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Raiders cornerback DJ Hayden’s season ends with hamstring injury

Sat, 3 Dec 2016 07:07:18 UT

The Raiders will place cornerback DJ Hayden on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, ending his season, head coach Jack Del Rio said Friday. Hayden had a near-fatal heart injury in college at Houston, and then missed eight games his rookie season because of a groin injury. After sitting out the first six games in 2014 with a foot injury, he played in 37 straight games, and the coaches praised his focus and improvement this season. [...] defensive tackles Stacy McGee (ankle) and Darius Latham (ankle) and linebacker Shilique Calhoun (knee) were ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Bills. Running back LeSean McCoy is eighth in the NFL in rushing with 819 yards, and quarterback Tyrod Taylor has 423 yards rushing. “It’s like they have two running backs in the backfield,” Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack said.

Linebacker Raiders let get away may haunt them with Buffalo

Sat, 3 Dec 2016 05:55:33 UT

Linebacker Raiders let get away may haunt them with Buffalo Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio and Bills head coach Rex Ryan go way back, and still laugh at the fun times they had as assistants on the Ravens’ team that won the Super Bowl in 2001. Oakland let special teams player Lorenzo Alexander of Berkeley go at the end of last season. “He’s a superstar-type player on special teams, so that’s really what we thought we were getting,” Ryan said in a conference call. Alexander made the Pro Bowl as a special teams player with Washington in 2012, but it wasn’t until Bills first-round draft pick Shaq Lawson underwent shoulder surgery in May that more was asked of Alexander. Everybody may not recognize him, as he has gone from a 315-pound defensive tackle at Cal to a 240-pound linebacker. “His success is a tribute to his work ethic,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “I wanted to sign back because I knew they were going to be a Super Bowl contender with all the young talent they had, just based on last year,” Alexander said. Alexander became close friends with quarterback Derek Carr after they went to Bible study together every Friday last year. No matter if you’re a wide receiver or considered a prima donna or whatever you may be or whatever your life outside of football, he knows how to connect to people, relate to them and bring them in, and not make them feel like they’re not good enough.

Raiders GM McKenzie gives updates on Mario Edwards Jr., Aldon Smith

Fri, 2 Dec 2016 07:38:37 UT

Reggie McKenzie sat down with reporters Thursday, and at one point, the Raiders’ general manager touched on the cool thing they all had seen on social media. Earlier that morning, defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr. posted a video on Instagram of his first workout on grass. Edwards has been on injured reserve all season with a hip injury, and his return would be huge for a 9-2 team with the No. 29 defense in the NFL. The second-year player was expected back a month ago, but McKenzie said there weren’t any setbacks, really. The Raiders had planned to bring Edwards off injured reserve after the minimum eight games required. Once the team designates Edwards ready to return to practice, it has three weeks to activate him to the 53-man roster or he will remain on IR for the remainder of the season. Another player the Raiders would love to get back for the playoff push is suspended linebacker Aldon Smith. The Raiders are hopeful he could contribute immediately on pass-rushing downs when he returns. The Raiders have turned around their fortunes from an 0-10 start in 2014 to their current spot atop the AFC West, with an eye on the future. McKenzie said they have planned to have the cap space to give quarterback Derek Carr and defensive end Khalil Mack big, new contracts after the next two seasons. McKenzie said head coach Jack Del Rio going for the two-point conversion and the win in the opener at New Orleans “set the tone” for the whole season.

