Raiders

Snap count: Raiders paid Sean Smith to do nothing vs Chargers

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AP

Snap count: Raiders paid Sean Smith to do nothing vs Chargers

OAKLAND – In addition to a $4.25 million roster bonus and $250,000 workout bonus, Raiders cornerback Sean Smith makes a $5 million base salary this season. The salary was fully guaranteed when he signed a four-year, $38 million contract last offseason.

The base salary is paid in 17 installments, one for each week of the regular season. That means the Raiders paid Smith $294,117 to do nothing in Sunday’s 17-16 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

He was active as an emergency option but wasn’t needed, and did not play a single snap on defense or special teams.

David Amerson and TJ Carrie started at cornerback, with Dexter McDonald entering in the sub package. Snaps are earned under head coach Jack Del Rio. Salary or draft status doesn’t enter into his decisions.

Smith has been a liability against speed receivers and the Raiders don’t shadow cornerbacks, meaning he was vulnerable to bad matchups on the outside.

Amerson and Carrie have been good, and McDonald has proven effective in recent weeks as a third cornerback. The Raiders are making do without first-round cornerback Gareon Conley, who remains out with a shin injury.

NFL Network reports that Conley has an important doctor’s appointment set for Tuesday, which could cause him to be shut down for an extended stretch.

The inside linebacker corps was down a few members Sunday, leaving undrafted rookies to man the interior. Fifth-round rookie Marquel Lee was out with an ankle injury and Cory James played but seven defensive snaps due to a knee injury.

Nicholas Morrow started at middle linebacker and played 62 snaps, while Xavier Woodson-Luster, a special teams player prior to Sunday, played on the weak side.

Those kids fared well under difficult circumstances. Morrow had five tackles, a quarterback hit and a pass defensed. He allowed three catches for 43 yards on four targets, according to analytics site Pro Football Focus.

Woodson-Luster had six tackles, and allowed an 11-yard catch on two targets.

OFFENSE

OFFENSIVE LINE: Kelechi Osemele 58, Gabe Jackson 58, Donald Penn 58, Rodney Hudson 58, Marshall Newhouse 57, Vadal Alexander 7

QUARTERBACKS: Derek Carr 58

RUNNING BACKS:Marshawn Lynch 30, Jalen Richard 17, DeAndre Washington 5

RECEIVERS: Amari Cooper 55, Michael Crabtree 49, Seth Roberts 42, Cordarrelle Patterson 17, Johnny Holton

TIGHT ENDS:Jared Cook 46, Lee Smith 13, Clive Walford 7

DEFENSE

DEFENSIVE LINE: Khalil Mack 55, Justin Ellis 44, Mario Edwards 42, Denico Autry 37, Treyvon Hester 34, Eddie Vanderdoes 21, James Cowser 7

LINEBACKERS: Nicholas Morrow 62, Bruce Irvin 58, Xavier Woodson-Luster 40, Shilique Calhoun 10, Cory James 7, Tyrell Adams 1

CORNERBACKS:TJ Carrie 64, David Amerson 64, Dexter McDonald 28

SAFETIES:Reggie Nelson 64, Karl Joseph 64, Keith McGill 12

SPECIAL TEAMS

Keith McGill 19, James Cowser 19, Tyrell Adams 19, Shilique Calhoun 15, Shalom Luani 15, Erik Harris 15, Johnny Holton 11, Cordarrelle Patterson 8, Jalen Richard 8, DeAndre Washington 8, Dexter McDonald 8, Lee Smith 7, Xavier Woodson-Luster 7, Jon Feliciano 7, Jon Condo 7, Marquette King 7, Darius McCray 7, Giorgio Tavhecchio 6, TJ Carrie 4, Nicholas Morrow 4, Khalil Mack 4, Denico Autry 4, Treyvon Hester 4, Eddie Vanderdoes 4, Kelechi Osemele 3, Gabe Jackson 3, Marshall Newhouse 3, Vadal Alexander 3, Clive Walford 3, Karl Joseph 3, Justin Ellis 3, Mario Edward 3

INACTIVES

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

DID NOT PLAY

QB EJ Manuel, CB Sean Smith

Secondary takes another hit; injury updates for two key Raiders

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AP

Secondary takes another hit; injury updates for two key Raiders

ALAMEDA – The Raiders secondary has been beset by injuries this season. An already shaky crew never really had first-round pick Gareon Conley, who played two games due to a shin injury and is on injured reserve.

Even he did more than Obi Melifonwu. The second-round safety was active for five games but played just 34 defensive snaps. He won’t play another this season.

Melifonwu had surgery to repair an injured hip on Thursday, and was placed on season-ending injured reserve Friday afternoon. Cornerback Antonio Hamilton was called up in a corresponding move.

