Raiders

Derek Carr can't believe the Packers let Jordy Nelson go

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AP

Derek Carr can't believe the Packers let Jordy Nelson go

NAPA – Jordy Nelson has lost a step. He must’ve, if the Green Bay Packers let him go. That’s the assumption, anyway. It’s also the easy thing to say, impossible to know without seeing him in action.

The 33-year old Raiders receiver doesn’t sweat that stuff, nor does he waste breath responding to it. Nelson’s as even keel as they come, sublimely insulated from outside chatter.

Derek Carr has heard the talk, and begs to differ.

“The thing that you hear about that he can’t run anymore, that’s false,” the franchise quarterback said. “I can tell you, he’s one of the fastest skill guys that we have still. He can run. You see that by his route running. If he can win on underneath routes, which means DB’s are scared about what he can do over the top. He’s still Jordy Nelson, that’s for sure.”

The Jordy Nelson we all know was Aaron Rodgers’ go-to guy, an All-Pro with four out of five seasons with 1,250 receiving yards or more. That run came before 2017, a rough year with just 482 yards and 9.1 yards per catch.

Green Bay demanded an outlandish pay cut and didn’t negotiate beyond that, sending a Packers legend out the front door. The Raiders swooped, believing his brand of leadership and reliability would cure an ailing receiver corps.

“He’s wired in. You can see why he was a security blanket for Aaron Rodgers all those years,” head coach Jon Gruden said. “He can still run. He’s proven to us he can still run. We can line him up anywhere we want and he can run any route we draw up. We’re really encouraged by him.”

The Raiders love Nelson’s attention to detail. Amari Cooper will be the passing game’s main weapon but Nelson sets the tone each practice. He’s thorough in meetings and detail-oriented on the practice field.

“He’s a seasoned player. He has such a presence in the receiver room, and he’s won a Super Bowl,” Cooper said. “So, any advice he has to offer, I’m all ears. He’s always speaking up on the small things when it comes to small details and route running and things like that. I’m always listening.”

That’s the given part of the plan. He’s going to lead by good example.

“Jordy has a vet presence that you can’t coach,” said tight end Jared Cook, who teamed with Nelson in Green Bay. “Just knowledge of the game, great route running, great speed, great timing. When I was in Green Bay, a lot of the guys looked up to Jordy and he played a huge role in our offense, not only as a player but as a person in our locker room. The all-around person that he is and his insights to the game that he brings is huge for our team, especially for the young receiving corps that we have.”

The Raiders will get leadership, no doubt. They need more, though. They need vintage Nelson production as well, to offset Cooper and add to what should be a complete receiver corps if he goes right. Carr’s confident he will, and that’s after working with him since April.

“There’s some guys that are good at running some routes, a guy will be there that’s strong at catching the ball or whatever, he just gets open,” Carr said. “He’s very route savvy, he’s very smart, he’s always constantly on the coaches, ‘Yell the coverage out, I need to know my adjustment.’ He’s pushing the envelope that way as well. I can’t say enough good things. I can’t believe Green Bay let him go, but I’m glad he’s here.”

NFL Playoff Picture: Where Raiders stand after Chiefs win Week 11 game

NFL Playoff Picture: Where Raiders stand after Chiefs win Week 11 game

The Raiders had a chance to move into first place in AFC West on Monday night, but they needed a little help.

They did not get that help as the Chargers failed to beat the Chiefs in Mexico City on "Monday Night Football." Kansas City held on for a 24-17 victory and moved to 7-4 on the season.

The Raiders, coming off a 17-10 win over the Bengals,  sit and 6-4 and remain in second place in the AFC West and in seventh place in the AFC playoff picture.

Had the Chargers won, the Raiders would have moved into third place in the AFC by virtue of the tiebreaker with the Indianapolis Colts.

Alas, the Raiders still are on the outside looking in.

Here's how the AFC playoff picture looks through 11 weeks of the NFL season.

1. New England Patriots (9-1)
2. Baltimore Ravens (8-2)
3. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)
4. Indianapolis Colts (6-4)
5. Buffalo Bills (7-3)
6. Houston Texans (6-4)
7. Oakland Raiders (6-4)

The good news for the Raiders is that their schedule the rest of the way is slightly easier than that of Kansas City's.

