Raiders snap count: Not much room for Obi Melifonwu right now


Raiders snap count: Not much room for Obi Melifonwu right now

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Head coach Jack Del Rio up-front about Obi Melifonwu’s activity level upon return from injured reserve.

The Raiders had a big role for him. It’s far smaller now after so much time out.

The second-year safety out of UConn played seven snaps on defense and 10 more on special teams in Sunday’s 27-24 victory over the Miami Dolphins.

There isn’t much room for more right now.

Starting safeties Karl Joseph and Reggie Nelson play virtually every snap, and have since the season began. The hybrid linebacker role he worked within this summer isn’t available either, with NaVorro Bowman taking every snap at middle linebacker.

If Melifonwu had been healthy this whole time things might be different, but he can’t make up for so much time missed with a knee injury suffered in the preseason’s third game.

He missed more time before that with an ankle injury. He hasn’t practiced much, and needs time to develop the mental aspects of playing a new position.

He had two run stops on defense, and allowed a 12-yard catch the one time he was targeted.

The Raiders didn’t use many cornerbacks, riding TJ Carrie, Sean Smith and Dexter McDonald to account for all coverage snaps.

Quarterback – Derek Carr 63
Running back – Marshawn Lynch 37, Jalen Richard 12, DeAndre Washington 9
Wide receiver – Amari Cooper 57, Michael Crabtree 53, Seth Roberts 35, Johnny Holton 7, Cordarelle Patterson 6
Tight end – Jared Cook 53, Lee Smith 30, Clive Walford 12
Offensive line –Kelechi Osemele 63, Rodney Hudson 63, Donald Penn 63, Marshall Newhouse 63, Gabe Jackson 63, Vadal Alexander 3, Jon Feliciano 3

Defensive line – Khalil Mack 66, Mario Edwards 42, Denico Autry 42, Eddie Vanderdoes 23, Treyvon Hester 23, Justin Ellis 16, James Cowser 3
Linebacker – NaVorro Bowman 67, Bruce Irvin 64, Cory James 58, Nicholas Morrow 2, Shilique Calhoun 1
Cornerback – TJ Carrie 67, Dexter McDonald 67, Sean Smith 53
Safety – Reggie Nelson 67, Karl Joseph 67, Obi Melifonwu 7, Shalom Luani 2

Keith McGill 21, James Cowser 21, Shalom Luani 18, Erik Harris 17, Marquel Lee 17, Shlique Calhoun 14, Johnny Holton 12, Xavier Woodson-Luster 12, Nicholas Morrow 11, Lee Smith 10, Giorgio Tavecchio 10, Obi Melifonwu 10, Jon Feliciano 9,Marquette King 8, Jon Condo 8, Jalen Richard 8, DeAndre Washington 8 Justin Ellis 6, Clive Walford 6, Karl Joseph 5, Gabe Jackson 5, Vadal Alexander 5, Marshall Newhouse 4, Dexter McDonald 4, TJ Carrie 4, Khalil Mack 4, Treyvon Hester 4, Mario Edwards 3, Eddie Vanderdoes 3, Kelechi Osemele 4, Amari Cooper 1, Jared Cook 1,

QB EJ Manuel

CB Gareon Conley, QB Connor Cook, FB Jamize Olawale, OT Jylan Ware, DL Jihad Ward, CB David Amerson, OT David Sharpe

Does Gruden see Lynch, Crabtree on Raiders in 2018?


Does Gruden see Lynch, Crabtree on Raiders in 2018?

Jon Gruden doesn’t love offseason restrictions on player-coach interaction. They weren’t so strict when Gruden last coached nine years ago, but the new collective bargaining agreement prevents the new Raiders head coach from extended contact with his players at this stage in the NFL’s downtime.

He has, however, run into several Raiders stopping by the team’s Alameda complex.

Count running back Marshawn Lynch and receiver Michael Crabtree among them. Conversations with those talented, yet mercurial players will be key as Gruden and general manager Reggie McKenzie decide how best to use the salary cap.

Both guys have a long history of NFL production. Both guys are getting up there in age, and have some drawbacks. Both guys can be cut without a salary cap hit.

Gruden had nice things to say about both guys in a Wednesday interview with the Bay Area News Group.

He was asked directly if Lynch will be on the 2018 roster.

“I don’t know,” Gruden said. “I bumped into him. Some of these players that live locally do come to the facility to get a workout, see the trainer. I’ve been downstairs and met several guys. I have talked to Marshawn briefly. We’ll see. We’ll keep everybody posted. Right now, he’s our leading ball carrier. He’s our back, and we’re counting on him. Hopefully we get an opportunity to work together. That’s a man that has a lot of respect in this league as a player and I certainly have respect for him also.”

Lynch started slow but finished strong, and was the team’s best skill player in the season’s second half. He’s contracted to make up to $6 million in 2018.

Crabtree came up later in a discussion of what he likes on the roster.

“I got to bump into Crabtree,” Gruden said. “Hopefully we can get the best out of Crabtree and his career.”

Crabtree is coming off a down year following two stellar seasons in Oakland. He had just 58 catches for 618 yards – he still had eight touchdowns – but his targets and snaps decreased the last two weeks. He seemed at odds with the previous coaching staff, a group that was dismissed at season’s end.

Crabtree is set to make $7 million next season, though none of it is guaranteed.

Gruden meeting reinforces T.J. Carrie's desire to remain with Raiders


Gruden meeting reinforces T.J. Carrie's desire to remain with Raiders

PALO ALTO – Raiders cornerback T.J. Carrie became a father on Super Bowl Sunday. Newborn son Elijah Carrie has been the sole focus these last few weeks, as T.J. learns on the job how to be a dad.

Pardon him if he hasn’t thought much about impending free agency. The 2014 seventh-round pick turned full-time starter has a rookie deal expiring soon, with a raise on the horizon following his best season as a pro.

That’ll come in March. Early February, however, has kept him otherwise engaged.

“I’ve been so busy with my little one, and I haven’t been getting any sleep,” Carrie said Thursday. “Learning how to be a dad has been so engulfing that I haven’t delved into the details of what free agency will mean to me.”

Soul searching wasn’t required to realize his dream scenario. The East Bay native wants to stay in Oakland, with a Raiders team he loved as a kid.

“My intention is to be here,” Carrie said. “I’m a Bay Area guy, a hometown kid. I couldn’t see myself being anywhere else. This is a passion for me. I dreamed about playing for the Raiders for such a long time. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to play there for four years, I want to finish (with the Raiders).”

Carrie wants to work with a new Raiders regime. He visited the team’s Alameda complex on Wednesday and met with new head coach Jon Gruden and defensive assistants. The interaction left Carrie wanting more, furthering his belief that be belongs in Silver and Black.

“Coach Gruden is very energetic,” Carrie said. “He’s a coach that likes to have fun but it a very business oriented guy. There are a lot of things, I imagine, that are going to change, just from the way he has done things. It’s going to be different, but I embrace it. It’ll be very challenging entering into a new regime, but there are a lot of positive factors involved with it.”

The Raiders don’t have many cornerbacks under contract come mid-March. They released David Amerson, and could do the same with Sean Smith later this offseason. Gareon Conley should start at one spot, but everything else is wide-open entering free agency and the draft.

Carrie could find value on the open market after recording 70 tackles and nine passes defensed in 16 starts. He’ll explore his options further next month, before free agency begins in earnest March 14.

“I know March is really when it starts to go down,” Carrie said. “My son will be a little older then, so I can focus more on free agency and make some more decisions.”