Raiders

Raiders ready for unique challenge of blocking Jets' Jamal Adams

Raiders ready for unique challenge of blocking Jets' Jamal Adams

ALAMEDA -- Through 10 games this season, Derek Carr's insurance has been well worth whatever premium he paid.

The Raiders' offensive line, self-dubbed "Carr Insurance," has allowed only 15 sacks on the season, the second-best mark in the NFL behind only the Dallas Cowboys' vaunted offensive front.

Oakland's favorite insurance company will face a brand new test Sunday when it deals with the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Over the last two weeks, Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has unleashed star safety Jamal Adams as a blitzer, something the LSU product excels at. Adams has been a terror in the box, helping revitalize the Jets' defense while racking up five sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and a touchdown.

Adams now has six sacks on the season, two away from the record for a defensive back set by Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson in 2005.

Blocking Quinnen Williams, Hendry Anderson, C.J. Moseley and Co. is one thing for the Raiders' offensive line, but diagnosing a safety blitz and being able to pick it up is entirely something else. 

"Jamal Adams is one of the best players in the league. The guy is unreal," quarterback Derek Carr said Wednesday. "When you turn the tape on, you can feel his presence without being there. I remember we played him '17 here, and I remember telling him, 'Keep that intensity.' Because if you can play like that all the time -- because I was impressed by him -- I said, 'If you can play like that all the time, you're going to be one of the best to be in this league.' Now, I have nothing to do with him being one of the best in the league, but I do remember having that conversation."

Adams will come from anywhere and everywhere Sunday at the Meadowlands. After being involved in trade rumors near the trade deadline, Adams made it known he thinks he's one of the best players in the NFL. He has played like it since then, helping spark the Jets' defense in wins over the Giants and Washington.

The Raiders are aware of Adams and know they can't let him disrupt their flow.

"He's a fearless player. He's one of the most aggressive players that you will see. His playing speed is rare," head coach Jon Gruden said. "He's a linebacker playing defensive back. He's a defensive lineman playing defensive back. He's a defensive-back deluxe. He can do it all. He can rush, he can cover. He's really good. He's a sideline-to-sideline leader on that team. He's got our attention."

A blitzing defensive back might seem like something that would be easy to exploit. If the Jets are going to bring Adams down into the box and send him on blitzes, make them choose to put the other safety on either Darren Waller or Tyrell Williams and take advantage of the opposite matchup.

However, it's not as easy as it sounds, especially with a guy like Adams. The LSU product has the blessing of the Jets to freelance and go off-book when he feels is necessary.

[RELATED: Jacobs on quest to 'be better' amid stellar rookie season]

It's going to be a collaborative effort for the Raiders to keep Adams off Carr's back. The line, backs and tight ends all must be on the same page, be clear in identifying their calls and work together to neutralize the Jets' unique defensive weapon.

Rookie running back Josh Jacobs could play a critical role in keeping Carr upright. Blocking Adams is a challenge he's ready for.

"You know he's going to be a dog," Jacobs said. "He's going to come with everything he's got so you just have to match his intensity."

Adams is a game-wrecker, and the 6-4 Raiders must account for him in a game they need to win to keep pace in the AFC West.

Why Bill Belichick will miss Oakland Coliseum after Raiders' finale

Why Bill Belichick will miss Oakland Coliseum after Raiders' finale

It’s no secret that New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick isn’t a man of many words.

When it comes to his press conferences, answers don’t tend to extend longer than a sentence or two.

But when the six-time Super Bowl champion coach was asked about the Raiders playing their final game at the Oakland Coliseum on Sunday, the famously tight-lipped coach opined on the soon-to-be-former home of the Silver and Black.

“Pretty intense fans. It’s like Halloween every Sunday there,” Belichick said to reporters Friday. “So, yeah. I mean, it’s a great environment.

“When I was with the Broncos, of course we played out there, so that was – especially at that time in ’78, if I get that right – I’m pretty sure the Broncos won the division that year. We were right there with the Raiders. It was the Raiders-Broncos. It was a very intense rivalry, so there was a lot of – there was the game, and then there was all the other aspects of the game.

“But, yeah, the Oakland crowd was a lot more intense than the L.A. crowd, and we’ll miss it. We’ll miss it.”

One thing the legendary coach won’t miss is the iconic Black Hole.

[RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Davis discusses end of Raiders' Oakland era]

“I think we kind of warmed up down there, so it’s not really where you want to be as a visiting coach,” Belichick said. “Tell the players not to stand too close to them in case they throw something and miss.”

The Raiders will host the Jacksonville Jaguars in their finale in front of the Oakland crowd on Sunday, as the team will officially move its operations to Las Vegas before the 2020 season.

