Raiders

Raiders' Derek Carr nostalgic upon return to site of first NFL start

Raiders' Derek Carr nostalgic upon return to site of first NFL start

ALAMEDA -- Derek Carr hasn’t been back to MetLife Stadium in quite some time. The Raiders quarterback has played 87 NFL games since his last trip to East Rutherford, N.J., all of the starts and all of them in silver and black.

That 2014 contest remains fresh in his memory, as well it should. It was, after all, Carr’s first NFL start.

This week provided an opportunity to get nostalgic about it, given the Raiders are going back there to play the Jets on Sunday.

“I do remember a lot of it,” Carr said after Wednesday’s practice. “I remember them blitzing 100 hundred guys from one side and only two from the other and I got hit. As a rookie quarterback, they can mess with you quite a bit. I think it was [creative head coach/defensive mind Rex Ryan leading the Jets] at the time, too. I do remember throwing two touchdowns, so that was fun. But I also remember missing 12 passes, and that still bugs me.”

Carr rattled those facts off the top of his head, and quite a few others. He remembered slipping while competing for his first NFL regular-season pass to Marcel Reece. He remembers checking to a different route before throwing his first touchdown pass to Rod Streater.

Then Streater absent-mindedly tossed the ball into the crowd, where the New Jersey native’s family was sitting. The receiver had his aunt bring the ball down after the game and given is meaning for the Raiders 2-14 second-round pick, who took the starting gig from Matt Schaub as a rookie.

Carr remembers throwing a late touchdown to James Jones and feeling overwhelmed by a confusing blitz Jets package.

“They blitzed and didn’t cover somebody, and I thought, ‘there’s no way they did that on purpose,’” Carr said. “And then got hit in the back of the head.”

Carr also remembers the score: Jets 19, Raiders 14.

The Raiders wouldn’t get Carr’s first NFL win until Nov. 20, after a fired head coach and 10 straight losses.

Carr completed 20-of-32 passes that day – he remembered the incompletion count five-plus years later – for 147 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He averaged 4.7 yards per completion on a day where Ryan made his head spin.

[RELATED: Carr beginning to look like 2016 season QB]

Carr’s far better, smarter and more efficient, with confidence that he can compete with anybody. While the revisiting memories are nice, he has no interest in watching that first start on tape.

“Uh, no. I don’t want to see what I was then,” Carr said. “I just remember going out there and throwing fastballs. My thought was that, if I guess wrong, I’m going to throw it hard and hopefully they won’t catch it. There’s not much for anybody to learn off of that tape. I had a good time, and it’s certainly a game I remember. I have the football that was my first touchdown. I remember that stuff, and I’ll tell those stories to my kids a hundred times. You have good memories but we ended up losing the game, so that wasn’t too fun.”

Antonio Brown posts lengthy apology to Raiders, Patriots on Instagram

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Antonio Brown posts lengthy apology to Raiders, Patriots on Instagram

Surprise, surprise: Antonio Brown is back with another Instagram apology.

The former Raiders and Patriots receiver issued a lengthy apology Friday morning that was directed at both of Brown’s former employers.

View this post on Instagram

First and foremost, I’d like to apologize to my family, friends and anyone who I offended. I never once meant to make anyone feel like I wasn’t thankful and appreciative of the opportunity that I was afforded to play the game I love. I’ve worked hard over the years to earn a chance to compete in the greatest game on earth. Over the years I was met with challenges and I can honestly say I didn’t handle those challenges in the manner that I should have. Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to think about everything that’s transpired and I am deeply sorry to all who I’ve offended. While my behavior was inexcusable, sometimes when people are coming at you with false information and allegations, we handle ourselves in ways that we sometimes regret. I do take full responsibility for my actions and I’m working everyday to repair what I broke. I do know that if I’m ever given the opportunity to play the game that I love, I’m going to work extremely hard to show the world how much I appreciate another chance. To the organizations that I offended, I offer my sincere apology to you and my hope is that you forgive me and help me move on from this minor setback. I look forward to competing and helping a team reach their goals.

