Del Rio: Raiders' red zone success starts with the trigger man

Del Rio: Raiders' red zone success starts with the trigger man

ALAMEDA – The Raiders have entered the red zone 11 times in four games this season. They’ve left with points every time.

That’s no shock considering Sebastian Janikowski’s accurate from short distances, but the Polish Cannon has finished most of those drives on the sideline.

The Raiders haven’t needed his services. They’re finding the end zone at an astonishing clip. They’ve scored 10 touchdowns in 11 trips inside the opposing 20-yard line

Their 90.91-percent conversion rate equals the NFL’s best, and is a major reason the Raiders are 3-1. They’ve won every game by seven or less, and two by a single point.

Exchanging just one touchdown for a field goal against the New Orleans Saints or Baltimore Ravens might’ve changed the final outcome.

Head coach Jack Del Rio primarily credits coordinator Bill Musgrave and quarterback Derek Carr for such efficiency.

“We only talk about the coordinator when things don’t go well, right?,” Del Rio said with a laugh. “We want to question what happened or something. It’s like, ‘Why’d you call that?’ Then you want to know. The reality is (Musgrave) called a good game (on Sunday).

“He’s done a nice job done there putting us in a position, putting Derek in position to do the things he does well. You have to give credit to the design of it and then you have to give credit to the execution of it and it starts with the trigger man. That’s why when you have a good trigger man, it makes a lot of things kind of go smoothly.”

The Raiders defense has fared well when opponents reach the red zone, allowing touchdowns just 53 percent of the time.


'That is crazy' Raiders might play just one more game in Oakland


'That is crazy' Raiders might play just one more game in Oakland

ALAMEDA – Whether it’s the mice in the soda machine or unstable turf or unreliable x-ray machine, the Oakland Coliseum has it’s issues.

Derek Carr might call them quirks.

The Raiders quarterback has played most of his professional home games there over nearly five seasons, and he has a tough time pondering Christmas Eve could be his last game played there.

“That is crazy. To me, that just seems weird,” Carr said. “It just seems different to even think that way. I’ve spent five years playing in the stadium and we have people talking trash about it, but I love it. It’s ours. It has been fun, and the fact that it could be the last (game) is crazy. When that time comes, we’ll enjoy it.”

That isn’t official yet, but it’s in the realm of possibility after the City of Oakland file a federal antitrust and breach-of-contract lawsuit against the Raiders and the NFL on Tuesday.

The Raiders haven’t ruled out Oakland Coliseum remaining home base, but they are exploring other places to play the 2019 season.

That makes it very real the Dec. 24 game against Denver could be the last Raiders game played there. That wasn’t the case Monday, but Tuesday’s legal action changed things

“It’s always something every day here, isn’t it? I enjoy seeing you guys here asking all these questions,” head coach Jon Gruden said. “I want to play in Oakland. I’m really sensitive to it, as you would expect. That’s where I want to play. We’ll see what happens.”

Raiders will host home game in London or Mexico City in 2019 NFL season


Raiders will host home game in London or Mexico City in 2019 NFL season

The Raiders may or may not call Oakland home in 2019. For one week, though, they'll play in a city that's become familiar to them.

The Silver and Black will host a game in London or Mexico City next season, NFL vice president of communications Michael Signora tweeted Wednesday. 

The Raiders played the Seattle Seahawks in London in Week 6 at Wembley Stadium, after construction delays at Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium forced the game to be moved. That stadium is finally set to completed early next year, so it's possible the Raiders could be the first NFL team to play in the House That Harry Kane Built. 

Last year, the Raiders hosted the New England Patriots at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. Poor field conditions moved this year's Kansas City Chiefs-Los Angeles Rams instant classic away from the famed venue, so the Raiders could conceivably "re-open" the stadium to American football after playing the last two games there. 

No matter where that home game is, the Raiders will be the home team in London or Mexico City for the third time since 2014. They have hosted a home game abroad every year except 2015 during that time. 

Now, the Raiders will have to find a venue to host seven other regular-season games (and two preseason games) next year.

Their lease with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum ends after this season, and the City of Oakland announced Tuesday it filed a federal antitrust and breach of contract lawsuit against the Raiders and the NFL. Owner Mark Davis offered no comment Tuesday when ESPN asked him if the Raiders could still play in Oakland after the lawsuit. 

They'll await closure in the courts, and from the NFL schedule-makers, too. The NFL won't announce where the games are played until the spring.