Jon Gruden wishes Patriots 'good luck' with Antonio Brown as Raiders turn page

Jon Gruden wishes Patriots 'good luck' with Antonio Brown as Raiders turn page

OAKLAND -- It's been a whirlwind week for Jon Gruden and the Raiders. 

Well, a whirlwind six months, really. 

After Antonio Brown's short, drama-filled tenure ended Saturday with his release, the Raiders had to turn the page quickly to Monday's night's season-opening game against the Denver Broncos at the Coliseum. 

Considered the page turned, as the Silver and Black put together a near-flawless performance in a 24-16 win that featured quarterback Derek Carr, new No. 1 receiver Tyrell Williams and rookie running back Josh Jacobs carrying Oakland to an important AFC West win.

Fans serenaded the Raiders with "F--k AB" chants after every big play and score. But the Raiders are tired of hearing about he-who-must-not-be-named. After all, he is a Patriot now. 

"What happened here the last couple days may have been, you know, big news to some, but there were no distractions," Gruden said when asked about the last five days of Brown drama. "I think you could tell that tonight, our team was ready to roll.

"I'm never going to bring it up again," Gruden said. "That incident, whatever you call it, had nothing to do with our team's focus or preparation. That's it. End of story."

But that wasn't the end of the story. Gruden had one more thing to say about the barrage of craziness that Brown unleashed on the Silver and Black. 

"As much as people talk about it, I mean, my god," Gruden said when asked if the Raiders surprised people with their showing without AB. "Man, I feel like someone smashed me in my temple on the side of the head. Get over it, man. It's over. You know? We were good in the preseason without him. We're going to be fine without him. And we wish him the best. 

"You know, we gave it a shot," Gruden said before delivering his Vito Corleone-esqu final line in the Brown saga. "Now New England gets their turn. Good luck to them. I can't deal with it anymore." 

The Raiders were used to Brown being in the news but not being on the field. He missed most of training camp due to frostbitten feet and two helmet grievances with the NFL. So, it wasn't a shock that the Raiders racked up 357 yards of total offense in the win over the Broncos, with Williams playing the role of No. 1 receiver. 

"I'm not surprised, honestly," Williams said of the Raiders' performance. "Whether he was here or not, we felt like we were going to come out and do that no matter what. So, it's not surprising."

At some point over the past month, Brown decided he no longer wanted to be a part of the Raiders. Whether or not Williams, Carr and the offense proved he made a mistake with their showing Monday isn't something that's on the Raiders’ mind. 

"He plays for the Patriots now, so I ain't concerned about that," Williams said. "We just prepared. Do what we normally do. Just work. it is what it is."

[RELATED: Raiders fans blast Antonio 'Clown' during opener]

Williams had six catches for 105 yards and one touchdown, and Jacobs toted the rock 23 times for 85 yards and two scores in his NFL debut. The Alabama rookie touted the company line when asked about his now-former teammate.

"I guess it just was what it was," Jacobs said. "As an offensive unit, we knew that we had a lot of guys. We trusted our scheme. We trusted the players. We knew that we was going to be all right. Obviously, he's a great player, things like that, but we was just set on showing that we are still capable of winning games." 

Jacobs also took comfort in one of the mottos from his time in Tuscaloosa, Ala. 

"It wasn't really emotional for me because it's just like, it's always been like, 'Next man up,' it's always been like that since I was at Bama. So it was more like fun," Jacobs said. 

The Raiders had a lot of fun Monday night. No Antonio Brown, no drama. Just smiles, touchdowns and a win.

Vontaze Burfict's football IQ critical to Raiders’ defense playing fast

Vontaze Burfict's football IQ critical to Raiders’ defense playing fast

The Raiders set out to get faster on defense. That mission was accomplished in every sense.

That’s true by traditional measures, as the Raiders hope their raw speed can keep up with the track stars Kansas City trots out on offense Sunday afternoons.

