Raiders

D.J. Swearinger ready to bring immediate aid to Raiders' ailing secondary

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D.J. Swearinger ready to bring immediate aid to Raiders' ailing secondary

Yes, the Raiders are 5-4. Yes, the playoffs are a realistic possibility.

But issues abound in Oakland.

Jon Gruden's gritty club has fought through a rash of injuries, a five-game road trip, the suspension of Vontaze Burfict and Antonio Brown's decision to go AWOL to be in the thick of the playoff hunt in November. But the Silver and Black's secondary is running on emergency power after Karl Joseph suffered a season-ending injury on the final play of the Raiders' Week 10 win over the Chargers.

With Joseph out for the season, that means the Raiders are missing both of their starting safeties -- Johnathan Abram has been out since Week 1 -- as well as their starting middle linebacker and two defensive ends. Gruden is trying to patch the defense together as the Raiders prepare for a playoff run.

D.J. Swearinger is the latest member of the duct tape brigade. The Raiders signed the veteran safety Saturday, and hope he can slide in immediately and give them some relief in the backend. 

It's hard for players to come in cold off the street and learn a new system, but Swearinger played in a similar scheme in Arizona, so he isn't worried about the learning curve. 

"It's not a new system for me because Arizona ran the exact same system," Swearinger said Monday. "Just got to get the different terminology, which is sort of the similar terminology in Arizona --- almost identical -- with a few coverages so it's not a hard transition for me. I'm going to fit right in, do my studying and make it happen."

Swearinger played in four games for the Cardinals this season before being released. The 28-year-old veteran safety has played for four teams prior to the Raiders, including two stints with the Cardinals, notching 14 interceptions and 40 passes defensed in his seven-year NFL career.

He's versatile, experienced and likes to hit. Most of all he's hungry and ready to seize the moment, both for himself and the Raiders.

"It's a great opportunity, man," Swearinger said. "I'm happy to be here. Happy to be with a coach like coach Gruden. I know what he means to football, know what he brings to the table. I'm excited to be here, they are doing some great stuff here. I'm ready to add whatever I can to help this team win and win a championship."

With both their starting safeties done for the season, the Raiders are in the unfortunate position of having to rely on a guy that's been in the building for only couple days. Swearinger has the talent, and the Raiders need him to be at his best right away.

"I like Swearinger," Gruden said Monday. "He played for my brother in Washington. I was a broadcaster at one point, I spent a lot of time in South Carolina with my friend [Steve] Spurrier, so I know a little bit about Swearinger. I think he's a good player, he just has to put it all together. That's what he needs to do. He's got to start that process today. We need the very best of Swearinger."

[RELATED: Ferrell arrives with statement game in Raiders' TNF win]

He's spent the last month waiting for an opportunity, viewing this tough Raiders team from afar.

"They got grit and it starts with the head coach," Swearinger said of his new team. "I love the head coach, I've always loved coach Gruden. From way back in college, from him doing Monday nights. I know what he brings to football and I know playing for a coach like that we're going to bring it every time we step on the field. He expects that. The guys in the locker room ... there are some young guys but they are talented and they want to go to work and you can help but come in and get with the coach."

The Raiders will face an 0-9 Bengals team Sunday in Week 11, a vertically challenged team that should present limited problems for a new safety getting his feet wet in silver and black. Swearinger prides himself on being a physical safety with underrated cover skills. He's tough, emotional and hard working.

Gruden and the Raiders need all of that to translate into winning football in the backend of the Raiders' secondary. The playoffs might depend on it.

Jeremy Hill joins Raiders, veteran running back confirms on Twitter

Jeremy Hill joins Raiders, veteran running back confirms on Twitter

It looks like the Raiders have added a veteran running back to their mix. 

Jeremy Hill tweeted Sunday morning "I'm a Raider." NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Friday that the Raiders hosted Hill for a workout and planned to sign the running back. 

Hill, 27, didn't play last season after tearing his ACL in the first game of the 2018 season. He had four carries for 25 yards as a member of the New England Patriots before his season came to a crashing halt. 

The former second-round draft pick also only played seven games in 2017. His last full season was 2016, when he rushed for 839 yards and nine touchdowns for the Cincinnati Bengals. 

If healthy, Hill can provide a powerful backup option to Josh Jacobs and bring depth to the Raiders' running backs room. He always has had a nose for the end zone, and packs a punch at 230 pounds. 

There's no doubt Hill comes with health concerns, and fumbling always has been an issue, but he seems well work the risk for the Raiders.

[RAIDERS TALK: Listen to the latest episode]
 

Henry Ruggs, Lynn Bowden key to Raiders' jump in offensive production

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Henry Ruggs, Lynn Bowden key to Raiders' jump in offensive production

Absent the ability to actually see his team on a football field, it’s impossible for Raiders coach Jon Gruden to fully appreciate how the offseason addition of some prominent offensive players will lead to improved efficiency in the Red Zone.

Let alone explain in precise details how the speed and explosiveness of first-round pick Henry Ruggs and the versatility of second-round pick Lynn Bowden will translate to more production inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. And in turn, push the Raiders’ scoring average from the 18.8 per game of the last two years to the 24-plus points they need to be a viable playoff contender.

“I’m not going to make any predictions about Ruggs or Bowden until I see them live over the next few weeks,” Gruden said.

Read more at the Las Vegas Review-Journal