Raiders

Raiders trying to keep Darren Waller one of NFL's 'best-kept secrets'

Raiders trying to keep Darren Waller one of NFL's 'best-kept secrets'

ALAMEDA – The Raiders would prefer Darren Waller stay out of the spotlight. Teammates and coaches were hesitant to discuss the athletic tight end at this point in the calendar, lest early word travel that this guy can really play.

Head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr addressed Waller Tuesday as if he’s someone who shall not be named.

“Oh my, Waller? He’s super slow,” Carr said after the team’s first OTA session. “I don’t know if we’re going to use him much.”

Carr’s deadpan didn’t last long. His smile cracked and evoked laughter from those around him, who all saw Waller’s 2018 cameo in silver and black. He flashed largely unrealized potential against Cincinnati two weeks after the Raiders signed him off Baltimore’s practice squad, slicing through the defense for a 44-yard gain. The converted receiver has all the speed and skill and athleticism required to step in for departed receiving tight end Jared Cook.

Waller has set himself back with an injury and then multiple NFL suspensions for substance abuse, but has a golden opportunity to properly launch his career in Oakland.

“Darren has the skillset, he has the want-to, he has the aggression to do it, now he just has to go do it. I’m really excited about him,” Carr said. “Darren Waller is super, super fast, if I’m being real, and he works his tail off. He’s very smart and I can check a play within two seconds of the play clock being out and he’ll be on and run the right thing. He’s super fun to be around, he’s a great guy.”

[RELATED: Derek Carr was 'annoyed' by speculation]

That opinion’s common among Waller’s teammates, who might have a tough time keeping quiet about him as we near the regular season. His stats sheet won’t wow you. He has 18 catches for 178 yards and two scores since 2015. His play might, if he earns targets in a pattern full of quality receivers.

“Since the time he’s walked in here, he’s been one of the most impressive guys on our team,” Gruden said. “He learns fast. He is fast. He’s extremely talented. I think he’s going to be one of the best-kept secrets in the league. I really believe he’s got a future if he keeps working like he is.”

Raiders rookie Bryan Edwards drawing comparisons to Pro Bowl receivers

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USATSI

Raiders rookie Bryan Edwards drawing comparisons to Pro Bowl receivers

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr on Tuesday compared rookie wide receiver Bryan Edwards to Carr’s former Fresno State teammate and current Packers’ star Davante Adams. On Friday one of Edwards’ high school coaches said he has long seen similarities to another perennial All-Pro.

“He’s always reminded me of A.J. Green,” said Conway (S.C.) head coach Carlton Terry, who was an assistant when Edwards played there and coached against Green in high school. “They both just have that ability to make plays at receiver and return punts. Just men on the field in comparison to the other players. Not only did they stand out vertically, but for big men to have that athleticism is just so rare.”

Edwards’ natural gifts were evident from the moment he walked into Conway High School as a 13-year-old freshman.

Read more at the Las Vegas Review-Journal

 

Raiders place Maxx Crosby, Rod Smith on NFL's COVID-19 reserve list

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Raiders place Maxx Crosby, Rod Smith on NFL's COVID-19 reserve list

Raiders coach Jon Gruden on Thursday talked about the need to adapt every day to the practice availability of his players.

It went without saying he was referring to the potential impact of COVID-19, the constant shadow he and the Raiders will be operating under this year.

By late afternoon, that possibility became a reality when Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby and running back Rod Smith were added to the COVID-19 injured reserve list.

Read more on the Review-Journal