Raiders notes: Jon Gruden calls Derek Carr 'too aggressive' on end-zone pick

Raiders notes: Jon Gruden calls Derek Carr 'too aggressive' on end-zone pick

ALAMEDA -- Raiders quarterback Derek Carr launched a pass toward the end zone’s back left corner, trying to connect with Martavis Bryant on a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Xavien Howard stole possession instead. The Miami cornerback intercepted his second Carr pass of the day, and was an integral as any in the Dolphins’ 28-20 victory over the visiting Raiders.

Carr said Sunday night that it was a decision he would make again based on the matchup and Bryant’s ability to secure passes in the air.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden might not agree, especially with the pass coming on first down and other opportunities had that pass fallen incomplete or been thrown away.

“I thought we were too aggressive,” Gruden said in his Monday press conference. “I think at times he is trying too hard. We will talk about that extensively here in the next couple of hours, but I thought he played really good under some very tough circumstances. I think sometimes he needs to learn a little bit more patience, and I think he will.

“I’m really excited about the way he has played and improved and mastered this offense. We are getting closer. That was a painful turnover. We will address that, and we will make the corrections.”

Gruden believes without doubt that Carr will thrive in his system and find balance between playing it safe and pushing the ball down field.

Carr has completed 76.6 percent of his passes through three games for 936 yards. That’s good. Having five interceptions and just two touchdown passes isn’t ideal at this stage.

“I think we need to clean up the turnover ratio, No. 1,” Gruden said. “I think when you throw for 80 percent basically in three games for almost 1,000 yards, that’s as good as I’ve ever been associated with.”

Turnovers, however, are a problem in general. They sport a minus-4 turnover ratio, with one takeaway to Carr’s five picks.

“We’ve got to get more hats to the football,” Gruden said. “We’ve got to rip it out. That’s winning football, winning the turnover battle. We’re turning it over too many times. We’re not getting it back enough. That’s a big reason, if not the No. 1 reason we’re sitting where we are.”

Raiders working out kickers

Mike Nugent made every Raiders kickoff and hit two field goals, including one from 52 yards, against the Dolphins. He gutted out that game despite suffering a hip injury that could impact his ability to play next week against the Cleveland Browns.

The Raiders have to set up Plan B, and will bring several kickers in for workouts this week.

Penn doing well

Right tackle Donald Penn played just 18 offensive snaps before bowing out over concerns about a concussion. The Raiders feared the veteran had one, though Gruden said Penn was evaluated for concussion-like symptoms.

Gruden believes Penn will be fine and could play against the Browns.

Penn and replacement T.J. Clemmings struggled against Miami, combining to allow two sacks, two quarterback hits and a hurry.

In other injury news, Karl Joseph will miss a game at least with a hamstring strain.

Despite big day, Darren Waller focused on opportunity missed in Raiders loss


Despite big day, Darren Waller focused on opportunity missed in Raiders loss

MINNESOTA – Darren Waller was targeted 14 times on Sunday against Minnesota. He caught 13 passes.

The Raiders tight end didn’t care much about that. He harped on the one that went through his hands, a third-down opportunity missed that would’ve put the Raiders in field goal range.

Such is life after a 34-14 shellacking from the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.

“The first thing that comes to mind is the pass I didn’t catch,” Waller said. “That’s points right there. We could’ve gotten on the board and entered halftime with momentum.

“I look at me first and what I could’ve done better. There are plenty of things I could’ve done better. There are things we all can do better. That’s why we play a whole season. We can turn this thing around.”

The Raiders have some soul searching to do after getting blasted by the Vikings in a game that wasn’t ever close.

They can rest assured knowing they’ve got a dangerous weapon playing tight end.

“They guy blocks and running routes on linebackers and cornerbacks and you think, ‘Darren, what can’t you do?’” quarterback Derek Carr said. “I don’t think enough kids are wearing his jersey.”

Today was tailor-made for Waller, a big, fast, sure-handed receiver. The Vikings played tons of zone coverage, leaving Waller to find holes on intermediate routes. That led Carr to feed Waller consistently throughout, though the long drives didn’t always put points on the board.

“The looks they gave us weren’t new,” Waller said. “They’re a good defense, and they’re going to run what they’re going to run. Credit the offensive staff for having things drawn up and in place. The line gave Derek time and he made those throws. We expected those [opportunities] to be there. We didn’t have to do anything special.”

The Raiders could’ve had points at the end of the first half had Waller made that play. That’s going to drive him nuts when reflecting on this game.

“I had two hands on the ball. I already know,” Waller said. “My trainer from back home told me I need to start doing pushups for all drops. It absolutely should’ve been caught.”

Waller can see he did some good things and has clearly gained Carr’s trust. He has 26 catches for 267 yards through three games, far and away the best receiving numbers on the team.

That should continue, even if extra attention gets paid down the line.

The more they put on me, the more I’m willing to take,” Waller said. “I try to not be too extreme. There’s a lot of good, and there’s bad to clean up. I feel like I’m growing in a positive direction as far as my game is concerned. I always try to take and good and bad out of everything. There was some good there, for sure.

“In the end, it’s just playing football. I try to not make it much more complex than that. The scoreboard’s there, but you just have to go from play to play to play. You can get in a groove and that’s fun.”

Watch Raiders' Vontaze Burfict seemingly try to punch Vikings players


Watch Raiders' Vontaze Burfict seemingly try to punch Vikings players

Things didn't go well for the Raiders in a 34-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

Oakland trailed the Vikings by two touchdowns, and would fall into a 28-7 hole by the end of the third quarter of its Week 3 tilt at U.S. Bank Stadium. Frustration seemed to come to a head for Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict, as the 28-year-old appeared to try to punch Vikings players at the end of a Dalvin Cook run. 

Burfict has a lengthy history of NFL discipline for on-field incidents. He spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals and was fined or suspended 13 times from 2012 through 2018. In March, For The Win calculated that the linebacker incurred around $4.12 million in fines on top of the 10 games he missed.

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Coach Jon Gruden has counted on Burfict as one of the team's leaders during the linebacker's first season with the Raiders. Burfict was named a team captain before the season started, and he reportedly served as a voice of reason in former Raiders receiver Antonio Brown's practice-field confrontation with general manager Mike Mayock. 

Whether or not Burfict gets a call from Park Avenue for additional discipline remains to be seen, but Sunday's apparent punch probably wasn't what the team had in mind when Burfict became a captain.