Notes: McGloin wanted a chance to play: 'It's not my decision'

Notes: McGloin wanted a chance to play: 'It's not my decision'

HOUSTON – Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin spent his Saturday alternating head gear, between a hat and a helmet.

He threw on a cap when the Raiders were on defense, and a helmet when they had possession in case rookie starter Connor Cook got hurt. He never warmed up on the sideline. Not once.

The Raiders stuck with Cook all game despite the fact their offense rarely moved the football.

McGloin was available after injuring his shoulder and neck in the regular-season finale at Denver, when he struggled mightily before the injury.

McGloin was waiting for a call that never came. They stuck with Cook in a 27-145 loss to the Houston Texans and NRG Stadium that officially ended their season.

The fourth-year veteran and soon-to-be unrestricted free agent didn’t lobby for a chance to play, though he certainly wanted to get into the action.

“It’s not my decision,” McGloin said. “It doesn’t really matter what I do, what I think. I had tremendous help from the training staff and the strength coaches throughout the course of the week to be as healthy as I could be to be available if they needed me to go in.”

McGloin’s playing status was initially uncertain, but he was able to rehab enough to be active. The Raiders coaches never pulled him off the bench.

“I asked at halftime,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “The coaches really felt that there were other things that were kind of contributing and that there wasn’t going to be a big change based on changing the quarterback, so we stayed the course with it. I know (Cook) got a lot of experience in the game and the last game and a half. (Cook) did some good things, and he did some things he’ll certainly learn from.”

Defense laments missed opportunities: The Raiders defense allowed just 291 yards to the Texans, and gave up points on short fields, but it didn’t come through for a struggling offense.

The Raiders didn’t have a takeaway or a single sack, without the game-changing plays necessary to make a significant impact. That will stick with Raiders defenders after missing opportunities to change the game.

“That really bothers me, that we weren’t able to create a turnover and make some big plays,” cornerback TJ Carrie said. “We needed to step up as a defense and play our best game. That didn’t happen today.”

Cook can’t connect with top WRs: Receiver Michael Crabtree suffered a concussion in the second half and did not return to the game, but he and Cook struggled to connect when he was on the field. They had just two completions for 33 yards on seven targets.

Amari Cooper didn’t fare much better. He was doubled covered most of the night, and only had two catches for 10 yards on a whopping 10 targets. Cooper struggled down the stretch, with only more than 60 yards once in the last nine games.

Injury update: Center Rodney Hudson suffered an ankle injury and returned to the game, though he was seen after the loss in a walking boot.

Inside linebacker Malcolm Smith didn’t finish the game due to a hamstring injury. Cory James played in his absence.

Left tackle Donald Penn’s knee injury is relatively minor and shouldn’t require much time to heal.

This ‘n that: Punter Marquette King broke a franchise-record with 10 punts in a postseason game, and some of them didn’t go well. He dropped just two inside the 20-yard line, and had a few short ones that gave the Texans good field position. …The Raiders running game struggled to generate offense, with 64 yards on 21 carries. …Return man Jalen Richard had a good day, with a 13.6 yard average on five punt returns. He had a 37-yard return that set up the Raiders first touchdown.

Raiders QB Derek Carr appreciates owner Mark Davis’ vote of confidence

Raiders QB Derek Carr appreciates owner Mark Davis’ vote of confidence

ALAMEDA – Derek Carr can do no right these days. The Raiders quarterback either pushes the ball downfield in an unsafe manner or checks down so often playing it safe.

Such is life as the face of a franchise that can’t buy a win. Focus has honed on Carr’s every move this season after years sharing the spotlight with Khalil Mack and, to a lesser extent, Amari Cooper. Those guys have been traded, leaving Carr and the lightning rod for criticism among the players. His hefty paycheck doesn’t help matters much, as he struggles to score steadily and orchestrate Jon Grduen’s offense well.

Raiders owner Mark Davis recognizes this, and defended his quarterback in a Sunday interview with ESPN.

"Derek's taking a lot of s--- right now," Davis said. "He is the franchise quarterback right now. He doesn't have Amari Cooper. He lost (Martavis) Bryant to a knee injury today. Guys have been getting hurt. Who's he throwing to? Jordy Nelson and Seth Roberts, which are good guys. But they're not putting the fear of God in anybody.

"The tight end (Jared Cook) is playing his ass off. You look at the quarterback and he's playing behind a battered offensive line ... so I don't know what you can put on Derek and I don't think it's fair to put all the blame on him."

[RATTO: Raiders owner Mark Davis is just poking the rubble by taking the blame now]

Davis is right. The Raiders offensive struggles are not all on Carr. The offensive line’s less reliable than any point in the last few seasons. The skill spots aren’t as strong, especially with Cooper gone and Marshawn Lynch on injured reserve.

Fan frustrations are largely taken out on Gruden, and the man making the most money. That’s Carr. The signal caller was thankful for the vote of confidence but was far more interested in giving his owner and Raider Nation what they really want.

“It just is what it is. It’s nice words,” Carr said Wednesday. “He’s just telling the truth, man. He’s not one to sugar coat things. It hasn’t been easy, but there’s no excuse. I still hold myself to a standard. Whether he calls me and tells me those things, I still say, ‘But I could’ve done this or this. I could keep doing this.’ He keeps having my back. He keeps telling what everyone keeps telling me inside (the building). I just go by what they say. For him to say that, it feels good.

"It’s nice, but at the same time I just want to win. The words are nice and it means a lot. I don’t want to take anything away from that. But at the end of the day I wake up early, I work my tail off, grind myself to sleep until tonight because I just want to win. It feels good, but winning is definitely better.”

Raiders-Cardinals injury report: Justin Ellis still isn't practicing with team

Raiders-Cardinals injury report: Justin Ellis still isn't practicing with team

ALAMEDA – Justin Ellis was out on the field during Raiders practice, but the veteran defensive tackle was still working on the side with a trainer.

He hasn’t been designated to return off injured reserve yet as expected. His recovery from a foot injury sustained in the season opener needs more time to complete. He was eligible to start practice after Week 6, but wasn’t ready then and still isn’t now.

After a player is designated to return, he can practice for 21 days before being placed on the 53-man roster. A team could also choose to end his season if he’s not deemed ready. This makes it unlikely Ellis return to game action in the next few weeks.

Ellis would help a porous Raiders run defense, but just isn’t ready yet.

The Raiders also won’t have defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, who had his practice window close without being taken off the physically unable to perform list.

The Raiders are thin at receiver as well, with Martavis Bryant and Jordy Nelson sidelined with knee injuries.

Raiders practice report

Did not practice

WR Martavis Bryant (knee)
WR Jordy Nelson (knee)

Limited practice
CB Gareon Conley (groin)
LB Kyle Wilber (knee)
C Rodney Hudson (ankle)
LG Kelechi Osemele (knee)
CB Daryl Worley (shoulder)

Full practice
RG Gabe Jackson (pectoral)
OL Jon Feliciano (ribs)
LT Kolton Miller (knee/elbow)
WR Dwayne Harris (shoulder)
RB Doug Martin (hip)

Cardinals practice report

Did not practice
S Budda Baker (knee)
K Phil Dawson (hip)
WR Larry Fitzgerald (not injury related)
S Rudy Ford (heel)
DT Rodney Gunter (not injury related)
OL DJ Humphries (knee)
OL Mike Iupati (back)
DT Robert Nkemdiche (calf)
WR Chad Williams (ankle)

Limited practice
LB Josh Bynes (wrist)
DT Corey Peters (heel)
OL Jeremy Vujnovich (hamstring)