Raiders

...and the Dolphins pick theirs too

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...and the Dolphins pick theirs too

From Comcast SportsNet
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -- With his NFL debut still more than two weeks away, Ryan Tannehill can already boast of an achievement unprecedented among Miami Dolphins quarterbacks: He won a starting job in his first training camp. New coach Joe Philbin gave Tannehill the job Monday, meaning the Dolphins will have a rookie QB start a season opener for the first time when they play at Houston on Sept. 9. Not even Pro Football Hall of Famers Dan Marino or Bob Griese started the first game of their rookie season. Tannehill beat out Matt Moore, who started the final 12 games last year. "It was a close competition," Philbin said of his biggest decision so far as a head coach. "You're trusting your instincts in terms of what's in the best interests of the team. ... We like a lot of things about Ryan. He has a chance to be a very good player." Training camp began with a three-way competition at quarterback, but veteran David Garrard fell out of contention when he underwent minor knee surgery Aug. 11. Tannehill, who played at Texas A&M, was drafted with the eighth overall pick, which made him the first quarterback taken in the opening round by the Dolphins since Marino in 1983. Marino retired following the 1999 season, and the Dolphins (No. 27 in the AP Pro32) have since had more starting quarterbacks than any other team. Tannehill will be the 17th -- easy to remember because he wears No. 17. He started the Dolphins' second exhibition game Friday at Carolina and went 11 for 23 for 100 yards. Through two preseason games he's 25 for 47 for 267 yards and one score, while Moore is 12 for 27 for 136 yards and one interception. "We took into account the entire body of work of everybody since April," Philbin said. The offense sputtered in the two games, both losses. Tannehill started just 19 games at A&M after switching from receiver to quarterback, and last year he threw 15 interceptions while going only 1-4 against Top 25 teams. But at 6-foot-4 and 222 pounds he wins raves for his size, arm strength, accuracy, toughness, poise, intelligence and overall athletic ability. Even Moore has become a fan. "The guy has got the talent to be in the league," Moore said shortly before Philbin announced that Tannehill will be the starter. "He obviously understands the game very well. He's capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL. There's no doubt about that. And he works his butt off. So he's got everything you want." Tannehill didn't talk to reporters following the announcement. Early in camp, Philbin targeted this week for making a decision. Tannehill worked with the first team in practice Monday and will likely get at least 80 percent of the snaps in the days to come, Philbin said. Moore exceeded expectations last year, when Miami went 6-10, but has been mostly unimpressive in training camp. "It's kind of a day-by-day thing," Moore said of his play this summer. "I think I can wow somebody tomorrow, or I can make them hate me even more." Tannehill's progress in camp was accelerated because the Dolphins' new offensive coordinator is Mike Sherman. He was Tannehill's college coach and brought the A&M playbook with him. The Dolphins drafted Tannehill after unsuccessfully courting Peyton Manning during the offseason. Now they'll see if the rookie was worth the investment. "We didn't hand him anything," Philbin said. "Nothing is forever in this league if a guy doesn't play well, at any position."

Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the Patriots

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USATSI

Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the Patriots

MEXICO CITY – Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City:

1. So you’re saying there’s a chance?

The Raiders aren’t stacking wins as they’d like. Nobody in the AFC West is, either. The Chiefs lost another one, meaning the AFC West crown remains within reach. They’re two games back in the division and one back in the wild card race.

That, above all else, will keep the Raiders motivated after a disastrous loss to New England.

“We're professionals and to me, so long as you have hope, you keep your hope, you keep hope alive,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “So, we'll continue to scratch and claw and fight for everything we can.”

The Raiders can harken Lloyd Christmas from “Dumb and Dumber.” So you’re saying there’s a chance?

The Raiders will only stay in it if they start a prolonged winning streak. There’s a chance do that on an upcoming two-game home stand. They play Denver and the New York Giants, respectively, in Oakland over the next fortnight. Those teams have five wins between them.

Wins can’t be assumed with the Raiders. With their inconsistency and mistake-prone play, they can lose to anyone.

Fight remains in this group. They’ll continue to push, especially with a 9-7 record being a legitimate playoff contender. They haven’t played worthy of such consideration, but remain hopeful a switch gets flipped.

