Notes: Raiders defense inadequate with offense scuffling

Notes: Raiders defense inadequate with offense scuffling

DENVER – The Raiders defense entered Sunday’s regular season finale playing its best football. That trend stopped in a 24-6 loss to the Denver Broncos, who had struggled scoring against anyone.

They weren’t awful, with four three-and-outs on the day and just 5-of-15 third-down conversions allowed.

They weren’t great either. They missed several key tackles and had too many penalties. The Broncos ran 40 times for 143 yards and a touchdown and the Raiders gave up some big plays that turned into touchdowns.

“I thought we did some things, showed some grittiness and hung in there for a while,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “We got a turnover, but we just didn’t respond.”

Derek Carr’s injury brings forth a new world order, where adequate defense won’t cut it with the offense in a rut.

The Raiders defense didn’t take care of little details required to shut Denver down early, and the team never caught up.

“In the first half, we just weren’t playing assignment football,” linebacker Bruce Irvin said. “They ran everything we went over the whole week and we didn’t execute. They gashed us.”

Run game stalls: The Raiders had just 50 yards in the first half and 221 in the game. They were terrible on third down and only averaged 4.4 yards per offensive play.

The Raiders ran all over the Broncos during a Week 9 meeting, recording a season-high 218 rushing yards. That didn’t happen on Sunday. The Raiders had just 57 yards on 16 carries, with 20 coming on one DeAndre Washington run.

The Raiders run game wanted to carry the team to victory, but never established a good rhythm on the ground.

“We started slow,” Washington said. “We didn’t make plays when we had the opportunity.“

Cooper, Crabtree over 1,000: Receiver Michael Crabtree exceeded 1,000 receiving yards for the season in its waning moments. A fourth-quarter catch sealed it, allowing him to join the four-figure club for the first time since 2012.

Amari Cooper also exceeded 1,000 yards, making them the first Raiders receiving tandem with 1,000 yards each since Tim Brown and Jerry Rice accomplished that feat in 2001.

Raiders set franchise low for turnovers: The Raiders lost possession thrice in Sunday’s loss to Denver, but that didn’t erase an excellent season where Raiders held on tight.

They set a franchise record with just 14 turnovers all season. The previous best was 19, a mark set in 2002. The Raiders also lead the NFL with a plus-16 turnover margin.

Bronco better after neck injury: Denver inside linebacker Zaire Anderson is reportedly okay after a scary injury where he was taken by ambulance from the field to a hospital.

According to 9 News in Denver, Anderson’s test came back negative and he was allowed to go home on Sunday night.

This ‘ that: S Bryden Trawick recorded his first career interception against Denver. The veteran typically plays exclusively on special teams, but was needed on defense after Nate Allen suffered a concussion and Keith McGill was ineffective. …The Raiders didn’t record a sack for the second straight game, the only two times that’s happened this season. ... SS Nate Allen suffered a concussion and did not return to the game. LT Donald Penn was helped by trainers after hurting his knee, but he returned to game.

Fantasy football waiver wire: Target Raiders' Jalen Richard in Week 8


Fantasy football waiver wire: Target Raiders' Jalen Richard in Week 8

Whether you're alone at the top or in the basement of your fantasy football league, there's a good chance that somebody on your roster hasn't met expectations.

It could be someone like Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper, Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry, or even Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. You might not be able to recoup their draft value, but you can turn to the waiver wire to try and get back some of that production.

Here are four players to keep an eye on heading into Week 8. Each is owned in fewer than 60 percent of ESPN and Yahoo's fantasy football leagues. 

Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears QB (Owned in 51.1 percent of ESPN leagues, 52 percent of Yahoo leagues)

Trubisky did it again Sunday. He threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns, adding a rushing touchdown and 81 yards on the ground. It was the third consecutive week in which Trubisky threw for at least 300 yards, rushed for at least 45 yards and scored multiple touchdowns.

The second-year pro did throw two picks, and completed barely more than 50 percent of his passes. But Trubisky was the highest-scoring fantasy QB headed into Sunday night for the second time in three weeks. He’s worth considering as a streaming option in Week 8, and might even be an upgrade over your current signal-caller(s).

Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts RB (Owned in 53.9 percent of ESPN leagues, 55 percent of Yahoo leagues)

Mack topped a solid Week 6 performance with a stellar game in Week 7. He ran for 126 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, and caught two passes for 33 yards and a score in a rout of the Buffalo Bills. It was the second consecutive week in which he got significantly more touches than Nyheim Hines, a previous waiver-wire favorite of ours, and Mack has emerged as the top option in Indianapolis' backfield. 

