Estadio Azteca 'great atmosphere' for Raiders victory

Estadio Azteca 'great atmosphere' for Raiders victory

MEXICO CITY – The Raiders were only in Mexico City for a day, and stayed in their hotel prior to Monday night's game against the Texans. The experience, however, was a good one.

A 27-20 victory over Houston at Estadio Azteca was the best part of their trip south of the border, but a raucous, decidedly pro-Raiders crowd made the experience better.

“The fans really showed up,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “It was a great atmosphere to play in.”

The first regular-season game in Mexico since 2005 was a success, with 76,473 fans packed into a historic stadium. The Raiders put on a show, surging back with 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to win their fourth straight game.

It was generally loud all the time, but the fans seemed to know the game well and were cheering loud for the Raiders.

“I thought the crowd was outstanding,” Del Rio said. “We were excited to play here and they were certainly fired up to watch an NFL game. …It was a great environment to play in live. The fans came out, and they were terrific throughout the night.”

The game wasn’t without some incidents. A fan shined a green laser into Houston quarterback Brock Osweiller’s eyes several times during the game. Using a laser pointer to distract is somehwat common at Mexican soccer games. 

Altitude was another factor, with a pair of teams located near sea level played at an elevation of 7,382 feet. The Raiders believe they handled it well.

“As the game went on, we got used to it,” running back Latavius Murray said. “We did everything we possibly could to prepare for the altitude leading up to the game. We just found a way to overcome it and get a win. We made no excuse about it.”

NFL free agency: Raiders sign QB Mike Glennon to back up Derek Carr


NFL free agency: Raiders sign QB Mike Glennon to back up Derek Carr

The Raiders wanted an experienced backup quarterback behind Derek Carr, and got one Friday by signing Mike Glennon.

Now they hope he never plays. It’s still a vital role in meeting rooms and on-the-field, should an emergency arise on game day. Young bucks can get caught in the headlights. Veterans won’t be as good as the starter, but can generally function better being inserted into a game without many practice reps.

He has hopped into action during five seasons and has 22 starts, meaning he can handle short-relief or a stretch as the starter.

That calms some fan's nerves after the Raiders released AJ McCarron, who has already signed with the Houston Texans, leaving Nathan Peterman as the only non-Carr quarterback on the roster.

Glennon steps into the No. 2 slot having completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 5,107 yards and 35 touchdowns with 20 interceptions over five seasons.

Peterman is still with the Raiders on a futures contract, and is the No. 3 guy at the moment.

Many will look at the signing and wonder if it impacts the possibility of drafting a quarterback next month. It’s hard to rule anything out, but the disciplined choice would be to address the pass rush early and often in the 2019 NFL Draft, though a quarterback could get taken later in the selection process.

But…having Glennon on the roster won’t prohibit the Raiders from taking Kyler Murray or Dwayne Haskins. Would the Raiders eliminate the prospect of taking Quinnen Williams because interior pass rushers P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst were drafted last year? Absolutely not.

A edge rusher is the team’s most pressing need and must be addressed with quality and quantity before the season starts.

The Raiders don’t have to take a quarterback now in the draft, and adding Glennon takes the pressure off the demand to get another one down the line. Glennon should be viewed as a reliable backup who can step into service if Carr isn’t available.

Curtis Riley signs with Raiders to boost short-handed secondary

Curtis Riley signs with Raiders to boost short-handed secondary

The Raiders continued fleshing out their secondary on Friday agreeing on terms of a contract with safety Curtis Riley, the team announced Friday. The former New York Giant visited the team’s Alameda facility on Thursday and left without a deal, but he ended up taking the Raiders offer despite interest from other teams.

Riley hinted at a pact on Twitter on Friday, saying he was coming to the Bay Area. He’ll exchange coasts after starting all 16 games at free safety with last year’s Giants. He had 75 tackles, four interceptions and five pass breakups for that squad.

He’ll have an opportunity to play significant snaps in the Raiders secondary. High-priced free-agent signing Lamarcus Joyner is also a free safety, but is expected to play slot cornerback regularly in 2019, likely shuttling back and forth between positions.

Riley could step in as the free safety in sub packages that defenses spend significant time in nowadays. Erik Harris will compete for that role opposite strong safety Karl Joseph.

The Raiders have options in the secondary now, with the aforementioned safeties and depth at cornerback. Gareon Conley’s a virtual lock to start at one outside cornerback spot. Daryl Worley’s expected to return on a second-round free-agent tender, through Thursday’s signing Nevin Lawson will compete for time there as well. Last year’s fourth-round pick Nick Nelson will have to fight for time with this new defensive back depth chart.

The Raiders could well draft another defensive back as well, especially if a good one slips and becomes a great value pick.

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News of Riley’s agreement should excite quarterback Derek Carr. Riley’s a fellow Fresno State alum. and was teammates with Carr in 2013.

The Raiders also had interest in George Iloka, who played with defensive coordinator Paul Guenther in Cincinnati. Iloka visited the Raiders complex Thursday, but left without a deal and scheduled other visits.