OTA’s, you typically don’t hear about them. Like when an NFL Offensive lineman has a good game, he goes unnoticed. The only time you hear about OTA practices are typically when it’s a bad thing. Or an injury. And today, the Raiders had a lousy day of practice, according to Derek Carr:

“The things we did today were just silly. Unacceptable, but silly. The first three days of this thing we’ve been hitting on all cylinders. Today, not so much. So I look forward to hitting the bed and going back to it,” Carr said after today’s Organized Team Activities.

The mainstream media also picked up on the story which should be a week old, that Carr said if his new deal isn’t done by training camp; he won’t even pick up his phone to talk about the deal once camp begins.

The Raiders need to give their fanbase some good news and get this wrapped up soon.

Book Review: Brett Favre – Gunslinger

I’m in the process of wrapping up Gunslinger by Jeff Pearlman. I’ve read enough of the book to give a synopsis and say it’s one of the greatest football books I’ve ever read. It’s not surprising that I enjoyed it; as Pearlman is my favorite sports author and being 34 years of age, Brett Favre was the guy I grew up watching my entire childhood. His career defines my golden era in NFL football.

One of the things about this book that was eye-opening but not different from that of most Pearlman books, he didn’t sidestep dirty and unknown details.

Within the book you’ll learn of Favre’s dalliances with women and alcohol. It didn’t go quite into the pill abuse as much as I would have been interested in, but it left little to question in all regards of the Quarterback’s life.

I found myself chuckling during the chapter about Irving Favre titled “Big Irv”.

I found myself remembering a lot of the moments that Pearlman describes in great detail. Like that Sunday afternoon I was in Cincinnati and I; like the rest of the world learned who Brett Favre was. I will never forget it.

The book dials in on every single aspect of Favres career, although it is a quick read. It doesn’t give you great details into each week, game by game. Things like that are glossed over rather quickly and before you know it, you’re through the Green Bay years and into Favre’s unfortunate divorce with the Packers. You’re onto his forgettable year with the Jets and then into the final years with the Minnesota Vikings (where I currently am).

I like reading this book because – as much as I want to say someone like Derek Carr is my children’s Brett Favre – there will truly never be another or anything even close.

One thing really shines through in this book: Brett Favre is perhaps the toughest athlete to ever play the game. You gain that perspective through the words of his teammates and the tales of his bravado. Playing with bent fingers, broken bones, bad ankles, taking hit after hit and then using only ibuprofen to shrug it off and play the next week. It’s astutely amazing in every aspect and you’ll be left with a new appreciation of Favre’s toughness when you set this one down.

I would say I enjoyed this book as much as I did Boys Will be Boyz about the Dallas Cowboys, my other favorite football read of all time along with Sweetness, the biography of Walter Payton.

I sincerely hope that Pearlman finds something else in the NFL world that interests him to write about. The guy never fails to deliver an incredible read.

You’ll enjoy the chapter about Jerry Glanville hating Favre right out of Atlanta and the former GM of that team placing blame square at the ignorant feet of the former head coach. You’ll be right in the meeting room at times with Mike Holmgren and General Manager Ron Wolfe’s office, all the way until the Ted Thompson years. You’ll be in the Favre family home and learn the inner most secrets of Brett and Deanna Favre and the somehow amazing everlasting love she has for her not always easy to love husband.

You’ll get a full, comprehensive look at the game’s gunslinger like never before. I give this a solid 10/10 and will probably pick it up someday and read it again. I’ll be proud to have it in my personal sports library forever.