Raiders snap count: Run game thrives, keeps offense on field

Raiders snap count: Run game thrives, keeps offense on field

OAKLAND – The Raiders had 94 snaps in last week’s overtime victory over Tampa Bay, a game that lasted almost five full periods.

On Sunday, they ran nearly as many in four. The Raiders offensive line was in complete control during a 30-20 victory over the rival Denver Broncos, aiding a run game so efficient the Raiders held possession for 41 minutes, 28 seconds in this hour-long affair.

The Raiders took 88 snaps against Denver, controlled the clock and never relinquished an early lead.

The Raiders wanted to run and took no issue tipping their hand, often going with jumbo packages including a sixth offensive lineman. Denver Kirkland has been that guy, and had 42 snaps in this one. Tight end Clive Walford was a regular fixture with 74 snaps, more than receivers who typically don’t leave the field.

While the offensive line was dominant, partial credit for this possession disparity goes to a defense that forced four straight three-and-outs to start the game and had six overall to keep the Broncos at bay.

DJ Hayden played all 56 defensive snaps and excelled in coverage, allowing three receptions for 44 yards on eight targets. He also had a pass defensed.

Let’s take a look at the entire Raiders snap count:

88 – OL Kelechi Osemele, OL Gabe Jackson, QB Derek Carr, OL Rodney Hudson
87 – OL Donald Penn
79 – OL Austin Howard
74 – TE Clive Walford
67 – WR Amari Cooper
51 – WR Michael Crabtree
48 – TE Mychal Rivera
43 – RB Latavius Murray
42 – OL Denver Kirkland
29 – WR Seth Roberts
28 – WR Andre Holmes
21 – RB Jalen Richard
18 – RB DeAndre Washington
16 – FB Jamize Olawale
10 – OL Menelik Watson
3 – WR Johnny Holton

56 – CB DJ Hayden, CB David Amerson, LB Perry Riley, S Reggie Nelson, S Karl Joseph
54 – LB Malcolm Smith
50 – DE Khalil Mack, LB Bruce Irvin
47 – CB TJ Carrie
33 – DE Jihad Ward
32 – Denico Autry
27 – DT Darius Latham
14 – DT Dan Williams, DT Justin Ellis
12 – LB Shilique Calhoun
2 – LB Cory James
1 – Antonio Hamilton

25 – Nate Allen, Darren Bates
21 – Keith McGill
20 – Cory James, Brynden Trawick, Taiwan Jones
19 – Jamize Olawale
17 – Andre Holmes
14 – Sebastian Janikowski
13 – Shilique Calhoun
12 –Antonio Hamilton
11 – Clive Walford, Jon Condo, Marquette King
10 – Jon Feliciano
8 – Mychal Rivera, Jalen Richard
7 – Denver Krikland, Kelechi Osemele, Gabe Jackson, Donald Penn, Johnny Holton
6 — Austin Howard
5 – DJ Hayden, Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin, TJ Carrie, Denico Autry, Darius Latham, Dan Williams, Justin Ellis
4 – DeAndre Washington
1 – Amari Cooper, Menelik Watson
NOTE: Snap counts taken from official NFL game book

Gruden, McKenzie set to sell Suh on the Silver and Black


Gruden, McKenzie set to sell Suh on the Silver and Black

Ndamukong Suh’s coming to Alameda. Jon Gruden, Paul Guenther and Reggie McKenzie will have a chance to make a pitch, explaining exactly why the superstar defensive tackle belongs in the Silver and Black.

McKenzie (and owner Mark Davis) would’ve relished this opportunity last time Suh was a free agent. The Raiders had plenty of cap space in 2015 but oh, so many needs coming off a 3-13 campaign, and weren’t prepared for his market value to go nuclear. McKenzie steered clear of the mushroom cloud, and Suh’s deal set a new market for defensive players.

He made $60 million over three years in Miami, but didn’t see his contract’s second half after lackluster team results and hints of inconsistent effort. The Dolphins are reportedly angling for a culture change, and didn’t think Suh would help the transition.