Derek Carr among five Raiders who must play well to win Oakland Coliseum finale

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Derek Carr among five Raiders who must play well to win Oakland Coliseum finale

OAKLAND – The Raiders will play their last game at Oakland Coliseum Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. It will be an emotional day for everyone involved.

That includes Jon Gruden, as attached to this East Bay fan base as anyone. The Raiders head coach has shut off his emotions all week, driving focus into preparation for this game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. That’s the last Oakland moment he can control, and Gruden plans to take advantage. He desperately want this win, and a victory might finally provide the opportunity to be emotional about the team’s scheduled move to Las Vegas.

“I I wish I had time to stand up here and thank all the fans. I wish I had more time to really sit down and make that the big story here and thank the fans for their support over the years and what this franchise has accomplished and what it means and what Oakland means to the Raiders. So, I’d like to thank everyone that welcomed us back when we came back and I know that they are going to stay with us when we go, but I appreciate all the fans and their loyalty and their support. We’ll try to give you one hell of a show.”

In order to put on a showstopper, the Raiders will need good performances from these five guys:

QB Derek Carr

I generally try to leave the franchise quarterback off these lists, but we’ll make an exception for the last Raiders game in Oakland. He got booed off the field after last week’s first half and again at the end, but this fan base still has great affinity for the signal caller who started virtually each game since 2014.

Carr owes them his best on Sunday, and odds are great he’ll put on a show for the faithful. He improve upon recent performances to execute his plan. Carr will need help from a so-so receiver corps and an offensive line – Trent Brown’ questionable with a pectoral strain – that hasn’t been at full strength all season.

Emotional Derek Carr is generally the best Derek Carr – the season opener’s a great example – so we should anticipate him being on top of his game. The Jaguars have struggled mightily this season but they’re sure to put up a fight during the final game in Oakland. Carr is capable of putting a team on his shoulders, and he might have to with the Raiders defense playing as it is.

RB Josh Jacobs

The Raiders don’t have much to play for. Their playoffs hopes are essentially dead, with the path to the postseason now complicated calculus when it was simple math not long ago. Jacobs is this team’s offensive engine, the player who matters most in what the Raiders do moving the football. They know that. They believe his fractured shoulder can’t get worse and are hoping trot him out there on Sunday to help win the last game in Oakland. His play exponentially increases their chances to win, and Jacobs knows that. He desperately wants to win this game.

He’s expected to be active, though it’s unclear exactly how much he will play. A 20-plus carry dose should do the Jaguars in. If he can provide that, the Raiders are in great shape if the defense holds up even a little bit. If not, Sunday could well be a struggle.

CB Isaiah Johnson

There’s no telling how much the fourth-round draft pick will play Sunday. Heck, he may not play at all. Johnson hasn’t done much since returning off injured reserve, at times a healthy scratch since being activate around midseason. He has sat behind other guys during a playoff push and that makes sense, but now it doesn’t. The Raiders are essentially out of the postseason running, with cornerback Daryl Worley either out with a neck injury or moving to strong safety in the base package.

That provides an opportunity to see what Johnson’s got. He won’t be his absolute best, not after missing most of training camp and half the regular season with a facial fracture suffered in the first regular season game. Rookies can’t make up for that lost time until the following offseason, and Johnson clearly would’ve played earlier had he not been behind. But it’s time to throw him out there as a test, to see what you’ve got in a talented young player. If he gives up a massive play, so what? The guy has to learn on the job. That’s how Trayvon Mullen has done it, and the Clemson product has thrives despite making some rookie mistakes. It’s time to let Johnson do the same.

DE Maxx Crosby

A devout Raiders follower made a flag to hang over the Oakland Coliseum railing – enjoy that while you can Raider Nation, the tradition isn’t following you to Las Vegas – to honor the departing club. He featured a skull and swords as cross bones, with a name filling out the remaining fabric. It said Mad Maxx. That honors the rookie pass rusher who has already adhered himself to the fan base with one sack and pressure after another. He has proven a better run player than people have expected. The Silver and Black need him to step up in the team’s Oakland Coliseum finale and generate heat largely missing from recent events.

Crosby certainly has 7.5 sacks and would certainly like to reach 10 in his rookie year, and needs at least a sack on Sunday to make that happen and give him a chance to compete for the rookie of the year award.

WR Tyrell Williams

The veteran receiver just isn’t right. Coaches volunteered that his plantar fasciitis has plagues him all season despite it keeping him out just two games in the early going. Williams simply hasn’t produced at a No. 1 receiver level, which has hurt the offense as a whole. Drops have been a real issue and his lack of consistent separation can been attributed to his ailing foot. He’s not even on the injury report and is expected to play, and he has to produce if that’s the case. He remains the team’s best receiver and has to act like in the final game played in the spot where his grandparents live, in the town where he spent so much time as a kid.