The Colts will head to Oakland next week to face the Raiders, and the Silver and Black defense has allowed more than 100 rushing yards in four out of six weeks this season. If he keeps this up, there probably won't be a return of (the) Mack in our Week 9 column. 

Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders RB (Owned in 17.1 percent of ESPN leagues, 20 percent of Yahoo leagues)

Doug Martin is likely to assume most of the injured Marshawn Lynch’s rushing workload, but Richard still offers higher fantasy upside, especially in PPR formats. He has at least six catches in four out of six games this season, including each of his last two games.

Richard is a solid matchup play in Week 8, as the Colts' defense has allowed big fantasy weeks from opposing running backs. Indy contained the Bills’ backs after LeSean McCoy was injured in Week 7. But as long as health is on Richard’s side, he’s an intriguing flex option. 

Danny Amendola, Miami Dolphins WR (Owned in 24.4 percent of ESPN leagues, 10 percent of Yahoo leagues)

Amendola might be the biggest believer in Brocktober, as the 32-year-old caught six passes for 84 yards and one touchdown Sunday against the Detroit Lions.. Since Osweiler took over for an injured Ryan Tannehill, the former Patriots pass-catcher has more targets (18) and catches (13) than any other Dolphins wide receiver.

Miami has a short turnaround, but Osweiler will remain under center on Thursday Night Football against the Houston Texans. It remains to be seen how well Osweiler will perform on the road, but as long as Amendola remains his safety valve, the wide receiver belongs on your radar. 

Analyzing Jon Gruden's 2018 Raiders rookie class


Analyzing Jon Gruden's 2018 Raiders rookie class

Raiders coach Jon Gruden has a reputation for preferring veteran players. That seemed to be the case this year, when he assembled the NFL’s oldest roster and starting cutting recent draft picks with development left ahead.

While previous draft classes haven’t gotten much run, this year’s group is seeing opportunities to shine and gain real-world job experience.

“I’m excited about the rookie class,” Gruden said. “I’ve been accused my whole life of hating rookies and liking old players, and now I’m playing 10 rookies. What do you say to that, America?”

[RELATED: Major roster upheaval expected?]

Not sure if the entire country cares, but Raider Nation certainly does. The fan base is looking for a glimmer of hope in an otherwise nauseating 1-5 start, and there are some real signs of optimism in the group.

Let’s take a look at the rookies contributing (or, in one case, set to contribute) to this year’s squad:

LT Kolton Miller -- The UCLA product has struggled the last few weeks while playing through injury, but there’s a strong belief he is the long-term solution at an important position.

DT P.J. Hall -- An early season ankle sprain has slowed his progress and dulled his impact. He isn’t a hulk, but Hall could develop into a tenacious inside pass rusher who can push the pocket.

RT Brandon Parker -- The small-school product has a long way to go, but he must learn on the job now that Donald Penn is on injured reserve. He isn’t doing half bad, considering he missed most of training camp with an ankle issue.

DE Arden Key -- He has all the bend, length and athleticism that coaches want in an edge rusher. He’s technically proficient, but he must be more efficient to consistently impact the cornerback. There’s room for improvement against the run and to avoid biting on play action and misdirection.

[RELATED: Key, Hurst, Hall are bright spots]

CB Nick Nelson -- Gruden believes the Wisconsin cover man finally is healthy and ready to contribute after tearing his meniscus during the pre-draft process. He has been inactive most weeks.

DT Maurice Hurst -- He'll be viewed as a fifth-round steal in time. He's the Raiders’ most polished rookie, and has been effective against the run and pass. He could be a mainstay in the starting lineup.

P Johnny Townsend -- The Florida product has disappointed thus far, proving unable to flip field position in the Raiders’ favor. He hasn’t shown enough power, and has shanked too many to be acceptable at the pro level.

LS Trent Sieg -- He has been a servicable replacement after Andrew DePaola tore his ACL.

K Matt McCrane -- He has missed four field-goal attempts in three games, and kickoffs haven’t been steadily deep enough. McCrane must do better, or the team could look to another kicker.

LB Jason Cabinda -- The undrafted rookie was promoted from the practice squad after Derrick Johnson was released. Cabinda will make his NFL debut next week against the Colts.

Drafted players who didn’t make the regular-season roster: LB Azeem Victor (waived), WR Marcell Ateman (on practice squad)

Undrafted players on IR or practice squad. RB Chris Warren III (IR), WR Saeed Blacknall (practice squad); K Eddy Piñeiro (IR), FB Ryan Yuracheck (practice squad), TE Paul Butler (practice squad), S Dallin Leavitt (practice squad)