Del Rio: Raiders WRs dropping more passes 'than I'm comfortable with'

Del Rio: Raiders WRs dropping more passes 'than I'm comfortable with'

The Raiders passing game was prolific this season. Derek Carr led an air attack featuring Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree -- 1,000-yard receivers who had some big days in big-time wins.

This group had a one tragic flaw. They struggled securing passes. The Raiders led the NFL in receiver drops, according to analytics site Pro Football Focus.

The typically sure handed Crabtree was the worst offender, with 13 drops from 102 catchable passes.

Raiders receivers had major drop issues in a playoff loss to Houston, unable to secure six passes that could have aided rookie quarterback Connor Cook.

That’s an issue the Raiders plan to address before next season.

“I haven’t looked at the final tally, but I would say that there are more than I’m comfortable with, more than we should have,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “You can add that to the list of things we’re talking about here, areas that are obvious areas that must improve.”

Cooper qualified for his second Pro Bowl in as many seasons after recording 1,153 yards and five touchdowns on 83 catches.

He fixed last year’s drop issues but faded down the stretch for the second straight season, exceeding 60 yards only once in his last nine games. Last year, Cooper was hindered by a foot injury. Del Rio said he’ll have to examine the reason for this season’s dropoff.

“Last year, I think it was clearly involved with his foot. Don’t believe he was dealing with a similar type of injury,” Del Rio said. “Whether it’s, as we evaluate ourselves and go back and look at it, whether it was what they were doing to us or what we weren’t doing to provide those opportunities for him.

"Which was it? Was the guy he was going against good enough to get him slowed down? Was it scheme? Was it design on our part? Those are all things we have to look at in detail after the season.”

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.