Category Archives: Oakland Raiders

Oakland Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rios’ Goal, Win The Division

All photos by Shawn Jonas

The Raiders have missed the post season for the past 12 seasons, but that doesn’t change the expectations for head coach Jack Del Rio. He’s entering the 2015 season letting his players, the league, and the Raider Nation know what his number one goal is.

Del Rio wants the Raiders to secure the AFC West crown in 2015. It would be the Raiders’ first division title since 2002.

“Goal No. 1 is to win our division, and I don’t see why not,” Del Rio said via the Raiders’ team website.

The sentements in the building aren’t just Del Rio’s alone.  Just ask offensive line coach Mike Tice, who tossed out an even loftier goal for the Raiders.

“We’re going to be a championship football team,” Tice said.

The mindset of the entire organization has changed since Del Rio, Ken Norton Jr., Mike Tice and the rest of this coaching staff was assembled.

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Reggie McKenzie has done his part by bolstering the roster with premier talent such as Amari Cooper, Mario Edwards Jr., and Clive Walford in the draft.  The roster has been influxed with a mix of young talent with much added depth in free agency as well.

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The Raiders have the most talent and depth in almost a decade. The biggest question  if these young players can take the next step. The bulk of the players they will rely on have been in  the league less than three years. Derek Carr,  Khalil Mack, Amari Cooper will have a lot of weight on their shoulders in 2015.

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The AFC West quarterback group is an aging one, with the likes of Peyton Manning possibly having only 1-2 years left. Del Rio did coach against him everyday in practice for three years.  Chargers’ Phillip Rivers is also on the backside of his career.  He’s also in th middle of a contract situation. Does he return to San Diego?  Chiefs’ Alex Smith has been very productive in the winning column, but is yet to take that next step as a big passing threat.  Smith didn’t throw a touchdown pass to any wide receivers the entire 2015 season.  Who can forget the Raiders first win of the season on Thursday Night  Football to help knock the Chiefs out of the 2014 playoffs.

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Del Rio’s expectations are lofty, but who’s to say there isn’t a change in the winds.

 

Ken “The Snake” Stabler Passes Away At The Age Of 69

July 9, 2015 – 5:05pm

Best known with the Oakland Raiders and the Alabama Crimson Tide, the legendary quarterback Ken “The Snake” Stabler died Wednesday from complications resulting from Stage 4 colon cancer, the Oakland Raiders organization and the Stabler family confirmed Thursday. He was 69.

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The Oakland Raiders Statement

“The Raiders are deeply saddened by the passing of the great Ken Stabler,” said Owner Mark Davis. “He was a cherished member of the Raider family and personified what it means to be a Raider. He wore the Silver and Black with Pride and Poise and will continue to live in the hearts of Raider fans everywhere. Our sincerest thoughts and prayers go out to Kenny’s family.”

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Statement from John Madden

“I was head coach of the Raiders the entire time Kenny was there and he led us to a whole bunch of victories including one in Super Bowl XI. I’ve often said, If I had one drive to win a game to this day, and I had a quarterback to pick, I would pick Kenny. Snake was a lot cooler that I was. He was a perfect quarterback and a perfect Raider. When you think about the Raiders you think about Ken Stabler. Kenny loved life. It is a sad day for all Raiders.”

Family’s Statement on the Passing of Ken Stabler

We announce with great sadness that our father, Ken Stabler, passed away Wednesday, July 8 as a result of complications associated with colon cancer.

He passed peacefully surrounded by the people he loved most, including his three daughters and longtime partner, as some of his favorite songs played in the background, such as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” and Van Morrison’s “Leaves Falling Down.”

He quietly battled Stage 4 colon cancer since being diagnosed in February 2015.

He wanted to make a difference in the lives of others in both life and death. At his request, his brain and spinal cord were donated to Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center to support research for degenerative brain disease in athletes.

He was a kind, generous and unselfish man, never turning down an autograph request or an opportunity to help someone in need. A great quarterback, he was an even greater father to his three girls and grandfather to his two “grand snakes.”

We are grateful for the tremendous love and support from friends and fans. We ask that you please respect our privacy during this difficult time as we grieve this heartbreaking loss.

Funeral Arrangements are pending. In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations be made to the XOXO Stabler Foundation to support research of colon cancer and sports-­‐related head trauma. More Information will be available on Ken Stabler’s Facebook Fan page and the XOXO Stabler Foundation.

