Osweiler respects Mack's game-wrecking ability, 'I experienced it'


Osweiler respects Mack's game-wrecking ability, 'I experienced it'

ALAMEDA – Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler doesn’t have fond memories of time spent with Khalil Mack. He faced the Raiders edge rusher once last year while playing for Denver, and it’s safe to say he didn’t have a great experience.

Mack sacked Osweiler five times in the second half, single-handedly destroying a game the then-upstart Raiders won 15-12. Outsiders considered that a breakout game, though Mack had already earned league-wide respect during a season-plus of disruption after being selected No. 5 overall in the 2014 NFL draft.

Osweiler will meet Mack again on Monday night at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca and hopes this game doesn’t end like that one did. Tallying five sacks in one game might be a one-time thing, but Mack has created havoc with less.

As usual, the Raiders pass rusher has downplayed seeing Osweiler again.

“It’s a new team and a new year,” Mack said. “He has different weapons over there. It’s going to be a new challenge.”

The Texans will meet Mack on a roll. He has six sacks in his last four games, with steady pressure throughout those games. Mack has done a good job overcoming teams scheming heavily against him, though his contributions have been steady despite a sack surge in recent weeks.

“Teams are going to do different things to try to slow him down just like we’ll do offensively against people that we know we have to account for,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He’s one of those kind of guys that you have to account for. He’s giving great effort. We have good design, and he’s going to get his numbers.”

The Texans would prefer they didn’t come against them. Osweiler doesn’t want to end up on the ground five times like he did last December.

“Any time you play against a player like Khalil Mack, you need to respect what he brings to the table and you need to have answers for what he brings to the table,” Osweiler said. “We’re very fortunate to have a phenomenal offensive coaching staff here, led by (offensive coordinator George) Godsey and (head coach Bill) O’Brien. I’m sure they’ll have answers for him. But without a question, we are well aware of what Khalil Mack’s capable of doing – obviously I experienced it firsthand last year – and we will have answers for him.”

The Texans have committed to getting the ball out fast, which has negatively impacted Osweiler’s horrible 5.6 yards per pass attempt. Even still, he has been sacked 17 times in nine games, and must be respectful of Mack’s tenacity going up against a right tackle in Chris Clark who has given up significant pressure in recent weeks.

“I think the first thing when you turn on the tape with Khalil that jumps out is just his motor,” Osweiler said. “He never stops. He has a very high football motor, he plays extremely hard, he’s a very physical guy but yet he has a ton of speed as well. So, he is a very gifted, special, unique football player and you need to give him the respect that he deserves.”

Report: Raiders bring Reggie Nelson back


Report: Raiders bring Reggie Nelson back

Reggie Nelson has been on a reunion tour since signing with the Raiders. He first worked under Jack Del Rio, his head coach in Jacksonville and someone who choose to make him 2007’s No. 21 overall draft pick.

That link held for two years. Then Del Rio got run out in favor of Jon Gruden and Nelson hit the free-agent market. The 34-year old – he’ll be 35 in September – wasn’t expected back after a down year in 2017.

Another blast from the past created a road back to Oakland, where he reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Raiders. NFL Network reported news of Nelson’s pact.

Nelson thrived, with 23 interceptions and 62 passes defensed during six seasons in Cincinnati. New Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther was linebackers coach and then Bengals DC (for two years) during Nelson’s time in the Queen City.

Nelson had five picks in 2016, his first year with Oakland, but seemed to slow down some last season. He had 60 tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception in 2017.

Nelson will help teach a system familiar to him but foreign to most Raiders, but will certainly angle for steady snaps despite increased competition at his spot. 

He’ll compete for snaps at safety despite last week’s signing of Marcus Gilchrist, expected to take his spot, though it might be an uphilll climb. Gilchrist and Joseph should still be expected to start next season. The Raiders also have Obi Melifonwu at that position, though the second-year pro must earn a role in this defense. The other three have starter’s experience and will compete for that opportunity. Gilchrist also has experience covering the slot, which could help the secondary if a career cornerback isn't found to fill that role. 

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.