Raiders

Derek Carr, Raiders' offense hear boo birds as downward slide continues

Derek Carr, Raiders' offense hear boo birds as downward slide continues

OAKLAND – The Raiders' offense was humming to start Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans. They found end zones on three of four first-half drives, and entered the halftime break with the score tied at 21.

Then, the wheels came off. The offense never scored during a disastrous second half that featured four punts, a lost fumble and a turnover on downs following a fourth-and-goal throwaway. Things never got better in another terrible result, ending with a 42-21 loss to the Titans at Oakland Coliseum.

The tide turned in the third quarter, after consecutive, fruitless three-and-outs. After the second one, boo birds came out. They were chirping a bit before that, but the Oakland crowd voiced displeasure in unison. Fans were frustrated with the offense and seemed bothered most by quarterback Derek Carr’s play at that point.

They didn’t like the optics of the Raidres QB tossing a pass out of bounds on fourth down, even with time winding down and the game out of reach.

Home fans have booed Carr before. They can be short-tempered, especially when things aren’t going right.

But Carr put the boos in perspective and didn’t take them personally after a third-straight blowout loss.

“It’s happened before. You play here long enough and that will occur,” Carr said after the game. “We have a rowdy group and that’s why we love them. They’re passionate, and they just want to win. It’s just like family. Even when they’re mad at you, they still want to hug you. They still want you to do well. I understand that frustration. I think I showed some emotion, too. I don’t think anything of it. It has happened for six years.”

Carr’s final line looks pretty nice. He completed 25-of-34 passes for 263 yards, two touchdowns and no picks, good for a 115.2 passer rating. The outcome and second-half fade didn’t feel quite as good, but the Raiders were proud of their quarterback’s effort in a third consecutive blowout loss.

“I think he played really well today, Carr did, given what’s going on around him,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “I think there’s a big story there. At least we recognize it. We’re really proud of the way he’s competing and performing with all the moving pieces.”

Gruden is referring to the offensive injuries piling up over the last few weeks, with a list of key players sidelined for Sunday’s game. Running back Josh Jacobs finally succumbed to a shoulder injury after playing through it since Week 7. Right tackle Trent Brown is down with a pectoral injury. Receiver Hunter Renfrow is down another game, at least, with rib injuries and a punctured lung. Foster Moreau suffered a knee injury Sunday and might be done for the year. That’s another huge blow to the offense, and it’s surely impacting execution and an ability to sustain drives.

Carr didn’t want to hear that and didn’t want injury setbacks to excuse poor play.

“This game is next man up,” Carr said. “Nobody cares about our situation. Nobody cares who is playing. Nobody cares who has been here, who has not been here. The people who have played this position, played that. I have learned that in my six years. Nobody cares. We didn’t win the football game and it is what it is.”

[RELATED: Raiders unlikely to find any answers after another ugly home loss]

The Raiders haven’t won since Nov. 17, when they beat the Bengals at home. They have been outscored 116-33 since. It sure seems like the Raiders have run out of gas down the stretch, unable to perform to earlier levels due to attrition and lack of execution. They can look good in spurts – take the first half against Tennessee for example – but can’t sustain it.

The Raiders have struggled on both sides of the ball and have hit a rough patch that they might not leave before the season is out.

“We’re a tight football team that is competing hard,” Gruden said. “We’re missing some of the players that helped us win those three straight games. The Golden State Warriors are going through a similar process. It’s not as easy to win when you’re not playing with your frontline guys. It works out for the development of some young players, but it’s on me. It’s my responsibility to fix it and it certainly doesn’t look good the last few weeks.”

Damarious Randall, Raiders agree to terms after Eli Apple pact dissolves

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AP

Damarious Randall, Raiders agree to terms after Eli Apple pact dissolves

The Raiders fell into some unexpected salary-cap space Thursday when their deal with Eli Apple dissolved. They wasted no time putting it to use.

They kept the investment in the secondary, agreeing on terms of a contract with defensive back Damarious Randall on Thursday night. That news comes via ESPN’s Josina Anderson, who said Randall texted her directly with news of the deal.

The 27-year old played free safety his last two years with the Cleveland Browns and cornerback the previous three with the Green Bay Packers.

Randall could pair with Johnathan Abram at safety or play outside cornerback, if that’s what is required. The Raiders have needs at both spots.

Randall and Abram seem like an ideal mix at safety, though the Raiders desperately need a starting outside cornerback opposite Trayvon Mullen. That position could get filled with remaining funds in free agency or with one of two first-round NFL draft picks.

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The 27-year-old Randall’s a proven commodity, with 16 interceptions in five NFL seasons. He didn’t have a pick last year but had four in every season before that.

Randall was traded from Green Bay to Cleveland before the 2018 season and was solid in coverage with the Browns. He was awesome in 2018, with four interceptions, five passes defensed and he allowed just a 68.8 passer rating when targeted.

The Raiders' secondary is better with Randall than it would’ve been with Apple in the mix, so this should be considered a win for the Silver and Black after a strange and unexpected turn of events.

[RELATED: McKinney headlines top DB prospects for Raiders to target]

Las Vegas has three solid pieces of its secondary with Randall, Abram and Mullen. Lamarcus Joyner is expected to man the slot again in 2020, with just one more void left to fill.

The Raiders have upgraded several defensive positions, including some at every level of the unit. The team should be significantly better on that side of the ball, especially if they hit on a defensive player high in the draft.

Source: Eli Apple, Raiders don't finalize contract in free agency

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USATSI

Source: Eli Apple, Raiders don't finalize contract in free agency

The Raiders agreed in principle on terms of a one-year deal with Eli Apple last month. It was worth $6 million, bringing the former first-round pick into the Silver and Black’s defensive backfield.

A league source with direct knowledge of the deal confirmed the agreement on March 18, but the deal never came across the transaction wire as many other Raiders additions had. Turns out there was a good reason for that.

The deal was never finalized, and now it never will be. The pact has been dissolved, a league source confirmed Thursday, making Apple an unrestricted free agent once again. ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the news. An inabilty to get a physical was at issue, though it's uncertain at this time if a deadline was missed. 

The money earmarked for Apple is now Raiders' salary-cap space moving forward, leaving roughly $11 million remaining at this stage. The Silver and Black need $9.4 million to sign their draft picks as currently slotted, per Over the Cap.

Apple was set to be an option to start at outside cornerback opposite Travyon Mullen, thought he didn’t eliminate the team’s need at the position. The Raiders were expected to add one in the draft, quite possibly in the first round.

[RELATED: Why Nick Kwiatkoski thought Raiders were 'best fit' in NFL free agency]

That could certainly happen now, and as early as No. 12 overall, as the Silver and Black look for a plug-and-play option from the college ranks.

There are some veteran options on the market, including last year’s starter Daryl Worley. The Cincinnati Bengals cut Dre Kirkpatrick this week, and he knows Paul Guenther’s defense from their time together in Cincinnati. Logan Ryan, Aqib Talib and Prince Amukamara also remain on the open market.

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