Raiders

Raiders excited to have Martavis Bryant back after wild past few months

Raiders excited to have Martavis Bryant back after wild past few months

ALAMEDA – Martavis Bryant is officially back. The Raiders announced his re-signing only 11 days after cutting him, and are once again dreaming about what the receiver’s unique talents can bring to the passing game.

We’ve been down this road before, back in April after the Raiders sent Pittsburgh a third-round pick to acquire Bryant in the first place.

Then came an odd preseason where he was dubbed “the white tiger” after missing several practices with migraines and criticized for struggling to learn several receiver positions in Jon Gruden’s scheme.

All this happened while his league standing was called into question as a repeat violator of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Then he got cut for supposedly losing a position battle with Keon Hatcher.

Then, on Tuesday, Bryant rejoined the Raiders. And Hatcher got cut.

Wrap your head around all that?

Bryant’s league issues remain unsettled, but right now he’s eligible to play Sunday against Denver and on into the future unless the NFL says otherwise.

Head coach Jon Gruden discussed why he wanted Bryant back in a Wednesday press conference.

“He’s in a good place right now,” Gruden said. “I think he’s healthy. I think he’s ready to go. We’re sold on that. We’ve been in contact with him since he has been away. I’ve said it before: when he’s right, he can be a difference maker and we’re hoping he can be one sooner rather than later.”

It was clear during Monday’s 33-13 loss to the L.A. Rams that the Raiders need a deep threat. Bryant ranks among the league’s best. He has ideal size and breakneck speed, which helps him make plays opponents must respect.

“He’s a guy who has proven he can go up and get the deep ball in contested situations,” Gruden said. “He can run away from you. He can make you miss. He can make big plays down the field. We’re hoping we can bottle up where he is now. He’s in a great place. He has a great state of mind. We’ll see what happens.”

Quarterback Derek Carr is excited about Bryant’s return, though there’s chemistry and timing to get worked out between the two. Bryant missed several practices and primarily played with the second unit when healthy, therefore Carr hasn’t thrown to him much. The pair plans to put in extra work this week to find a rhythm in anticipation of him playing the Broncos.

His raw talent can be easily exploited, even against a formidable Broncos secondary.

“He can split double teams,” Carr said. “Teams can try and play certain coverages with him, but he’s so fast that doesn’t matter. You make one false step, he’s gone like that. He can run by guys who are off coverage. He can do other things that most people can’t do.”

Carr also said Bryant is glad to be back in Alameda, even after being a surprise cut less than two weeks back.

“After everything he has been through, he’s just thankful to be back in the locker room, and playing football,” Carr said. “…We can be there for him with whatever he needs, and he can help us win football games. We know what kind of talent he is, and we’re very excited to have that threat, that speed back here.”

Is Derek Carr too sensitive? Raiders QB bashed by NFL coaches, exec

Is Derek Carr too sensitive? Raiders QB bashed by NFL coaches, exec

Derek Carr is entering a critical season in his second year under Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. It could be make-or-break for the QB as the Silver and Black head into their final season in Oakland. 

After looking like an MVP candidate in 2016, he's been trending down in the eyes of many. The Athletic's Mike Sando presented his Quarterback Tiers survey Monday after talking with fifty-five anonymous coaches and executives who rank the QBs from Tier 1 to Tier 5. 

Carr was voted into Tier 3 as the No. 20 overall quarterback, one spot behind 49ers starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo. And the comments on the Raiders' signal-caller aren't too pretty. 

Voters brought up three specific plays that show the kind of quarterback Carr was last season. One was him throwing the ball away on fourth down, another example was him looking scared in the final minutes of the Raiders' Week 8 loss to the Colts, but the final example is what really stands out. 

“The Chiefs game, he throws a pick-six and the guy (Jared Cook) isn’t even running the route. It was, ‘What the f--k?" the voter said to Sando.

Carr's ability to handle Gruden's style has been questioned ever since Chucky signed his 10-year deal with the Raiders. Through one season, those questions aren't going away. 

“He is sensitive and needs encouragement, and that is not the style he is going to get,” an offensive coach said to Sando. “When someone shows disappointment in him, he shrinks. The head coach not coming out and completely endorsing him has to be eating him alive."

[RELATED: Five bold predictions for upcoming Raiders season]

If the Raiders endure another losing season and Carr doesn't significantly improve, he could be looking for another job when the team moves to Las Vegas. It sounds like plenty of people around the league believe that could easily be the case.

NFL preview 2019: Five bold predictions for upcoming Raiders season

NFL preview 2019: Five bold predictions for upcoming Raiders season

Summer vacation is winding down, and that means one thing: Football almost is back.

The Raiders will open training camp Friday in Napa, hoping to put together a final season to remember in Oakland.

Year 1 of Jon Gruden's second reign was a dud, but the Raiders are much improved and have the pieces to be a team that can shock the NFL in 2019.

Worst-to-first stories happen all the time in the NFL, but I wouldn't be bold enough to pick the Raiders to beat out the Chiefs and Chargers in the AFC West. Or would I?

Click for five bold predictions for Raiders' 2019 season