He is survived by his three daughters Kendra Stabler Moyes (husband, Scott), Alexa (fiancé, Hunter Adams) and Marissa; His grandsons Jack And Justin Moyes; Sister Carolyn Bishop; Nephew Scott Bishop; and great nephew and niece Tayler and Payton Bishop. He is preceded in death by his father, Leroy Stabler, and mother, Sally Stabler.

Hall of Famer Willie Brown Remembers Ken Stabler
Posted Jul 9, 2015

Following the news that former Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler passed away Thursday, Hall of Fame cornerback Willie Brown appeared on Sirius XM NFL Radio’s Movin’ The Chains with Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller to discuss the legacy of the Raiders legend.

Stabler and Brown were teammates from 1970-78 and were key members of the team that won Super Bowl XI 32-14 over the Minnesota Vikings.

During his time on the air, Brown touched on a variety of topics regarding Stabler, including the quarterback’s demeanor as well as the championship season of 1976.

Here are some of Brown’s remarks about “The Snake.”
On Ken Stabler:

Brown: “My first reaction when I heard the news about him was that I was concerned about his family, and to make sure that his family was okay. It’s a tough time [for] them, a tough time for everybody who came in contact with “Snake” Stabler because of the way he was. I hope the family’s okay. It’s tough when two of your colleagues – Former Detroit Lions Tight End Charlie Sanders just died – he’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, now it’s Kenny. Those kinds of things – you don’t realize it, or understand what happened. They happen so fast, before you have a chance to really react to them. Snake was a great quarterback, there’s no question about it. He helped me out a lot and I helped him a lot in practice by going one-on-one with the wide receivers and him. He was very competitive. He did his own thing. He was ready to play come Sunday. That was the best thing about him. Playing came easy for him. He was a great leader. He was a great Raider and he should be in the Hall of Fame.”

On if close games brought out the best in Stabler:

Brown: “There was no question about it. When he said something, you listened and did what he said. Again, he was a great ballplayer. He had a lot of support around him. [We were] all together. His teammates loved him, in particular the offensive line. He hung out with those guys more than anybody. He and Fred Biletnikoff, Gene Upshaw, Art Shell, all those guys, [Dave] Casper. We lost a great friend.”

On Stabler’s relationship with Al Davis:

Brown: “They had a good relationship. When you’re talking about your number-one quarterback, you have to have a good relationship with him. It doesn’t have to be great, but I know Mr. Davis had a lot of respect for Snake; a lot of respect because he was a winner. He knew how to win and he knew exactly about the system. He knew about Al Davis. He knew about assistant coaches. [People] tend to believe that he did not have a good relationship with Mr. Davis, but he did.”

On the 1976 season:

Brown: “No question about it, that was one of the best years that we had. Not only that game, but Snake had a lot of great games. If you look at the tape and film on Snake, you looked at how he played in all those games – he played well. Snake had a fantastic career and he had a great game, but that particular year he was clicking on everything. He couldn’t do anything wrong. We knew that we had a shot that following year after the season we went to the Super Bowl. We knew we were coming back together – if the team stayed intact that we could win this thing, and there was no way we could have won it without Kenny Stabler.”

On Stabler’s demeanor:

Brown: “I know that getting ready in the locker room he was just nice and loose. He wasn’t uptight. He wasn’t walking around in a corner and hiding himself. He’d get up. He’d move around and say, ‘okay boys,’ in that Southern accent of his. He’d say, ‘okay, boys, we’re going to go get them today,’ stuff like that. We’d say, ‘okay, Snake, whatever you say.’ He was just that kind of guy. He didn’t get uptight and wasn’t tight before the game or anything. He was nice and loose, ready to go.”

