Murray found 'good comfort' in return, sparked Raiders run game

Murray found 'good comfort' in return, sparked Raiders run game

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Raiders running game missed Latavius Murray. The fourth-year veteran added a physicality to the rushing attack only 6-foot-3, 230 pounds can bring when running with violence.

That was missing some during his two games sidelined with a case of turf toe. He was able to return for Sunday’s game at Jacksonville, and spearheaded a productive Raiders run game that churned out 144 yards on 34 carries in a 33-16 victory over the Jaguars.

Murray had 18 carries for 59 yards and two touchdowns in his return, which was made without aggravating his toe issue. He won’t love 3.3 yards per carry average, but his style completed a well-round rushing attack that got the job done.

“When we’re able to run the ball, we do good things,” Murray said. “I think I had good comfort as the game went on.”

Murray scored the Raiders’ first touchdown from two yards out, completing a 75-yard drive with 63 of them on the ground.

His second scored virtually secured victory. A 9-yard touchdown run established a three-score lead with 2 minutes, 35 seconds left and the final margin of victory.

Murray credited the offensive line for getting good push and setting backs up for success.

“Creating a new line of scrimmage up front, and they were about to get me and the other backs into the second level,” Murray said. “Those guys were awesome today.”

Murray was able to return without setting himself back. He’ll continue getting treatment and being smart with his feet to be well prepared for the next outing.

“I felt good,” Murray said. “Now it’s a matter of continuing to keep myself ahead of the game, take care of my body and do what I’ve been doing.”

Aldon Smith back in custody after police say he violated restraining order


Aldon Smith back in custody after police say he violated restraining order

SAN FRANCISCO — Former Oakland Raiders player Aldon Smith surrendered to police Friday on charges he violated a domestic violence restraining order.

San Francisco police said the 28-year-old Smith turned himself and was booked on three misdemeanor charges of violating a court order to stay away from a domestic violence victim.

Earlier this month, Smith pleaded not guilty to domestic violence and other charges and a judge issued a protective order prohibiting him from contacting the victim.

Police said Smith violated the restraining order earlier this week.

Smith’s attorney, Joshua Bentley, did not return a voicemail message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

The Raiders released the linebacker days after his arrest on the domestic violence charges.

He had been on the suspended list since late 2015 for violating the NFL’s policy on substance abuse.

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.”