Raiders likely will turn to unusual trio at wideout against Giants


Raiders likely will turn to unusual trio at wideout against Giants

ALAMEDA – Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Seth Roberts man the Raiders’ three-receiver sets. That personnel group was required in the huddle late in the second quarter against Denver, and it looked a little different.

Roberts had Johnny Holton on one sideline, Cordarrelle Patterson on the other. This was not a change of pace. It was not a fire drill.

Crabtree got ejected in a brawl with Aqib Talib and the Broncos. Then Amari Cooper was concussed in a violent collision with Broncos safety Darian Stewart.

The Raiders were up just a touchdown ahead at that point, and this unusual trio had to help secure a must-win game. Hand wringing was absent. Anxiety did not cloud the huddle. These guys were as loose as can be.

“We were talking, laughing and having fun,” Roberts said. “We were in the huddle and one of us said, ‘Who would’ve thought it’d be us three out here, going to win a game?’ We had fun. We stayed after it. What impressed me most was that every guy came out with focus and knew their assignment, so we were fine.”

Fine doesn’t describe their performance. Roberts, Patterson and Holton were pretty gosh darn good, combining for seven catches and 151 yards in a 21-14 win.

Expect the same group Sunday against the New York Giants. Crabtree is suspended one game for the aforementioned brawl. It’s virtually certain Cooper sits out with concussion-like symptoms, an ankle injury or both.

Offensive coordinator Todd Downing will certainly call plays designed to highlight Holton’s straight-line speed or Patterson’s elusiveness in space.

Giants head coach Ben McAdoo expects the Raiders focus on the run game. That would be the case anyway, especially after winning with 37 carries against Denver.

“I think we’re going to go Wing-T. We’re going to run the triple option,” quarterback Derek Carr joked. “Hopefully that doesn’t get out.”

Carr’s statement was dripping with sarcasm. His actual point: The Raiders won’t reinvent themselves due to personnel changes.

The Raiders will need reserves assuming big roles, and Carr will make sure the timing’s right for those big moments.

“I do need to spend extra time with them because the guys that get all the reps usually with me, are ‘Coop’ and ‘Crab,’” quarterback Derek Carr said. “Seth gets a lot of reps with me, C.P. on certain things, Johnny on certain things. But now we have to make sure we get them all of those reps that sometimes they wouldn’t get with me.”

Carr won’t have all new receivers in the pattern. Roberts will be vital in the slot, where later-down reliability is key.

Tight end Jared Cook’s speed and versatility should make him a major factor in the passing game. He ‘s tied for first with 42 catches and leads the Raiders with 537 receiving yards.

Cook could be a real asset in this one. The Giants have struggled mightily covering tight ends this season, allowing five catches and 70 yards per game to that position. They’ve also given up 10 touchdowns to tight ends in 11 games.

Cook can also play every receiver position if asked, though he generally operates on the inside.

“We’ve played him at receiver. We’ve played him at tight end. We’ve played him at different spots in the wing and things like that,” Carr said. “It’s fantastic because you need to have weapons. Especially when things like this happen. I know that on the team we’re playing, they’ve lost a lot of weapons. It’s hard just trying to go about your business and things like that.

“When you have a lot of weapons, it’s nice that when injuries or suspension or anything like that happens, we can still play football and move forward.”

Report: Ndamukong Suh calls off meeting with Raiders


Report: Ndamukong Suh calls off meeting with Raiders

Ndamukong Suh won’t meet with the Raiders, after all. The star defensive tackle cut Alameda out of his free-agent tour, according to NFL Network, choosing instead to head home after stops in New Orleans, Tennessee and the L.A. Rams.

NFLN reports that Suh had dinner with Rams coach Sean McVay on Tuesday night, and was due in Oakland the following day. The Rams made a solid impression

Suh is reportedly mulling options from all three aforementioned playoff teams, all of which have more working salary-cap space and other stalwarts along the defensive line.

That’s surely a disappointment for the Raiders, who have had interest in Suh dating back to his last free-agent experience in 2015. The Silver and Black couldn’t afford him then. It seems unlikely they can afford him now, with precious little salary-cap space remaining after being active in free agency’s second wave.

The Raiders also hope to lock Khalil Mack up long-term with a massive extension this offseason.

It’s uncertain at this stage whether player or team cancelled the meeting, or exactly why it was called off. The Raiders could still sign a veteran defensive tackle, and/or acquire one early in the NFL Draft.

Raiders restructure Marshawn Lynch's contract


Raiders restructure Marshawn Lynch's contract

Marshawn Lynch restructured his contract this week, virtually locking him in for the 2018 Raiders season.

The veteran exchanged some base salary for guaranteed funds and an increased incentive package, according to contract details obtained Wednesday by the Las Vegas Review Journal.

His base salary drops from $4 million to $2.5 million, but becomes guaranteed. None of the funds Lynch had coming in his previous deal were guaranteed. He has a $1 million roster bonus coming on Saturday, just six days after receiving a $1 million roster bonus as required in his old contract.

That essentially guarantees him $4.5 million, as sure a sign as any he’ll be the Raiders feature back. Lynch will lead his position group, with support from veteran addition Doug Martin. DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard are also on the roster, though it’s uncertain if both guys will remain there this fall.

Lynch can also earn $3.75 million in incentives, a significant increase from the $2 million available in the previous deal.

The Raiders saved $500,000 in salary cap space with the new deal.