Report: Raiders preparing with expectation Cook will start at Houston

Report: Raiders preparing with expectation Cook will start at Houston

ALAMEDA – The Raiders haven’t announced their starting quarterback for Saturday’s AFC playoff game at Houston. Head coach Jack Del Rio said that health will have a significant impact on that decision.

Matt McGloin’s injured neck and shoulder might not be ready for game action, the NFL Network reported on Tuesday morning, and the Raiders are starting game prep with the expectation rookie Connor Cook will make his first NFL start.

The Raiders would prefer McGloin’s experience in this spot – he has seven starts to his credit -- and haven’t ruled out the prospect that he could rebound well.

Cook, a fourth-round rookie from Michigan State, came out of Sunday’s 24-6 loss at Denver healthy and in the best position take early practice reps.

That will be important for passers who didn’t get many before unquestioned starter Derek Carr broke his fibula in Week 16 against Indianapolis.

Cook was 14-of-21 passing for 150 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also fumbled twice in nine series and lost one. Cook hasn’t received many practice reps all season, meaning he was calling and running plays against Denver he hadn’t practiced before.

“I thought Connor was pretty solid. I thought he handled himself pretty well,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “You know, ball security is so huge that we had a couple of ball security issues. That (Broncos) defense is pretty good. I thought overall that he did a pretty solid job for a tough set of circumstances for him. I thought he handled himself well, given the circumstances.”

Del Rio could go the entire week without announcing a starting quarter, or do so when he meets with the media again on Wednesday. The timing could be important, especially for a new quarterback like Cook.

“There are two ways of looking at it, so I think obviously the weight of, ‘Oh my gosh, this is your first start and it’s going to be a playoff game,’ that’s a big one to bite off,” Del Rio said. “So, whether that is the case or whether he comes in in a backup role, we’ll see. But, we’re going to work through the week the best we can, see what we have health-wise with our team and then make that determination.”

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.