Vic Tafur’s NFL picks for Week 13

Fri, 2 Dec 2016 05:04:03 UT

Vic Tafur’s NFL picks for Week 13 Take my first losing season picking games for us. Last week, the Bears dropped two passes in the end zone late and didn’t cover by 1 point. The Bengals didn’t cover by a point. Wearing a Castro shirt and making plays. Bills at Raiders (-3): Bigfoot-size trap, and the bookies set it out in the open. Broncos (3.5) at Jaguars: Chiefs at Falcons (-4.5): What a schedule for Kansas City. Texans at Packers (-6.5): Not as impressed with Green Bay’s save-its-season win over Philadelphia as everybody else was. Is the New Orleans home advantage back? Rams at Patriots (-13): Gronk is out and nobody cares. Dolphins at Ravens (-3): Miami let us down like Fredo Corleone last week, not covering. Bucs at Chargers (-3.5): Jameis Winston and Mike Evans are getting a lot of love for a big win over Seahawks. Washington at Cardinals (-2.5): People are still drinking the Arizona Kool-Aid, huh? (Yeah, we had a sip last week, shhh). Panthers at Seahawks (-7): Carolina was begging the Raiders to step on its neck, and then Derek Carr got hurt and it wound up pushing the 3-point spread. The Jets had their Super Bowl on Sunday, against the Patriots. Vic Tafur is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.

Raiders mend their sinful ways, draw fewer flags

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 06:47:08 UT

[...] a few things wrong, for instance, leading the NFL in both penalties (105) and penalty yards (867). Part of the reason for that is that Del Rio thinks officials are programmed to throw the flags at guys wearing silver and black. “It might take a while for the league and the referees to understand that what you grew up watching and some of the rule-breaking that this franchise was proud of at one point, that’s not how we’re doing things,” Del Rio said. The low point — or high, depending on your perspective — came in Week 8 against Tampa Bay when Oakland set an NFL record with 23 penalties (for 200 yards) ... and still won. The team with the longest active streak of non-winning seasons is the Rams with 12.

Khalil Mack-of-all-trades does it all for Raiders’ defense

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 06:19:27 UT

Khalil Mack-of-all-trades does it all for Raiders’ defense “Like Khalil (Mack) says, ‘By any means,’” offensive tackle Donald Penn said. Mack is not only the team’s best defensive player, icing Sunday’s win with a sack and a forced fumble, but the 25-year-old defensive end is also the team’s leader and motto provider. The Raiders are 9-2 and in first place in the AFC West. Mack had a big play at the end of each half, his interception return for a touchdown capping a 17-0 Oakland second quarter, and then the strip sack and recovered fumble to finish off the Panthers on a 4th-and-10 play at the Raiders’ 44-yard line. Knowing it’s fourth down and they’re going for it and it’s late in the game and they could possibly tie it up, you want to make that play to get the ball and end it. Because whatever we have to do, by any means. Mack was groomed for leadership by Charles Woodson and Justin Tuck in his first two seasons, but the playmaking ability was why the Raiders drafted him fifth overall in 2014. On the Panthers’ last play Sunday, receiver Amari Cooper said he was focused on only one player as the teams lined up. Mack overpowered tackle Trai Turner and was too fast for running back Fozzy Whittaker or guard Chris Scott to get a hand on him. Quarterback Cam Newton didn’t see him coming, and Mack swiped the ball loose right before Newton was going to throw. Del Rio wasn’t sure which play he liked better, that one or the interception, when Mack didn’t fall for a fake pass and then snatched a Newton pass and ran 6 yards for the touchdown.

Fantasy football: Leaving points on the bench is no fun

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 04:11:55 UT

Fantasy football: [...] Thomas Rawls was back in his workhorse role for Seattle for the cakewalk in Tampa Bay. In addition to collecting nine combined TDs and just two interceptions, he has contributed valiantly as a rusher — capped by his 113-yard outing Sunday. Taylor Gabriel, WR, Falcons: I was tempted to recommend the Cleveland castoff last week. On Sunday, against an excellent Arizona pass defense, Gabriel took two screens to the house and made his case to be Matt Ryan’s second-favorite receiver. Parker, who injured his back Sunday (but apparently not seriously), has graduated from boom-or-bust deep threat to become Ryan Tannehill’s go-to receiver. Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Patriots: The rookie is finding his groove, hauling in nine passes for 140 yards and three TDs over his past two games. [...] once Travis Benjamin returns to full strength, Inman will go back to being the third wheel in San Diego’s receiving corps. Chicago’s passing attack remains a work in progress, and no receiver is likely to emerge as a consistent fantasy contributor.

For years, the Raiders accumulated high-profile draft busts. Where are they now?

