Instant Analysis: Raiders completely dominate Jets in home opener


Instant Analysis: Raiders completely dominate Jets in home opener


OAKLAND – The Raiders blew out the New York Jets. Marshawn Lynch’s homecoming game featured vintage Beast Mode on the field and the sideline.

Nobody mentioned Las Vegas.

Pretty nice little Sunday in the East Bay.

A rout was on in the second half, where the Raiders flashed a full arsenal in the backfield, receiving corps and the pass rush. They fed off a raucous crowd and never once phoned it in, massive talented disparity be damned, in a 45-20 victory at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

The team’s home opener started a countdown to Las Vegas in 2020, but the crowd didn’t care. Relocation’s off in the distance. Raiders football is pretty fun right now.

The 54,729 fans on hand enjoyed most every moment of this one, though Lynch predictably stole the show. His first touchdown as a Raider brought the house down, coming from two yards out in the second quarter. Then he had a solo dance party on the sideline that fans joined.

The Raiders defense proved potent for a second-straight week, especially when able to rush the passer with a lead. They created tons of pressure – Karl Joseph was an outstanding blitzer -- finished with a sack on the day.

Michael Crabtree took advantage of single coverage, with six receptions for 80 yards and a career-high three touchdowns.

Derek Carr was 22-for-27 passing for 225 yards, three touchdowns.

This day was perfect from a Raiders perspective (no game is), but was pretty darn close.


TIDE TURNER: The Raiders cruised through the first quarter, but the Jets responded with 10 unanswered points in the second. The game got close and the Raiders offense sputtered some, punting with two minutes left in the half.

Then the tide turned. Kalif Raymond muffed Marquette King’s 55-yard punt, sending the ball backwards. Raiders gunner Johnny Holton was quick to recover, giving the Raiders possession four yards from pay dirt. Marshawn Lynch scored three plays later to establish a firm first-half lead.

CONLEY’S FIRST TEST:Raiders first-round pick Gareon Conley made his NFL debut on Sunday afternoon, and was the No. 3 cornerback entering in sub packages. He played outside, with starter TJ Carrie sliding into the slot.

Conley wasn’t tested much, but his first target never saw the receiver’s hand. Conley had proper position on a deep route, jumped up and batted the ball away. It remained in his vicinity, so Conley hit it again. It went toward safety Reggie Nelson, who couldn’t haul an interception in.

Conley played a significant role in his first NFL game, a moment delayed by a shin injury. He was up to the task, and showed well despite missing Week 1 and the entire preseason.

OWN WORST ENEMY: The Raiders too often hurt themselves against the Jets, especially in the first half. They were flagged six times for 64 yards, a total including five 15-yard infractions. Some were controversial to be sure, including Bruce Irvin’s unnecessary roughness penalty, but the flags extended Jets drives and hindered Raiders series.

All told, the Raiders had nine penalties for 79 yards. That’s uncharacteristic of Del Rio led teams, especially infractions after the whistle.


Does Gruden see Lynch, Crabtree on Raiders in 2018?


Does Gruden see Lynch, Crabtree on Raiders in 2018?

Jon Gruden doesn’t love offseason restrictions on player-coach interaction. They weren’t so strict when Gruden last coached nine years ago, but the new collective bargaining agreement prevents the new Raiders head coach from extended contact with his players at this stage in the NFL’s downtime.

He has, however, run into several Raiders stopping by the team’s Alameda complex.

Count running back Marshawn Lynch and receiver Michael Crabtree among them. Conversations with those talented, yet mercurial players will be key as Gruden and general manager Reggie McKenzie decide how best to use the salary cap.

Both guys have a long history of NFL production. Both guys are getting up there in age, and have some drawbacks. Both guys can be cut without a salary cap hit.

Gruden had nice things to say about both guys in a Wednesday interview with the Bay Area News Group.

He was asked directly if Lynch will be on the 2018 roster.

“I don’t know,” Gruden said. “I bumped into him. Some of these players that live locally do come to the facility to get a workout, see the trainer. I’ve been downstairs and met several guys. I have talked to Marshawn briefly. We’ll see. We’ll keep everybody posted. Right now, he’s our leading ball carrier. He’s our back, and we’re counting on him. Hopefully we get an opportunity to work together. That’s a man that has a lot of respect in this league as a player and I certainly have respect for him also.”

Lynch started slow but finished strong, and was the team’s best skill player in the season’s second half. He’s contracted to make up to $6 million in 2018.

Crabtree came up later in a discussion of what he likes on the roster.

“I got to bump into Crabtree,” Gruden said. “Hopefully we can get the best out of Crabtree and his career.”

Crabtree is coming off a down year following two stellar seasons in Oakland. He had just 58 catches for 618 yards – he still had eight touchdowns – but his targets and snaps decreased the last two weeks. He seemed at odds with the previous coaching staff, a group that was dismissed at season’s end.

Crabtree is set to make $7 million next season, though none of it is guaranteed.

Gruden meeting reinforces T.J. Carrie's desire to remain with Raiders


Gruden meeting reinforces T.J. Carrie's desire to remain with Raiders

PALO ALTO – Raiders cornerback T.J. Carrie became a father on Super Bowl Sunday. Newborn son Elijah Carrie has been the sole focus these last few weeks, as T.J. learns on the job how to be a dad.

Pardon him if he hasn’t thought much about impending free agency. The 2014 seventh-round pick turned full-time starter has a rookie deal expiring soon, with a raise on the horizon following his best season as a pro.

That’ll come in March. Early February, however, has kept him otherwise engaged.

“I’ve been so busy with my little one, and I haven’t been getting any sleep,” Carrie said Thursday. “Learning how to be a dad has been so engulfing that I haven’t delved into the details of what free agency will mean to me.”

Soul searching wasn’t required to realize his dream scenario. The East Bay native wants to stay in Oakland, with a Raiders team he loved as a kid.

“My intention is to be here,” Carrie said. “I’m a Bay Area guy, a hometown kid. I couldn’t see myself being anywhere else. This is a passion for me. I dreamed about playing for the Raiders for such a long time. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to play there for four years, I want to finish (with the Raiders).”

Carrie wants to work with a new Raiders regime. He visited the team’s Alameda complex on Wednesday and met with new head coach Jon Gruden and defensive assistants. The interaction left Carrie wanting more, furthering his belief that be belongs in Silver and Black.

“Coach Gruden is very energetic,” Carrie said. “He’s a coach that likes to have fun but it a very business oriented guy. There are a lot of things, I imagine, that are going to change, just from the way he has done things. It’s going to be different, but I embrace it. It’ll be very challenging entering into a new regime, but there are a lot of positive factors involved with it.”

The Raiders don’t have many cornerbacks under contract come mid-March. They released David Amerson, and could do the same with Sean Smith later this offseason. Gareon Conley should start at one spot, but everything else is wide-open entering free agency and the draft.

Carrie could find value on the open market after recording 70 tackles and nine passes defensed in 16 starts. He’ll explore his options further next month, before free agency begins in earnest March 14.

“I know March is really when it starts to go down,” Carrie said. “My son will be a little older then, so I can focus more on free agency and make some more decisions.”