Raiders secondary must 'make him pay' when Rivers goes deep


Raiders secondary must 'make him pay' when Rivers goes deep

SAN DIEGO – Philip Rivers has a cannon arm, and isn’t afraid to use it. The San Diego Chargers like taking yards in chunks when available, and the deep pass was a weapon used effectively in an October meeting with the Raiders.

He completed six passes over 20 yards in Week 5, including three of 50-plus. A few of those were catch and runs, but Rivers wasn’t afraid to let it fly.

The Raiders won that game late, but it offered a reality check. The secondary couldn’t get beat by San Diego’s speedsters like they did last time.

“They got a couple behind us,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “So we’ll see if we can run a little faster this week.”

That might be necessary Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium, especially after Rivers averaged a whopping 12 yards per pass last time. Defensive coordinator Ken Norton hates giving up chunk yards and explosive plays, but the Raiders are averaging 7.8 yards per pass attempt this season. That’s worse than everyone but Green Bay, a fact the secondary hopes to correct as the season moves along.

That starts on Sunday. A victory secures a postseason berth, making this an important time to keep scores low.

The secondary will try and tighten up without two key players. Slot cornerback DJ Hayden has been on injured reserve a few weeks, leaving TJ Carrie to take his snaps. Nate Allen is stepping in for injured rookie strong safety Karl Joseph.

“We have a lot of depth in the secondary, and the second team guys have a lot of experience,” starting outside cornerback David Amerson said. “You just trust that these guys to perform well.”

They have to at this point, but the Raiders must be at their best against Rivers. He offers a unique challenge that keeps safeties on high alert.

“He’s a smart guy, and we know he has the playbook in his hands when he goes to the line of scrimmage,” Allen said. “He runs the show from there, so we have to give him some different looks that cause some indecision and hopefully force him to make some mistakes.”

The Raiders lead the NFL with a plus-15 turnover differential. They have 12 interceptions this season, and would like to pad that total with a high count against Rivers, who leads the league in turnovers while trying to carry an injury-riddled team on his back.

“You have to make him pay for that,” Amerson said. “He will just throw it up there and let his guys try to make a play. They came down with a couple in our last meeting, but now we know what to expect. We didn’t think he was going to come that crazy. We’re ready for anything and, if he goes deep like he did last time, we’ve got to make him pay for it.”

Source: Raiders trading veteran WR Patterson to Patriots


Source: Raiders trading veteran WR Patterson to Patriots

The Raiders are trading receiver/kickoff returner Cordarrelle Patterson to the New England Patriots, a league source told NBC Sports Bay Area on Sunday afternoon.

The Raiders will receive a fifth-round pick, while sending a sixth-round pick back to New England, according to the NFL Network. Patterson must pass a physical to complete the transaction, NFL Network is also reporting.

The moved frees $3.25 million in salary cap space for a Raiders team that was up against the NFL spending threshold. Former Washington receiver Ryan Grant is reportedly visiting the Raiders’ Alameda complex soon. Grant is available after a failed physical voided his free-agent deal with Baltimore. He passed a physical in Indianapolis, NFL Network reported, but left the Colts without a contract. Grant is a surehanded target who averaged 12.7 yards per receptions and had just three drops in 63 targets. 

The Raiders will likely add another receiver if Grant doesn't come aboard. One of head coach Jon Gruden's preference could be found in the NFL draft if Grant goes elsewhere.

The Raiders also added receiver Griff Whalen, a Stanford alum who has some returning experience, before free agency began. 

Patterson proved a productive, explosive member of last year’s offense, primarily as a gadget player. Patterson finished the season with 31 catches for 309 yards, and had 13 receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns.

He never became a steady, standard receiving option, and wasn’t able to shed his reputation as a relatively poor route runner. That likely made him expendable in  Gruden’s eye. He needs quality routes and steady hands from his wideouts.

That outweighs Patterson’s prowess returning kickoffs. The two-time All-Pro averages 30.2 yards per kickoff return over five seasons, with five return touchdowns to his credit.

The Patriots are well known for excellent special teams play, and needed a returner with Dion Lewis leaving for Tennessee in free agent. The Super Bowl runners up now have a dynamic returner and gunner to pair with solid coverage and return units.

This is a developing story. Check back for further details.

Raiders 2018 offseason scorecard


Raiders 2018 offseason scorecard


Veteran additions
WR Jordy Nelson (cut by Green Bay): 2 years/$15 million, $13 million guaranteed
CB Rashaan Melvin (UFA; Indianapolis): 1 year/$6.5 million
LB Tahir Whitehead (UFA; Detroit): 3 years/$18 million, $9 million guaranteed)
S Marcus Gilchrist (UFA; Houston): 1 year
RB Doug Martin (cut by Tampa Bay): 1 year
FB Keith Smith (UFA; Dallas): 2 years/$4.2 million
TE Derek Carrier (UFA; L.A. Rams): 3 years/$7 million
DE Tank Carradine (UFA; San Francisco): 1 year
LB Kyle Wilbur (UFA; Dallas): 2 years/$3.25 million
LS Andrew DePaola (UFA; Chicago): 4 years/$4.27 million
WR Griff Whalen (but by Baltimore)

Re-signed/extensions/contract tenders offered
DT Justin Ellis (UFA): 3 years/$15 million; $6 million guaranteed)
TE Lee Smith (UFA): 3 years
K Giorgio Tavecchio (ERFA): 1 year/$555,000
DE/LB Shilique Calhoun (ERFA): 1 year/$630,000
S Erik Harris (ERFA)
DE James Cowser (ERFA)
OL Denver Krikland (ERFA)

CB Sean Smith (released)
CB David Amerson (released; Kansas City)
RT Marshall Newhouse (released)
LB Aldon Smith (released)
WR Michael Crabtree (released; Baltimore)
DL Denico Autry (UFA; Indianapolis)
CB TJ Carrie (UFA; Cleveland)
WR Cordarrelle Patterson (traded, along with a sixth-round pick, to New England for fifth-round pick)  

S Reggie Nelson (UFA)
K Sebastian Janikowski (UFA)
LB NaVorro Bowman (UFA)
LS Jon Condo (UFA)
QB EJ Manuel (UFA)
S Keith McGill (UFA)

UFA-Unrestricted free agent: Free to sign with any team
ERFA-Exclusive rights free agent: Player has no outside negotiating power

NOTE: Contract figures obtained by, league sources, NFLPA sources or

* * *

1. First round:
No. 10 overall
2. Second round:No. 41 overall
3. Third round: No. 75 overall
4. Fourth round: No. 110 overall
5. Sixth round: No. 185 overall
6. Sixth round: No. 192 overall
7. Sixth round: No. 210 overall*
8. Sixth round: No. 212 overall*
9. Sixth round: No. 216 overall*
10. Sixth round: No. 217 overall*
11. Seventh round: No. 228 overall
* compensatory pick