Notes: Numbers suggest newcomer Marshall Newhouse fitting right in with Raiders


Notes: Numbers suggest newcomer Marshall Newhouse fitting right in with Raiders

ALAMEDA – The Raiders like quality and continuity along the offensive line. Big contracts secured four top talents, locking Donald Penn, Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson and Gabe Jackson up until at least 2019 .

Those four horsemen ride from left to right, with one new guy joining the group. Veteran Marshall Newhouse signed a two-year contract this offseason to play right tackle.

The 28-year old has played everywhere but center. He has started at left tackle and on the right. He has played both guard spots, as a starter and reserve.

He was brought in to focus on one spot, but Donald Penn’s contract holdout spoiled that plan. Newhouse spent training camp in Penn’s stead, before switching sides.

A prolonged camp battle with Vadal Alexander was compressed into a few practices and the regular season opener, but the frontrunner Newhouse emerged victorious.

It wasn’t a hard decision. He has been excellent thus far, recently in a 45-20 victory over the New York Jets. Over the course of two games and 62 pass blocking snaps, Newhouse hasn’t allowed a single quarterback pressure this season, per analystic site Pro Football Focus.

The Raiders haven’t run his way much, mostly going away from gaps he can control, but he has been solid when given the chance.

“I think he’s done a solid job with that,” head coach Jack Del Rio said in his Monday press conference. “Little bit unusual that he’s a swing guy, was signed to come in and compete at the right tackle position and then with the holdout, he played left tackle most of the offseason. The way it worked, he and Vadal [Alexander] competed for the right tackle spot last week and we ended up going with Marshall and he’s been very solid. Both of those guys are prepared to help us. Marshall solidified that job, played well yesterday. Glad to see it.”


NOT SWEATING SETBACKS: The Raiders were penalized nine penalized times for 79 yards on Sunday, mostly on 15-yard infractions in the first half. Del Rio didn’t have a need to correct those mistakes. Most of them he either disagreed with or said they came down to judgment calls. The Raiders haven’t had many clear-cut, procedural violations.

“The judgment calls, you’re going to have to leave it at that. When you see something that’s clearly an infraction, we can coach it, teach it and it gets better. The other things like that, you just have to live with them and move on.”

SMITH MIGHT BE BACK: Veteran cornerback Sean Smith missed Sunday’s game with a neck injury, but Del Rio didn’t anticipate it being a long-term injury. He is also hopeful Jamize Olawale and Keith McGill will make season debuts in Week 3 against Washington.

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.”

Raiders sign tackle Breno Giacomini


Raiders sign tackle Breno Giacomini

The Raiders need help at right tackle, the lone vacancy along their offensive line. They signed a veteran presence on Thursday afternoon, adding 32-year old Breno Giacomini as the frontrunner to join the starting five.

He has 86 starts in 94 career games, and has been a full-time starter three of the last four years. Giacomini spent 2017 in Houston and the previous three seasons with the New York Jets.

He was a Seattle Seahawk before that, working with Raiders offensive line coach Tom Cable for three of his four years there. Cable gave Giacomini his first chance to start in the second half of 2011, and held the post through 2012.

The bond between the two is clearly strong, considering what Giacomini tweeted shortly after Cable got fired in Seattle.

Coach and player will reunite, hoping to provide steadiness on the right side of the Raiders offensive line.

He’ll compete for a starting spot with Vadal Alexander, second-year pros David Sharpe and Jylan Ware and possibly a drafted player. Giacomini should be considered the favorite unless the Raiders use an early pick on an offensive lineman.

Giacomini has plenty of starts, but his Pro Football Focus numbers aren’t pretty. The analytics says he allowed nine sacks, eight quarterback hits and 64 pressures with Houston last year. He had some decent years under Cable, and a return to that form might push him into the starting lineup for good. Time will tell on that front.