On the Divisional Playoff game against the Baltimore Colts in 1977:

Brown: “The game was pretty tight. Baltimore, they thought they had it, but knowing Snake and what he could do and how he played in that game, I knew we had a shot at it to win the game, because Snake was, like I said, very competitive. He was a challenging guy. If there was something there he was going to challenge it, going after All-Pros, going after whoever was playing in those particular positions. He was going to take advantage of it because he was very smart, and he knew his teammates, and he knew what they could do and [what] they couldn’t do. He knew everything that his teammates could do for him. He did the rest. There he was on the sideline, cool and calm. He wasn’t upset about anything. He was ready to roll. In that Baltimore game, we knew we had a shot. As long as there was some time on the clock, get the ball to Snake and he would get a touchdown for you.”Courtesy to the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

The Biletnikoff Foundation Groundbreaking Ceremony For Tracey’s Place Of Hope On July 23, 2015 Moving The Chains For A Successful Rebuilding Project made Possible by Foundation, Friends, and Football

Loomis, California –– Tuesday, July 14, 2015 –– NFL Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff and wife Angela together with the Biletnikoff Foundation announced today the hosting of an official ground breaking ceremony in the town of Loomis on July 23 at 11:00am Pacific, to celebrate three years of dedicated support and fundraising to rebuild Tracey’s Place of Hope. This home is being restored from ground up, specifically designed to accommodate the educational needs of the program. The Tracey’s Place of Hope rebuild will also be more nurturing and functionally supportive, with added sleeping quarters, and serene communal space.

Hall of Famer and Raiders Legend, Fred Biletnikoff along with the Biletnikoff Foundation will gather at the rebuild location, joined with partners, program facilitators, city and county officials, and members of the Oakland Raiders organization. Over a half million dollars has been fundraised for this special project with the help of the Biletnikoff Foundation donors, partners and friends, along with a most recent donation of $50,000 presented to both Fred and Angela by the Oakland Raiders Owner, Mark Davis.

Tracey’s Place of Hope provides substance abuse and domestic violence treatment through its residential program, preparing teenage girls ages 14-18 to manage their recovery, support their mental and emotional health issues, and teaching them the necessary skills to live independently.

“Most of our teens come to Tracey’s Place of Hope with little or no vision for their future, but flourish when given the opportunity,” said Fred. “Tracey’s Place of Hope is where miracles happen every day! We appreciate everyone understanding the need and pulling together to make all of this possible.”

“It is rewarding to break ground on something that we have been working on for so long,” said Angela. “Tracey’s Place of Hope is already a place of hope and recovery, but our efforts are to improve the overall functionality and condition of the home for the girls’ safety. We’re moving the chains, and it is amazing!”

The Ground Breaking Ceremony will acknowledge the following Biletnikoff Foundation friends and supporters:

· Loder Construction
· Koinonia Homes for Teens
· Oakland Raiders
· Wells Fargo
· Air Systems
· Barnum & Celillo
· Norman Scheel Structural Engineering
· Bennett Engineering Services
· Aaron’s Appliances
· ASI Alarms
· BSLA Creations Inc
· SMA America
· Borges Architectural Group
· Alcal Specialty Contracting
· Simas Floor and Design Company
· Robert W. Baird & Co
· Hector Cortex
· Crusader Fence Co., Inc
· Central Valley Floor Designs
· Home Depot
· TMC Construction
· Tidwell
· Dimension Construction Inc
· B&K Painting
· Warehouse Interiors
· Homewood
· Moorefield Construction, Inc
· Century Lighting & Electrical
· Elite Power Inc
· Daltile
· Jeff Van Slooten

About Biletnikoff Foundation:

Biletnikoff Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting youth, primarily from low to moderate income neighborhoods or backgrounds, who are “at risk,” particularly to the realities of drug and alcohol addiction as well as domestic and gender violence. The mission of the Biletnikoff Foundation is to commemorate Tracey Biletnikoff’s life and her untimely death and to enable young people to realize their full potential through the support of community and education programs that effectively address the related problems of substance abuse and gender violence. Founded in 2000, Tracey’s Place of Hope is a residential program for adolescent girls in crisis with mental health and substance abuse problems. The facility houses girls, aged 14-18. For more information, please visit www.Biletnikoff.net

Media Release Courtesy to the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

John Madden Remembers Ken Stabler; Q & A Media Conference Call Transcript

John Madden On The Passing Of Ken Stabler

Opening statement from Coach Madden: “Yesterday was a very sad day with the passing of Ken Stabler. It was a shock to all of us. You think that Kenny is one of those guys that whatever you throw in front of him, it’s not going to get him down. Then, when you hear Kenny Stabler died, it’s like a kick in the gut. You think of the good times and the memories, all of the games and all of the practices and all of the meetings. No matter what you throw in front of him, he enjoyed it. He always had a twinkle in his eye and a smile. He was one of the greatest competitors ever. When you think of the Raiders and you think of the Raiders of the 70s, Ken Stabler has to be right on top. He was just, of all the people you coach, and I coached a lot of great ones and a lot of Hall of Famers, he’s one of the guys that is really at the top of the class.”

