Raiders

Del Rio eyes NFL scoreboards with dual purposes

jdr-us.jpg
USATSI

Del Rio eyes NFL scoreboards with dual purposes

Jack Del Rio is an NFL fan. That was the case 32 years ago, before beginning his career as a professional player and then coach.

His love for the league was fostered at Oakland Coliseum, cheering for his hometown Raiders. The job hasn’t changed things. Not one bit.

The Raiders have a bye this week, but their head coach will carve time to watch Sunday’s slate. As it was decades ago, Del Rio has a rooting interest.

He has always wanted the Raiders to succeed while rivals struggle. Now he needs that to happen.

Del Rio’s team is 4-5 heading into a Week 11 showdown with New England in Mexico City, with an uphill climb remaining to be a legitimate contender.

Del Rio could use a combination of Raiders wins and favorable results, which is what happened Sunday. The Chiefs, Broncos, Ravens and Bills lost. The Silver and Black beat Miami, and jumped from 14th to ninth in conference. They’re 1.5 games back of a wild card spot and two games behind Kansas City in the AFC West.

While adjacent results don’t matter if the Raiders lose too often, Del Rio admits to watching scoreboards even with so much football left.

“You can’t help but look. I mean if you’re a fan… Heck, I’m looking all the time,” Del Rio said Monday. “That’s just the fan aspect, but the professional aspect, we have to just focus on the process of what goes into playing really well, understanding your assignment, being accountable, doing your job, basic stuff. And that’s what we want to keep the focus of our attention.”

The Raiders focused inward during their bye and got ahead on their preparation for an excellent Patriots squad. But…since they can’t add to their win column this weekend, they wouldn’t mind having Buffalo and the New York Jets lose. A tie between the Jaguars and Chargers would be ideal. Having New England beat Denver wouldn’t hurt either.

That would be quite a parlay. No matter what happens, what will near future results mean?

“We’ll find out at the end,” Del Rio said. “We’ll find out at the end. For us, just keep stacking wins and find a way to win the next one and we have a tough challenge going against the Patriots.”

The Raiders face a brutal schedule, with the Patriots, Chiefs, Cowboys and Eagles highlighting the slate. The home stretch wouldn’t feel so daunting had the Raiders made hay early. Instead they lost to beatable teams and fell behind the back.

No one in the Raiders organization thought they’d had to watch scoreboards. That’s a chaser’s activity. Frontrunners are overwhelmingly concerned with their own results.

The Raiders hope to find consistency in all phases and go on a run.

"We need to get better on defense. We need to get better on offense and special teams,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “We have to improve. Our record is what it is, but we’re right in the thick of it. We have to worry about winning the next game. We’ve got to figure that out."

That has to happen in a hurry. They have to go 6-1 in remaining games to hit their target record.

“It’s been my experience in this league that you typically have to get to 10 and that doesn’t always get it done,” Del Rio said. “I think this year is one of those years where it’s very competitive throughout the league. I don’t know that there’s one team that’s so dominant that everybody shudders at the thought of playing them. I think there are a lot of good teams, and a lot of very capable teams. It’s a matter of going out and executing well and playing good football and finding a way to win on Sunday.

“The bottom line is you keep playing. Keep improving. You want to get hot at the right time. For us, there’s no time like the present to get hot.”

Raiders could draft present, future help at offensive tackle this week

raiderslinemen.jpg
AP

Raiders could draft present, future help at offensive tackle this week

Offensive tackles aren’t cheap, especially those featured on the left. The Raiders have paid Donald Penn decent sums in recent seasons to play at a Pro Bowl level, but he won’t be around much longer.

He could call it a career after his contract expires in 2019. The Raiders also need a shorter-term solution at right tackle after trial-and-error in recent years.

That puts offensive tackle firmly in play in the early rounds of this NFL draft. While the Raiders have more pressing needs in 2018, it makes sense to add a right tackle of the present and left tackle of the future right now.

Going young and cheap on the outside seems vital, considering how much center Rodney Hudson and guards Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson are set to make.

Going for a tackle at No. 10 overall shouldn’t be eliminated as a prospect, but it makes more sense to trade down some if targeting an offensive tackle in the first round. Here are some options early, and a smidge later, with the pedigree and talent to be a front-line starter.

Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
-- He’s the consensus top offensive tackle in this NFL draft, and some even have him going to the Raiders at No. 10. Projections have him going all over the first round, but should be available with a trade down from 10. He’s technically sound, with great work ethic and an ability to play on the right and left. Some consider McGlinchey unspectacular, but he’s reliable and fits most any blocking scheme.
Projected round (per NFL.com): 1

Kolton Miller, UCLA
-- Miller’s one of a surprising few expected to go in the first round, and is considered a player with boom-or-bust potential. He has excellent size and power, fully able to pass protect and run block into the second level. He identifies blitzers and surprise rushers quickly and adjusts, analysts say. He doesn’t have great bend and can be vulnerable against power rushers. Opinions vary on Miller’s NFL prospects, but he could be the second tackle off the board.
Projected rounds (per NFL.com): 1-2

Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
-- Brown is an All-American and Outland Trophy finalist with some great college tape, but had a terrible combine that hurt his draft prospects. His athleticism and strength were called into question, and analysts say his quickness is below average. He has great size at 6-foot-8, 360 pounds, but doesn’t have proportional strength. He could be coached up well, and may be a bargain later on Day 2.
Projected rounds (per NFL.com): 2-3

Joseph Noteboom, Texas Christian
The former Horned Frog has solid size (6-5, 319) and strength, with the ability to add more muscle. Analysts say he’s inconsistent, but flashed great talent and athleticism during the combine and the Senior Bowl. He plays well in space, but needs to remain technically sound under pressure. He has all the tools to excel in the pros, especially if paired with a good coach who can develop him quickly.
Projected rounds (per NFL.com): 2-3

Raiders sign talented but troubled ex-Panthers cornerback

darylworleypanthersap.jpg
AP

Raiders sign talented but troubled ex-Panthers cornerback

The Raiders signed cornerback Daryl Worley on Monday afternoon, in a move that adds talent and starting experience to the position group.

Worley also comes with baggage. The Philadelphia Eagles released him on April 15 following an incident near the team facility where he was reportedly arrested on suspicion of DUI and was tased by police after becoming confrontational. He was arrested after being found passed out in a vehicle blocking a highway.

He has been charged with six offenses, including DUI, resisting arrest and weapons charges. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for May 1.

The Eagles let Worley go just weeks after acquiring him in trade from Carolina for receiver Torrey Smith. 

The 23-year old has been a solid player in two seasons since being selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft. He has 25 starts to his credit, with 152 tackles, three interceptions and 19 passes defensed in 31 games played.

The West Virginia alum – he played with Karl Joseph in the Mountaineers secondary – could feature prominently among the Raiders top three cornerbacks alongside Gareon Conley and Rashaan Melvin.

Leon Hall and Shareece Wright highlight the team’s backup options.

Worley’s regular-season availability could be in jeopardy. He could face punishment from the NFL in addition to criminal charges. The league could suspend him if found in violation of the league’s substance abuse or personal conduct policies. Time will tell if the league levies punitive action.

This signing should not eliminate the prospect of taking a defensive back high in this NFL draft. Denzel Ward and Minkah Fitzpatrick are considered options at No. 10 overall.