Raiders

Raiders snap count: Pass-rush rotation vs. Chiefs not productive enough

Raiders snap count: Pass-rush rotation vs. Chiefs not productive enough

OAKLAND -- The Raiders are employing a heavy rotation along the defensive front, something they planned for all summer. Everyone contributes in some sense, with Clelin Ferrell and Johnathan Hankins as mainstays in most packages.

The Raiders still aren’t getting enough quarterback pressure, even with three sacks in Sunday’s 28-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s hard to say the Raiders impacted Patrick Mahomes comfort in the pocket, creating 11 total pressures on 46 total dropbacks. 

Analytics site Pro Football Focus deemed Mahomes under pressure just eight times, and he was 4-for-6 for 33 yards in those instances. The reigning MVP had a 139.1 passer rating without facing pressure, expected sums from such an excellent signal-caller. 

While the defensive backs took heat after Sunday’s game, it’s appropriate, and noted by a few Raiders, that the pass rush shares some of the blame for a 28-point second-quarter explosion.

“We didn’t get enough pressure,” head coach Jon Gruden said. “We let Mahomes move around back there and cock his arm, and when he gets an opportunity to do that he can drop them in there no matter where they are. I tip my hat to them and we have to do a better job next time.”

[RELATED: What went wrong in Raiders' second-quarter meltdown]

That includes the Raiders’ rotational pass rushers. Arden Key’s solid preseason hasn’t translated to regular-season success, a point clear in Week 2. He had just one quarterback pressure in 24 snaps. Maxx Crosby had just one in 29 snaps, though he was also flagged for a controversial roughing-the-passer infraction that didn’t seem appropriate.

Benson Mayowa has been the team’s most productive edge rusher, and might see his playing time increase after tallying 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble on just 18 snaps.

The Raiders might have to adjust their rotations to create more opportunities for hot hands, though it will help not having to face Mahomes each week.

Offense

Total offensive snaps: 65

Quarterback -- Derek Carr 65

Running back -- Josh Jacobs 30, Jalen Richard 20, DeAndre Washington 15, Alec Ingold 5

Wide receiver -- Tyrell Williams 61, Ryan Grant 49, Hunter Renfrow 49, Dwayne Harris 5, Keelan Doss 4

Tight end -- Darren Waller 62, Foster Moreau 15, Derek Carrier 9

Offensive line -- Jordan Devey 65, Denzelle Good 65, Kolton Miller 65, Rodney Hudson 65, Trent Brown 51, Brandon Parker 15

Defense

Total defensive snaps: 68

Defensive line -- Clelin Ferrell 58, Johnathan Hankins 58, P.J. Hall 43, Josh Mauro 38, Maurice Hurst 36, Maxx Crosby 29, Arden Key 24, Benson Mayowa 18

Linebacker -- Vontaze Burfict 72, Tahir Whitehead 63, Nicholas Morrow 17, Marquel Lee 6

Defensive back -- Daryl Worley 74, Gareon Conley 74, Lamarcus Joyner 70, Karl Joseph 48, Erik Harris 42, Curtis Riley 31, Trayvon Mullen 28, Keisean Nixon 7

Special teams

Harris 23, Kyle Wilber 22, Nixon 22, Carrier 20, Lee 19, Moreau 16, Morrow 12, Harris 12, Ingold 11, Joseph 10, Trent Sieg 8, AJ Cole 8, Crosby 8, Worley 8, Riley 5, Daniel Carlson 5, Whitehead 5, Ferrell 5, Washington 5, Burfict 5, Hurst 4, Richard 4, Hankins 4, Mullen 3, Andre James 2, Conley 2, Brown, Devey 2, Miller 2, Good 2, Parker 2, Key 1, Mayowa 1, Hall

NFL trade deadline: Pros, cons on players Raiders could try to acquire

NFL trade deadline: Pros, cons on players Raiders could try to acquire

The Raiders have made several huge trades during the Jon Gruden era. The latest came Monday, shipping former first-round draft pick Gareon Conley to Houston for a third-round pick.

A full week remains before the Oct. 29 NFL trade deadline, leaving plenty of time to make more moves to either acquire talent or draft capital vital to this roster rebuild.

The Raiders are in an interesting spot at 3-3, currently the AFC’s No. 7 seed, sitting just outside the playoff picture. They’re a half-game behind Houston for a coveted postseason spot and play the Texans on Sunday in a pivotal conference matchup nearing the season’s halfway point.

The Raiders will be active discussing trade possibilities over the next week and are expected to be buyers, armed with two first-round picks and three third-rounders. They can go after most anyone they want, though the capital is vital to the long-term plan of building a young foundation through the NFL draft.

It’s hard to see the Raiders shipping a first-round pick, but those third-round selections could come in handy this week. That could mean they essentially trade Conley from a position of strength -- they’re deep and young at cornerback -- and use one of the third-rounders to fortify a position of weakness without hindering them much on draft day.

It’s hard to predict what Gruden will do, except this: He’s not afraid to be bold. Whether the deal works out is another matter, but he could try to accelerate the team’s progress with a big move in trade.

Here are a few targets the Raiders should consider, that could help rush the passer, add linebacker depth or even contribute to a receiver corps being revamped as this season goes along, with pros and cons of adding a particular player.

DL Michael Bennett, New England Patriots

Pros: Bennett doesn’t seem thrilled with his role in New England and was suspended against the Jets after an argument with his position coach. He’s well into his 30s but has always gotten to the quarterback and would have a huge presence along the Raiders defensive front. He would naturally fit a four-man front and help against the run and pass.

Given his perceived dissatisfaction in New England and willingness to speak his mind, the price might not be excessive to land someone so talented. He’s older, but can still play at a high level.