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Madden Remembers Ken “The Snake” Stabler Q & A

Q: Can you think of a logical reason that Ken Stabler is not in the Hall of Fame?

Madden: “No. If you just look at how he played and what kind of quarterback he was, he’s a Hall of Fame quarterback. I think what happens is we get so caught up today in statistics and then comparing statistics. You can’t do that with different eras. For example, when we threw a medium range pass it was 17 yards deep. Now a medium range pass would be 8-10 yards. We didn’t have any of those smokescreens or when you split it out and throw one yard passes, or throw passes behind the line of scrimmage. I’m not saying that’s wrong, that’s the way they play today. But then you look at his stats and his completions and interceptions, the deeper you throw, the more you’re going to have but the more big plays you’re going to have. Then you compare those to the players today and it’s not fair. That’s the only thing that I can think of. If you were to look at Kenny Stabler as an Oakland Raider… we had great rivalries with the Miami Dolphins, who were one of the greatest teams in the history of the NFL, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were also one of the best in the history of the NFL. Terry Bradshaw is in the Hall of Fame and Bob Griese is in the Hall of Fame, and look at Kenny’s record when he played those teams.”

Q: In the last few years there, after the Super Bowl, could you talk about how the tension between Al Davis and Ken Stabler?

Madden: “Not really. There was nothing there. That’s not a thing. I’ll tell you, we won the Super Bowl in the 1976 season, which was ’77. The best team, to me, in the history of the Oakland Raiders was the next year, was ‘77, the year after we won a Super Bowl. We went back, we beat Pittsburgh in the playoffs and they didn’t have Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier, and that was one of the things they said. The next year, early in the season, we went back and we played Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh and we beat them there. That was the hardest fought, hardest played game that I can remember. It was also the height of the Raiders. I don’t think there was a ever a team before that or after that who was better than the Raiders. Having said that, we had a lot of injuries in that game. We struggled. We lost the Championship that year to Denver. There was nothing there after the Super Bowl because I thought we were better after the Super Bowl than we were the Super Bowl year. Although the Super Bowl year we only lost one game.”

Q: You were with the organization when they drafted Ken. Can you remember the circumstances?

Madden: “Yeah I do. It was ironic. We drafted another quarterback in the first round, Edlridge Dickey. We were kind of choosing between the two. We had Kenny Stabler rated as the number one pick. So, we took Eldridge Dickey from Tennessee State and then in the next round, the second round, and Kenny Stabler is still there. So we said he’s too good of a player to leave on the board in the second round so we took him. We ended up with two of them. What we didn’t know, and scouting back then isn’t what it is today, is that he had injured his knee and that he needed surgery. We brought him in and then he had to have the surgery so he missed that whole first year. He missed the second year so he really didn’t start playing for the Raiders until the third year that we drafted him.”

Q: Did you ever come to Alabama to visit with Coach Bryant to talk about Ken?

Madden: “Yeah I talked to Coach Bryant about him a lot. I had the greatest respect for Bear Bryant and his quarterbacks. I had George Blanda, who played for Coach Bryant at Kentucky. George would always talk about Coach Bryant, this and that. He was a well-disciplined, well-trained quarterback. Then I had great respect for Joe Namath. I thought, if we can get a quarterback that’s like George Blanda and like Joe Namath on our team, that’s going to be a pretty good deal. Eventually, we did.”

Q: You mentioned yesterday in your statement that you trusted Ken because he was ‘cooler’ under pressure than you. How would you describe his demeanor? How did you balance each other?

