Raiders

Instant Replay: Raiders rise to win preseason opener vs Cards

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Instant Replay: Raiders rise to win preseason opener vs Cards

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GLENDALE, Ariz. – Raiders backup quarterback Matt McGloin dominated a preseason game, as he always does. Defense and special teams forced some turnovers. Michael Crabtree played like he had superglue on his hands and even George Atkinson III had two big touchdown runs.

Several players flashed in Friday’s 31-10 exhibition victory over the Arizona Cardinals, while others struggled some.

Those things matter far less than the health of defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr., who was helped off the field and carted from sideline to locker room early on with a hip injury.

The second-year pro is a key component of the Raiders defensive front, typically lined up just inside edge rusher Khalil Mack on the weak side. Missing him for any length of time during the regular season would be a blow to an improved defense looking to create havoc up front.

Denico Autry filled in after Edwards Jr. left early in the second defensive series, injuring himself making a tackle on Cardinals running back David Johnson.

Edwards Jr. was helped off the field by Mack and a Raiders trainer, struggling to walk towards the sideline even with help. He was carted off the field shortly after that.

The nature of his injury and its prognosis is unknown at this time. The Raiders did not update Edwards Jr.’s status during the game.

Friday marked the first game back for Edwards Jr. after he sprained his neck neck in Week 15 last season.

Starters played little in this game, with mixed results.

The first-team offense had some stutters and stops, with quarterback Derek Carr working on his deep ball while completing 3-of-7 passes for 44 yards in two series. The Raiders scored a field goal on those drives, highlighted by a 22-yard strike to Michael Crabtree. They also had a few pre-snap penalties they were hoping to avoid.

The starting defense played just one series as a whole, though the cornerbacks stuck around a bit longer. Tackling was suspect throughout the game and the Raiders had some pre-snap penalties, which will bother head coach Jack Del Rio.

Safety Nate Allen, linebacker Cory James and edge rusher Shilique Calhoun were among those playing well. DeAndre Washington had a nice 25-yard run, Johnny Holton had a 43-yard kickoff return and George Atkinson III scored on a 53-yard TD run in the third quarter and a 35-yard scamper in the fourth.

Rookie quarterback Connor Cook took over late in the third quarter and completed 7-of-11 passes for 71 yards.

Joseph suits up, starts: Raiders first-round pick Karl Joseph said Tuesday he would be surprised if he played early in the preseason while being cautious with his surgically repaired knee.

He must’ve been pretty happy trainers took no issue with him playing Friday’s exhibition opener against the Cardinals. He didn’t play much, but he got on the field.

Joseph played the game’s first series. He took nine snaps and made a tackle, bringing Cardinals rusher David Johnson down from behind.

Several key defensive players made a similar exit to preserve health, including edge rusher Khalil Mack.

Matt McGloin shines in preseason, per usual: Raiders backup quarterback Matt McGloin has long been a preseason wonder, making excellent plays when given the opportunity in exhibition games.

He threw touchdown passes on his first two series, including a well-placed fade to Andre Holmes along the left sideline. He also connected with rookie tight end Clive Walford from 19 yards out, taking advantage of a missed assignment.

All told, McGloin completed 5-of-11 passes for 41 yards and two touchdowns.

Sitting it out: The Raiders announced before the game that running back Jalen Richard was unavailable. The undrafted rookie suffered an undisclosed injury earlier this week and, consequently, missed an opportunity to earn a roster spot.

Cornerback/punt returner Antonio Hamilton and safety Jimmy Hall were also ruled out of Friday’s exhibition.

What's next: The Raiders have a short week, with several down days between the first and second preseason games. The Raiders will lay low over the weekend, break camp in Napa after two practices and then travel to Green Bay for a Thursday game.

Raiders' Derek Carr just trolling with Khalil Mack post, David Carr says

Raiders' Derek Carr just trolling with Khalil Mack post, David Carr says

It's been another offseason of rumors for Derek Carr.

Despite a solid 2019 campaign in Year 2 under Jon Gruden, whispers of the Raiders' interest in other quarterbacks, notably Tom Brady, have been circulating since the season ended. There also have been rumors the Silver and Black could look to trade Carr this offseason. Carr sent shockwaves of his own across social media earlier this week when he posted a photo of himself and former teammate Khalil Mack on Instagram, sparking speculation he could be headed to the Chicago Bears.

But, according to Carr's brother David, he was just having a little fun with the offseason rumor mill.

“His son’s favorite movie is Trolls. He’s just having fun. It’s the offseason,” David Carr said on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access."

While Derek Carr is used to questions about his job security being a topic of conversation, it appears the veteran quarterback is enjoying stoking the trade flames himself for once. 

But he might also be sending a message to the Raiders that other teams would love for him to be their starting quarterback if they don't.

The Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and others have been mentioned as possible landing spots for Derek Carr if he is traded. 

As for the Raiders' offseason plans at quarterback, it feels like the smart money is on Carr entering the season as the starter. While the Brady rumors have taken up all the oxygen, it feels like a stretch to suggest that the six-time Super Bowl champion would leave the New England Patriots at this point in his career. Of course, if Brady wants to wear silver and black, the Raiders have to make that happen.

[RELATED: Why Raiders should target Sanders to revamp receiving corps]

It seems likely Carr will take the first snap for the Raiders in Las Vegas with a free-agent acquisition occupying the backup role and looking to take over should Carr not take the next step head coach Jon Gruden wants to see.

If more rumors continue to pop up, don't be surprised to see Carr take to social media with another cryptic post.

Jon Gruden announces Raiders' minicamp will be in Las Vegas, not Alameda

Jon Gruden announces Raiders' minicamp will be in Las Vegas, not Alameda

The Raiders' move from Oakland to Las Vegas is ramping up.

Head coach Jon Gruden announced Saturday before Tyson Fury's win over Deontay Wilder in a heavyweight fight that the Silver and Black would host their mandatory minicamp at their new home in Sin City.

“If we can let everyone in, we will,” Gruden said on the big screen at the fight, via The Las Vegas Review-Journal.

It is unclear whether or not the Raiders will hold the event in Las Vegas or at the team's facility in Henderson, Nev., although the latter seems more likely.

The Raiders are expected to host their training camp in Napa next summer before shifting football operations to Nevada full time.

[RELATED: Why Raiders should sign Sanders to revamp receiving corps]

Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock face another important offseason as they look to continue the upward trajectory from last season.

The Raiders started Phase 1 of Gruden's rebuild last offseason. They had a historically successful draft class led by running back Josh Jacobs, cornerback Trayvon Mullen and defensive end Maxx Crosby

It will be imperative for Gruden and Mayock to hit on their draft picks again. The Raiders have the No. 12 and No. 19 picks in the first round. With a deep class of young wide receivers, the Silver and Black could greatly improve their offense if they call the right names in April when the draft will be held in April. 

With over $50 million in salary cap room, the Raiders also must navigate free agency successfully. There are a number of players they could pursue, including Tom Brady, but they must hit on their free-agent signings in order to make another leap up the AFC West ladder.