ALAMEDA -- Rashaan Melvin made five consecutive starts this season, playing significant snaps in each of those contests.
Then Raiders coaches told the veteran cornerback Saturday in London that his role would decrease significantly in the next day's game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Melvin and Gareon Conley were benched for Daryl Worley and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and the new starters played most every snap in the Raiders' 27-3 loss. Melvin was in for seven, only while Rodgers-Cromartie was being examined by trainers, and he gave up a 10-yard touchdown catch in that short span at Wembley Stadium.
Melvin wasn’t happy about the result or the playing time afterward. The well-traveled cornerback also is being asked to use new techniques in coverage and hasn’t adjusted well.
That frustration led to these two tweets.
The posts were well circulated, and eventually brought to Raiders coach Jon Gruden’s attention.
“I haven’t talked to him yet, no. I’m sure I will. I know (defensive coordinator) Paul Guenther did,” Gruden said in a Tuesday press conference. “I heard there was a Twitter report out there. Melvin is on his seventh team, I think. He’s had different techniques. Maybe he’s confused, I don’t know. I’ll talk to him.
"But he has to play better. He’s in a competitive situation. Perhaps he’s frustrated, and I can’t blame him.”
Melvin’s frustration is clear. He declined comment earlier Tuesday, before Gruden spoke with the press, but he entered this season with high hopes.
He wanted to inarguably prove himself a No. 1 cornerback, and earn the money associated with such distinction. Melvin believed it might come after a career year in Indianapolis, but free agency wasn't generous. He ended up signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract with the Raiders, hoping a good year would secure the multiyear deal he hoped to get this spring.
Being benched and performing below expectation won’t help Melvin’s pride or his pocketbook. That has caused some frustration vented in public.
Gruden somewhat backed off the hard line later in his press conference, addressing Melvin’s frustration in a more political manner.
“He handled adversity and sometimes in an emotional way. But Melvin is a good kid,” Gruden said. “He’s a good kid. He’s given us some good snaps. He’s just in a competitive situation, and we’re trying to help him improve.”