Madden: “He helped me because the hotter the game, the hotter I got and Kenny was truly just the opposite, the hotter the game, the cooler he became. We’re playing Baltimore in a playoff game in Baltimore and it was one of the real great games in NFL history, the kind that got lost because it wasn’t a championship game or a Super Bowl game. It went six periods. The end of regulation, we’re tied, and we go another period and then we’re tied and then we’re going into another period. We had a timeout and it’s our ball. We’re just crossing midfield. I’m talking to Kenny during the timeout and he has his helmet cocked back and he’s looking up at the stands and I’m saying let’s do this, let’s do this. Then, he says, ‘you know what, John?’ and I thought, ‘oh great, he has a play.’ So I asked him ‘what?’ and he said ‘these fans are getting their money’s worth today.’ That’s the way he was. I was going all over the board on what we should do, and he was just cool, looking up into the stands. In the Super Bowl against Minnesota, the first couple of drives we got stopped and had to kick field goals. I was all upset about not being able to finish and score. Kenny put his hand on my shoulder and said ‘don’t worry about that, John, there’s plenty more where that came from.” It did affect me. I thought, when he said that, he’s right. I felt a heck of a lot better about it. It was the whole team. That’s what he gave to the team. He would throw a bad pass and it didn’t bother him. He would forget it and go on to the next one. He’d throw a low pass into the dirt and he’d move on to the next play. He didn’t let things affect him. He was always positive. In those days, the quarterback called the plays. There was a lot to that, too. Sometimes we forget how smart Kenny Stabler was. He was a brilliant quarterback with a brilliant football mind. He would set things up. There’s a thing that they don’t even judge anymore, called field general. Ken Stabler was a true field general. The offensive players really believed and followed him. Anything that came out of his mouth, they totally believed.”

On The Field Reports’ Shawn Jonas Asks John Madden: 

Q: Could you tell us a story or a quote on things that Kenny would say postgame, after the win or loss?

Madden: “We didn’t have a lot of losses. After the game, he wasn’t one to say a lot. He didn’t give speeches before the game and he didn’t give speeches after the game. He just enjoyed it. He enjoyed football. He enjoyed practice, he enjoyed playing. He enjoyed every part of it. He enjoyed living. After the game, he was just thinking of the next thing. His leadership was brought about the way he presented himself, held himself, and the esteem his teammates held him in.”

Q: Did he say anything after the Holy Roller game?

Madden: “No. I think after that Holy Roller game, you think of Kenny Stabler and you think about how he was involved in more name games than anyone. We were all in shock after that game. We had used our last timeout and we called a play and the last thing I said to Kenny when we went out, I said ‘no matter what happens, the ball has to come out of your hands. We cannot take a sack,’ because the game would have been over. So, he knows that. He’s thinking that and he starts to scramble, he starts to get tackled, he knows he has to get rid of the ball and he does. The rest is history. After that, it was just kind of shock. The day or two after that, then it kind of became like oh yeah, that was a play we work on, we knew what we were doing, and all that bologna. The bologna didn’t follow right after the game.
Q: Thinking back on the character that was Kenny Stabler, was there ever a moment where, knowing he was that kind of free spirited character that you were afraid he’d get that phone call that night before a game. Do you have any stories of that?

Madden: “No. No, because he wasn’t that way. That was, at the time when I was with him, that was overplayed and overrated, and that wasn’t the way he was. I made a deal with him and I don’t know if it would work today, but I made a deal with him that I won’t mess with him in the offseason. I didn’t have one of those things where you have him come in for minicamp, OTAs and all that stuff. I just let him go. I said the offseason is yours, but the tradeoff is you give me the season. The season is mine. And you know I mean anything that I say that we have to do during the season is done. We had meetings before practice, we had meetings after practice, we had meetings at night, and he was always there, he was always attentive, and like I said, he was a brilliant guy, and the stories about him that came out later, to me, the Kenny Stabler, that I know, the stories were vastly exaggerated.
There’s one story, I don’t know if anyone remembers this, someone was talking to his mother about Kenny, and saying, you know, he’s this and he’s that he’s wild and he stays up all night and he does all these things and his mother says, ‘You’re not talking about Kenny, you’re talking about his daddy.’ And I always thought of that quote and I always thought that there’s quite a bit of truth in that.”

Q: How aware would you say you were of the severity of Stabler’s cancer, how advanced it was, and what do you think it says about him that he made it such, that he kept to himself, that so many of his former teammates didn’t have any idea?

