Carr 'surgeon-like' in helping Raiders finish

Carr 'surgeon-like' in helping Raiders finish

Derek Carr has been excellent late in games. His Raiders have been down near the two-minute warning three times and won twice thanks to his heroics, which have become common through the season’s quarter pole.

Carr has seven fourth-quarter comebacks in his career, six in the last two seasons and a pair in 2016’s first four games. No quarterback has been better in the clutch since 2015, which has given these Raiders confidence they’ll win every close game.

They finish strong in all phases, the only reason they’re 3-1 heading into Sunday’s AFC West opener against San Diego.

The Raiders have complete faith Carr will come through when it matters most.

“He is super competitive. He is a guy that is very well prepared,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He’s really, I think, taken a step forward in terms of emotional control, the poise to be, kind of, surgeon-like and just be accurate with the ball and let his playmakers do their thing. So, it’s a combination of things but I think he’s definitely taken a step forward for us.”

Carr has talked extensively about slowing the game down in important moments, with a mental approach that keeps emotion at bay. Calm has been crucial to late-game success. So has a little restraint.

“I still feel that I can go out there and make all of the throws, make every play, and, I’m just learning that I don’t have to do that on every snap,” Carr said. “We have a great weapon with our punter. We have a great weapon with our defense. When we’ve needed them, they’ve come up big. So, I needed to learn last year that I don’t have to make every play, and I think that alone right there took so much stress off me when Coach Del Rio said, ‘Hey man, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. We’re going to help you.’ I thought that was really cool and it kind of made me realize and put me in a different perspective.”

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers might have to make every big play work, because his teammates haven’t helped late in games. The Chargers have led all four games at the two minute warning and lost three. They’re finding ways to lose close contests, which has become the defining characteristic of the Mike McCoy era.

The Chargers head coach has helmed several astonishing losses, including three heartbreakers that have him on the hot seat.

“The way we’ve unfortunately haven’t finished games, there’s different reasons for it,” McCoy said in a conference call. “It’s not the same. It’s not just one phase not doing something. You look at those games that just one play somewhere or one decision, whatever that is, but that’s the game here. There’s a lot of talent on every team, on all sides of the ball and the kicking game. You have to make those plays. That’s what the game’s all about.”

The Chargers can score, even with so many playmakers out with injury. That means Sunday’s game could be close late, leading to another photo finish. The Raiders seem to have an edge there, whether it’s Carr or his compatriots charged with locking down wins.

“It’s a fine line in our league,” Del Rio said. “For us, it’s about making sure that we’re prepared, that we’re recovered from a couple of road trips, you come back and be recovered. And then, really dig into our preparation and get ourselves ready to play a divisional opponent here at home.”

Raiders sign linebacker with Paul Guenther connection


Raiders sign linebacker with Paul Guenther connection

The Raiders entered this free agency period needing defensive help throughout the depth chart. They signed presumptive starters earlier in this veteran acquisition process, but didn’t stop there.

The Silver and Black have added depth this week especially, signing a key cog in linebacker Emmanuel Lamur on Wednesday afternoon.

Lamur spent the last two years in Minnesota and the previous four in Cincinnati with new Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. Guenther was his position coach from 2012-13 and his DC from 2014-15. He also knows Raiders linebackers coach David Lippincott from the Bengals days

Lamur has primarily been a reserve, but Guenther gave him an opportunity to start in 2014. He had 59 tackles and two interceptions in 13 starts that year as a strongside linebacker.

The Raiders have options at that spot, but no firm starter at this stage if Bruce Irvin plays defensive end full time.

Lamur hasn’t played much defense the last two years, but is known as a quality special teams contributor. The Raiders have signed several of those players in an attempt to improve coverage and returns.

All told, the Raiders have signed 14 unrestricted free agents with a shot to make the 53-man roster since last week began. The roster will turnover significantly in Jon Gruden’s return to the Raiders, and it’s possible he signs more players in coming days.

The Raiders are still looking for upgrades at receiver, and might add another bargain defensive lineman.

Report: Ndamukong Suh calls off meeting with Raiders


Report: Ndamukong Suh calls off meeting with Raiders

Ndamukong Suh won’t meet with the Raiders, after all. The star defensive tackle cut Alameda out of his free-agent tour, according to NFL Network, choosing instead to head home after stops in New Orleans, Tennessee and the L.A. Rams.

NFLN reports that Suh had dinner with Rams coach Sean McVay on Tuesday night, and was due in Oakland the following day. The Rams made a solid impression

Suh is reportedly mulling options from all three aforementioned playoff teams, all of which have more working salary-cap space and other stalwarts along the defensive line.

That’s surely a disappointment for the Raiders, who have had interest in Suh dating back to his last free-agent experience in 2015. The Silver and Black couldn’t afford him then. It seems unlikely they can afford him now, with precious little salary-cap space remaining after being active in free agency’s second wave.

The Raiders also hope to lock Khalil Mack up long-term with a massive extension this offseason.

It’s uncertain at this stage whether player or team cancelled the meeting, or exactly why it was called off. The Raiders could still sign a veteran defensive tackle, and/or acquire one early in the NFL Draft.