Four Raiders selected to 2018 NFL Pro Bowl


Four Raiders selected to 2018 NFL Pro Bowl

ALAMEDA – The Raiders had seven players make the Pro Bowl in honor of last year’s 12-4 season.

To the victor, as the cliché goes, go the spoils.

That’s definitely true in a breakout year. After that, respect carries some weight in all-star voting. That’s how the Raiders got four guys into the annual exhibition, which will be played on Jan. 28 in Orlando.

The Raiders list features edge rusher Khalil Mack and offensive linemen Donald Penn, Kelechi Osemele and Rodney Hudson.

The Mack selection was a given. The reigning NFL defensive player of the year has 10.5 sacks with two games remaining, and has 71 total quarterback pressures. He’s also considered one of the NFL’s best run defenders, someone who commands respect with double teams and sometimes more off the edge.

The Raiders blocking trio made the Pro Bowl for a second straight year.

Hudson may be the league’s best center, and is certainly deserving of this honor. Osemele was dominant yet again, and is widely respected for his physicality, pass protection and run blocking. A rusher’s sweet spot is between Osemele and Penn, who man the line’s left side. Penn allowed four sacks this season and was somewhat inconsistent at the start, but closed with his best football before getting hurt Sunday against Dallas.

The Raiders also have six alternates in line to take a Pro Bowl spot should any first-ballot players bow out, an annual postseason tradition among stars around the NFL. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman, quarterback Derek Carr, kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson, offensive lineman Gabe Jackson, running back Marshawn Lynch and punter Marquette King are alternates for this year's game. 

King was the biggest surprise omission from the first ballot. He won the fan vote by a decent sum, but Tennessee's Brett Kern, who sports the NFL's highest net punt average, was the AFC's representative. 

Raiders QB Derek Carr 'exhausted that play' before 4th-and-goal throwaway


Raiders QB Derek Carr 'exhausted that play' before 4th-and-goal throwaway

OAKLAND – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr hung in the pocket one second after another surveying and surveying and surveying some more, waiting in vain for someone to come free. He moved slightly to his left and then rolled back right, with Derek Carrier and Zay Jones running parallel with him. Neither guy was open, so Carr eventually elected to throw it away.

That’s when the boos came. It was to be expected, considering the concession came on fourth-and-goal from the 1. That wasn’t a major moment. The Raiders were down three scores late in the game. That play’s outcome wouldn’t have mattered much either way.

It was, however, essentially still a tap out. Ultimately, however, head coach Jon Gruden wasn’t upset over that play’s result.

“I think he kept the play alive for like 12 seconds. It wasn’t like he just aborted the ball,” Gruden said. “He exhausted that play for what it was. I’m not going to stand here and say that was a turning point in the game.”

Carr didn’t have anybody open and bought time but didn’t try to force it anywhere when nobody was open and he ran out of real estate heading toward the sideline.

“They put us into a scramble drill,” Carr said. “I tried to extend the play in the pocket, like we’ve been working on. I tried to find somebody in the pocket and then as soon as they got close I tried to extend it outside the pocket. I promise you I wrung out the whole [towel] on that one.

“There were seven defensive backs looking at me, waiting for the ball. It is what it is.”

Josh Jacobs 'in tears' when Raiders told him he was out vs. Titans


Josh Jacobs 'in tears' when Raiders told him he was out vs. Titans

OAKLAND -- Josh Jacobs has been a warrior all season for the Raiders. 

The rookie has battled through injuries, dragging himself onto the field to help his team make a postseason run in the running back's first season in silver and black. Jacobs loves being a Raiders and wants to return the team to the storied status it once occupied in the NFL landscape. 

Jacobs' toughness is well-documented, but the Raiders wouldn't let him go Sunday. The rookie star has a fractured shoulder, and despite getting the pain-killing shot he's been receiving for weeks, Jon Gruden put his foot down Sunday and made the back inactive for Oakland's eventual 42-21 loss to the Titans at the Coliseum. 

"I give him a lot of credit," Gruden said of Jacobs after the loss. "He was really in tears today wanting to play. He took a shot to play, like he's been doing, but the injury we just wouldn't let him go out there and play under these circumstances. We don't know what his status for the upcoming ball game will be, but we will keep you posted."

Jacobs is slated to have an MRI this week, but the rest of his season is in doubt. 

It no doubt will kill him if the Raiders shut him now.

"He was hurt, man," running back DeAndre Washington said of Jacobs' reaction that he couldn't play. "He's a competitor man. We took it upon our shoulders to make sure that we had his back. He's been putting in work all year man. Hell of a season.Rookie of the Year for sure." 

Jacobs has had a fantastic season for the Raiders and should be the Offensive Rookie of the Year even if his season is over with. He broke Marcus Allen's Raiders rookie rushing record and became the first Raiders rookie to eclipse 1,000 yards during Oakland's Week 13 loss to the Chiefs. 

[RELATED: Carr explains fourth-and-goal throw away vs. Titans]

Jacobs wouldn't have helped the Raiders much Sunday unless he was playing linebacker. Oakland's defense was shredded early and often, as Ryan Tannehill threw for 391 yards and three touchdowns in the win. The Raiders' offense without Jacobs was serviceable for a half, but he was unable to get in the end zone during the second half to stem the tide and the Titans pulled away in the third quarter. 

With the Raiders now at 6-7 and their playoff hopes on life support, it would be prudent to shut Jacobs and down and make sure he is 100 percent heading into next season.