Notes: Raiders QB McGloin undergoes MRI on 'sore' left shoulder

Notes: Raiders QB McGloin undergoes MRI on 'sore' left shoulder

ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin didn’t last long in Sunday’s loss to Denver. He injured his left (non-throwing) shoulder in the second quarter on an illegal hit from Broncos defensive end Jared Crick and didn’t return.

He had an MRI on Monday morning, and head coach Jack Del Rio said trainers didn’t tell him about any significant damage.

“I know he had an MRI, but usually if there’s a problem, they come up and let me know,” Del Rio said. “I think it’s just sore. I think it was banged pretty good and just sore.”

NFL Network reported Sunday night that McGloin's injury focuses on his trapezius muscle, which acts like a pinched nerve. 

It’s uncertain at this stage how many practice reps McGloin will be able to take. The Raiders would prefer McGloin’s experience in the Raiders system and starting NFL games in Saturday’s playoff showdown at Houston. Fourth-round rookie Connor Cook is the next option. He relieved McGloin Sunday and flashed good play and bad in his first NFL game.

“We’ll see how the week goes,” Del Rio said. “Between Connor and Matt, we’ll see who we can get the most reps, who we feel the most comfortable going into the game.”

Del Rio made it clear health will be a major factor in choosing a starter. When he informs that player is another matter. It may not come early in the week, as they find a proper time to let McGloin heal or let Cook marinate on one huge start.

“There are two ways of looking at it, so I think obviously the weight of, ‘Oh my gosh, this is your first start and it’s going to be a playoff game,’ that’s a big one to bite off,” Del Rio said. “Whether that is the case or whether (Cook) comes in in a backup role, we’ll see.

“We’re going to work through the week the best we can, see what we have health-wise with our team and then make that determination.”

Raiders banged up heading into playoffs: The Raiders aren’t in great physical shape heading into Saturday’s wild card round game against the Texans.

Safety Nate Allen is in the league’s concussion protocol after going down in the first quarter on Sunday. His playing status is uncertain, though Del Rio said regular starter Karl Joseph is nearing a return. He was expected to make a playoff return, which would be welcome on this Raiders defense.

Defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr. was supposed to increase his snap count in a second game back off injured reserve, but he was held back due to illness.

Left tackle Donald Penn suffered a knee injury in the fourth quarter on Sunday, but returned late in the game and said on social media he would be fine. Left guard Kelechi Osemele missed one snap, but was seen with ice on a knee and an ankle. Both guys might miss some practice but should play.

Carr not expected to make Houston trip: Injured starting quarterback Derek Carr did not travel with the Raiders to Denver while recovering from ankle surgery. Del Rio said he isn’t expected to make the Houston trip, either.

Raiders sign two to futures contracts: The Raiders signed linebackers Andy Mulumba and Dwayne Norman to reserve futures contracts. Those deals will kick in next offseason.

Quarterback drafted by Jon Gruden in 2008 signs with Raiders


Quarterback drafted by Jon Gruden in 2008 signs with Raiders

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden had a hand in drafting Josh Johnson a decade ago. The agile quarterback and Oakland native was a Tampa Bay’s fifth-round pick in 2008, Gruden’s last year as Buccaneers coach.

The pair will reunite in Johnson’s hometown. The well-traveled quarterback signed with the Raiders on Monday, the team announced.

Johnson will compete with Connor Cook to backup starter Derek Carr, and brings a veteran’s influence to the position group. It likely spells the end of EJ Manuel’s short tenure in silver and black. The strong-armed former first-round pick, who started one game last season, remains a free agent after a year with the Raiders.

This move should make Marshawn Lynch happy. He and Johnson are extremely close and together run the Family First Foundation, a charitable organization that does significant work for East Bay kids. Johnson and Lynch also played football together at Oakland Tech High.

Johnson has played 10 NFL teams prior to this Raiders stop, but hasn’t played in a regular-season game for some time.

Raiders well equipped to 'slam the ball with a beast'


Raiders well equipped to 'slam the ball with a beast'

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden needed specific tools to run his running game. He wanted blocking tight ends and a bruising fullback, relics of a bygone offensive era.

“If Marshawn Lynch is the feature back, I think it’d be nice if we serviced him with a fullback,” Gruden said at the combine. … You need a blocking tight end if you’re going to slam the ball with a beast. So, those are two things that I’m looking for.”

Gruden said he wanted to import some old-school elements to help run with brute force.

Enter free-agent fullback Kyle Smith and tight end Derek Carrier. Welcome back, Lee Smith.

Then, on Sunday, Raiders made another vital move in this old school effort. They cut Marshawn Lynch a $1 million check.

The Oakland native’s roster bonus came due and the Raiders had no problem paying it, the clearest sign Lynch will be the Raiders feature back in 2018.

He’ll have a great chance to thrive in that role. The Raiders have a hulking, expensive offensive line (that still needs a right tackle). They have new ancillary blocking elements, and the centerpiece remains in place.

That last part was expected in recent weeks. The coaching staff, offensive line coach Tom Cable especially, wanted Lynch back. NFL Network confirmed those facts, stating Lynch will be around in 2018.

That was the case, even with Doug Martin’s addition. The former Tampa Bay back is expected to be a backup bruiser, someone who might put DeAndre Washington or (less likely) Jalen Richard’s job in jeopardy.

The Raiders can cut Lynch without a cap hit. Lynch is scheduled to make $6 million in salary and bonuses, with another $2 million available in incentives. The Raiders should hope to pay those; it would mean Lynch is running well.

The Raiders have given him a great opportunity to do so. They have solid blocking and a coach in Cable who helped him succeed during dominant days in Seattle.

Lynch proved he’s still got it in 2017’s second half, with 70 percent of his 891 rushing yards in the final eight games. He struggled early on, and upset some fans by helping the opposition during a scuffle with Kansas City. That mitigated a PR bump the Raiders looked for when signing a popular Oakland native just months after committing to Las Vegas long-term.

Jack Del Rio and staff grew tired of what they perceived as leeway given to Lynch unavailable to others, and probably wouldn’t have kept him on if still gainfully employed.

Gruden seems committed to Lynch this season, though nothing is ever 100 percent with an enigmatic rusher who doesn’t make private thoughts public.

His elusive, rough-and-tumble rushing style fits well with what Gruden wants, though he demands commitment to the team and sport. Sports Illustrated relayed a story of Gruden saying he needed a “full-time Lynch.”

If he gets that, the Raiders run game should thrive.