This is Melifonwu’s second IR stint this season. He spent the season’s first half on IR following knee surgery, but was designated to return. Melifonwu never played his natural position. The Raiders used him at cornerback, a desperate experiment that failed in a Week 11 loss to New England and barely played after that.

Injury may have played a part in that.

“I can’t tell you exactly when that occurred,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “I think it’s been a little bit that he’s been working with. It required surgery and he had it, so he’ll be out.”

Injuries ran deeper than the draft class.

Top cover man David Amerson has missed six straight games with a foot sprain, and remains doubtful for Sunday night’s clash against the Dallas Cowboys. That absence stings, especially with the secondary working without the young bucks.

Expect Sean Smith, TJ Carrie and Dexter McDonald to maintain their posts at cornerback.

“Those guys have done a good job in a tough spot,” Hamilton said. “They’ve stayed healthy and available for us. That has been key.”

Hamilton tore the meniscus in his knee in a Week 4 loss at Denver and is healthy and ready to contribute.

The NFL’s No. 25-ranked pass defense must make do with what they’ve got down the stretch. There’s some hope Amerson will return, even after being removed from practice the past few days. He performed side work with a trainer Friday right next to the media area, and continues to work on a return despite having so few games left.

Cooper could come back: Raiders receiver Amari Cooper re-injured his sprained ankle in a loss at Kansas City and was ruled out for the Cowboys game. It might not, however, keep him out the rest of the season.

“I think he’s better than he was, but he’s going to be out this week,” Del Rio said. “I think we have a chance to get him back.”

Inconsistency paints the picture of Raiders' underperforming offense

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AP

Inconsistency paints the picture of Raiders' underperforming offense

ALAMEDA – Johnny Holton has made dynamic plays this season. The second-year Raiders receiver has three touchdowns in nine catches, and averages 24.2 yards per reception. His straight-line speed’s tough to match, which is why he has three catches of 40-plus yards.

Holton’s still developing. Therefore, good comes with some bad. He has lost two fumbles in as many games, with four drops and two passes headed his way that were intercepted.

“I think it all kind of is a great example of how our season’s been as an offense,” offensive coordinator Todd Downing said after Thursday’s practice. “We have flashes of really good production and executing well and then flashes or spurts where we’re not exactly executing the way we want.

“Johnny’s kind of a microcosm of that and so, I would say to him and have said to him and to the team, the message that we preach is let’s look for consistency and let’s look for doing the little things right. And then the big things happen.”

Downing’s analogy works. Inconsistency has plagued a talented offense playing below potential, with just enough flashes to drive players, fans and coaches crazy. Productive victories over the Tennessee Titans, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs provide stark contrast to a new normal, where the Raiders struggle to score or produce.

The Raiders have scored 17 points or less seven times in 13 games. They’re 22nd in scoring and 19th in total offense heading into Sunday night’s home game against Dallas.

That’s a drastic drop after last year’s production, a fact that’s been dissected extensively during a disappointing season thus far. We won’t go over them all here. Everyone, from quarterback to coordinator to skill players to the line, shares some of the blame.

Ultimately, it comes down to the inconsistency Downing discussed earlier. The Raiders have three games left to get it right, and even that might be unworthy of a postseason birth.

“We know how to throw the ball. We know how to catch it. We know how to run the ball. We know how to block,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “Now we just have to do those things better and more consistent. It always comes down to fundamentals of footwork and all those kinds of timing kind of things.”

“…Sometimes we go out there and it’s great. Then sometimes we go out there and it’s crap. That’s on us as players. We have to execute better.”

Carr says little details cause big problems. Problem is, it isn’t something you can circle with a red pen. It isn’t one thing that takes one permanent fix. The mistakes are coming from everywhere, and they’re coming often. That’s why so many Raiders have said they’re close to solid execution so many times this season.

That must drive detail-oriented offensive captains Carr and Rodney Hudson nuts. The entire offensive depth chart, remains committed to the process, hoping a talented roster will realize potential before the season’s out.

“There are a lot of things in life that look good on paper,” tight end Lee Smith said on this week’s Raiders Insider Podcast. “If you don’t put it together in the right way and form itself, it doesn’t matter what the pieces are if the puzzle doesn’t come together.

“We have to keep working as a football family from the top all the way down. We have three more football games to win. We plan on winning all of them. There are three good teams left on the schedule, and it’s excited to see what we’re made of now that we’re back into a corner a little bit.”

The Raiders receivers are backed into a corner, with Amari Cooper likely out a week at least with an ankle sprain. That'll put Holton back in the heavy rotation, meaning he'll have to avoid mistakes to keep the offense going. 

"Johnny is a hard worker and a guy that I know is excited to get back on that field Sunday and have an opportunity to make some plays for us and help us win this ball game," Downing said. "We’re looking forward to that.”