It’s also true in terms of reading and diagnosing plays. The Raiders installed a faster multi-core processor this offseason, plugging Vontaze Burfict into a defensive network that now runs at warp speed.

Burfict has mastered Paul Guenther’s scheme and knows exactly how to adjust and re-align to best defend a particular offensive play. Burfict is confident in his reads, efficient and clear when dispensing pre-snap information. Being in the right spot, able to anticipate what’s coming, allowing the defense to play faster.

Burfict as Guenther’s field general has been a storyline since the veteran joined the Raiders in March, and his scheme knowledge assisted returners and newcomers alike during the preseason.

That was clear when operating at game speed. Burfict orchestrated the defense well in a Monday night victory over Denver, making individuals better while helping the defense play as a cohesive unit.

“It was awesome,” defensive tackle Maurice Hurst said. “He knows the system inside and out, so he’s able to make checks pretty quickly. He always seems to know what’s coming and gets us aligned fast, so we can just play ball.”

The Raiders must play mentally and physically fast against Kansas City, armed with speed and an offense that will attack using both latitude and longitude.

“They make you defend every inch of grass,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said. “Laterally with the jet sweeps, you got to defend them sideline to sideline. They can outrun you, outflank you and vertically they can run right by you over the top.”

There’s a buzz word that describes the key to defending this high-powered attack.

“Eye discipline,” linebacker Nicholas Morrow said. “[Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and coach Andy Reid] will try to mess with a defense, to shift people around the formation and put you in a bad spot. They will do all types of things to play with your eyes and make you think you’re seeing one thing when it’s something else. You have to trust your preparation and make the right checks.”

That’s where Burfict comes in, and why he’s so key to the Raiders’ defensive effort on Sunday.

“He obviously knows the system, but Vontaze is very intelligent,” Morrow said. “He processes information quickly and is confident in what he’s doing. That’s what you want from somebody in his position.”

Burfict is the defense’s cerebral cortex, but he isn’t just directing troops while watching them work.

He plays with trademark intensity and didn’t step over the line in his Raiders debut. That’s key moving forward, because the Raiders need him on the field to succeed against Kansas City, a team that doesn’t need freebies to score.

“He’s really fun to play with,” Hurst said. “He’s an aggressive player. He’s going to come downhill and hit everything that moves. It’s awesome playing with someone like that.”

[RELATED: Raiders vs. Chiefs live stream: How to watch NFL Week 2 game online]

Burfict fought through some knicks in the opener but didn’t miss a practice snap all week. It’s important for him to stay upright and available, because they need his presence and football smarts on all three downs.

“Those of us returning for a second year with Paul [Guenther] feel pretty fluent in the system,” cornerback Daryl Worley said. “But having a leader like Vontaze in complete command is definitely helpful.”

Chiefs-Raiders odds, predictions: Betting lines, picks for NFL Week 2 game

Chiefs-Raiders odds, predictions: Betting lines, picks for NFL Week 2 game

An undefeated record is on the line.

It may only be Week 2 but after the Raiders and Chiefs earned victories to open the season, both will look to keep the momentum rolling in Oakland on Sunday afternoon.

The Chiefs are favored by a touchdown and likely would get a few additional points if the game were being played at Arrowhead Stadium.

[RELATED: NFL rumors: Raiders' Johnathan Abram fined for hit causing shoulder injury]


Caesars: KC -7 (-110)
Consensus: KC -7 (-110)
Westgate: KC -7 (-110)
Wynn: KC -7 (-110)

Here’s how NFL writers around the country see the matchup shaking out:

Paul Gutierrez, ESPN: Chiefs 38, Raiders 30
Adam Teicher, ESPN: Chiefs 37, Raiders 31
Gregg Rosenthal, Chiefs 30, Raiders 26
Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk: Chiefs 30, Raiders 17
Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk: Chiefs 35, Raiders 21
Tadd Haislop, SportingNews: Chiefs 34, Raiders 20
Greg Patuto, Chiefs 37, Raiders 21