Madden: “Yeah, I was unaware. I was not aware of that he had cancer, and I didn’t. That was a big part of the shock, but if you know Kenny Stabler that’s Kenny Stabler. We used to have a thing. Kenny Stabler never went into the training room. And he didn’t want any of his teammates to ever see him getting treatment. He never went in the training room. He wouldn’t be seen in there, he wouldn’t step in there. So, I thought, well this is ridiculous because he would take a little beating during these games too, and he needed treatment. So I would talk to him about it and he just didn’t want to go in the training [room]. So I said, well you know, let’s do it at night, so you know when everyone leaves. And you know George Anderson our trainer would come back at like nine o’clock at night and that’s when he got his treatment. But, he didn’t want any of his teammates to ever see him in the training room getting treatment. And I think that probably followed him through life.”

Q: I was just hoping you could tell us kind of a story, maybe not on the field, but about Ken Stabler that kind of epitomized who he was as a person?

Madden: “Well, you know the thing was, he was always, always ready to help in any way he could. And, when he would go out he was always polite. I mean he was a real southern gentleman, you know. And, he was, we would have post game parties and he would be around and he’d make a point to talk to all the coach’s, all the coach’s wives, and treat them like they were really something. He really treated people with respect and then, the other side of him, like I said, he enjoyed life. He would rather tell a joke or tell a story or hear a joke or hear a story then anything that’s real serious. But, when he had to be serious he’d get down and be as serious as anyone. And, when that wasn’t needed he was just going to enjoy the moment.”

Q: Many players recall the immaculate reception game. What do you remember about it?

Madden: “Yeah, I’ll never forget that game. He did. He came in off the bench and the Steelers didn’t know a lot about Stabler at that time, and they gave him a little room to his left in there pass rush, and he ran, and he ran for a touchdown, and that put us ahead. So that set up the immaculate reception. Now, the Steelers were behind, time was running out, it was a fourth down play, the immaculate reception was, and the last play, last ditch effort, and then that happened. So, he set up the situation that put them behind, that made them get into that mode to make that drive.”

Q: Did you ever wonder if the dynasty would have been different if they didn’t win that game?

Madden: “No, it wouldn’t have been different. I mean, they lost the next week, I think, but that was just the start of their dynasty. I think they probably realized then that, that they had put together a pretty good team, a very good coaching staff and they were ready to make their move. I think that was a thing. I don’t think that they realized that this is the start of the dynasty, but this is definitely our turnaround in the playoffs, going in the right direction now. And, we’re not going to be the same old Steelers.”

Q: What do you credit his, just innate ability to throw the football and get the ball to open receivers?

Madden: “You know that was what he had and do it quickly. I mean he had a thing that would always set in his mind from the time he saw something until the ball left his hand, was the quickest mechanism that I’ve ever seen. And, I don’t know how you measure that or I don’t know exactly what that is, but I mean some guys see it, then they’re going to step, then they’re going to throw, and then it’s too late. I mean he sees it, boom. It would come out and then, you say with great accuracy and that’s what a quarterback has to have. When Kenny Stabler came to us that’s what he had. He didn’t have the strongest arm, but he had a very accurate arm, and he knew where to go with the ball and he could see and read quickly, and then when he read something, and saw and it read it quickly, the ball would be out of his hands. And the thing that I always liked about him, is, I made a statement yesterday, that up until this day, if I had you know, one drive, or we had to make a drive to win the game, I’d want Kenny Stabler as a quarterback. And you just think of, in those situations, and in those drives when he would, when he gets in his drop, in his drop back, and his drop and that back foot would set, then he would stand straight up. I mean, he would get, I don’t know if you ever remembered this or would have seen this, he would get taller. He would make himself taller in the pocket. There’s some guys that tend to make themselves smaller in the pocket, Kenny Stabler would go back and then he would rise. You just think, that’s the way he played. The bigger the situation I’m going to get back, I’m going to get to the head of my drop and I’m going to step and I’m going to rise and then I’m going to rise to the occasion, and that’s what he did. And then, like you say, he just had great accuracy. To me, that was a natural thing more than a taught thing.”

Pro Football Hall Of Fame Willie Brown Remembers Kenny “The Snake” Stabler

Photo by Shawn Jonas

On Thursday, Hall of Fame cornerback Willie Brown appeared on Sirius XM NFL Radio’s Movin’ The Chains with Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller to discuss the legacy of the Raiders legend.

Ken Stabler and Willie Brown were teammates from 1970-78 and were key members of the team that won Super Bowl XI 32-14 over the Minnesota Vikings.

During his time on the air, Brown touched on a variety of topics regarding Stabler, including the quarterback’s demeanor as well as the championship season of 1976.