“We are who we are, we're not going to turn on each other, we're not going to turn on anything about what we do,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “Obviously, we know that our culture and everything that we do works, because we have seen it work.”

2. Receiver corps becoming a weak spot

The Raiders have a talented group of receivers lacking consistency and production. That was the case on Sunday, when pass catchers hindered offensive flow and scoring opportunities.

Seth Roberts was the biggest offender. He had a drop, a false start and lost a fumble near the goal line with the Patriots up 14-0 late in the first half. Roberts had 12 yards in his pocket but held the ball one-handed, away from his body fighting for more. Marquis Flowers knocked it free and Patrick Chung recovered.

That was the turning point, a true 10-point swing. The Raiders lost a chance to reach the end zone, and allowed New England to get a field goal as the half expired.

“That was a major turn of events,” Del Rio said.

The slot receiver wasn’t the only receiver who stalled the Raiders offense. That group had five drops, according to Pro Football Focus, including two from Michael Crabtree. Johnny Holton wasn’t credited with a drop, but he had a perfectly thrown deep ball clang off his helmet and shoulder pads.

It’s a bad night in a bad year for the Raiders receivers, who haven’t been producing.

3. Lopsided score keeps Marshawn from going Beast Mode

Running back Marshawn Lynch was the only player who had a good Sunday. The bruising back ran roughshod over New England’s front seven, right from the start. He totaled 67 yards on 11 carries, and seemed primed for a big day and a higher-than-usual carry volume.

He and the Raiders run blocking was consistent, allowing him to reach the second level on several occasions.

The lopsided score, however, meant the Raiders had to abandon the ground game.

“I thought we ran the ball well early,” Del Rio said. “I would like to have ended up with 30-plus rush attempts in the ball game, but you got to stay within reasonable amount of the score in order to stick with the run.”

The Raiders were down two touchdowns in a flash, and were three scores behind at the half. That forced Derek Carr to chuck it towards an unreliable receiver corps. That method proved inefficient and never created the big moments.

Lynch has run well since returning from a one-game suspension. He has 25 carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games. If there’s a positive to take from Sunday’s beat down, Lynch’s efficiency might be it.

Del Rio calls out NFL for Raiders losing home games to go abroad

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AP

Del Rio calls out NFL for Raiders losing home games to go abroad

MEXICO CITY – The Raiders have played in Mexico City the last two years, and have given up a home game to do it.

You already know head coach Jack Del Rio’s stance on the matter. He doesn’t like it. Not one bit.

The NFL announced Sunday morning that Mexico City will host games annually through 2021. The Raiders will be on the short list to return during that span.

“They’ve done a nice job for us over the last two years,” Del Rio said. “If it was a road game, I’d enjoy it. If they stop making (international contests) our home games, we’ll be fine.”

Hate to be the bearer of bad news Jack, but the Raiders will keep giving home games away. That’s expected each year until the Raiders formally move to Las Vegas.

The Raiders might not come back to Mexico for a third straight season, but could host a game in London next year. The NFL sent four games to the United Kingdom this year.

The Raiders have a massive fan base in England and Mexico, which makes them an attractive option to play abroad.

It might make financial sense for the team and the league to expand its base beyond borders, but the football people don’t find it fun.

The Raiders had more fans watching Sunday’s 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots at Estadio Azteca, but it’s no substitute for playing in Oakland.

“I think the crowd down here is pretty excited for the Raiders, so we appreciate that,” Del Rio said. “When you travel four-and-a-half hours, you’re not at home. We appreciate the hospitality and the good people who came out and supported us, but it’s hard to call it a home game.”

This one, especially. The Raiders had overwhelming support last year’s game against Houston, but Patriots fans were a large and vocal minority. They had plenty to cheer, as the Patriots waxed the Silver and Black over four quarters.

It’s hard to say the Raiders had a home crowd this time around, with plenty of noise when they were on offense.

“You know what, traveling down here, I think it was like four hours or something like that, and getting here, I think that hospitality was great, but it really wasn't, it wasn't the Coliseum,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “It didn’t have that feel. Now, we loved playing here, we loved coming down here and playing, but it felt more neutral.”