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 12:00:00 UT

Where have you gone, JaMarcus Russell?

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr grabs win with only 9 fingers

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 07:23:39 UT

[...] says David Carr, brother of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and current NFL Network analyst. Derek Carr injured the pinkie on his right hand Sunday, went to the locker room, and came back with a glove on the hand to lead a 35-32 win over the Panthers. [...] the trainers and Carr went into the locker room, took an X-ray and Carr was told it was not only negative, but he couldn’t injure the finger worse by playing. David Carr then showed the television audience that his brother’s throwing motion relies a lot on the thumb and forefinger. Carr came back into the game to the roar of the crowd and would lead the Raiders (9-2) to their fifth fourth-quarter comeback this season. Carr has completed 80 of 118 passes (67.8 percent) for 1,109 yards, with 10 TDs, one interception and a 122.5 passer rating when tied or trailing in the fourth quarter or overtime. Del Rio admitted that he got caught up in momentum swings of the game, with “the definite roar” of the home crowd. “One of the things I really love about the NFL is the extreme highs and lows, and we got a good dose of those yesterday,” Del Rio said. Carr’s reputation grows nationally — along with MVP talk — and, if possible, in his locker room. (Charles) Woodson last year kind of showed the guys what it looked like to fight through pain and whatever it takes to help the team. Starting cornerback David Amerson tested his injured knee before Sunday’s game, but Del Rio “elected to give him a little more rest” and hopes he’s back to face the Bills on Sunday.

Raiders QB Derek Carr rallies Oakland to 5th straight win

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 07:17:41 UT

Raiders QB Derek Carr rallies Oakland to 5th straight win The Raiders’ head coach didn’t know the results of Derek Carr’s X-ray until the Coliseum roared when the quarterback ran back to the field from the locker room in the third quarter. Quarterbacks coach Todd Downing told Carr this was his “Willis Reed moment” when he went back in. The Panthers rolled off 25 straight points after Carr went down a minute into the third quarter, as that little, right pinkie flipped the momentum in a game that the Raiders had dominated and led 24-7 at halftime. Carr then led Oakland to 11 points in the final 8:37 to secure the team’s fifth straight win and make it 2-0 in November against the two participants from last season’s Super Bowl. Sebastian Janikowski hit the game-winning 23-yard field goal with 1:45 left, after a glove-wearing Carr found Michael Crabtree for catches of 49 and 15 yards. When the defense took the field after Janikowski’s kick, Carr said he told defensive end Khalil Mack to “go end the game.” Carolina got to the Raiders’ 44, but Mack put the game on ice with a sack of Newton on 4th-and-10. In the second quarter, he picked off a Newton pass and ran it back 6 yards for a touchdown and a 24-7 lead with 59 seconds left in the half. Mack became the first NFL player since Charles Woodson to have a sack, interception, touchdown, forced fumble and fumble recovery in a game. The crowd was having a party after Mack scored, but that ended abruptly when Carr injured his pinkie on a botched snap and fumble less than a minute into the third quarter. Carr missed only one series, but Carolina — perhaps sensing the Raiders having been weakened — scored four straight touchdowns to seemingly take control of the game. After Jonathan Stewart scored on the possession started by the Carr fumble, Newton hit Ted Ginn on an 88-yard reception to make it 24-19 (the two-point-conversion pass failed). Carr’s fifth interception of the season added to the stunning reversal, which continued when Stewart scored his second touchdown to make it 25-24 (before another failed two-point try). Like that win over the Texans in Mexico, the Raiders took advantage of mistakes. [...] when the Panthers got the ball back, they were late getting in a play and had to burn their last timeout with 1:05 left — after an incomplete pass. Carr played the second half in the shotgun formation, as it was too painful to take a traditional snap from center. Carolina head coach Ron Rivera, who grew up a Raiders fan, was impressed.

