AJ McCarron taking crash course in Raiders offensive scheme

AJ McCarron taking crash course in Raiders offensive scheme

ALAMEDA – Raiders backup quarter back AJ McCarron doesn’t really want to play in Monday night’s game.

He would, but would rather not.

Playing a game roughly a week after he was acquired from Buffalo for a fifth-round pick would not be, shall we say, ideal.

Derek Carr is set to play every snap against the Rams and, if all goes to plan, McCarron will never see game action. Carr has missed action in each of the last two seasons, so McCarron will have to be on red alert. In time, he’ll have zero problem taking over in a pinch.

If that came in Week 1, McCarron would have to grind it out.

“If I have to get in there, God forbid, it’s not going to be perfect,” McCarron said Thursday, “but I know how to battle and keep trying.”

The matter is complicated because Buffalo’s system is completely different from what McCarron’s learning now.

“It’s a different type of scheme and thought process,” McCarron said. “It’s definitely different, but you still run a lot of the same plays. It’s the lingo and formations and everything else you’ve got to get used to, but you just have to enjoy the process.

“…When it comes to football, I think I’m pretty smart. You can only play so many defenses. Being real familiar with the ins and outs of offense is key.”

McCarron and quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan have holed up inside the team’s Alameda training facility, pouring over terminology, formations and pre-snap adjustments required after surveying the defense. McCarron credits Calhallan for making an uncomfortable process relatively painless.

Raiders players have soaked up the system for five months. McCarron has been working in it for five days.

“I literally haven’t paid attention to anything. I don’t have time,” McCarron said. “I talk to my wife and son once a day. I have been busy with this, trying to get this down.”

McCarron and the Raiders are in this pickle after Connor Cook and EJ Manuel failed to impress Gruden during the preseason. The Raiders looked outside the roster and upgraded the position. In time, anyway. Once McCarron has had time to work within the scheme.

McCarron has to do so without much field work. Carr takes most every rep preparing for the game, leaving little time to apply what he’s learning in the classroom. McCarron is trying to work his way through an adverse situation, which came after Buffalo sent him away after thinking he could start for them upon signing.

The Raiders kept tabs on McCarron and pounced once it became clear Buffalo was headed in a different direction.

“We’re happy to get him,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “He has been good since he’s been here. He’s been a quick study in terms of picking up the offense. He’s been in the building from dawn to dusk every day. It’s just a real pleasure to have him right now. He is everything we thought he was, too.”

Jason Witten's leadership crucial for Raiders during 2020 NFL season


Jason Witten's leadership crucial for Raiders during 2020 NFL season

Two notable Raiders additions in the offseason, tight end Jason Witten and linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, met with the media via a Zoom call Monday.

Here are five takeaways on what was said.

1. One major reason the Raiders brought in Witten, who became one of the NFL’s top tight ends over 16 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, was for his veteran leadership. Coach Jon Gruden even asked Witten to speak to the team a few days ago about the importance of high character.

“It’s vital,” Witten said. “This league’s too hard regardless of how talented you are, and I shared this with the guys. … The margin for error is so small in this league that’s how you have to approach it. I was blown away by the skill set. You can see it. I’ve also seen the guys love football. They work hard. They’re accountable.”

Read more at the Las Vegas Review-Journal


Raiders rookie Henry Ruggs' insane one-handed catch shows potential

Raiders rookie Henry Ruggs' insane one-handed catch shows potential

It's no secret how fast Raiders rookie receiver Henry Ruggs is. With his 4.27 40-yard dash speed, he's in the end zone in the blink of an eye.

The Raiders were enamored with Ruggs' speed, and rightfully so. That certainly played a big role in the Silver and Black selecting the former Alabama receiver with the No. 11 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. But it wasn't the only reason. 

Ruggs had some of the best hands in the draft, and he proved that with an insane one-handed grab for a touchdown early on in Raiders training camp. 

It's easy to see why the Raiders fell in love with Ruggs before the draft. He tallied 86 receptions for 1,487 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns his final two years for the Crimson Tide. Ruggs should have a big role in the offense, and the hope is he connects right away with quarterback Derek Carr. 

So far, so good. 

Ruggs should be used all over the field as a rookie, as the Raiders find ways to get the ball in his hands. And it appears he will start off in the slot. 

[RELATED: Raiders rookie Edwards compared to two Pro Bowl wideouts]

“We’ll start with Ruggs III in the slot and do some things with Ruggs III," offensive coordinator Greg Olson said to reporters last week, via Raiders Wire. "But those guys (Ruggs and Bryan Edwards) are very multiple in what they can do and that’s the goal is to be able to move all of them around to different spots; the one, two or three position at the wide receiver.”

Whether it be on the inside or outside, Ruggs will play a big part in the Raiders' offense right away. His ridiculous one-handed grab was just another preview of what's to come.