Injury report: Smith says 'No. 21 is ready' to play; will Raiders agree?

Injury report: Smith says 'No. 21 is ready' to play; will Raiders agree?

ALAMEDA – Raiders cornerback is considered questionable to play Sunday night’s home game against Denver, per the team’s official injury report.

Smith wants to play this primetime game pretty bad. The secondary certainly needs him against the likes of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, but a left shoulder injured early in Week 8’s overtime victory over Tampa Bay called his availability into question.

Smith was able to practice in a limited capacity Thursday and Friday using a supportive harness and believes he’s ready to go against Denver.

“I’m ready,” Smith said. “That’s all anybody needs to know. No. 21 is ready.”

Whether Raiders coaches and trainers agree is another matter. They’ll make the final determination before Sunday night’s game.

Smith said his practice week went well, and that the injury wasn’t as bad as it played on TV, when his arm seemed to jam back out of its socket on the second defensive play against the Buccaneers. Smith didn’t return in that game.

“It probably looked worse than what it really was,” Smith said. “I’m good. I’ve been in this game a long time. A little shoulder (issue) ain’t going to hurt nobody.”

The Raiders need all hands on deck against quality Broncos receivers, but Smith has confidence that his group can get the job done.

“We want to disrupt the timing of routes,” Smith said. “If you can get a hand on them, that’s going to help out. As good as they are, it’s not really about them. We feel that we have a great game plan in place. We just have to give those guys up front time to rush the quarterback. If we play our technique and stay on top, we’re going to all right.”


-- The Raiders ruled defensive tackle Stacy McGee out of a second straight game with an ankle injury.

-- Receiver Amari Cooper was limited in each practice this week with a back strain and is formally questionable, but is expected to play.

-- Offensive linemen Rodney Hudson and Kelechi Osemele were also questionable are expected to play.

-- Austin Howard should make a fourth straight start at right tackle versus Denver.

Broncos Status Report

CB Aqib Talib (back)
C Matt Paradis (hip), CB Kayvon Webster (hamstring), ILB Brandon Marshall (hamstring)

NOTE: Denver’s CB Chris Harris Jr. (not injury related), S Darian Stewart (not injury related), S T.J. Ward (not injury related), OLB Shaq Barrett (shoulder), RB Devontae Booker (shoulder), FB Andy Janovich (hand), QB Trevor Siemian (shoulder), OLB DeMarcus Ware (forearm) and NT Sylvester Williams (ankle) did not receive an injury designation, meaning they will play.

Raiders Status Report

DL Stacy McGee (knee)
RB Taiwan Jones (knee), OT Menelik Watson (calf), LG Kelechi Osemele (knee), C Rodney Hudson (knee), RB Taiwan Jones (knee), FB Jamize Olawale (ankle), CB Sean Smith (shoulder), RT Vadal Alexander (ankle)

NOTE: Oakland LT Donald Penn (not injury related) did not receive an injury designation, meaning they will play.


Reports: Marshawn Lynch to remain with Raiders in 2018


Reports: Marshawn Lynch to remain with Raiders in 2018

The Raiders signed veteran running back Doug Martin on Thursday, prompting many to believe the move meant the end of Marshawn Lynch's time in Oakland.

But as it has been expected, Martin is just another piece to go along with Lynch in the Raiders' backfield. According to multiple national reports, Lynch will remain in Silver and Black this upcoming season. 

The news will become official when the Raiders pay Lynch his $1 million roster bonus on Sunday. 

“One of the reasons I’m excited to be with the Raiders is to join forces with Lynch. We’ll see what happens," Jon Gruden told Insider Scott Bair at the NFL Scouting Combine. “We have to take a look at the entire roster, but I’m counting on him. I’m counting on him being a big part of this football team.”

Lynch, 31, rushed for 891 yards, averaging 4.3 yards per carry, and scored seven touchdowns for the Raiders in 2017. 

New Raiders cornerback supremely confident, 'here to dominate the league'


New Raiders cornerback supremely confident, 'here to dominate the league'

Rashaan Melvin has the supreme confidence of a No. 1 cornerback, with none of the pedigree. Top cover men are often drafted high, paid well or both, with a steady ascent to elite status.

This undrafted talent bounced around the league without job security, trying and often failing to find NFL footing.

Melvin spent time with Tampa Bay, Miami, Baltimore, New England and Miami again before establishing himself in Indianapolis. The Colts gave him a real shot and he took advantage, evolving into the team’s top cornerback. Last year was Melvin’s best, but it didn’t provide a long-term contract despite a bull market for cover men.

Melvin signed a one-year, $6.5 million deal with the Raiders on Friday, the type of prove-it deal that could establish a big payday down this time next year. The 28-year old doesn’t consider that pressure. Melvin knowns another big year's on the way, one that proves he's an elite cornerback

"I’m here to dominate the league," Melvin said Friday in a conference call. "It might be time for some new faces at the cornerback position. That’s my take on that. I’m excited for it.”

Melvin wouldn’t trade his long road for a conventional path, and believes experience both good and bad has prepared him for a pivotal season.

“I’ve been cut four times,” Melvin said. “I’ve been in four different locker rooms, and I was able to gain my teammates’ trust, my coaches’ trust and the organization’s trust as well. My confidence just grows over time. There are not a lot of players that can say they’ve been cut four times and end up in a situation where I’m at today. Like I said, it’s perfect timing. My work ethic, my style of play and the way I approach the game and the way I approach my job, my business, it speaks for itself.”

Melvin’s work ethic is unquestioned. His reputation as a grinder is well documented, especially after establishing himself in Indianapolis. Commitment to a craft has created a player with consistent coverage and ball skills.

Melvin was excellent last year. According to Pro Football Focus, Melvin created an incomplete pass (combining passes defensed and interceptions) on 23.6 percent of his targets.

Passers had a 60.3 passer rating against him in 2017, with just 29 completions for 328 yards on 55 targets. The passer rating was 86.6 in 2016, his only other season as a regular starter.

The Raiders need that type of player on the outside. They’ve had inconsistent cornerback play (that’s being kind) in recent seasons, and are hoping Melvin provides stability at a key position. The Northern Illinois alum has loftier aspirations, individually and as the leader of a young position group.

“The goal is to be the best player I can be, first-team All-Pro,” Melvin said. “I’m going to show my leadership, help these young guys out this year. They have tons of potential to be successful in their own careers. For me coming in here and being the leader and showing that, hey, this is what it takes to be successful in this football league, that’s what I’m willing to do. That’s what I’m willing to bring to the table. On the football field, but outside as well.”

Paying $6.5 million for all that would be a bargain. Melvin’s the key acquisition in a secondary built around 2016 first-round safety Karl Joseph and 2017 first-round cornerback Gareon Conley. This secondary can be solid if those guys can realize potential and Melvin’s a true No. 1 cornerback.

He considers that title appropriate, and is ready to show he’s more that a one-year wonder. The Raiders have great confidence in Melvin, something clear after targeting him early in the free-agent process. Financing’s always a big factor, but Friday’s meeting with head coach Jon Gruden, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and secondary coach Derrick Ansley convinced Melvin that Oakland’s a proper fit.

“I can relate to these guys,” Melvin said. “They have big plans for me, big plans for the organization. I was born to be a part of something special; that’s happening in Oakland. It was a good thing. We were able to get everything done, a deal done. I’m just excited to be here and I’m excited to see what the future holds for us as a team and me as a player.”