It’s Oakland’s luck. Just when the Raiders threaten to be good again, they’ve got one foot out the door.
The Raiders seem intent to make it happen, anyway. They signed potential difference-markers Bruce Irvin and Kelechi Osemel in the wee hours of free agency, and with more bucks to burn, general manager Reggie McKenzie isn’t done yet.
After a 7-9 season and five close losses, Pride and Poise should be all in at the point. The Denver Broncos are no longer Super, what with Peyton Manning and Malik Jackson having left them. That leaves the Kansas City Chiefs as a somewhat shaky favorite in the AFC West, which is there to be had if McKenzie and company make the right moves.
Wait — there’s more good news for Raiders fans. Brock Osweiler and the Houston Texans are on the verge of a deal, which may force the Broncos to choose between Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick at quarterback.
“I’ve always liked Colin,” Broncos head honcho John Elway told reporters at the Broncos’ training complex on Monday. “He’s very athletic and he can make a lot of big plays. He’s doing more within the pocket, which I think if he continues to do that, it’ll help him. But he’s a great athlete, and he’s got that big-play ability to avoid things and make things happen.”
If the Broncos sign Kapernick, my friend Raiders Al already has offered to drive him to the airport.
MORE BARK THAN BITE: The 49ers also are off to a rousing start in the free agency with the contract extension of of Ray-Ray Armstrong through next season. As you might recall, the linebacker made his biggest noise last season when he barked at a police dog before a blowout loss.
Meanwhile, ex-Niners guard Alex Boone signed with the Minnesota Vikings, and boy, just wait ’til he goes off on the organization he left behind.
PILE ON KELLY: It took all of a few hours for Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman to clean up the mess that Niners coach Chip Kelly left behind. Gone are square peg DeMarcus Murray and underachievers Kiko Alonzo and Byron Maxwell already. Alonzo was acquired for LeSean McCoy, who was replaced by Murray, which is all you need to know about Kelly as a talent evaluator.
Then there were these words from new Eagles cornerback Leodis McKelvin, who was quick to recount his pick-six at the expense of Kelly’s offense last season.
“They kept on running [the same play],” said McKelvin, who was cut by the Buffalo Bills last week. “They kept on running it. They ran it about four or five times going down the field. They basically went to the other side [with the same route], but they kept on running it. I just had a feeling [Kelly] was going to go back to it.”
Geez, is it too early to call a personal foul penalty?
NINERS BEWARE: Before the Niners seriously pursue Griffin, they may want to hear out Chris Cooley, his former Washington Redskins teammate.
“The offensive line had a problem with Robert, because they were considered for a year-and-a-half or two years a terrible offensive line that couldn’t protect a quarterback,” Cooley told WTEM-AM, the Redskins’ flagship station. “A lot of that isn’t true. A lot of that was Robert. … Robert never took [responsibility] for that. Robert continued to let his offensive line eat the blame. They don’t like it. They hate that, man. That kills them. Perception is the only thing an offensive line has, because 99 percent of people watching football have no idea what an offensive line’s doing.
“Receivers didn’t like playing with Robert, because they didn’t get the ball. It was never consistent. Other than a couple [players] in 2012, they struggled with that. So they didn’t like Robert.”
Uh, did anyone like Griffin there?
“Robert did have friends,” Cooley said. “Of course he had friends. But there were a lot of guys on this team that said it doesn’t benefit me — as a player, as an individual — and we don’t know if it benefits the team with him under center at this point. That was what really happened in that locker room, in talking to a lot of those guys. That’s not me saying I think they would have perceived it this way. It’s me talking to a lot of players in this locker room as friends and understanding why the dislike or why the problem.”
Sounds like Griffin and Kaepernick have a lot more in common than scatter arms.
BACK TO THE FUTURE: The best sight at Giants training camp has been 20-year-young Christian Arroyo, whom some call a Jeff Kent clone. The good Jeff Kent, that is.
Arroyo may be a year or two away from The Show, but the kid doesn’t look out of place. On Tuesday, the former first-rounder drove the green well beyond the left field fence at Scottsdale Stadium, a home run would have landed halfway up the AT&T Park bleachers.
The question is, where does Arroyo fit in the big picture? He’s a middle infielder by trade, but Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford have dropped anchor there. Will Crawford move to third base eventually. Or will Matt Duffy shift from third to first or the outfield? Or will Arroyo play third base? The outfield then?
A good problem to have right now, no?
WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: While the Giants have options at shortstop, the Athletics search for the next Addison Russell, who has been all the rage in Chicago Cubs camp this spring.
A’s fans don’t have to be reminded about Russell these days. Two years ago, he was part of a deal for rentals Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija in the heat of the playoff race. It was the kind of trade that bossman Billy Beane almost never considered — a can’t-miss prospect for a veteran near the end of his contract.
Beane claims not to regret the move despite the outcome, but one has to wonder if it’s the No. 1 reason for his decision to bolster the farm system in a longterm rebuild project. Meanwhile, Russell recently developed a leg kick that prompted predictions of 25 home runs or more in the near future.
WALTERS DISMISSED: USF coach Rex Walters has been relieved of his duties after nine very average seasons — 15-15 record this season, 127-127 overall — but ordinary is about all that the program can hope for these days.
The Dons haven’t won an NCAA Tournament game since Bill Cartwright played center, and that was seven coaches and 37 years ago.
Earlier this week, Cartwright returned to the Hilltop as director of special initiatives. Expect him to have input on the successor.
YOU MEAN PRACTICE?!: He hits it high! He hits it far! He’s hits it to … the second baseman in short center field.
Relax, Balls still has some work to do. That’s what spring training is for, you know.
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Addison RussellAl DavisAlex BooneBilly BeaneBrock Osweilerbruce irvinbyron maxwellChip Kellychris cooleyChristian ArroyoColin Kaepernickdemarcus murrayhowie rosemanJason HammelJeff SamardzijaJohn ElwayKansas City Chiefskelechi osemelkiko alonzoleodis mckelvinlesean mccoymalik jacksonMinnesota VikingsOakland RaidersPaul Ladewskipeyton ManningRay-Ray ArmstrongReggie McKenzieRobert Griffin III