Vic Tafur, The Athletic HQ

Vic Tafur

The Athletic HQ

Oakland, CA, United States

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Past articles by Vic:

Derek Carr visiting the New York Jets, per source: How would he fit in New York?

The Jets started four different quarterbacks in 2022, they totaled 4,021 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. → Read More

Tafur: In Derek Carr’s ultimate prove-it year, Raiders QB fell short in Mark Davis’ eyes

Davis has been lukewarm on Carr for a while and, ultimately, he just didn't win enough during his nine seasons as the Raiders quarterback. → Read More

Sources: Raiders called the Bears ahead of free agency to ask about a Khalil Mack reunion

The Bears, who faced salary-cap issues, were not interested and the Raiders proceeded with plans to instead sign Yannick Ngakoue. → Read More

Raiders' Carr still growing as a quarterback

The quarterback is supposed to be calm, cool and collected. And Derek Carr is all of those things, as evidenced by the Raiders' seven fourth-quarter comebacks last season. It's a process for Carr every week, because he is nearly out of control in the first quarter. He has the mentality of a safety looking for a running back to crack, and coaches are always telling him to breathe when the games… → Read More

Raiders’ Manuel, Patterson excited for fresh starts in Oakland

Training camp is in the rearview mirror now, just like the first stops on their NFL careers. But when the Raiders were in Napa earlier this month, quarterback EJ Manuel and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson would stay up after practice and just talk. Not about how the roommates were first-round picks and what did or didn't happen on their first NFL teams, but "about life and non-football… → Read More

Raiders’ undrafted rookie Nicholas Morrow is making an impression

Nicholas Morrow doesn't get nervous, for a simple reason. "It hasn't sunk in yet," the Raiders' rookie linebacker said Monday. It hasn't sunk in yet that he is playing in NFL stadiums, in front of big crowds, with a chance to make Oakland's 53-man roster. "I look up and it doesn't seem real to me," Morrow said. Morrow played college football at Division III Greenville College, outside St. Louis,… → Read More

Former football star Asomugha makes acting personal in ‘Crown Heights’

The best movies touch audience members, especially if an actor in it develops a personal connection with his character and is emotionally invested in the project. Matt Ruskin, the director of the new biographical drama "Crown Heights," never thought that actor would be former Cal and Oakland Raiders All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. "Crown Heights" won the Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic Film… → Read More

Michael Crabtree keeps low profile as others sing his praises

Michael Crabtree turns 30 in a few weeks, and the onetime enigmatic 49er has been a model of drama-free consistency since joining the Raiders. Scratch that. Crabtree has actually gotten better with age. He had a career-high 89 catches for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns last season, and just turned in a mistake- and day-off-free training camp. In a preseason game Saturday night, Crabtree caught… → Read More

Raiders’ Donald Penn ends holdout

The Raiders players stretched at the start of practice Wednesday, looked over to the weight room and cheered when left tackle Donald Penn ran out onto the field. Penn ended his 26-day holdout after he missed all of training camp, seeking a substantial raise from his 2017 salary of $5.95 million. That's not in the cards, though his agent will continue to negotiate with Oakland general manager… → Read More

Raiders linebacker James Cowser growing into role as Khalil Mack’s backup

Backing up Khalil Mack is no picnic. Often, after the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year does something remarkable at practice, Raiders coaches will look at the next man in line, second-year pass rusher James Cowser. "They'll say, 'Hey, did you see how Khalil did that?' and I will be like, 'Yeah, I saw it ... "'I don't know if that's in my skill set necessarily, but I will try,'" Cowser… → Read More

Raiders’ Derek Carr, Khalil Mack say their anthem gesture is no protest

Although Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch won't discuss why he is sitting for the national anthem, teammates Derek Carr and Khalil Mack were in the locker room late Saturday night, explaining their subtle actions during the anthem before the preseason game against the Rams. Carr placed his right hand on Mack's left shoulder as a show of solidarity, they said. "We're not protesting," Carr… → Read More

Marshawn Lynch: Raiders’ feisty free spirit

He may not have spoken to reporters until the last day of training camp on Thursday, but Marshawn Lynch could always be heard. Before, during and after practices, the Raiders running back would chirp at teammates, fans or even the media at times, with a mischievous smile. Lynch wouldn't discuss Thursday why he sat down during the national anthem before last Saturday's game at Arizona. Reporters… → Read More

Raiders most popular bet to win Super Bowl

Everybody is putting their money on the Raiders. More bets have been placed on the Raiders to win the Super Bowl than on any other team at sportsbooks in Las Vegas. After opening at 20-1, Oakland has been bet down to 6-1. The Raiders have attracted nearly twice as many bets to win the Super Bowl as any other team at William Hill's 108 Nevada sportsbooks, ESPN reported. Oakland is also No. 1 in… → Read More

Marshawn Lynch sits during the national anthem in Raiders preseason opener

The Raiders weren't going to take any chances, so coach Jack Del Rio only used two offensive starters in Saturday night's preseason-opening 20-10 loss to the Cardinals. Backup quarterback EJ Manuel was the victim on that play, and the hard hit was the only thing that really went wrong on a pretty good Raiders debut for the former Bills first-round pick. Connor Cook took over the quarterback… → Read More

Irvin relishes “bad cop” role with Raiders

A thousand cop movies and TV shows can't be wrong. Raiders defensive leaders Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin relish playing those roles when it comes to helping and the getting the most out of the team's rookies and second-year players. Linebacker Shilique Calhoun recently said Irvin and Mack were the two toughest coaches on the field. Irvin has been impressed with a couple of the rookies up front… → Read More

Raiders’ punter Marquette King gets kicks online

Raiders' punter Marquette King gets kicks online Social media is a way for fans to get inside, to see professional athletes behind and off the scenes. [...] in Marquette King's case, it's a means to get out, a chance for the Raiders' punter to break free and express himself. "I used to have panic attacks because I was so hyped up from the game," King said, sitting in the Napa Marriott courtyard… → Read More

Ken Norton Jr. brings his father’s boxing mentality to Raiders’ defense

Ken Norton Jr. bring his father's boxing mentality to Raiders' defense The Raiders defensive coordinator fires up his players on the Napa practice field like a corner man does his boxer, just like trainers used to with his dad, the late former world champion, Ken Norton. Norton Jr. will also mix in footage of big fights with game film, or tell players stories of famous boxers, the price they… → Read More

Raiders pick’s rape case forwarded to grand jury

Raiders pick’s rape case forwarded to grand jury Four days after the Raiders signed top draft pick Gareon Conley, Cleveland police have forwarded the rape accusation case involving Conley to a grand jury on Monday morning. Conley, who has not been arrested or charged in the case, told police on May 1 that there was a consensual sexual encounter. → Read More

Raiders reach deal with 1st-round pick Conley

The Raiders agreed to terms with first-round pick Gareon Conley on Friday afternoon. The cornerback missed four pre-camp workouts with the other rookies and quarterbacks in Napa, but the team was never too concerned about him missing the first full-team practice on Saturday. Conley is still under investigation by Cleveland police on rape allegations made in April. He hasn't been charged and he… → Read More

Raiders release Taiwan Jones

Running back Taiwan Jones, the last position player remaining from the Al Davis era, was released by the Raiders on Thursday, a day before veterans report to training camp. Jones, from Antioch, was a fourth-round pick in 2011 and the third-longest tenured player on the team after kicker Sebastian Janikowski and long snapper Jon Condo. Always the fastest guy on the roster, Jones became primarily… → Read More