Willie  Brown’s Remembers “The Snake.”

On Ken Stabler:

Brown: “My first reaction when I heard the news about him was that I was concerned about his family, and to make sure that his family was okay. It’s a tough time for them, a tough time for everybody who came in contact with “Snake” Stabler because of the way he was. I hope the family’s okay. It’s tough when two of your colleagues – Former Detroit Lions Tight End Charlie Sanders just died – he’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, now it’s Kenny. Those kinds of things – you don’t realize it, or understand what happened. They happen so fast, before you have a chance to really react to them. Snake was a great quarterback, there’s no question about it. He helped me out a lot and I helped him a lot in practice by going one-on-one with the wide receivers and him. He was very competitive. He did his own thing. He was ready to play come Sunday. That was the best thing about him. Playing came easy for him. He was a great leader. He was a great Raider and he should be in the Hall of Fame.”

Q: On if close games brought out the best in Stabler:

Brown: “There was no question about it. When he said something, you listened and did what he said. Again, he was a great ballplayer. He had a lot of support around him. We were all together. His teammates loved him, in particular the offensive line. He hung out with those guys more than anybody. He and Fred Biletnikoff, Gene Upshaw, Art Shell, all those guys, Dave Casper. We lost a great friend.”

Q: On Stabler’s relationship with Al Davis:

Brown: “They had a good relationship. When you’re talking about your number-one quarterback, you have to have a good relationship with him. It doesn’t have to be great, but I know Mr. Davis had a lot of respect for Snake; a lot of respect because he was a winner. He knew how to win and he knew exactly about the system. He knew about Al Davis. He knew about assistant coaches. [People] tend to believe that he did not have a good relationship with Mr. Davis, but he did.”

Q: On the 1976 season:

Brown: “No question about it, that was one of the best years that we had. Not only that game, but Snake had a lot of great games. If you look at the tape and film on Snake, you looked at how he played in all those games – he played well. Snake had a fantastic career and he had a great game, but that particular year he was clicking on everything. He couldn’t do anything wrong. We knew that we had a shot that following year after the season we went to the Super Bowl. We knew we were coming back together – if the team stayed intact that we could win this thing, and there was no way we could have won it without Kenny Stabler.” 

Stabler’s demeanor:

Brown: “I know that getting ready in the locker room he was just nice and loose. He wasn’t uptight. He wasn’t walking around in a corner and hiding himself. He’d get up. He’d move around and say, ‘okay boys,’ in that Southern accent of his. He’d say, ‘okay, boys, we’re going to go get them today,’ stuff like that. We’d say, ‘okay, Snake, whatever you say.’ He was just that kind of guy. He didn’t get uptight and wasn’t tight before the game or anything. He was nice and loose, ready to go.”

On the Divisional Playoff game against the Baltimore Colts in 1977:

Brown: “The game was pretty tight. Baltimore, they thought they had it, but knowing Snake and what he could do and how he played in that game, I knew we had a shot at it to win the game, because Snake was, like I said, very competitive. He was a challenging guy. If there was something there he was going to challenge it, going after All-Pros, going after whoever was playing in those particular positions. He was going to take advantage of it because he was very smart, and he knew his teammates, and he knew what they could do and what they couldn’t do. He knew everything that his teammates could do for him. He did the rest. There he was on the sideline, cool and calm. He wasn’t upset about anything. He was ready to roll. In that Baltimore game, we knew we had a shot. As long as there was some time on the clock, get the ball to Snake and he would get a touchdown for you.”

Oakland Raiders Sign Second-Round Draft Pick Mario Edwards Jr.

Photo by Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed second-round draft pick DE Mario Edwards Jr., the club announced Friday.

With Edwards Jr.’s signing, the Raiders have now signed all 10 draft picks from the 2015 NFL Draft.

The 6-foot-3, 280-pounder was selected 35th overall by Oakland in the 2015 NFL Draft. He played three seasons at Florida State, appearing in 36 games with 26 starts. Edwards Jr. totaled 89 tackles (52 solo), eight sacks, seven passes defensed, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, helping the Seminoles win the 2013 BCS National Championship.