Cons: He’s set to make $7 million in his age 34 season, but his 2020 employment is based on a team option, per overthecap.com. While an increased role in Oakland is a lock, continued winning is not. Might he be upset getting shipped from a Super Bowl favorite to a team that could fall out of the playoff picture?

DE Carlos Dunlap, Cincinnati Bengals

Pros: Dunlap worked with Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther for years and should be able to step right in and contribute due to his scheme knowledge. He’s a massive player at 6-foot-6 and 280 pounds. He only had one sack this season but has been getting pressure and is a guy who has at least eight sacks for six straight seasons. He’s going to produce.

He’s 30 now, and should still have some good years left. Dunlap could also mentor a fleet of young Raiders pass rushers while anchoring one end. He’s also under contract and could be an expensive, yet controllable asset they could move on from if thing don’t work out long term.

Cons: This is a big one. Dunlap hasn’t played since Week 5 due to a knee injury but has been shockingly durable throughout his career. He also doesn’t come cheap, with hefty base salaries of $7.8 million in 2020 and $10.1 million in 2021. They can afford those sums or get out from under them if he doesn’t work out long term.

Edge rusher Ryan Kerrigan, Washington

Pros: The Raiders need production up front, and Kerrigan could certainly provide that. He has never had less than nine sacks in his career and has 97 over eight-plus seasons. He isn’t cheap but is coming up on the end of his deal, with Washington unlikely to be competitive before it expires.

The Raiders could add a leader and regular producer up front to anchor the line and take pressure off younger players to make an instant impact. He’s owed $11.5 million in base salary next season but the number isn’t guaranteed. The Raiders could rent, or lock in his 2020 salary and keep him around to start their Las Vegas run.

Cons: Kerrigan has logged a lot of miles already, hovering around 850 snaps a season since his rookie year. He also isn’t a perfect scheme fit, generally known as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He is 249 pounds and could rush off the edge in a more tradition 4-3 Raiders front. He also only has three sacks thus far, but production could increase by getting off a bad team.

Another hitch: Washington might make a Kerrigan trade cost prohibitive considering how well liked this long-tenured edge rusher is. It takes two to tango. Will Washington dance?

LB Preston Brown, Cincinnati Bengals

Pros: Brown seems to have fallen out of favor in Cincinnati and could be available for cheap. That’s because he has struggled this season, so he should be available for cheap. The Raiders don’t necessarily need a starting linebacker, with Tahir Whitehead and Nicholas Morrow playing most every snap.

They are woefully thin at that spot, however, and Brown could learn the scheme while providing depth and injury protection at an important spot. It might cost a draft pick way down the board, which might make this depth acquisition a possibility.

Cons: Will this move change the Raiders fortunes? Probably not, unless Morrow or Whitehead get hurt. One could argue for saving the draft pick over making the trade, but the Raiders are so thin there. It depends on how much confidence they have in Justin Phillips to play significant snaps if a player goes down.

WR A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals

Pros: When healthy, he’s a true No. 1 receiver who must be respected and feared. That’s something the Raiders don’t have and is the missing link for a truly dominant offense. Green would also set the receiver corps right, with Tyrell Williams as a No. 2 and solid options in Zay Jones and Trevor Davis after that.

If he can get healthy soon after a bad ankle injury, he could help the Raiders down the stretch and become a free agent at season’s end.

Cons: There are a few problems with this move. Green won’t be cheap despite possibly being a rental. He also isn’t expected to return until after the trade deadline, so there’s no sure thing he gets back to 100 percent this season.

[RELATED: Why Conley trade might not be Raiders' last before deadline]

Also, how many receivers should the Raiders trade for? They’ve acquired three since March. And don’t forget that this NFL draft class is loaded with quality receivers.

They’re better off standing pat at the position and grabbing an excellent, controllable prospect this spring.

Raiders legendary Hall of Fame cornerback Willie Brown dies at age 78

williebrownraidersap.jpg
AP

Raiders legendary Hall of Fame cornerback Willie Brown dies at age 78

Legendary Raiders cornerback Willie Brown has died, the Raiders confirmed on Tuesday. He was 78 years old.

“Willie Brown will forever be cherished as a true Raider," the Raiders said in a statement. "He exemplified the Raider spirit, originally entering the AFL as an undrafted free agent out of Grambling State before joining the Silver and Black in 1967. He remained an integral part of the organization through six decades. His legendary performance on the field changed the way the cornerback position was played and his valued guidance as a coach, mentor and administrator permeated the organization and touched countless individuals both on and off the field. Willie’s loss will leave a tremendous void, but his leadership and presence will always be a major part of the fabric of the Raiders Family.”

Brown’s health had declined in recent months, as he took a less active role with the team after years as a public face of the franchise. He was a mainstay in the Raiders' secondary for 12 seasons during a golden era where the Silver and Black won their first Super Bowl. He was a Raiders defensive backs coach for 10 seasons after that, and recently was an ambassador heavily involved in the community and with the team as a staff member over the last two decades.

Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984 and is a member of the All-Time AFL team and the NFL’s team of the 1970s. He played 204 games as a member of the Broncos and Raiders, recording 52 interceptions and two touchdowns.

His pick-six in Super Bowl XI against Minnesota stands as one of several iconic moments in his illustrious career.

Brown stands among the best defensive backs to ever represent the Raiders, exclusive company considering how many excellent cover men have worn silver and black. Considering his contributions to the organization over the years, he may be one of the most prominent figures in Raiders history.

He was extremely close with owner Mark Davis and the Raiders alumni base. Brown’s passing comes but a few months after receiver Cliff Branch died unexpectedly. That’s a real blow to the entire Raiders family, which values history and tradition and player contributions as much as any team in the NFL.

Please check back for updates on this story.