Crabtree 'made a business decision' not to retaliate after 'fake' Talib breaks chain

Crabtree 'made a business decision' not to retaliate after 'fake' Talib breaks chain

DENVER – Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree exceeded 1,000 receiving yards for the first time since 2012. That’s a significant accomplishment for someone in the midst of a career renaissance, proof of his value to this Raiders offense.

That didn’t put him in a good mood after the regular season finale. A 24-6 loss to the Denver Broncos was a downer, but not the sole reason for his surly disposition.

Aqib Talib put a scowl on Crabtree's face. And so did the officials, who did nothing after Talib ripped a gold chain right off Crabtree in the first quarter.

“He has just been wearing that gold chain all year; it’s just been growing on me,” Talib said, via the Denver Post. “I said if he wears that chain in front of me, I’m going to snatch it off. He wore it in front of me, so I had to snatch it off. He started crying to the ref. He didn’t say nothing to me though.”

Crabtree said he tried to be polite in his plea to officials, but got rebuffed and threatened as an instigator.

“The refs are talking to me like I was playing dirty,” A guy snatches my chain. He’s hitting me after the play. But, if I react, they’ll kick me out of the game.

“It was too much. You see the dude and what he’s doing in front of me. What do you want me to do? I can’t react, or they kick me out of the game and I’m the bad guy. I made a business decision for my team.”

Crabtree wanted to strike back. Literally. He wanted to hit Talib, but didn’t want to get ejected and leave the Raiders offense lacking.

“I looked like I wanted to hit him…I’m not even that type of dude,” Crabtree said. “I play football. I don’t get up in anybody’s space doing all that extra cut blocking. I could’ve cut him. I could’ve hurt him, but I’m playing football. I don’t like that man.”

Crabtree doesn’t like Talib, either. He said the two don’t have a history, but the rivalry is real now.

“I really don’t like No. 21, though. I think he’s fake,” Crabtree said. “…You aren’t tough. You aren’t defending anybody up like that. You’re acting. You’re snatching chains up on the field. What do you accomplish? Are you hard? Are you tough? Does that make you tough? You’re snatching chains in front of the police and take off running. That was childish man.”

Raiders retain E.J. Manuel, now have four QBs on the roster


Raiders retain E.J. Manuel, now have four QBs on the roster

The Raiders have a lot of quarterbacks under contract, certainly more than they’ll have come September.

That means the battle to be Derek Carr’s backup should be fierce. EJ Manuel had that title last year, with a shot to retain it after re-signing with the club on Thursday afternoon.

Veteran Josh Johnson signed up Monday, and those two will join third-year man Connor Cook behind Carr on the depth chart.

New head coach Jon Gruden loved Cook coming out of the draft, but the Michigan State alum failed to earn the backup job last season and must make a move up the depth chart to kickstart his career.

Manuel has a strong arm and starting experience, making him a steady and solid backup option. He completed 24-of-43 passes for 265 yards, a touchdown and an interception in two games when Carr was hurt.

Johnson might be a camp arm at this point, though he’ll be given a chance to compete this spring and summer.

Carr has been hurt for at least a small stretch in each of the last two seasons. Having Manuel in that spot might offer stability.

Gruden addressed last year’s backup quarterbacks last month at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Gruden on Manuel: “I think EJ is a young, talented guy,” Gruden said. “He’s been in the facility working out on his own every day. There is a bright upside to him, too, as a young quarterback to keep working with. He’s a free agent, but the Philadelphia Eagles proved that’s a pretty damn important position, isn’t it? Right? So we have to address that and see where we are.”

Gruden on Cook: “I am kind of surprised Connor hasn’t played in two years, other than the playoff game he got in as a rookie. After Derek got hurt last year, they turned the ball to EJ. I don’t know where Connor Cook is. I am frustrated right now that I can’t spend any time with him, but, April 9th (when the Raiders offeseason program starts) will be an exciting day for me and Connor Cook.”

Raiders sign tackle Breno Giacomini


Raiders sign tackle Breno Giacomini

The Raiders need help at right tackle, the lone vacancy along their offensive line. They signed a veteran presence on Thursday afternoon, adding 32-year old Breno Giacomini as the frontrunner to join the starting five.

He has 86 starts in 94 career games, and has been a full-time starter three of the last four years. Giacomini spent 2017 in Houston and the previous three seasons with the New York Jets.

He was a Seattle Seahawk before that, working with Raiders offensive line coach Tom Cable for three of his four years there. Cable gave Giacomini his first chance to start in the second half of 2011, and held the post through 2012.

The bond between the two is clearly strong, considering what Giacomini tweeted shortly after Cable got fired in Seattle.

Coach and player will reunite, hoping to provide steadiness on the right side of the Raiders offensive line.

He’ll compete for a starting spot with Vadal Alexander, second-year pros David Sharpe and Jylan Ware and possibly a drafted player. Giacomini should be considered the favorite unless the Raiders use an early pick on an offensive lineman.

Giacomini has plenty of starts, but his Pro Football Focus numbers aren’t pretty. The analytics says he allowed nine sacks, eight quarterback hits and 64 pressures with Houston last year. He had some decent years under Cable, and a return to that form might push him into the starting lineup for good. Time will tell on that front.