Edwards Jr. was named to the All-ACC First Team as a junior in 2014, setting a career high with 44 tackles (25 solo), including 11 tackles for loss. He was also named the ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week twice last season.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Sign Kris Durham And Chase Williams, Waive/Injured Jacoby Hale

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent WR Kris Durham and undrafted free agent LB Chase Williams, the club announced Thursday.

Durham joins the Raiders following stints with the Tennessee Titans (2014), Detroit Lions (2012-13) and Seattle Seahawks (2011). His career totals include 27 games played with 16 starts, 55 receptions for 699 yards (12.7 avg.) and three touchdowns. The 6-foot-6, 216-pounder had a breakout season with Detroit in 2013, starting 13-of-16 games with 38 catches for 490 yards and two scores. The former Georgia standout entered the league as a fourth-round pick (107th overall) by Seattle in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Williams signs with the Raiders as an undrafted free agent following a four-year career at Virginia Tech. From 2011-14, he saw action in 47 games, starting 10, and totaled 101 tackles (44 solo), 10.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, one forced fumble and two passes defensed. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder started a personal-best nine games in 2014, notching 72 tackles on the season with 3.5 sacks.

To make room on the roster, the Raiders have waived TE Scott Simonson and waived/injured LB Jacoby Hale. In addition, WR Andre Debose has been placed on the reserve/injured list, while LB Miles Burris was waived from the reserve/injured list.

Press Release Courtesy of Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Sign Trindon Holliday, Waive/Injured Andre Debose

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent WR/RS Trindon Holliday, the club announced Wednesday. To make room on the roster, the Raiders have waived/injured WR Andre Debose with an Achilles injury.

Holliday joins the Silver and Black after stints with the Houston Texans (2011-12), Denver Broncos (2012-13), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014) and San Francisco 49ers (2014). He has appeared in 33 career games, totaling 82 punt returns for 769 yards (9.4 avg.) and 54 kickoff returns for 1,455 yards (26.9 avg.), with a total of four return touchdowns (two punt, two kickoff). In four postseason appearances with Denver, the 5-foot-5, 170pounder has added 90 yards on three punt returns (30.0 avg.) with one score and 12 kickoff returns for 344 yards (28.7 avg.) with one touchdown.

Originally a sixth-round pick (197th overall) by the Houston Texans in the 2010 NFL Draft, Holliday played four years (2006-09) at LSU, where he contributed at running back and led the SEC as a senior in punt return touchdowns (one) and average yards per punt return (18.1). With four career rushing touchdowns in college, Holliday also amassed four return touchdowns (two punt, two kickoff). The Zachary, La., native also won the 2009 NCAA title in the 100-meter dash.

Press Release Courtesy of The Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Sign Linebacker Horace Williams And Resigned Wide Receiver Milton Williams III

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent LB Horace Miller and re-signed WR Milton Williams III.

Miller spent the 2014 season with the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers. He originally signed with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in May 2014 before being waived at the end of training camp. Miller joined the Panthers’ practice squad in October 2014. He spent one week on Carolina’s active roster in December, but did not play in a game. He was waived by the Panthers in April 2015.

Miller played collegiately at UTEP following one year at Louisville. He played in 36 games with 30 starts in three seasons for the Miners and totaled 120 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, one forced fumble and three passes defensed.

Williams III re-signs with the team after a brief stint earlier this month. He was originally signed by the Raiders as an undrafted free agent on May 8 before being waived on May 12. In four seasons at Delaware State, Williams III saw action in 40 games and totaled 126 career receptions for 1,612 yards and 11 touchdowns.

To make room on the roster, the Raiders have waived CB Travell Dixon and WR Austin Hill.

Courtesy of Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Sign Seventh-Round Draft Pick Cornerback Dexter McDonald

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed seventh-round draft pick CB Dexter McDonald, the club announced Tuesday.

McDonald is the eighth of the team’s 10 draft picks from the 2015 NFL Draft to sign their rookie contract, joining WR Amari Cooper, G/C Jon Feliciano, LB Ben Heeney, LB Neiron Ball, DE Max Valles, T Anthony Morris and WR Andre Debose.

McDonald was selected 242nd overall by the Raiders in the 2015 NFL Draft. He played three seasons at Kansas, starting 24-of-31 games at cornerback. He also spent one season at Butler (Kan.) Community College, and totaled 86 tackles (60 solo), five interceptions, 26 passes defensed and one forced fumble during his collegiate career.