Raiders

Chris Simms impressed with Raiders, who have been 'kicking some butt'

Chris Simms impressed with Raiders, who have been 'kicking some butt'

If you're impressed by the Raiders' recent turnaround, you're definitely not alone.

NBC Sports' Chris Simms is at a loss for words when it comes to describing what Oakland has accomplished after what only can be described as a hellish start to the season.

"Wow. I mean, I can't really say enough right now about what I've seen from the Oakland Raiders," Simms told NBC Sports California on Wednesday. "My old coach, Jon Gruden, has been kicking some butt, and I'm not saying that because he's my old coach. Trust me, I've talked crap about him before when he hasn't been good. I just think the way he is managing the football game right now is phenomenal."

Simms believes part of the 3-2 Raiders' recent surge can be attributed to Gruden putting his players in the right position to succeed.

"[The team] is playing extremely hard and physical on both sides of the football, but he's managing the offense the right way and managing it in a way that is giving it realistic expectations," Simms continued. "[He's] not asking it to do things that some of the players have not been able to do, and it's playing to their strengths. 

"They're running the football. [The offense is] playing smash-mouth football. When they drop back to pass, it's high-percentage passes. Let's take care of the football that way. And then when they look to strike deep or something like that, it's usually through a play-action pass or something Jon Gruden has designed in the chemistry lab in the week before through his film study."

The Raiders' consecutive wins over the Colts and Bears, in particular, really caught Simms' eye.

"I just really can't say enough about the Raiders and what they're doing right now," he said. "Those were two surprise victories for me, and they did it in a physical way."

[RELATED: Could Raiders be AFC West favorites after Mahomes injury?]

If the Raiders keep playing like they have the last two weeks, only more praise will follow.

Derek Carr 'looking forward' to being QB in Raiders' Las Vegas opener

Derek Carr 'looking forward' to being QB in Raiders' Las Vegas opener

Out of a possible 96 starts since being drafted by the Raiders in 2014, quarterback Derek Carr has been under center for 94 of them.

But after a disappointing 7-9 season, many Raiders fans have clamored for a change at the game’s most important position.

Carr, however, hasn’t paid the rumors or social media fodder too much attention.

“But I'll say it this way,” Carr said (h/t ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez). “I look forward to taking the first snap in that stadium, and I look forward to taking every snap from here on out -- until I'm done."

The 28-year-old had a career year in 2019, setting career-highs in passing yards (4,054), yards per attempt (7.9), and quarterback rating (100.8).

But coach Jon Gruden grew frustrated with Carr’s inability to throw the ball downfield consistently, and some potential free agent quarterbacks reportedly have caught the Raiders’ eye.

[RELATED: Raiders should pay attention to these 10 Senior Bowl stars]

As the team re-brands and moves into its new home in Sin City, some believe the team will bring on a new starting signal-caller to usher in the Las Vegas Raiders era.

Just don’t count Carr among them.

Mel Kiper NFL mock draft 2020: Raiders pick two Oklahoma prospects

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Mel Kiper NFL mock draft 2020: Raiders pick two Oklahoma prospects

For the second consecutive season, the Oakland Las Vegas Raiders will have multiple first-round selections in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. It'll happen right in the team’s new backyard along the famous Strip.

After a strong start, the Raiders faded in the second half of the 2019 season, finishing with a dismal 7-9 record. Where will general manager Mike Mayock allocate his precious draft picks come April?

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. released his first mock draft Friday and has the Raiders addressing both sides of the ball in the first round.

No. 12: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

As arguably the top receiver in this year’s draft class, this would be an absolute steal. Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams were expected to form a dynamic receiving duo for the Raiders in 2019, but Brown’s brief and bizarre tenure combined with Williams’ injury struggles left the team with few consistent targets on the outside.

Kiper wrote: 

Lamb is a big-time playmaker with great hands who will step in, catch a bunch of passes and score touchdowns.

Whether the Raiders have Derek Carr or another veteran quarterback under center next season, Lamb would provide an immediate No. 1 option to bring some much-needed balance to coach Jon Gruden’s offense.

After a dominant, three-touchdown performance against Texas this season, Lamb even shouted out a Raiders legend with his postgame 'fit.

[RELATED: Raiders should pay attention to these 10 Senior Bowl stars]

No. 19: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

With one of the picks from the bounty acquired in the Khalil Mack trade with the Chicago Bears, Kiper has Las Vegas shoring up its linebacking corps with another Sooner.

Murray is a chiseled, gifted talent with great athleticism for his size (6-foot-2, 240). He needs to improve in coverage, but he has the speed to match tight ends in space and is so fun to watch on tape as a tackler and penetrator.

With five linebackers set to hit free agency, this is a major position of need for the Raiders. Murray had 102 tackles and four sacks for Oklahoma in his final collegiate season.