Raiders

Angry Jack Del Rio decries 'vicious hit' on Raiders WR Amari Cooper

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AP

Angry Jack Del Rio decries 'vicious hit' on Raiders WR Amari Cooper

OAKLAND – Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio was upset with the hit that knocked Amari Cooper unconscious in Sunday’s 21-14 victory over Denver.

He made his opinion clear after the game, said it was a nasty hit that has no place in the game.

Cooper caught a pass over the middle in the second quarter, with Broncos safety Darian Stewart bearing down. The two were clearly on a collision course.

Cooper ducked his head and shoulders down to avoid a direct shot. Stewart put his head down, but his shoulder and side rammed into Cooper in the back of the head and neck area.

Cooper was out cold for a seemingly extended stretch, but came to while on the field. He brushed off the cart, and walked off the field with minimal assistance.

He was diagnosed with a concussion and did not return to the game.

Stewart was penalized for unnecessary roughness, though analysts covering the game questioned the flag. Del Rio, however, didn’t like it one bit.

“It was a vicious hit,” Del Rio said. “It’s the kind we’re trying to remove from our game, quite frankly. You see less and less of those. I’m sure the league will take a hard look at it. Those are the kinds of impact hits that don’t need to be a part of our game right now. The guy is clearly defensive less and got targeted right in the head. There’s a chance to hit in the strike zone and be somewhere else and not be there like that.”

Del Rio said Cooper is okay, but is in the concussion protocol. Quarterback Derek Carr took positive signs from a postgame conversation with his receiver.

The incident had an impact on the Raiders, especially when Cooper was down, largely motionless, for so long.

It had a big impact on Carr, who threw Cooper the ball in a tight spot.

“Anytime I throw a ball and I feel like I had anything to do with it, it rips my heart out,” Carr said. “I’m not even going to lie, I had to hold back the motions of him getting hit and thinking it was my fault. The way the linebacker played it, I had to throw it where I had to throw it. But anytime he gets hit, I feel terrible. (Center Rodney Hudson) saw it on my face and said 'Hey man shake it off, we gotta win this game.' I was like 'You’re right, I’ll be good, but that’s my brother.'”

Jon Gruden very 'torn up' by passing of Raiders legend Willie Brown

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USATSI

Jon Gruden very 'torn up' by passing of Raiders legend Willie Brown

The Raider family lost a beloved member of the family Tuesday when legendary Raiders cornerback Willie Brown died at the age of 78.

Brown was a treasured member of the Silver and Black and his passing hit head coach Jon Gruden hard.

"We're really sad about losing one of the great Raiders and great people that I've met, Willie Brown," Gruden told the media Wednesday. "Our heart is really torn up, man. He was one great guy great player, One of the reasons I came back to coach was to be with Willie Brown. So our condolences go to his family and all the Raiders players that played with him and knew him. I'm sure they share in our grief. God bless Willie Brown. 

Late Raiders owner Al Davis traded for Brown in 1967, and it was one of the most impactful moves in franchise history. Brown played for the Raiders for 12 seasons, with his pick-six in Super Bowl XI against Minnesota serving as one of the iconic moments of his illustrious career.

A physical cornerback, Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984. He served as the Raiders defensive backs coach for 10 seasons and was one of the public faces of the franchise before his health started to decline.

[RELATED: Could Jordan, Beasley be answer to Raiders' pass rush issues?]

Brown is the latest member of the Raiders family to pass, just two months after Cliff Branch died.

"It's been hard," Gruden said. "Especially for Mark Davis and his mom that grew up with these guys. These are legendary players and great people, and it's hard to swallow losing Cliff and certainly losing Willie and as you mentioned several of the other men that we have lost. But that's life. None of us are guaranteed the next day. That's why you live for the moment and pay your respects the best way that you can."

Could Raiders beef up pass-rush with either Dion Jordan, Vic Beasley?

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USATSI

Could Raiders beef up pass-rush with either Dion Jordan, Vic Beasley?

Six games into the 2019 NFL season and the expected has become a reality: The Raiders need some help with their pass rush. 

After struggling to get to the quarterback a season ago, the Raiders drafted three edge rushers in the 2019 NFL Draft, hoping one or two of the young bucks would give them a jolt up front. So far, No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell hasn't lived up to his top pick status, while seventh-round draft pick Quinton Bell, who was expected to be a project, has been released. Fourth-round pick Maxx Crosby has been solid, but the Raiders only sacked the quarterback 10 times, good for 27th in the NFL. 

The Silver and Black enter Week 8 at 3-3 with one game remaining on their five-game road trip. The Raiders sit in an advantageous position in the AFC West. With Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes expected to miss a few weeks with a dislocated knee and with the Chargers almost dead and buried at 2-5, the Raiders have the opportunity to make a move in the division, but they'll need to fix their pass rush in order to do so.

The NFL trade deadline is fast approaching, but the Raiders likely don't want to surrender draft picks in order to obtain a short-term fix to their pass rush issues.

But there could be another option.

Dion Jordan, who was drafted with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, currently is serving a 10-game suspension for taking Adderall has been training and will be eligible to be signed in a couple weeks. 

Jordan takes Adderall for his ADHD, but his NFL waiver to take the drug had expired and his appeal was denied by the league. 

The Oregon product never lived up to his billing as a No. 3 overall pick, but he has more talent than any other option the Raiders might pursue on the trade market. 

After being drafted by the Dolphins in 2013, Jordan was suspended for six games in 2014 for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy, and was banned for the entire 2015 season for the same reason. He missed the 2016 campaign with a knee injury before being picked up by the Seahawks prior to the 2017 season.

[RELATED: Pros, cons of five players Raiders could acquire]

Jordan could be a low-risk option for head coach Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock for the back half of the season. At 29, Jordan still has all the physical tools to be an effective pass rusher, it's just a matter of him putting everything together, getting out of his own way and staying healthy. 

If he flounders, the Raiders can cut him and be no worse for the wear. But if he realizes even a portion of the promise he was expected to have, the Raiders' D-line will get a huge boost. 

If Jordan doesn't appeal to the Raiders, they could look for a buy-low option on the trade market such as Vic Beasley. The Falcons are shopping the former All-Pro but the market has been "weak," The Athletic's Jeff Schultz reported. 

Beasley led the NFL with 15 1/2 sacks in 2016, but he has struggled since then, nothing just 11 1/2 sacks in 37 games. With the Falcons dead at 1-6, Oakland would be wise to see if it can steal Beasley for cheap and see if the 27-year-old can find his Pro-Bowl form from a few years ago.

Their names might not light up fans' eyes, but both Jordan and Beasley have the talent to resuscitate a Raiders pass rush that has struggled since the Khalil Mack trade.