Raiders

NFL London shop predicts Khalil Mack intercepts Raiders QB Derek Carr

NFL London shop predicts Khalil Mack intercepts Raiders QB Derek Carr

Khalil Mack has been waiting to face his old team ever since Jon Gruden and the Raiders traded him to the Chicago Bears before the beginning of last season.

Mack finally will get his shot at the Silver and Black on Sunday when the Bears and Raiders face off in London in Week 5.

The folks over at the NFL clearly think a motivated Mack is primed for a big game against the old mates. So much so, that the display they set up at the NFL Shop in London depicts Mack intercepting a pass from quarterback Derek Carr.

Not sure how Mack is going to intercept the pass while Carr is trying to tackle him, but the Raiders might want to double team Mack on Sunday anyway.

I mean, where is the ball even coming from in this situation? Be better.

[RELATED: Raiders RB Jacobs rated best rookie after four weeks]

The Bears might need some help from Mack and the Bears' vaunted defense if they plan to leave the UK with a win. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky dislocated his left shoulder in Week 4 and is unlikely to play, meaning the Bears will have to turn to backup quarterback Chase Daniel against the Raiders.

Gruden's club showed great resolve in Week 4, bouncing back from a Week 3 beatdown at the hands of the Vikings to beat the Colts in Indianapolis. The Bears' defense has been almost impenetrable this season, so Gruden and Carr will need to go into their bag in order to fly back to the States at 3-2.

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Raiders' Derek Carr, Zay Jones building chemistry during offseason work

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Raiders' Derek Carr, Zay Jones building chemistry during offseason work

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr didn’t link up much with Zay Jones after the receiver was acquired in a midseason trade. The former Buffalo Bill took some time to get situated, but didn’t receive a ton of targets even after receiving tons of snaps.

Jones only have 20 catches on 27 targets in 10 games as a Raider despite averaging 46 offensive snaps per game. Those numbers suggest a lack of chemistry between an establish quarterback and a receiver new on the Raiders scene.

The pair are working on that now, during a downtime in the NFL calendar and when large gatherings are prohibited due to the coronavirus pandemic. Even if these were normal circumstances, players can't work together at training facilities during a dead period prior to the start of offseason programs. OTAs and team-organized strength and conditioning work could be cancelled altogether as people in most states are encouraged to shelter in place. 

Carr and Jones have working together often in recent days in the Las Vegas area. The videos posted on Carr’s Instagram page suggest they’re building chemistry and trust that could be applied to training camp and the regular season.

Carr has been adding Instagram stories of the two prepping for workouts over the past few days but posted several longer videos on Thursday showing the two connecting well.

Jones is a smooth route runner with solid potential, but will have to compete for playing time in 2020 and might have to battle for a spot on the depth chart.

Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow are locks, with free agent signing Nelson Agholor in the mix as well. The Raiders are expected to add a receiver in the NFL draft’s first round, possibly another later in the selection process. Keelan Doss and Marcell Ateman will also be in the mix as the Raiders try to improve a receiver corps that wasn’t good enough last season.

The Raiders acquired Jones on Oct. 8, 2019 for a 2021 fifth-round pick.

Why Nick Kwiatkoski thought Raiders were 'best fit' in NFL free agency

Why Nick Kwiatkoski thought Raiders were 'best fit' in NFL free agency

Nick Kwiatkoski doesn’t have a massive social media following, but a tweet the veteran linebacker sent out on March 16 quickly went viral.

It didn’t include a single word. It contained a picture of Allegiant Stadium and nothing more, but it was a clear sign that the Las Vegas Raiders had landed their first unrestricted free agent while representing their new market.

Sources later confirmed Kwiatkoski agreed to join the Silver and Black on a three-year, $21 million contract, showing the Raiders were serious about upgrading a long deficient linebacker corps.

The deal came together quickly, on the first day of free agency’s open negotiating window, because Kwiatkoski loved what the Raiders had to say. He would join the Raiders as a full-time, three-down middle linebacker.

“I felt that I’ve earned that spot, and that’s something I looked for in free agency,” Kwiatkoski said in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Bay Area, available in its entirety on the Raiders Talk Podcast. “When they told me that, it was very appealing.”

That wasn’t the only reason the former Chicago Bear signed with the Raiders.

“They called very early and, when I spoke to them, it was very clear there’s an excitement around the whole organization with the move to Las Vegas,” Kwiatkoski said. “That was one of a number of reasons why I [made my decision]. When we played them in London last year and I just loved the mentality they brought to the game where they come right at you. With their defensive scheme, I thought I’d fit right in. I gave it some time and took some other calls, but I ended up thinking the Raiders were the best fit for me.”

There was some thought he’d fit in well as the Bears’ middle linebacker, but that prospect was eliminated when Danny Trevathan signed a contract extension on March 9. Kwiatkoski proved worthy of a starting gig after taking over following Trevathan’s season-ending elbow injury in Week 9.

There was no going back after an excellent eight-game stretch that included 58 tackles, two sacks and interception. Especially, not with teams ready to court him on the open market and make him a major player.

While those numbers look solid, the clip below shows exactly what the Raiders are getting in Kwiatkoski, and he doesn’t even record a stat.

Kwiatkoski put Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook on his back during a Week 4 win over the Vikings, blowing up a play with raw power and aggression.

“That’s an example of how I enjoy playing. I like being physical, going downhill,” Kwiatkoski said. “That’s how I have always played, and I plan on continuing to do that.”

He’ll do that with the Silver and Black, while paired with fellow free-agent addition Cory Littleton.

“He’s a great linebacker,” Kwiatkoski said. “To be able to line up with him and call him my teammate is going to be fun.”

The former LA Ram is a true sideline-to-sideline presence and an excellent coverage linebacker, a perfect complement to Kwiatkoski’s strength going downhill as a run defender and blitzer. The former high school safety, who converted to linebacker at West Virginia, also is confident in coverage and running a defense from the middle linebacker spot.

[RELATED: Raiders go offense/defense in latest mock draft]

Chicago’s fourth-round draft pick back in 2016 always has worked hard and capitalized on opportunities when presented, helping him earn a lucrative deal with a Raiders team counting on him to be a consistent playmaker. Earning this opportunity certainly is a point of pride as he moves on to the next chapter of his career.

“There were definitely times where I got down on myself after certain things happened, but to see how it has all played out … for me, no matter what my role was or what the situation was, I just put my head down and kept working,” Kwiatkoski said. “For that to all payoff is really gratifying. You can only control what you can control, and that’s what I focused on. I never lost sight of my goals. No matter what my role was, I was determined to work like a starter and play each day like it’s my last. For it to work out the way it has, with this new opportunity, it’s really gratifying.”