Raiders

Gruden: 'Al Davis would be very proud of Derek Carr'

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Gruden: 'Al Davis would be very proud of Derek Carr'

Jon Gruden has always been a big Derek Carr fan. The former Raiders coach and current ESPN color analyst studied him intently prior to the NFL draft, and believed he would be a quality pro.

“Carr is a very rare prospect,” Gruden said Wednesday in a conference call. “His Fresno film speaks for itself. He mastered two different systems and had two head coaches. He was calling his own plays, for crying out loud, in Fresno.”

The belief was cemented during Gruden’s QB Camp, where top quarterbacks are invited to film ESPN segments that take a deep dive into a quarterback’s ability.

“I can remember him throwing the ball like it was yesterday,” Gruden said. “We have two cameras set up 20 yards downfield on each hash mark, and we threw some seam passes toward them. Most of the guys hit the screen, a couple would hit the target. Derek Carr hit the bull’s eye both times and broke my cameras. He put on a show for the NFL players.

“What hasn’t been said about Carr today is about his intangibles. He’s such an upbeat kid. He has so much passion and energy and leadership. He fun to be around. He’s a superstar. He deserves a lot of credit, and I’m glad he’s getting some national television play.”

Carr will be in the spotlight on Monday Night Football, when his Raiders play the Houston Texans in Mexico City for a showcase game. Gruden will be the color analyst for this one, and will see Carr up close for the first time as a broadcaster.

Gruden believes Carr can do it all, and is a primary reason why the Raiders are 7-2 heading into this pivotal AFC clash. That opinion is supported by terrific numbers, with 2,505 yards, 17 touchdowns to just three interceptions, with a 99.1 passer rating.

“He’s a much better athlete than people think,” Gruden said. “They can run the zone read. They can run a lot of plays that make it hard for a defense to do things. He’s a smart guy, and they can use different formations.

“To put it honestly, this guy has a cannon. He’s got a gun. He can throw it tight windows with very little movement. He has a quick release and very little lower body movement. He has an arsenal of receivers. Al Davis would be very proud of Derek Carr.”

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

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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.

[RELATED: Mayock explains the importance of pro day tour]

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.