Raiders

Raiders' plan to stop Chiefs' Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes falls apart

traviskelcechiefsraidersusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Raiders' plan to stop Chiefs' Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes falls apart

OAKLAND -- The Raiders revamped their roster in the offseason with Sunday's opponent in mind. 

Head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock wanted to get faster and more dynamic as they look to catch up to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West. 

The Chiefs entered Sunday's game at the Coliseum without game-changing wide receiver Tyreek Hill, but they still had known Raiders killer Travis Kelce. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther cooked up some different looks during the week in hopes of slowing down the Pro Bowl tight end. 

With rookie safety Johnathan Abram on injured reserve, Guenther elected to institute a package with four cornerbacks and one deep safety. In that package, the Raiders moved cornerback Daryl Worley inside to play behind the linebackers on whichever side Kelce was lined up on. Rookie cornerback Trayvon Mullen took Worley's spot out wide and veteran safety Curtis Riley filled in the back. 

"It was in our package," Worley said after the Chiefs' 28-10 win. "We want to minimize him as much as we could. We know that putting a corner on him could help. He’s a versatile tight end. Being able to minimize and eliminate him was definitely the game plan.

"It was something new, something we have been practicing," Worley continued. "The coaches have trust in me, and I showed in practice that I’m versatile and can move inside and outside when necessary. Being able to get four cornerbacks on the field and cover guys is something we want to work toward in this defense."

The package worked for a bit, but then the Chiefs adjusted, motioning Kelce out wide against the Raiders' two-safety look, allowing him to take advantage of a matchup with safety Karl Joseph. 

In the end, though, it didn't matter who shadowed Kelce. The star tight end caught seven balls for 107 yards and a touchdown as the Chiefs scored 28 unanswered points in the second quarter and coasted to a 28-10 win

Kelce has tormented the Raiders throughout his career, and now has 55 catches for 755 yards and five touchdowns against the Silver and Black. Something about playing the Raiders just brings it out of Kelce. 

"The Raiders man, the fan base here is ... they're going to let you know how they feel and you know that's why I love coming here," Kelce said following the victory. "I mean the bus ride in is going to feel weird going to a different location. I get amped up when we're coming into a hostile environment like this. Seeing everyone flick me off coming in on the bus and seeing a few people's cheeks you weren't trying to see. It's just, it's football at it's finest, or pregame at it's finest, you know? We're going to miss that for sure, so shoutout to everybody at Oakland for making it what it was." 

The Raiders locked up Mahomes, Kelce and the Chiefs in the first quarter, but the reigning AFC West champions exploded in the second, as Mahomes threw for 278 yards and four touchdowns in that quarter alone. Likewise, Kelce only had one catch for eight yards in the first quarter, but he had three catches for 50 yards and a touchdown in the second. 

Gruden could only give props to Mahomes, Kelce and the Chiefs' offensive juggernaut. 

"They do a great job now offensively," Gruden said, "with all the empty-backfield sets, shooting five eligibles in it, and Mahomes can reset and throw the ball from any platform I've ever seen, but it's a combination of a great young quarterback, with a scheme that really suits him and we got to do a better job as well."

[RELATED: Carr vents on offensive frustrations after loss vs. Chiefs]

The Raiders' defense tried everything to slow the Chiefs down, but when a souped-up car flicks on the nos there's little you can do to catch it if you don't have the requisite parts. 

"We just ran into a buzzsaw for about seven-and-a-half minutes," Gruden said.

How Raiders' Nick Kwiatkoski showed his value with Bears last season

nickkwiatkoskicelebratingbearsusatsi.jpg
USATSI

How Raiders' Nick Kwiatkoski showed his value with Bears last season

When opportunity knocked last year for Nick Kwiatkoski, the Chicago Bears’ four-year reserve linebacker, he answered.

With free agency looming, he was put in position to show the rest of the NFL what the Bears privately knew about the high-motor, highly athletic 26-year-old: It wasn’t a lack of ability that prevented Kwiatkoski from being a full-time starter, it was that the Bears had some of the best players in football at his position.

In Kwiatkoski, the Bears’ depth chart was hiding a starting caliber linebacker. And not just a situational one, but the highly coveted three-down kind who can play the run and the pass.

All of which he showed in an eight-game stint at the end of the 2019 season. He had 50 tackles, two sacks, four tackles for loss and four pass breakups to firmly establish himself as a valuable free agent target.

READ ABOUT KWIATKOSKI AT REVIEW-JOURNAL

 

Raiders' Zay Jones shares heartwarming story amid racial tensions

Raiders' Zay Jones shares heartwarming story amid racial tensions

The death of George Floyd while in police custody Monday in Minnesota has re-ignited racial tensions in the United States.

Protests are occurring in cities all over the country, and professional athletes are speaking up about their experiences.

On Saturday, Raiders wide receiver Zay Jones shared a heartwarming story on Twitter about an encounter he had with an woman at a home goods store.

That's powerful.

Jones, a Dallas, Texas native, was acquired by the Raiders in a trade with the Buffalo Bills last October.

In 10 games for the Raiders, Jones caught 20 passes for 147 yards.

[RELATED: Jones, Carr building chemistry]

But receiving this unnamed woman into his arms is the biggest catch of Jones' career.

[RAIDERS TALK: Listen to the latest episode]