That put him back on the open market, with more guaranteed dollars dancing in his head. Suh’s on a free-agent tour rare in the modern NFL, where dollars are committed quick once free agency opens. Suh’s slow playing this one, thus far hopping from New Orleans to Tennessee to L.A. to see the Rams on a private jet. His charter will land in Oakland Wednesday to see what the Raiders have to offer.

There’s little doubt what Suh can bring. He’s the best interior defensive lineman east of L.A.’s Aaron Donald and would be a perfect fit for Guenther’s scheme. That system needs a Geno Atkins type. He made the Guenther’s Bengals go in recent seasons, and Suh’s certainly better when going strong.

The real question’s what the Raiders can offer that others can’t. The Titans and Rams have more salary-cap space, as it stands right now. The Raiders are the only non-playoff team in his bunch, with the other three seemingly on the rise.

The Raiders could champion playing with Khalil Mack. The Rams have Donald, the Titans have Jurell Casey and the Saints have Cam Jordan. Suh has made reference to the final three in interviews with Yahoo! Sports.

Gruden, however, is certainly a selling point. Several signed free agents cited the A-list head coach as an attraction to joining the Raiders. A healthy, impactful Derek Carr and Suh’s addition to the defense could make the Raiders a real contender right away, something that will obviously get brought up in Wednesday’s visit.

Suh’s an Oregon kid, and the Raiders are the closest team to home. That might help.

He could make a pros and cons list about market, state tax issues, chances of winning, coach and locker room culture, but the almighty dollar can’t be ignored.

Can the Raiders put together an attractive financial package, one that would make them truly appealing? That’s the (multi-)million dollar question?

The Raiders don’t have tons of salary-cap space. In fact they're up against the threshold, though cutting veterans without guaranteed money easily creates space. The Raiders could keep Suh’s 2018 cap number lower through a signing bonus and fat roster bonuses in future years.

Make no mistake: the cap is not an impenetrable road block. The Raiders might have to get away from contract structuring practices that McKenzie’s people used to reach excellent salary-cap standing. That’s especially true considering the monster deal given to Carr last year and the mega-extension Mack will get soon.

We say all that with one caveat. Suh’s exact team-selection criteria aren’t clear. There’s no telling if this Alameda trip could help create a robust market, or if he’s taking the Raiders seriously. Making the trip means something, however, and will at least give Gruden and Co. a chance to woo Suh, lock him down and radically change expectations for the 2018 season.

Raiders remain on a receiver hunt as their top target signs elsewhere


Raiders remain on a receiver hunt as their top target signs elsewhere

The Raiders missed out on signing Ryan Grant. The former Washington receiver visited the team’s Alameda training complex, but left without a contract and ultimately chose to sign a one-year, $5 million deal with Indianapolis.

They lost that one, but are undeterred in their quest to upgrade the receiver corps.

They already signed Jordy Nelson and let Michael Crabtree walk, hoping for steady production and quality locker room leadership in the exchange.

Cordarrelle Patterson was traded to New England on Sunday, creating a spot in the position group.

The Raiders tried to fill it with Grant. No go, no matter.

They hosted veteran Eric Decker on Tuesday, according to multiple reports. They also declared interest in Allen Hurns, a player the Jaguars released Tuesday morning.

Hurns listed the Raiders among interested teams – he said there were 10 in total – in an interview with KFNZ radio in Charlotte, N.C.

Hurns has a 1,000-yard season to his credit – his biggest year came with now-Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson as Jacksonville's O.C. -- and two relative down years since. Injuries have also played a part in that.

Decker had a stellar four-year run with Denver and the New York Jets, but was less effective during two seasons in Tennessee. The 31-year old has experience in the slot, and could be a productive No. 3 option in Jon Gruden’s offense.

Gruden doesn't mind working with veteran receivers, something clear from his past and willingness to add Nelson as a major contributor. 

Even if the Raiders don't land a veteran receiver, they could also look for a receiver in the NFL draft.

Amari Cooper will remain the No. 1 option. Seth Roberts has $4.45 million guaranteed in 2018. Johnny Holton, Isaac Whitney and Keon Hatcher are also on the roster.