Cook fumble, another poor start dooms Raiders: 'It was a huge mistake'


Cook fumble, another poor start dooms Raiders: 'It was a huge mistake'

OAKLAND -- The Raiders were down 14 points in a flash. Three minutes, 38 seconds to be exact.

The Ravens scored a touchdown five plays into Sunday’s opening drive, then another three snaps later.

The Raiders spent the rest of their day chasing a sunset. They ultimately fell 30-17 to a beatable Baltimore team, and never recovered from that terrible start.

Baltimore scored quickly on that opening drive. Sean Smith got torched for 52 yards on the first play. The Ravens combined some good runs and crossed the goal line. The start wasn’t ideal, but those things happen.

What happened next put the Raiders in a bind. Quarterback EJ Manuel found Jared Cook in the left flat and, once the veteran tight end sprinted for open space, Patrick Onwuasor popped the ball out. Jimmy Smith scooped, ran 46 yards and scored the Ravens’ second touchdown.

“I was trying to put the ball in my outside arm, and the defender came through and swiped it and tackled me at the same time,” Cook said. “That was my fault. Self-inflicted wounds are not something we need on this offense. It was a huge mistake that turned into points for them.”

The Raiders wanted to start fast Sunday, especially after falling behind early in consecutive losses. Cook’s error set the Raiders back. They never recovered.

The Silver and Black have been outscored 31-3 in the first quarter of three straight losses. Sunday’s deficit was the biggest. It didn’t force the Raiders to abandon a game plan that featured steady rushing and comfortable passes for backup EJ Manuel. The method worked, just not well enough to overcome another sagging start.

“That’s a hole you don’t want to put yourself in,” right tackle Marshall Newhouse said. “If you do that, you’re digging out the rest of the game. It’s tough. I don’t care who’s playing. That’s not the way you want to start.”

Marshawn Lynch’s 3-yard touchdown run made it a one-score deficit late in the third quarter, but the Raiders defense couldn’t get the ball back quick enough. The Ravens added two late field goals to keep the game out of reach.

“We did our best to fight back, but we have to stay on the field,” Cook said. “It’s on us to be able to covert third downs and keep drives alive to help our defense and turn long drives into points.”

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.