A post shared by Boomin (@ab) on

“To the organizations that I offended, I offer my sincere apology to you and my hope is that you forgive me and help me move on from this minor setback. I look forward to competing and helping a team reach their goals.”

The post falls in line with much of AB’s recent activity on social media, as the former All-Pro continues to reflect on his brief (13 days) tenure with the New England Patriots and advertise himself as a holiday present for an NFL team.

However, if you asked Jon Gruden, Mike Mayock, and anyone else with the Raiders organization, they likely wouldn’t characterize Brown’s presence as any kind of luxury.

NFL playoff picture: Raiders' path to grabbing No. 6 seed in AFC

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NFL playoff picture: Raiders' path to grabbing No. 6 seed in AFC

The Raiders were flying high two weeks ago, but they've come back down to Earth after back-to-back blowout losses to the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs. 

With those two Ls marked on the ledger, the Raiders now sit at 6-6 and have gone from the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoffs to the No. 8 spot with work to do. 

Jon Gruden's club enters Week 14 with just a seven percent chance of making the playoffs, but where there is a will there is a way. 

With four weeks remaining in the NFL season, let's take a look at exactly what the Raiders need to happen to make the playoffs for the second time since 2002. 

Week 14

First thing's first: The Raiders have to beat the Titans on Sunday at Oakland Coliseum.

With a win, the Silver and Black's playoff chances go from seven percent to 15 percent. A loss to Tennessee puts the Raiders' postseason chances at less than one percent. Not ideal. 

Now, elsewhere Sunday, the Raiders would prefer Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals do what Baker Mayfield and the Browns could not and beat Develin Hodges and the Steelers. A Cardinals win jumps the Raiders' playoff chances to 24 percent while a Steelers win pushes them down to 11. Even if the Steelers win, a Ravens win over the Bills would slightly increase Oakland's chances to 14 percent.

So a Raiders win, and losses by the Steelers and Bills for good measure would help. 

Assuming wins by the Texans, Colts, Browns, Patriots, Chargers and Ravens, the Raiders would exit WEek 14 with a 16 percent chance to make the dance. 

Week 15

Once again in Week 15, the Raiders need to beat Gardiner Minshew and the Jags or else their playoff hopes plummet to six percent. With a win, they rise back up to 24 percent absent the other Week 15 games. 

A win by the Texans over the Titans, the Bills over the Steelers and the Saints over the Colts would see the Raiders head into the final two weeks with a 21 percent chance to make the playoffs. Getting better. 

Week 16

If the Raiders can go to LA in Week 16 and beat the Bolts, their playoff percentage jumps to 47 percent. A loss takes it down to 11 and almost certainly ends their season. 

A Ravens win over the Browns would jump the Raiders' percentage even further to 55 percent. Then, if the Jets can do to the Steelers what they did to the Raiders and deliver a loss to the Steelers, Oakland's playoff chances would sit at 86 percent. A Steelers win over the Jets drops them back to 27 percent. 

Even if the Steelers beat the Jets, the Raiders will not be dead. Wins by the Saints, Patriots and Ravens would take their chances up to 36 percent heading into the final week. A Steelers loss to the Jets would put them in the driver's seat. 

[RELATED: Is Justin Herbert future of Raiders?]

Week 17

Assuming the Steelers enter Week 17 having lost one of their last three games (vs. Cardinals, Bills, Jets), the Raiders would need to beat Drew Lock and the Broncos and then hope Lamar Jackson and the Ravens can knock off the Steelers. 

If the Steelers win, Oakland would need the Jets to beat the Bills (assuming Buffalo has lost two of three to New England, Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the previous three weeks). That would put Pittsburgh in the five seed and Oakland in the sixth, sending the Bills to do draft prep. 

All of this, as you have probably noticed, relies on a banged-up Raiders team beating Ryan Tannehill, Gardiner Minshew, Philip Rivers/ Tyrod Taylor and Drew Lock. It's doable, but it won't be easy. 

Oakland needs to rack up the Ws and hope the Ls come for the Steelers, Bills and Titans down the stretch.