Oakland has six games remaining and only their Week 13 matchup against the Chiefs comes against a team with a winning record. The Raiders also have games remaining against the Jets (3-7), Titans (5-5), Jaguars (4-6), Chargers (4-7) and Broncos (3-7).

[RELATED: Raiders-Chiefs Week 13 clash flexed to afternoon slot]

After a bye next weekend, the Chiefs host the Raiders, then travel to New England to take on the AFC-leading Patriots. They close the season against the Broncos, Bears (4-6) and Chargers.

Buckle up because the last six weeks of the season are going to have many more twists and turns.

Raiders snap count: How Dion Jordan made an impact against Bengals

Raiders snap count: How Dion Jordan made an impact against Bengals

ALAMEDA – Dion Jordan has played several spots along the line in his NFL career, most of it off the edge. The Raiders need help there but requested he help in another spot on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

“We asked him to go inside and rush,” coach Jon Gruden said. “We want to keep [Clelin] Ferrell and Maxx [Crosby] and [Benson] Mayowa outside. Dion gives us another guy with length who can go against the guards.”

Jordan’s a superior athlete who stands 6-foot-6, 284 pounds. He’s quick and agile enough to go around blockers, strong enough to go through them.

That certainly helped him work from interior spots over 14 snaps against the Bengals, and he was able to generate some pressure working obvious passing downs. He had a quarterback sack on third down that forced a punt, a run stop and one other quarterback pressure.

Jordan's presence was also felt in ways that can’t be quantified in the box score. His teammates said his athleticism helps create chances for others. Crosby credited Jordan for freeing him some off the edge.

Fellow interior rusher Maurice Hurst, who plays a different, yet effective game getting to the quarterback, liked the new energy Jordan brought to the front.

“He’s a great athlete who gets the guards to kick out to him pretty fast,” Hurst said. “It creates space for some of the other guys. You can run cool things with him. He will really help us inside.”

We’ll see whether Jordan’s role expands as we move forward. He only had three practices to adjust to this Raiders scheme after formally joining the team on Tuesday after his NFL suspension was lifted. More time might allow him to do some different things, or at least prep him to take more snaps helping this pass rush and defensive effort as a whole.

"He gives us some athleticism and chase-down ability, and he showed that he can still do that [after 10 games away on suspension]," Gruden said. "We have to keep working him into football shape, and try to get him some more turns."

Here is the entire Raiders snap count: 

Offense

Total offensive snaps: 70
Quarterback – Derek Carr 70
Running back – Josh Jacobs 45, Alec Ingold 17, Jalen Richard 16, DeAndre Washington 9
Wide receiver – Tyrell Williams 51, Zay Jones 48, Hunter Renfrow 31, Marcell Ateman 5
Tight end – Darren Waller 66, Foster Moreau 41, Derek Carrier 20
Offensive line – Richie Incognito 70, Kolton Miller 70, Trent Brown 70, Gabe Jackson 70, Rodney Hudson 70, Brandon Parker 2

Defense

Total defensive snaps: 63
Defensive line – Maxx Crosby 49, Clelin Ferrell 41, Johnathan Hankins 41, P.J. Hall 35, Maurice Hurst 30, Benson Mayowa 19, Josh Mauro 18, Dion Jordan 16
Linebacker – Tahir Whitehead 63, Nicholas Morrow 59, Will Compton 6
Defensive back – Erik Harris 63, Daryl Worley 63, Trayvon Mullen 63, Nevin Lawson 57, D.J. Swearinger 38, Curtis Riley 25, Isaiah Johnson 7

[RELATED: Raiders sign Preston Brown]

Special teams

Kyle Wilber 20, Dallin Leavitt 18, Carrier 18, Riley 15, Moreau 14, Keisean Nixon 14, Johnson 13, Compton 12, Morrow 9, Harris 9, Lawson 8, Crosby 8, A.J. Cole 8, Trevor Davis 8, Trent Sieg 8, Mullen 6, Daniel Carlson 7, Hurst 5, Whitehead, Worley 5, Denzelle Good 3, Parker 3, Washington 3, Brown 3, Miller 3, Jackson 3, Incognito 3, Jordan 2, Mayowa 2