Raiders

Del Rio: Raiders defense can't put Oakland's QBs behind eight-ball

Del Rio: Raiders defense can't put Oakland's QBs behind eight-ball

ALAMEDA – The Raiders won Sunday’s coin toss and, as always, deferred. They prefer to let defense set the tone and give the offense a chance to kick off the second half.

The defense has been good on opening drives. Not against Denver. The Broncos marched right downfield, scoring a touchdown on an eight-play, 84-yard drive.

“That’s the worst thing you can do for an offense that’s playing with a new quarterback,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “Now they’re feeling more pressure than they need to feel.”

Matt McGloin and the Raiders offense didn’t deal with it well. That unit struggled moving the football and punted on all five first-half series. The Raiders couldn’t run, and McGloin couldn’t get the pass game going in his first start since Derek Carr broke his fibula.

“I think (with) the magnitude and the opportunity, I think he pressed a little bit,” Del Rio said. “But at the end of the day was that the end-all and be-all? No. It’s a team game. We made it harder.”

The Raiders quarterbacks were behind from the start and never recovered. McGloin wasn’t good before injuring his neck and shoulder in the second quarter. Connor Cook had some nice moments in his NFL debut, but he had one touchdown and two turnovers in nine series.

Del Rio wasn’t overly critical of his signal callers a day after his Raiders lost 24-6 at Denver. He was more upset that the rest of his roster didn’t help those guys out.

McGloin and Cook are in a tough spot. They’ve been thrown into the fire without a safety net, no weak teams to ease a transition to the starting lineup. They faced the Broncos first, and now open the playoffs on Saturday in Houston.

The Raiders didn’t pick up their quarterbacks in Denver. The run game sagged. The defense allowed big plays and the team was penalized far too often to compete against Denver’s tough defense.

That, above all else, bothered Del Rio the next day.

“Quarterbacks are going to give us what they have and do the best they can,” Del Rio said. “We have to play well around them. We can’t expect them to come in and put us on their shoulders. We need them to come in and do their job and that’s what we expect them to do this week.”

The Raiders didn’t run consistently, with rare blocking issues against the Broncos. The defense gave up a few big plays, including a 64-yard Justin Forsett run that set up Denver’s first touchdown. They also allowed a short pass to Devontae Booker to go 43 yards for a touchdown. On 3rd-and-18. Del Rio didn’t like that one bit. It put Denver up 17-0 in the second quarter, a massive deficit that made life difficult on the quarterbacks.

The Raiders must do the opposite to have a chance against Houston whether McGloin or Cook starts the game, though signs are pointing to Cook becoming the first NFL player to make his first start in the playoffs. 

“Either way, you know you’re dealing with a tough situation,” Del Rio said. “You’re dealing with your backup, maybe a third-stringer. For us, it’s so much more important that we focus on second-and-13, not giving up a 64-yard run, third-and-18, not giving up a 43-yard touchdown on a screen pass. Those are the ways we can help the quarterbacks.”

Ice Cube calls Raiders' winless start after Khalil Mack trade 'Football 101'

Ice Cube calls Raiders' winless start after Khalil Mack trade 'Football 101'

Sunday wasn't a good day for the Raiders and superfan Ice Cube.

Amidst reports of a divided Raiders front office, the rapper watched his team fall to 0-3 after the Silver and Black blew another fourth-quarter lead. 

To make matters worse for Cube and the rest of Raider Nation, Khalil Mack kept doing Khalil Mack things for his new team.

Mack forced Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford to fumble early in the fourth quarter, and the Bears kicked a go-ahead field goal on the ensuing drive. 

The Bears held on, improved to 2-1 and took sole possession of first place in the NFC North. 

The Raiders, meanwhile, still are searching for their first win of the Second Jon Gruden Era. Minutes before the Bears kicked off in the desert, Ice Cube gave his diagnosis of what ails the winless Raiders.

The season isn't yet halfway home, and this Raiders trade keeps blowin' up

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Raiders report card: Grades on offense, defense in 28-20 loss to Dolphins

Raiders report card: Grades on offense, defense in 28-20 loss to Dolphins

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- The Raiders were far better than the Miami Dolphins for three quarters Sunday.

They picked the wrong time to lose control.

The Silver and Black let another halftime lead slip away in the fourth quarter, coughing up a 28-20 decision at Hard Rock Stadium. They fell to 0-3 after losing a game they should’ve won, yet they remain steadfast in their belief they can turn around their season.

They weren’t able to do so in this one, and remain winless on the year.

Here’s a look at this week’s grades by unit:

Rushing offense

Marshawn Lynch churned out steady yards, finishing with 64, and Doug Martin impressed for the first time all season (43 yards on nine carries). The Raiders' run game was going strong throughout this game and certainly wasn’t responsible for the poor result.

It could’ve turned the tides, however. Keith Smith failed to score from a half-yard out on a crucial fourth down -- maybe just hand it to Lynch there -- that forced a turnover on downs and took seven points off the Raiders' tally. That hurt.

Grade: C

Passing offense

Derek Carr threw for 345 yards, but he'd certainly like to have two throws back. His first interception came when Amari Cooper thought the play was over and he stopped running his route. Carr's second pick came on a throw that was a bit short, allowing Xavien Howard to snatch it in the end zone. That’s a killer.

Jordy Nelson woke up and had a big game (six catches for 173 yards and one touchdown), though Cooper went underground after a big game last week. The Raiders didn’t score enough, which takes away all the good done driving down the field. And critical mistakes ultimately proved costly.

Grade:C-minus

Rushing defense

The Dolphins' ground game was bottled up nice and tight. They averaged just 2.9 yards per carry -- far lower than Frank Gore and Kenyon Drake normally go. That was a plus, especially considering how thin Oakland is along the defensive front.

Grade: B-plus

Pass defense

Ryan Tannehill had a near-perfect passer rating, with 289 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Ryan Freakin' Tannehill. That’s a sign things went wrong for a virtually nonexistent pass rush and a secondary that could corral a less-than-dynamic receiver corps. Even wide receiver Albert Wilson got in on the act, taking an end-around hand-off before launching a 52-yard touchdown pass to Jakeem Grant.

Raiders cornerbacks were beat too often, and safeties took poor angles to the ball and increased gains. And, when they absolutely had to get a stop, they were fooled by a trick play where Wilson’s TD pass gave Miami a lead it didn't relinquish.

Grade: D-minus

Special teams

Johnny Townsend struggled in this one. He averaged just 37.3 net yards punting, and gave up valuable field position by not booming a kick from the back of his end zone. The return didn’t provide much.

Mike Nugent was fine, hitting two field goals and two extra points, and the coverage teams were just OK.

Grade: D-minus

Overall

The Raiders are 0-3. Winless despite having three halftime leads. That’s unacceptable by any standard.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden and offensive coordinator Paul Guenther came up with another good game plan, but they couldn’t find a way to bring it home. Execution waned down the stretch, and the Raiders lost another game they should have won.

Grade: F

MORE ON THE RAIDERS

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