Raiders: Game grades vs. Panthers

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 06:48:24 UT

The Raiders scored a season-high 24 points in the first half and probably win going away if Derek Carr doesn’t get hurt. The Raiders took some haymakers during Carolina’s 25-straight-points stretch, but made plays at the end to seal the deal. Sebastian Janikowski made both of his field-goal attempts and four of Marquette King’s five punts were good. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave had the Panthers’ defense reeling despite the Raiders not being able to run the ball. Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. did OK, considering he was without two starters. Carr got hurt, they couldn’t run the ball, Amari Cooper was a nonfactor and the defense gave up 25 straight points in a 12:07 span …

Raiders’ receiver Michael Crabtree makes up for off-games

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 06:45:05 UT

[...] after the Raiders’ 35-32 win Sunday, the receiver said this was “the most fun I’ve ever had playing football.” Crabtree had eight catches for 110 yards, with 64 coming on Oakland’s game-winning drive. On 3rd-and-9 from the Raiders’ 14, quarterback Derek Carr was under pressure and simply threw a pass up for grabs down the middle. Crabtree was matched against linebacker A.J. Klein on the play, and Crabtree came back and made an acrobatic catch for a 44-yard gain. Crabtree had five catches for 32 yards the previous two games and was limited all week in practice with a sore ankle. Offensive layers: A week after fullback Jamize Olawale made a big play late, tight end Clive Walford showed off his hands with a touchdown snag in traffic in the fourth quarter. Earlier, the Raiders had a scoring drive on which their longest plays were from third-string running back Taiwan Jones and No. 5 receiver Johnny Holton. The Raiders should learn more this week about the status of suspended linebacker Aldon Smith. ESPN reported that he applied for reinstatement Oct. 3 and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has 60 days to render a decision on reinstatement, according to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. Oakland won without starting linebacker Perry Riley Jr. (hamstring) and starting cornerback David Amerson (knee).

All-Everything Khalil Mack puts Raiders on his back in win

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 06:31:50 UT

Just before halftime, the Raiders’ defensive end picked off a Cam Newton pass at the Carolina 6-yard-line, ran it into the end zone, then launched himself backward into the Black Hole, sticking his landing. [...] the Raiders’ defensive players are getting in on the fun. The defense isn’t Super-duper yet, but it’s getting there, led by Mack, who is in the discussion for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. On Sunday, he had the interception touchdown, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery: a four-pack of whup-butt. Mack said former Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson, something of a mentor, has told him, “It’s time for you to take over games.” Mack’s sack came on the Panthers’ final play. First string.

Raiders: This & that ... stats & facts

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 05:12:22 UT

The Raiders’ defensive end had an interception — which he returned for his first career touchdown — one defended pass, one sack, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery. The final three of those came on the same play when his strip sack of Cam Newton with less than a minute to go sealed the outcome. The Raiders host the Bills and running back LeSean McCoy, left, on Sunday in their next-to-last regular-season home game. McCoy has rushed for at least 100 yards four times this season, including 103 in Sunday’s 28-21 defeat of Jacksonville that improved Buffalo to 6-5. Season-high receiving yards for Michael Crabtree, who had three catches for 5 yards last Monday. The last time the Raiders finished with a winning record; Sunday’s victory means that streak has ended. Raiders’ drives of at least 62 net yards; they also had six possessions that gained fewer than 10.

Struggling against tight ends, Raiders look to lock up Olsen

Sun, 27 Nov 2016 02:48:48 UT

Olsen is the leading pass-catcher among tight ends in the NFL with 54 catches for 745 yards and three touchdowns. Since 2013, the 6-foot-5, 255-pound Olsen has led NFL tight ends in receptions (288) and yards (3,673), with 22 touchdowns. The Raiders had done a better job the previous three games, allowing tight ends only a combined 98 yards on 11 catches. On the year, they’re seventh-worst in the NFL, allowing tight ends 651 yards (and five touchdowns) on 51 catches. Third-string quarterback Connor Cook did his part this week to help the Raiders prepare for Carolina quarterback Cam Newton. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said the size disparity was glaring, as Cook is 6-foot-4 and 217 pounds while Newton goes 6-5, 245. The Raiders added practice-squad linebackers James Cowser and Tyrell Adams to the active roster and waived tackle Matt McCants and tight end Ryan O’Malley on Saturday.